Sunday, October 29, 2006

feeling like "home"

This post is an interruption of my cleaning "how to's"... (so sorry - I know you were probably on the edge of your seat, eager to learn more about the joys of cleaning) ...I just returned home from a day at my parents' house where, until a few months ago, I used to live.

It's true what they say: You can never go home again.

(Especially when they repaint your room.)

But for me, it brings up a more important question: How do we define "home" for ourselves?

Is home a place where we feel comfortable? Where we feel we belong? Is it just the place we're used to?

I thought it was important to ask these questions, because whether you're creating a welcoming space for clients (the subject of my last several posts), or whether you're organizing your own space to better suit your life, "home" is often the indefinable quality that we're seeking (and more often than not, not finding).

Home, for me, is the place where I'm at ease. It's the place where my needs for comfort are met.

(That includes warmth - in temperature, and in colours. My parents' house is very chilly - they care about the environment, and keep the thermostat set quite low to conserve energy. I froze there this weekend. The apartment building where I live is quite warm - the rent's all-inclusive, and I haven't even needed to turn on the steam radiator in my suite, things are so toasty. I suppose I should be bothered by the energy waste. But I crave warmth... this is "home" to me...)

Home is also the place where all my stuff is. And where I can access my stuff freely and easily.

Home is where I can eat the food I want to eat. (I'm a high-maintenance vegetarian with several food sensitivities.)

Home is where I can look at the things that give me pleasure (my collection of natural baskets, my books, my artwork).

Home is where I can organize things to suit my own needs. The bed is important. The bathtub is important. The kitchen sink is important. My work tables are important. Storage is beyond important (I live in a bachelor)...

One of my favorite exercises is described in Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, where she suggests one keep a scrapbook of favorite images culled from old magazines. Collecting the images (in this case, of homes) that inspire you and soothe you can be the beginning of discovering the "home" of your dreams.

I've spent a lot of time living in other people's homes: my parents', my employers' (I was a live-in nanny/housekeeper for several years)... I love having a space of my own - a space I can devote to fulfilling my own needs for comfort and joy. Never forget that you have choices when you are creating your home. If your home is not a "home," figure out why...

(then change it to reflect the needs of your soul...)

copyright 2006, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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