The word “home” is strong, magical and filled with the power to invoke deep sensations. It’s an English word which is virtually impossible to translate into other tongues. No translation catches the associations, the mixture of memory and longing, the sense of security and the freedom from wariness that cling to the word.
There’s no universal definition for home because it’s more of a concept or a state of mind that reflects belonging, safety and comfort than a place. How we define home is highly personal, however, it’s usually a blend of time and place, smells and weather. The crispness of winter, rustling autumn leaves, the aroma of freshly baked cookies can awaken the memories imbedded in our cells. T.S. Eliot said, “Home is where one starts from.”
Lyrics, poetry, quotes and proverbs are replete with themes of home and the longing to return. The term nostalgia—meaning originally the pain of longing for home—came from the ancient Greek algos, pain; and nostos, the voyage home. A shelter from storms—a place where it feels right to walk around without shoes—the safe place to go and not be questioned, is how home has been described. The mourning for a lost home and efforts both real and symbolic to return, are universal in the human experience. Aptly put by Bill Cosby, “Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that allow their children to come back home.”
A holistic perspective embraces the home that lies within and the search for the home of the soul. Awareness and presence become our dwelling place. And the breath is the anchor that will always bring us back home. The home of the soul is filled with beauty that leads the heart, and in the words of Kahlil Gibran, it holds “remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind.”