Some years back a friend posed this question: you live where you live. But in all the places you’ve been and the homes you’ve enjoyed, where, on our earth, is your spiritual home?
It got me thinking about spiritual homes once again this week as I spoke to a mum in my local park. It seemed to me that her way of thinking, her actions, her approach to family life sets her apart in our suburb. And I wonder if she really is in her spiritual home. Or if it’s a stop gap to somewhere else along life’s path. Because wouldn’t it be nice to just know you are where you fit, and all the parts of your jigsaw just click into place.
We can live somewhere for years and just not quite connect with a place. It can be as obvious as a lack of green spaces, or train lines, or decent coffee shops. It could be that the facilities you need are too far away, or there’s much environmental noise from busy roads, trains or docks. It could be that the mix of people leaves you set apart and not connected, or you don’t even speak the same language.
Sometimes it’s a combination of many things.
In my own world, I’ve travelled to places where I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t connect and I knew that deep down, it was just not the place for me.* New York is one of those cities, though I do find it hard to pinpoint just what it is that I didn’t ‘get’. We did all the things that travellers do in New York:
- visiting major landmarks – Statue of Liberty you were grand beyond compare, Ellis Island, you brought me to tears, Empire State building, you were windy in the extreme
- eating tourist-interpreted local food – thank you, bagel, you were quite tasty
- enjoying some great evenings out – ah, Blue Note Jazz Club, sorry I was so tired!
But, flattening jetlag, loads of walking, seeing the aftermath of a horrible accident and a degree of culture shock probably all conspired against the Big Apple. Sadly, New York, I just didn’t get you. You are not my spiritual home.
Back at my current home, my local shopping centre has a dearth of dreadlocks. So when some appeared recently it was a welcome relief from all that sameness. Prior to my current suburban location, I had lived for years in the inner inner city where there’s diversity and colour and change. Five kilometres down the road, it’s not quite the same mix. And it’s something that I miss. The trade off for dreadlocks and colour is fresh air, parking, parks, floral gardens and so many gum trees that it lifts my spirit. It might not be my spiritual home. But there’s much to enjoy.
In the wrap up of life, my spiritual home is about family, sounds, smells and nature. It’s where I grew up, next to hills, with dry, dusty walks and gum trees peppering the hillsides. Where kookaburras called, gully winds rushed and fires in childhood made the sky a frightening, yet spectacular, cloudy orange.
My harsh, stunning, beautiful country.
Where do you connect? What’s your spiritual home?