024 | The meaning of home
The homes we come to and the homes we carry.
Lately, I’ve been basking in a sense of enthusiasm to re-familiarize myself with the familiar, which is undoubtedly the essence of this newsletter. As 2022 looms over the horizon, a drive for new beginnings emerges through the cracks of 2021.
إن شاء الله
In November, I spoke at an engagement through the American Institue of Graphic Arts and had the opportunity to design a print to accompany my presentation.
The print encapsulates the spirit of The Chicago Graphic Design Club.
Kimono, My House
When life becomes unbearably busy, the reference point that I use to measure a sense of normalcy is the number of times I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In November, most weekdays, commitment after commitment prevented me from training until finally, on a cold Friday, my evening was wide open. I went to class and as it concluded, I felt I had returned home — to a familiar place with familiar people.
Driving home, a sense of serenity and accomplishment followed. I felt me again.
And as I drove down First Avenue, I contemplated the meaning of home. Quickly, a generic list of attributes came to mind — a place of rest, a refuge, a familiar place, etc. I asked my friends “What does home mean to you?”.
This is what they said
A place that knows and understands you ••••• My rules ••••• Not a place, but a feeling of belonging ••••• Familiarity, comfort, origin, consistency ••••• A place of refuge ••••• A bowl of my mom’s soup with a blanket on the couch ••••• The destination ••••• Home is an emotional attachment to a place — usually a positive one ••••• Where love is ••••• Comfort ••••• A safe place where you can lay down, close your eyes, and breathe ••••• Where the heart is ••••• Home is where you can let your guard down and be 100% yourself without fear of judgment — it is also where the comfiest bed is and where the best snacks are ••••• Freedom, peaceful space, and safety — I feel it on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the forest, in libraries, zendos, and where I sleep
As I think about home, the thought that emerges is home representing familiarity that exists despite awareness, which is why I believe defining home seems to be a subjective pursuit. Its non-dualistic nature allows it to evoke both pleasant or poignant sensations. Yet, home is a multi-dimensional web of noise ingrained in time that fluctuates and evolves, at least it appears so through our conceptual minds.
The conceptual home however isn’t merely a stationary position but a state or a trail that follows and encompasses a spectrum of joys, sorrows, and other things. It is constructed of traces of the past that prescribe the lens through which we steer through the world.
What is fascinating about the human experience is the ability to default to patterns influenced by perceptions of reality — often hindering our individual and collective growth in exchange for attachment to viewpoints or perspectives.
Looking at what my friends consider home, it’s evident that a home is a place to return to — a mindset or literal environment. But this home is conditionally extrinsic and its origination is dependent on outside forces coming and going.
The home I find the most fascinating is the intrinsic home that dwells within despite conditional locations and proximities. It’s the home carried — the spark that unleashes a slew of creativity, joy, or serenity. The extrinsic is just a fraction of the landscape.
That evening as I left my school, the feeling of satisfaction that followed, I like to think, was simply a space nudging me to tap into the intrinsic. In our culture of speed, productivity, and competitiveness, it’s effortlessly easy to forget what it means to be home. Home can appear thousands of miles away as a result of disembodiment.
In contrast, to be embodied is to have awareness of our place and residence. Being home is the reminder of the things that matter and the values cherished — it’s the spaciousness that is calibrating and nourishing. Home is where we make it — we carry it with us and we know we are home when we open up and recognize the beauty in every waking moment that unfolds before us unconditionally.
Home is the foundation on which we stand and the totality of life.
The crowded bus.
Beginner’s Mind | A Playlist
If you follow the Beginner’s Mind playlist below on Spotify, every issue, it’ll be updated with new music. I’ve also added the titles of the songs below.
Had It All The Time Gloria Ann Taylor
Edgy Smiles Michael Rother, Vittoria Maccabruni
I’ve Got To Get A Message To You Bee Gees
Baby Can I Hold You Tracy Chapman
Everyday Is Like Sunday The Pretenders
Out In The Streets Blondie
Sweet Jane Cowboy Junkies
Home Is Where The Hatred Is Anita Lane
Thank God It’s Not Christmas Sparks