Homecoming: an instance of returning home – Oxford Dictionary
I was away for four days last week. I wasn’t just away from my house. For the first time since the pandemic began, I was away from my husband, my dogs and cats, and whichever adult children are currently living or staying with us. Therefore, my return felt like a true homecoming.
My dogs’ joy was hilarious. Our tiny entryway exploded with wagging, happy barking, illicit jumping, figure-eighting-through-legs, all topped off by two spectating felines. It took almost five minutes for me to stand up and focus on hugging my daughter who I hadn’t seen in almost a month. Finally, I turned around to find my husband behind me patiently waiting his turn. That was a very good hug.
Developing a practice of homecoming
Perhaps because it was my first homecoming in almost two years, that sweet release of being back where I’m meant to be resonated at an even deeper level. I don’t know. But in the afterglow of that happy reunion, it occurred to me that every return home – even from a quick run to the store – holds the possibility of being a moment of homecoming.
What is involved in a sweet homecoming?
Before we can create a practice, we need to understand what we’re trying to create. So what, other than absence, is involved in a homecoming? A warm welcome. A comfortable, cozy feeling. A reassurance that no matter where you go or how you grow, you have a sturdy, loving foundation supporting you.
A warm welcome
A warm welcome doesn’t require the explosive joy of my own homecoming. (Although if you like that kind of thing, I invite you to get a dog. I can go to the mailbox and can a decently gleeful reaction when I come back in the door.) In our new practice of homecoming, we’ll pay attention to little details – the scent of your house, a cup of tea in your favorite mug, the perfect embrace of your favorite chair – that create a quiet but meaningful welcome.
Creating feelings of comfort and coziness
The expressions “feeling at home” and “make yourself at home” are good indicators of the feelings involved in the “stew” of a homecoming. They both include feeling comfortable, happy, relaxed, and confident. So, as we practice, we’ll be mindful of moments where these feelings arise and pause to savor them.
The security of a safe foundation
Finally, home (both the place and the beings who fill it) is the solid foundation that provides you the courage to take an adventure, rise to a challenge, or stretch yourself in new ways. Feeling accepted, valued, and, yes, comfortable, are (kind of ironically) the key to being open to change.
Lasting change comes from acceptance of yourself as is
This truth crops up in all kinds of spiritual practices, but I learned it most viscerally on my yoga mat. Most of us, me included, show up to yoga yearning for change – inner and outer. We begin by hammering away at whatever issues we’ve identified as problematic. In time, though, we learn that until we accept ourselves exactly as we already are, change is fleeting.
You see, determination and will power to be somehow different do not stand the test of time. Lasting change is gentler and comes from a place of love. Knowing you are loved, makes it easier to find love within. Our homecoming practice, then, will include reminding ourselves (over and over again) that we are enough, we are more than OK just the way we are, and that we don’t have to do or produce anything to be valuable.
A quick, quiet, regular practice of homecoming
The practice of homecoming, then, is quick, quiet, and quite interior. There will be little fanfare. No one will even be aware that you’re practicing. As you move through your day, be on the lookout for moments of coming home – for example, when you come downstairs in the morning, when you come in from an errand, or when you sit down to dinner after a long day of work.
Pause in these moments to savor or even create a deep sense of being welcomed. Really experience your comfort. Take a deep breath and feel a warm, welcoming hug from yourself.
You’re not just coming home, you’re coming home to yourself
These quiet moments of coming home – to a place, but more importantly, to yourself – can fill you with love, happiness, peace, and the confidence to head back out into the big, wide world to live the life you’ve been given to live.
Interested in more little ways to add a sense of spiritual meaning to your life each day? Join me in my newest Zoom course, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life. It starts on Wednesday!