Schneckenhaus*

The other day, Facebook came up with one of those “Your Memories on Facebook” posts for me. 

Jim, tolerating what is probably a ribbon from an anniversary gift, 2012. 

Jim, tolerating what is probably a ribbon from an anniversary gift, 2012. 

This photograph of my handsome dog Jim was taken in our living room in Germany, five years ago as of last week. Just a few months after this photo was taken, we packed up our household and moved from Germany to San Diego. We moved from San Diego to Hawaii in the spring of 2014, and from Hawaii to Virginia early in 2016. That’s a whole lot of change in quite a bit less than five years. And each of these moves was a “non-driver”—as in, everything and everyone had to spend time on a ship or in a plane. Even cars. 

Moving this frequently means I've spent a lot of time considering what "home" is. What makes something home? Is it a town, a state, or a country? A building? A group of people? A set of circumstances? Is it the presence of a combination of these things, or of some element like comfort, belonging, or love? Or is it proximity to your belongings? Is it really "where the heart is", or where the dog is, or wherever you're with your family?

Because I've spent so much of my life either on the road or living somewhere that I saw as temporary, I've given this a lot of thought. A smart person recently suggested that I was a bit like a snail, in that I carry my home with me on my back. I initially thought she meant that I'm mobile, and ready to pull up stakes at the drop of a hat. But, having reflected on it a bit, I now think that she may have also meant that all I the "home" I need is already part of me; that home is something I carry from place to place, complete as it is, and ready put under whatever roof, in whatever location, I decide. 

Home is a concept I'd like to explore with my clients. It's so full of possibilities, and the meaning of home changes so much as life progresses. Given the grounding and comfort it can afford us, it sure seems like something that, ideally, we'd do well to internalize. We could all be snails. 

So, what does home mean for you? How can you create home within yourself? What would your life look like if you were all you needed to be home? 

* Schneckenhaus means snail shell in English (literally "snail house").