Coming Home to Yourself
by Gem Moore, Ph.D.
I wanted to go home. Are you confused about where home is? I was. There are many different definitions of home depending on whom you talk to. After many trips home to Charlotte to deal with my mothers extended illness and then death, I longed for the familiar since after her death, all of my family was gone. I longed for the encasing womb of comfort and familiarity and the tug at my heart grew stronger---to go home. Living and having a successful psychology practice in Little Rock, Arkansas, for many years I had never felt at home in the sense that many people I knew had gone to grade school and the state colleges and universities together sharing a longtime history. My life had been very different after high school in that I had made many friends in a variety of environments due to having gone to graduate school in California and Europe. My friends were spread over the country.
I was aware that Thomas Wolfe had said, You can never go home again. But, having made multiple trips to Charlotte caring for my mother, I felt a strong pull to go back home. So, after resisting this feeling for awhile, I decided to move back and see if being around the familiar would fulfill this need...at least, it was worth a try. Moving me was no easy task since I learned well from a pack rat mother that Moore means more and more of everything. After unloading two fully packed residences of my mothers over four years, I now was faced with taking all these treasures cross country and renovating another house. You would think this would start to institute a cure for packratness. Making a slight detour by way of Atlanta for two years before coming to Charlotte, letting go of excess was beginning to impinge on my consciousness.
So I moved to Charlotte and began the journey of reconnecting with high school friends, traveling in familiar neighborhoods, and seeing if I could connect with like-minded people. The culture and home my father and mother had provided for me in Charlotte was spontaneous, creative, and playful and without them, I was face to face with a different Charlotte---not bad nor good, just a milieu not totally supportive of who I now am. So where is home? My geographical external journey showed me this was no longer home for me. I loved the beauty of the landscape as much as I ever had. In addition Id created a physical home of colors, comfort, and design that pleased my eye and my body along with an oasis in my backyard. What was missing?
So now we have two themes emerging from this journey home: letting go of excess and finding what home is for me. Since I have been working with my own dreams and other peoples dreams for over 15 years, I am familiar with Jungian theory and Marion Woodmans work in particular. A book of hers, Coming Home to Myself, was recommended by a therapist friend and I continued my internal journey of coming home to myself as a process of nuturing my soul and spirit and taking my home wherever I am. This definition of home has to do withtruly validating who you are, being loved and understood, and touching your soul with anothers soul. It is truly affirming the real you, not who they say you are, the socializations of a lifetime generated from a sometimes well-intentioned family and culture.
About this time another therapist friend invited me Washington, D.C. and gave me the gift of connecting me with a gentle and wise M.D. who teaches meditation fulltime. He reconnected me with the process of relaxation and internal validation of the life process. So now I was able to sit on my backporch and meditate and come to know myself in a deeper way. Robert Johnson, author of He, She and We, had often talked about getting friendly with your inner self. Interestingly enough, my external journey to Charlotte had provided an avenue to explore my own internal journey in a new way. At the same time I began to envision building a small cottage, shedding the furniture, the treasures of a lifetime and allowing myself to be as light on the outside as I was feeling on the inside. It is a process I welcome since I want my outside more aligned with my inside. In a word...coming home to myself. Some wise person once said your home is where your heart is. For me, less is truly more. The way I learned to live was with lots of trappings, the now me wants a different lifestyle that is motivated by selfcare and freedom.
What do you want? Where is your journey home taking you?
Gem Moore, Ph.D.