A Sense of Place

A Sense of Place

Are you searching for the perfect place to call home?  Do you feel like you are where you belong?

I think there is a good reason that Dorothy clicks her shiny red heels in The Wizard of Oz and repeats:  “There is no place like home” over and over to transport her back to Kansas, where she feels safe again.  Perhaps it is the same reason that one of my clients told me today she feels “like she belongs” after moving to another city.  Another told me she was “in her element”, while a business executive told me they were “back home again”.

Being in the “right place at the right time” grounds us, roots our feet on terra firma and allows us a feeling of safe outreach.  It must be a concept integral to our human nature or why else would it be the subject of so many movies and books?

So what happens when someone “feels at home” and when someone else does not?  What difference does it make?  Well, there was a time in my life when I lived in a geographically beautiful and stunning landscape yet felt very far away from my “true home”.  Someone suggested that I “bloom where I was planted” so I tried really hard.

I adapted and made adjustments to my new surroundings yet I never felt that “at home” feeling.  Mistakenly, I thought the feeling would emanate literally from living in the “right house”.  I moved several times, trying on different houses as if they were dresses.  While some of them felt better than others, none of them felt quite like “home” and I never felt emotionally rooted in any of them.

So after getting tired of moving and not finding “home” I became interested in Carl Jung’s ideas about culture and geography and its affect on our psyches.  I read about his travels to what he experienced as “exotic” places (in his book “Memories, Dreams and Reflections”) and how they stirred different emotions in his unconscious.  During this time I also attended a lecture by Jungian Analyst James Hollis at Furman University in Greenville, SC.  Mr. Hollis was reflecting on the definition of “home” and what it truly meant to him.

I concluded that “home” is truly a place within ourselves, not without ourselves.  The good news is that we can go there anytime.  The not so great news is that it is often hard to get there because we forgot what road to take.

Ironically by making what I consider to be a “big move” cross country, from North Carolina to Missouri, I have been able to reconnect with a place in my soul I call “home”.  It turns out it was not so much about the geographic change, but the inner change process this move jump-started inside me that made the difference.  Although I am not finished with the process by any means, I am far enough along that I finally feel “home” in the house I live in now.

What do you think you need to do (or who do you need to become) to feel at home?