Home is where the heart is

Where is home to you? Home is not necessarily the place where you live.  It might be – but not always.

I recently walked around the area where I grew up.  I realised as I walked down familiar paths, through woods and over streams, that this was part of home for me.  My actual home – the house I lived, did not feel homely.   The woods and fields however, was where I made my home.

For me, home is also about people. Home does not need to be where I keep my clothes or where I sleep at night. It is about the people who are important to me and with whom I share the same space. My home is where they are.

All of this got me thinking about the whole concept of home and what that means, or what it means to me. I realised it was about a sense of my core self, and a sense of belonging. A place where it was safe to be Me, and to be accepted as Me – a place where I could find a sense of peace and relaxation.

As I write this blog I am on an aeroplane. Even though I have travelled a lot I do not feel at home here. Yes the sights and smells are very familiar – but I am stuck in a seat I don’t want to be in, I can’t move easily and don’t feel free.

I am going to a meeting of International Transactional Analysts from all over Europe. Thirty four delegates from thirty different countries and cultures.  Although there will be some new faces, most of those I am to meet, I already know in varying degrees. We have never met in the new venue (a hotel in Bucharest) but even so, I know once we meet, I will have a sense of being at home. This is my community, or one of them. This is a group of people who meet with a common interest, and I have been a part of it for 20 years. Even in unfamiliar surroundings I know I will have a sense of being at home, amongst them.

I grew up in Sussex and have lived on the Kent/ Sussex border most of my life. I love to visit new places but there is also a comfort in towns like Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead, Lewes and Brighton. Places where I walk down the streets and can remember experiences from my life. I belong to this land and this area – it is my home.

As a Psychotherapist and Trainer, I am of course interested in people’s quality of life. Wherever we live – whatever we are doing, I think it is a useful for us to have people in our lives, who will allow us to be who we are – who will love us and accept us  – and a place where we don’t have to pretend to be something we are not but a place where we can relax and simply Be.  In my work over the last twenty years I have noticed that some people don’t have this. Either because of the situations/relationships they choose to be in, or because they never truly allow, or feel, they can be themselves – hiding behind a belief that they are ‘not ok’ as they are.

Much of my work as a counsellor and psychotherapist is about self-esteem. I hope to encourage people to learn that they are wonderful, unique and valuable human beings just as they are – that they are normal and ok. Not perfect, but human and fallible like the rest of us.

Home to me is an internal place of peace which can be triggered by external events/ places and people. To feel at home, whatever that means for you, is a gift where our system relaxes and knows everything is ok.

By Leilani Mitchell

These are my random ramblings of today – tomorrow I may change my mind!

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