in: Mindful Moment

Mindful Moment #52 – Wherever You Are

Take a deep breath
Wherever You Are
Have you ever been posed with a question that kept you thinking about it, long after your initial answer was offered? I was asked by a young 20-something, “How do you deal with the unsettled feeling of leaving home?” They were truly upset at the prospect of leaving home with the task of making a new home. “I don’t want to do that because I know I’m going to fail. THIS is home. Nothing I make is going to be THIS.” (Just a disclaimer, this is not my child or someone I know well.)
Part of me wants to encourage that young person and explain that the transition from child to adult includes getting over this unsettled feeling—it’s normal on some level, but it will get better. My cheer-up speech goes something like, “You’ll find a place to live and make it your own version of home. You’ve got it in you to overcome that feeling, just like so many other growing pains. It will be fine! You’ll be fine, dear.” But another part of me just wants to nod and say, “I know.”
When I was a 20-something college kid, I very clearly remember spending many hours cross-stitching a depiction of a quilt similar to one of my mom’s. The words I stitched across the top were, “Wherever you are, there is my home.” I framed it and gave it to Mom as a gift for her birthday. It made her cry, which made me cry. We are big criers in my family. At the same time in my life, though, I was not willing to move back to the house my parents lived in. I enjoyed having my own space, my own stuff, and freedom from curfew expectations and other house rules. I was busily making plans to get married and move away. I think the cross-stitched gift was kind of an acknowledgement of how important she was and would always be to me, even as I was shifting into adulthood.
In my mind, the whole question soon morphed into something more elemental. WHAT is home? Is it a person or group of people? Is it being in their presence? Is it a physical place like a house or neighborhood or town or a general latitude and longitude? Or is it really just a feeling that can be conjured up if you tap into memories the right way?
I spent many hours considering things that feel like home to me and the list became expansive. It’s the way the light looks in the evening as the sun sets. It’s the way the water tastes. It’s a Creedence Clearwater Revival song on the radio. It’s the way my first car smelled like Big Red gum and cheese crackers. It’s my grandmother’s chicken spaghetti recipe. It’s my other grandmother’s sugar cookies. If I wear my mom’s old coat and spray some Giorgio perfume, it’s like she’s with me. Old Spice and Final Net and mulberry potpourri and Coast soap smells like home. My dogs’ stinky beds, my kid’s hair after a bath, and lemon Pledge—all smell like some version of my home. Which is to say, I don’t have just one “home” anymore, making the concept even more expansive and nuanced at the same time.
In all of this pondering about “home,” I found myself wanting to create a meditation in which you get to go home again. I don’t know if it will work, but surely there is some slice of home we can visit for a moment.
Sit down, close your eyes, and soften your face. Drop your shoulders, settle your hips, and take a deep breath. Three more deep breaths and relax.
Now I want you to focus on your five senses and ask yourself:
What does home look like? How does it change with the seasons? What colors stand out the most?
What does home smell like? This can be something you associate with a person or a place, indoors or outdoors. Is it food or products? Is it a good smell or a funky one?
What does home sound like? Is there a particular song or band that comes to mind? Can you hear the sounds of nature there, or the bustle of a city?
What does home feel like? This can include any sensations you feel with your body— from the chill in the air when the dew falls at night, to how you sink into that one couch, or the smoothness of the handrail leading up the stairs.
What does home taste like? Remember those flavors and favorite recipes. Don’t forget the drinks, the toothpaste, or that weird thing you liked to lick when you were a kid.
With all of these sensory imaginings and memories fresh in your mind, I want you to envision being there again. Who is with you? What would you like to do there? What would you like to say? Go ahead and imagine doing and saying those things. Let yourself step back home.
Continue breathing and take as long as you like at this version of home you have conjured. If there is anything you’d like to relive, rehash, or relish, please allow yourself to do that. The goal for this exercise is to find a bit of peace back at “home.”
When you are ready to return to the present, be sure to say a meaningful goodbye.
Now that you are back in the present, is there anything you’d like to recreate in your current home? If you can whip up a recipe or buy something that smells like home, maybe it will help you keep this connection. If you’d like to create something special for the new home you have built for yourself, I encourage you to do that with intention and peace in mind. I personally am making that chicken spaghetti and tracking down a new bottle of Giorgio.
As always, friends,


We’re feeling inspired by these incredible and thought provoking pieces:

  1. Brain Imaging Breakthrough: 64 Million Times SharperMRI technology from Duke-led effort reveals the entire mouse brain in the highest resolution. Researchers from multiple universities have made a breakthrough in MRI technology, capturing the sharpest images ever of a mouse brain. 
  2. Gray hair will soon be a thing of the pastA groundbreaking study has shed new light on the causes of gray hair. It also focuses on the unique properties of stem cells found in hair follicles. 
  3. How preschoolers process possibilitiesResearchers uncover pattern in developmental psychology of 3-year-olds: a struggle to weigh competing options.

That’s all for today, y’all – remember, taking time to focus on you is an act of love.

We hope you found this helpful – don’t hesitate to reply with any feedback on how we can improve future Mindful Moments! We can’t wait to hear from you.


See you next time! 


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