Tag Archives: Connection

Welcome Home

It has been almost a week since I’ve been home, a week since I left home to come home, a phenomenon that remains strange no matter how many times the scenario plays out. I cried in the airport and then, just hours later, comfortably walked the streets of a town that, a year ago, I was just beginning to know.

Time flies.

Laughing recently over a tale of people who remained in place and those who have come to them, I wonder about the point at which we begin to put down roots. “I’ve nested,” a couple people commented recently about apartments they don’t plan to leave. If plants in pots and frames on walls are nesting, I’ve managed both with varying degrees of success, but I wouldn’t quite call that roots. There’s a difference between being in a place and being part of a place.

After watering a garden plot earlier this week, we talked about what to do differently in the garden next year, how to make a few suggestions for improvement. To invest time and energy into something and wanting to see it to completion takes exactly that – time and energy. And this means doing more than being in a place in which time just passes by. To be part of a place means to leave a bit of oneself there, to have contributed in a way that creates an impression, to be involved in ways that connect us to others so that we build something together.

Perhaps this is what it means to lay down roots, something I’ve thus far shied away from. In the case of this garden, however, I’d like to stay to watch it grow. I’d like to feel my hands in the dirt, to smell the tomato vines in the greenhouse, to prepare a meal with produce that comes from right there. These things take time and for once, I’m in no hurry. This year I’ve watched the garden grow and next year, I’d like to help plant it.

After two planes, two trains, and a bus, it was a lovely feeling to relinquish my suitcase to careful hands, to walk along paths that changed in my time away, to laugh about what had transpired in just a short while. “Welcome home,” you said, and I was.

Singapore – September 2020

Home Is: A Reprise

Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. Perhaps I am a person looking for a home, or perhaps I call “home” what is more accurately “place”. Is home where you are or is home how you feel?


Home is clearly more than house, but there are times when home is indeed also house. And there are times when home has no house. Home can be forest, mountain, water, and here, home is a feeling. Can the feeling also be a place? Can a place be a home?

If I have many homes, it is because home is people, not places. But not every place with people is a home, nor do all homes rely on people. Does bringing people to a place make it a home? Perhaps not, but the community that comes from the people can be a home.

If I have many homes, it is because home is a feeling, not a location. I can feel at home in different literal places when my heart can settle in a figurative place. To say that I feel at home with you means you and not where you happen to be. So I can feel at home with you within, despite, or regardless of the place.

Or do I have no home? I can be homeless without being houseless, a person who has a physical place but no sense of warmth, of love, of affection and affinity. If I have lost my connection to home, that means I have lost connection. And what does that mean for who I am? If connection comes from relating with others and the world around us, does losing home mean losing identity? And without identity, who am I?


Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. I am deeply rooted to something I cannot articulate but am never without, a sense of belonging to the trees and sky, mountains and ocean. I do not need to be out in the world to understand that, but I need to be out in the world to feel grounded in my own body. And at the same time, I seek to lose the body to become part of the world.

In this sense, I am at home in the world.

But to be home in the world does not mean being alone in it.

So home is people, not places. I do not need to know a place to feel belonging, but to know people. By this I mean the know that is tied up in care, the know that means I will share my delights and sorrows with you because, if I feel at home with you, I believe you want to know.

But home can also be found in places themselves, because to find a home is to connect with a soul. The soul of a place is a feeling and we feel places. This is how we choose where to wander and where to settle, where to explore and where to retreat. If we are able to see the soul of a place, perhaps we understand it in a way that allows us to call it a home.

In this sense, home merely is. Home exists. Home is there. Sometimes we are there, too, and sometimes home is waiting to be found.


It has been a long time since I’ve been home, and in the interim I’ve occupied many homes. Literal homes, figurative homes, shared homes, solitary homes.

Perhaps my preoccupation with home comes from a constant search for one, or perhaps from always knowing there is inherently more than one. Perhaps it’s less a preoccupation and more a vested interest, one that comes from life circumstances I never could have imagined but that, at the same time, were always lying dormant and waiting. Or maybe it’s a simple awareness of language. I cannot wait to go home, said when I am clearly at home. Welcome home, said when I coming from home.

It took years, I remember her saying, before I stopped referring to this city as home. And then I realized that my life was somewhere else and that that was my home.

This is undoubtedly logical. But if this is the case, how can I say I’m going home? And how can I then be welcomed home to multiple places?

And so I search further. I search from the security of a place that I call home, a place made up of people who hold, care, and love, and who know that it is not the search that is important, but the discoveries that are part of searching.

And I search because I like to ask questions and I like to find answers. I am curious when I am safe, and I am safe when I am home.

Schalkau, Germany – September 2021

Glow

The weather gave us a gift this weekend. We had sun, blue skies, and temperatures perfect for being outside. (Although nothing really seems to stop Germans from being outside, which I like very much.) I was out late Sunday morning revisiting a route I’d taken with a friend some weeks ago. We had looked in vain for sunshine that day and the walk was bound to feel different this time.

One thing I have always noticed about walking with my camera is that my senses are sharper, and not just my eyes. I see the world differently, but am also more aware of how it tastes, how it smells, how it feels, and where I stand within it.

In other words, the more present I am, the calmer and more peaceful I feel. The camera around my neck acts as a reminder. Likewise, the more experienced I become in meditation, the more easily awareness seeps into my everyday life. I pause more frequently, slow down, notice, breathe. This is what it means to be mindful.

Lately there have been several loving-kindness, or metta, meditations in my routine. The warmth that I experience through these practices is not unlike the warmth I experienced last weekend in the sun. The world opens wide and it calls.

What I like most about metta meditation is that it makes obvious our connection with one another. There is a physical sensation, a warm glow, that comes from that realization.

There is a warm glow that comes from wishing loving-kindness to others, similar to the sense of rejuvenation that comes from being in nature. I have learned that these are needs for me, needs rather than wants. I would like to think that I am a better person to those around me for having learned this and sought this out.

It is easy to form connections that are light and fun, to play outside on a sunny day. It is not always so easy to get out in the rain or cold, not always so easy to touch another person. But so often, it is the experience of doing exactly this, of embracing difficult conditions and searching for the light, that plants us firmly on the ground.

And this is when we can not only look, but see.