Being at Home Anywhere in the World

18 Sep

It was recently the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as we were reminded with the arrival of Hurricane Isaac.  I lived in New Orleans for thirteen years and like so many others was uprooted by the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  That was the beginning it seems of my Gypsy training.

I was in Houston, TX attending the Landmark Forum for “just the weekend” when Hurricane Katrina hit. From there I traveled to Austin, TX where I lived for about 18 months before returning home to New Orleans.  With my former apartment flooded and rents on the rise because of increased insurance costs for homeowners, I was lucky to find an affordable place to live when returning.  I rented out two private back rooms and a bathroom in a comfortable Mid-City home.  It wasn’t quite the “home” I imagined for myself, but I was grateful for an affordable place to land. Time flew and I was there for 3 years.  When my landlord’s daughter was to return home and she would need my space, it was my time to leave.  As I no longer had my affordable place to live, I started taking some creative leaps.

I stayed for one month in a private home that used to be a bed and breakfast in exchange for graphic design work.  Next a friend wanted me to house sit while he was out-of-town and his home was for sale.  Six months later I left that home when it sold and moved to another home for sale until, six months later it too sold.  It was from there that I flew the coop and headed to Europe.

These years of transition and travel have accentuated the necessity and importance of creating and cultivating an inner home.  I began to rely on and develop an inner sanctuary and place of respite.  This is a place I can turn to no matter where I am in the world and no matter what may be happening in my world, inside or out.  It isn’t always easy moving from place to place, in foreign environments with life handing unexpected twists and turns.  Here are some ways that I have come to rely on to support myself and the cultivation of an inner home as my world around me shifts and moves.

Spiritual Practice
For me, connection to spirit is a place that I go to for comfort and ease when life around me is constantly changing or when life seems chaotic.  A spiritual practice is like a daily (or more) taste of the divine.  It is like visiting that greater place we call home no matter where I am or what is up in the world.  I find the more I visit that place through daily practice, the more it surprises me with visits during my regular ordinary life.

Some of my favorite spiritual practices are:

Time in Nature.
There is nothing that satisfies my spirit or soothes my soul more than spending time in the outdoors.  The feel of a gentle cool breeze, the bright colors of a blossoming flower, or the warmth of the sun on my skin are core experiences that bring me joy and that I have come to rely on for peace and comfort like a tender, loving parent.  Every day, no matter where I am, I take a little time for nature.  Sometimes it’s been a stroll along a farmers road between potato fields in Germany.  Other times its been a walk along a near-by river or park.  I am usually alone and it is often quiet as I am greeted by whatever that day has to offer.

Dance.  I love to dance.  I am not a professional dancer or anything, but for me there is nothing like listening to some music that makes me want to shake my booty and just moving and dancing for a bit.  Nearly every day in the privacy of whatever room I might be in at the time, wherever I am in the world, I put on a little music from my iTunes on my computer and I dance!  Sometimes mellow, sometimes not.  But it always feels good to just move!

Practice being in the Present Moment
We all know the phrase… “wherever you go… there you are…” and so it is true that no matter what has happened or what is to happened what is always there is the present moment.  I am no different from anyone else… with my mind wandering at times hastily to what has been or to what will be.  But I take the time to practice… being where I am… in the moment.  Sometimes it may be as simple as calling my attention to my fingers and the feel of the iron and the sheets as I was ironing at Les Battees, feeling my feet in my shoes as they meet the ground.  Sometimes it is noticing my breath… sometimes breathing easily, sometimes not… When I remind myself to slow down and pay attention to just the present moment I am often awakened to expanded perception in that moment… and expanded joy.

Eating Well
A simple healthy diet is the cornerstone of well-being for me and makes a big difference in my well-being and feeling at “home”.  As lately I have been living in other peoples homes and kitchens, I do my best to be a fair and good communicator to ensure that my new home can provide the basic foods for my health and well-being.  This includes no refined sugar in anything that I eat and access to whole grains and fresh veggies and proteins.  A little good food goes a long way!

Reading from inspiring books and texts
Nearly daily I lean on and rely on books and texts that lift and inspire me.  For me these are often of a spiritual nature.  Even just a quote or paragraph that reminds me I am of something greater than myself gives me perspective on whatever opportunity or challenge I may be facing at the moment.  My favorite book to lean on is currently A Course in Miracles , but I also have enjoyed books by Catherine Ponder and Gary Renard’s Disappearance of the Universe.

Goofing Off
I also find it is important to have time just to goof off – to just do that silly unsophisticated thing for a little bit each day that nurtures the little child in me and brings me comfort.  Sometimes it may be reading a light novel or magazine.  Lately it has been watching old episodes of the show Medium on the internet.  Just a little something, often “brainless” and fun, to take a “break” from whatever I may need a break from that day!

These are my basics for cultivating my inner home, wherever I may be, whoever I am with.  I am grateful to have the time and experience of cultivating an inner home as I currently travel from place to place, some plans known… some still unfolding…

Photo from the gardens of Les Battees.

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