“At any moment you have a choice that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” ~ Thich Nhât Hânh
I found my way home. It took 36 years, but I made it.
I found home in the place that I had been avoiding for all this time.
Home was in my heart. In my soul.
I was lost for so long.
I roamed, I wandered, I travelled, I ran, I explored.
I drove, I rode, I hitchhiked, I swam, I flew, I crawled, I walked.
I laughed, I cried, I yelled, I screamed, I avoided, I fought, I kicked, I was dragged.
Recently my path has taken me back where it all began. I have not called New Jersey “home” since 2006.
I moved to Florida then, and did not look back.
I never looked back.
I was well into my search by then, always convinced, and always looking for my next destination—the one that would fill the void and feel like home.
I didn’t know home had to come from inside, that the change and contentment must first come from within before I would feel home anywhere.
I could call places home, but truly feeling it is a whole other story.
For a brief moment in 2012 I felt a shiver of home. My path took me to Mammoth Lakes, CA. One of the most beautiful places in the world, Mammoth is a mecca for outdoor activities like snowboarding, hiking, camping, fishing, yoga and mountain biking. The dramatic glacier carved granite peaks and pristine alpine lakes sit upon the high desert, surrounded by volcanically heated hot springs and breathtaking vistas at every turn.
I could go on and on describing the beauty of the place. The thing is, none of that was what allowed me to briefly touch the feeling of being home. It was instead a feeling that came from inside. A feeling of joy and contentment.
I didn’t realize it was related to me. I still didn’t know that I was responsible for my own happiness.
Briefly I was able to empty myself of myself and fill up with the beauty of nature—a very powerful spiritual tool in my opinion. Sadly, without invoking any other practices or spiritual principles to live by, my disgruntled self crept back in. We can’t escape ourselves. Unhappiness and irritation flared. Alcohol and drugs began making regular appearances in my days. Money was my obsession. Anything outside of me.
Naturally, as the runners will guess, I was off again. Because of course, it couldn’t be my fault. I blamed everyone and everything around me. It’s just easier that way.
Later I learned that we do that in order to avoid taking responsibility—because once we admit it is our own fault then we must acknowledge that we must do something about it.
It took a beating for me to come to this realization.
I was destroyed emotionally and physically before I crawled my way to one more destination. I found myself on the outskirts of Los Angeles, ironically, which I call the city of broken dreams.
I was homeless, figuratively and literally. I had no idea what was going to happen to me or what I was going to do. I just knew something had to give, and that I would listen to anything anyone told me to do if there was a chance I could finally find relief from myself. I was tired. I prayed for a new way of life.
God answered, and I was shown a practice of meditation, yoga, service and spiritual principles to live by. I have found a path home. I have found a path to my heart—to my soul.
Since that day my travels have taken me further and wider than I could have imagined. But now they are travels. Adventures.
With each adventure I learn more about the world and myself.
Recently I returned to many places that I once tried to make my home. As a completely different person, I was thrilled to see the beautiful people and settings I had ran from over and over again. Each place I returned to, felt a little bit like home. Each place had it’s own special draw and energy to it.
I was blessed to visit some brand new places. And each one of those held a special allure and energy. They felt like home too.
I asked myself, “if I had to pick one place to stay right now, where would it be?” And I realized that I would happily live anywhere, because I have found my true home—within myself and within the heart of my dearest one. I have found home in the eyes and hearts of all of the beautiful souls of the world.
The world and society have many things that distract us, that knock us off center. When we are truly centered in our hearts we begin to feel unshakeable. We lose the need for outside attachments—we stop seeking outside for what we have within. We accept impermanence. We accept ourselves as we are in any given moment, thus accepting those around us. We no longer need to cling to identities and opinions, to dualistic ways of thinking and labeling to be wrong or right. We stop judging.
In other words, we stop playing God.
(I use God because it is the best word we have to convey what I am trying to convey. Personally God doesn’t do my idea of the powers that be any justice.)
When we find ourselves in the chaos, and we pick ourselves up with the help of others, and we allow someone else to guide us and show us the way—we begin to find our way. Then we get to help someone else come home.
We get to laugh with each other and cry with each other.
That is how we find our way home.
See you there—we are waiting with open arms.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wiki Commons