My Dad was an Air Force officer. During the Korean War, we were stationed in El Paso, Texas. My mother taught in a Catholic School off base and I went to a nursery (today, it is called pre-school) that was located behind the school. I have a few very clear memories of that experience, like the little boy who ate dirt all the time. Big people seemed very upset by that; I just thought it was icky. We took naps which I loved and the nursery lady was very sweet to all of us. Dad did a stint in England to replace men sent to Korea and, when he returned, we moved to Roswell, New Mexico. We returned to El Paso one time and I couldn’t wait to spend a day at my nursery school. Mom arranged it and she gently kept telling me it might not be the same. Of course, I didn’t believe her. The nursery lady was so happy to see me and proud of me that I had gone to kindergarten and was such a big girl. But Mom was right; it wasn’t the same. All the children were strangers to me and I was a stranger to them. I was very sad when Mom came back to get me. Big people were right. You can’t go home again.
Over the years I have come to believe the opposite. IF – and I do mean IF – you return to a place you once called home without expectations that it will feel the same you can definitely go home again.
Yesterday I returned to visit family and friends in Nevada. It hasn’t been that long since I moved but my life has changed in almost every way. Yes, it felt very different to drive into town as a visitor and to put my suitcase in a dear friend’s guest room. It also felt wonderful as we hugged and laughed with joy to be together again. I visited the athletic club where I taught yoga for 18 years and managers’ faces lit up and they hugged me, telling me they think about me all the time. I attended two yoga classes that I used to teach and got even more hugs. Love and joy filled the room as well as my heart, mind and body.
Was everything different? Yes. I returned as a student. The new teacher has become a very precious friend to me and I resonate deeply with his teaching style. I am grateful to be on my mat under his guidance and watchful eye. I returned and sat with my former students rather than owning the front of the room. It feels different and wonderful and oh so right.
As the next few days unfold, I will be with my brother and sister-in-law to celebrate his birthday. I will spend time with women who are like sisters to me. I will visit friends I met while living in the house my family owned for almost 47 years. I was born in Ely, Nevada and Nevada will always be home to me. When I go to Northern Nevada to be with my parents’ families, I am home. When I come to Las Vegas as I have this week, I am home. When I return to California next weekend, I am home.
Expectations can be such a stumbling block to joy and happiness. I have learned to let expectations go and move through life with anticipation and curiosity instead. What will it be like? How many hugs will I give and receive? What will we laugh about and, perhaps, shed a few tears over? What never changes is the love and compassion and connections that we have allowed to form and grow for so many years so it is safe to go home again in sweet anticipation of love shared.
Being a military daughter and wife taught me that home is where I am. It is a state of mind and heart rather than a place. There is no doubt I feel that more deeply in certain locations. I resonate with the earth differently and breathe more easily, etc. But, life has shown me ever so sweetly that home is truly where the heart is.
I wish you love and hugs and joy as this day unfolds.