Lately when asked where home is, I generally respond “Everywhere and nowhere.” With my nomadic lifestyle this has rung true, but being from “nowhere” hasn’t felt fully spot-on. Just last week a friend showed me how the word nowhere is actually two words: Now Here. This instantly touched something deep inside.
In early October I stored my Airstream Trailer in California and set off with a backpack for four months of exploring Europe and the Eastern US. Just before setting out a friend asked me “Are you excited?” I pleasantly wasn’t excited. I was looking forward to exploring, but the upcoming journey felt quite ordinary. This feeling caught my attention.
In the following weeks I felt quite at home everywhere: Florida, Boston, New Hampshire, Ireland, London, small towns in the English countryside, and now Scotland. I didn’t feel like a stranger visiting, instead a local resident of each place. It was a feeling of ordinariness, but so profound at the same time. The best I can describe the feeling is that I am living a perpetual vacation but it feels quite normal. Along the journey I realized the feeling is a gift that has come from presence… of being NowHere.
NowHere: Being Present to the Extraordinary Ordinary
While walking through a small countryside town in Ireland, for the first time it really hit me that I completely felt at home in a place I had never been before. Here’s what was interesting: when I was fully in the present moment with my new neighbors and friends it was magical. Although, there were occasions when it didn’t feel magical at all, and in those times I was usually stuck in a rut of thinking and not being present at all.
Could it be that simple? All we need is presence and an uncluttered mind to feel at home anywhere? Then I remembered the deep connections I had with people in Brazil that hardly spoke any English. We were very present and experienced a profound understanding and caring without a common language. There seemed to be a common link.
The feeling of being home anywhere was surprising and at the same time made perfect sense. “Home” is a construct. Being a “stranger” is a construct. These ideas are made up and yet feel so real. Feeling “at home” isn’t due to the location we are in; the feeling of “home” is a space we naturally find ourselves in when we are present and don’t have tons of thinking going on in our heads. There are no strangers… there are just many friends in the world we haven’t met yet. Connection to all people and places is 100% natural when we get our thinking out of the way.
Needing to Change
So many of us think if our life sucks we need to change what we are doing, where we live, or who we associate with. How simple might it be if we all realized we can be fulfilled anywhere doing anything? It’s not the world that makes us feel a certain way. It’s our perceptions that create our experiences. This realization alone will then change our entire experience of the world.
This summer I was dog sitting for friends and feeling a bit lonely. While watching the pups play, smile, and have a grand time it was obvious they weren’t stuck in a rut. They were having the time of their lives! They were extremely happy despite the fact that their entire family had left them. My adopted pups weren’t worried if they would ever see their family again, they were as happy as could be with what was going on right in front of them. This is because dogs live in the present and don’t have much on their minds. They can get in a squirmish with another dog or scolded one minute and be prancing around chasing a ball the next. What might happen if we lived every moment like that?
Where our Experiences Come From
The philosopher Sydney Banks said (paraphrased) that if you are feeling unhappy but know that your feelings and experiences aren’t coming from your situation and environment, you are mentally healthy. If you are loving life and extremely happy, but think your feelings and experiences are due to your situation and environment, you aren’t mentally healthy.
If it is true that we can feel at home anywhere and we can connect with anyone, then it must be true that we can feel happy and full of love anywhere. It must also be true that we can be sad and lonely anywhere too. Reason being: Our situation and environment cannot dictate our feelings and experiences. If situations dictated feelings puppies wouldn’t be happy and playing when their entire family left them with a “stranger.” If our environment dictated our feelings on a sunny day everyone would be full of joy and love and on rainy days we’d all be on suicide watch. This just isn’t how life works. What great news!
Travel and Feeling at Home Everywhere and NowWhere
I used to think how close I felt to someone had everything to do with our relationship. Now I see that it is possible that I can feel close to anyone. This connection or closeness has nothing to do with the person, the situation, or the physical distance between us. The more present we are and the less thinking (worried, anxious, or agitated thoughts) we have running through our brains, the more connection and closeness we feel. This is true about everything: our work, our living situation, our location on the planet, our relationships…. Everything. When we really grasp that wellbeing is in the present moment, it is simple to see that home is always within us: We are always at home everywhere and nowhere.
It is simpler than we all think… literally. We are living in the midst of a huge misunderstanding- all of us are. I do it too! We think our way out of feeling at “home.” We are all perfect and we are all sitting right in the middle of connection, love, and feeling “at home” everywhere.
Consider this example: The only reason someone has stage fright is because they have a lot of thinking about standing in front of a group while having a conversation. If they stood up with no thoughts about themselves and purely spoke to their audience, chances are they would feel right at home. The best news is there is nothing you must do to change how you feel. Feeling at home will happen more and more as your thinking quiets down and more time is spent being here, in the present: NowHere
If you really knew that you could feel completely at home and totally come alive anywhere doing anything with anyone; AND you knew this was true for every single person on the planet… how might that change what you are up to in the world?
Featured Coddiwompler: Randy Kostelansky
Randy Coddiwompled his way from an average life in south Florida working as a firefighter to being one of the top up and coming doctors in Boston. In just two years he went from a single dad and student to happily married, running a thriving wellness center, and lecturing to doctors at Harvard. He truly UNpredicted his journey and the unimaginable happened. Check out his story!
And here is more about Randy’s journey. For a gorgeous story about what is possible when we love deeply, trust, and see beyond what is skin deep click here: Love is Love
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