Home is where the ______ is.

Last week I traded the back-and-forth Seattle springtime weather for constant sun and 72 — I went back to San Diego. The trip was personal. I spent time with some of my very best friends, visited my old animals and ex-husband, and reconnected with people to whom I thought my ties were severed. It was also business. I had quality time and in-person sessions with clients, had brain-storming lunches and trades with colleagues and took yoga classes from old yoga students for more inspiration. As I flew away from San Diego, the plane bouncing around in the windy atmosphere, a funny feeling came over me. It was nostalgia, it was heartache, it was love and it was comfort all wrapped up into one. It had me thinking, where is home?

Home is where the what is exactly?

I’ve always been one to put down roots somewhere. I have friends who live a nomadic lifestyle, flitting from one place to the next and meeting hundreds and thousands of people. It sounds glorious, but it is not for me. I like having my space, my nest, my sanctuary to retreat to. And, let’s be honest, my closet, my pantry of treats and my medicinal garden all need to be close by for me to feel safe. But as I wandered into San Diego — a physical location that I have not felt very at home in — I felt at home. What was the difference?

You may have seen my Facebook post a few days ago asking this question to all my friends. A couple people responded with “love,” “compassion,” or “acceptance.” Yes, yes and yes! I resonated so much with these replies because I realized that was what was drawing me back to a place I so firmly walked away from. It was love. It was people greeting me right where I’m at. It was the compassion of good friends and the acceptance I had by those I chose to spend my time with.

And when I flew away through choppy air and landed in a white, queazy, sweaty (and, so my boyfriend says, stinky) panic, it was to come back to another place where I have found love and compassion and acceptance. And so it was as if I left one home for another, jet-setting to covens of touchy-feely goodness.

But just a few years ago, traveling didn’t feel like this. I would go away and be so happy, and come home and feel such sadness. As I sit and contemplate the reasons why, I am reminded of a couple of conversations I’ve had just recently. The first was during a class that I taught last night in which I was describing, briefly, the energy of the second chakra. I’ve often seen that the second chakra contains the very essence of who we are, who we are meant to be in our very highest form. The second chakra is all about creativity and birth, and thus one of the main goals of second chakra work is that we have the opportunity to birth ourselves. We come into the world perfect, and we are beaten down by the forces around us — messages that we’re not good enough, that we “should” be this and that. But if we can see past all of that, we can birth ourselves anew, and when we do this, I believe we fall into the happiness that is our birthright.

I was talking to a friend today and she said, “I realized I need to think of this life as my journey and ask how things are serving me, not how I’m serving them — which applies to institutions, jobs and the like (not people). We have both been fighting our whole lives to be who we are. But it doesn’t have to be a fight. We just get to be who we are.” I agreed with her, saying, “Yes! Because this is all we get. This is it.”  Whether or not there are past lives and reincarnation, there is no “do-over” of this life.

Looking back over the past four years, I see how I’ve moved through struggle and into happiness. Moving through struggle was critical to forming who I am now. Just as in a birth, we first must grow and develop, then make our way down the birth canal, painfully taking our first breaths of air, cold and naked and afraid. So to when we rebirth ourself we have time in the proverbial incubator when things start to shift and change, then we make our way down a new path, not really knowing what’s at the end. We often spend a period of time freaking out when we get there, screaming, feeling cold and alone. But then we’re embraced by the life that’s been waiting for us all along. And we can sink into that embrace of happiness and continue to choose it.

Home is where the love is because I choose love. I choose to be around people I love and who love me back. I choose to do work that I love. I choose to live a life that embraces me and loves me back. Sure, there are hard times. Of course there is struggle. But always, always there is love.

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