Home is your heart

Post by Taralee Hurff for the Kind Kindred series.


photo courtesy of Leland Francisco on Flickr

I am not a television junkie. I much prefer to sit with a good book and a cup of hot tea, getting lost in the story or fervently making notes in the margins and underlining passages that I am drawn to. My one exception is the television programs of NCIS and NCIS – Los Angeles. I record them both and then catch up on them when the mood hits me. When I watch these shows I give myself permission to check out and just enjoy the quiet time and the show. No worrying about what is still on my to-do list or dissecting the plot.

I was curled up with my cozy blanket watching NCIS – Los Angeles recently and was completely distracted by something that was said, enough so that I hit pause and grabbed my journal. One of the characters made a remark close to this, “Home isn’t where your heart is, home is your heart.” How about that? Let it sink in. Home is so much more than just the physical space that houses our family and belongings. Home is more than where you retreat to at the end of each day. Home is a feeling.

As much as I love my physical home, I resonate with the sentiment of home being my heart, a collection of feelings. I am going to go out on a limb here and say I believe this must be how individuals who are deployed in the Armed Forces get through their time away. Home is their heart and they carry that feeling with them no matter where they are. This is a way to remain connected. Our senses take in experiences, people and places and make the connections to translate them into memories. Those memories in turn form into the feelings that are a part of our hearts. This idea is so simple, yet so profound.

I sat with my journal and ended up with almost 4 pages of what makes the feeling of home in my heart. I closed my eyes, opened my heart and wrote everything that came to my mind. I discovered that for me, my physical home is my security blanket. Being at my physical home with my loved ones means we are all safe together. We have our system, our comforts, our own spaces and our things. There is security in the predictable at home. It is my bubble of peace and calm, despite the chaos that comes with a family of 5. My physical home is the equivalent of the “lovies” my daughter sleeps with every night.

My reality is that I am home no matter where I am if I tap into the feeling of home. If my physical home were to disappear I would lose belongings but the feeling of home cannot be taken away.

Home is my oldest child’s laugh, my middle child’s smile and the twinkle in my youngest child’s eyes. Home is watching your brother transform into a father. Home is being a mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend and teacher. Home is the sound of my Pop Pop clearing his throat. Home is remembering the scent of my grandmother’s home and the placement of her dolls in the bedroom. Home is hugging a friend of 33 years. Home is the inside joke you share with your best friend. Home is the blue jay garden ornament handmade by your grandfather. Home is hugging your mother. Home is walking on the beach. Home is having a sense of belonging. Home is not perfect, sometimes messy, but always within you.

What I want you to realize is that you make the feeling of home. You do it subconsciously just by engaging with others, loving, learning, playing, listening and watching. What I often see is that instead of cultivating the feeling and believing that you are home no matter where you are physically, most people tend to focus on the physical sense of the word. People can’t be home unless they have all of their worldly possessions. This is simply not true. Those belongings just enhance your home in the physical sense to help you feel safe and comforted.

I understand there are layers to this and that our homes are very special to us. But I have witnessed families who have lost their physical homes and guess what? They have the “a-ha moment” that what is more important is that home is a feeling and that cannot be taken from them. They can make another physical home. The feeling of home is in their hearts, will always be there and can continue to grow.

I know I was meant to really hear those words and explore my feelings around them. I am so grateful that I was present enough to recognize it. My perspective has shifted and my heart is fully aware of my feeling of home. I hope your heart does too.

 

Taralee received a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology and Criminal Justice from Moravian College. She received her Special Education Teacher certification from DeSales University. Taralee is a NJ certified Teacher of the Handicapped, and has been working in the home and school settings for over 15 years. Taralee is currently President of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Regional New Jersey Early Intervention Collaborative, she is serving in her fourth year as a Board member. 
Taralee’s most important job is raising her three creative and inquisitive children (ages 9, 7, and 4) in Southern NJ. 
Taralee’s book “100 Things To Do Before You Are 10” was published in April 2014. 
Please visit her Facebook page or send an e-mail for ordering information.

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