I wipe the sleet away from my eyes and slowly try to open them up. It's not usually a struggle for me, but this morning, they seem to be glued together with the type of crust that tends to form only when you've deprived your poor body of the sleep that it's deeply craving. It's as if your body has found a way to teach you a lesson for going so long without sleep"¦ "now I'm going to glue your eyes closed" it whispers with an evil laugh.
After losing a few eyelashes, I managed to wedge them open. My brain was still asleep but my stomach was yelling to get up. It didn't want food. It wanted coffee! Fresh and delicious home-made espresso. The thought of coffee is almost always enough to pull me out of bed. I reached for my robe and slippers and, feeling warm and snuggly, wandered into the lounge-room where I found my husband playing video games on the couch. He had become a victim of Jet Lag. I always seem to escape that nasty bugger better than my husband does.
I made us both fresh coffees and wandered into the study where I stared out of the window for an amount of time of which I have no concept. You know those moments where you get completely lost and time and space lose all of their boundaries? Yeah, it was one of those. After what seemed like sufficient window staring, an inner urge compelled me to write. As it usually goes, the urge didn't tell me what to write about, it just gave me that spark; that one that feels a bit like a scream from your soul asking for a little love and care. I'm not sure what it is for others, maybe that urge comes in the form of singing, or painting, or running, but for me"¦ it's usually writing. I love the urge, and I usually listen to it, but then I also usually find myself writing away lacking any message or direction, kind of like write now.
Don't worry though, usually "“ not always but usually "“ I manage to find that direction deep within the voice of the urge that that inspired me to write. You see, when everything is hunky dory, I don't find myself inspired to write. This can be hard, especially when I feel that a blog post is overdue and I need to write, because writing, like love or passion, cannot be forced. As soon as it is forced, its essence is lost. So it is only when I feel that urge that I know there is something worth writing about. The next step is to discover what. To do that, I dig deep into the parts of myself that are screaming for attention and I ask them "why?" Of course, they don't answer me, but that is what writing is for, right? To find their answers, or at least fragments of them, and then to interpret them in a way that I can lead, inspire or at least entertain the reader.
It's almost 8.00am on a Friday morning here and last night I returned "home" from a six week trip around the world; Sydney, Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach, Brisbane, Abhu Dhabi, Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Tossa Del Mar, Cadaques, Figureres, Girona, Collioure, Montpellier, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, Nice, Paris, Iceland, Seattle. Woah. And now I am home. Or am I?
Everything around me tells me I'm home; a wardrobe full of my clothes and shoes arranged so chaotically that I often lose underwear or sweaters for weeks at a time, a comfy couch so warn in that it subtly mimics my bum shape, mugs with faint lipstick marks and coffee stains from when I've been too lazy to rinse them right away, and of course, my husband, who will always, always represent home for me.
Yet, I would be lying to myself if I didn't admit that something feels missing. It's not an item, or a person. It's a feeling.
It's a feeling of warmth at the idea of having a six hour coffee with your mum to tell her all about your trip, and knowing that she will care about every single silly detail. It's a feeling of stomach-rumbling anticipation, awaiting a Monday night roast at your brothers, where you stuff your face with so much food that the only way home is to roll. It's a feeling of love that can only come from a big fat hug with your beautiful sister, whose tear-jerking wedding speech touched your heart in a way that only a big sis could. It's a feeling of infinite happiness from picking up your baby niece and wrapping your arms around her pudgy little body, waiting for her tender smile which breathes life into your soul and warms your heart so-much-so that you physically feel it melt. It's the feeling of life from releasing your inner child while you chase around your two year old nephews; watching them smile and giggle at the simplest of things and catching their contagious zest for life. It's a feeling of gratitude bursting through the seams of your heart while you walk along the beach with your dad, sharing memories about the day he walked you down the isle, arm in arm, and passed you on to the only other man in the world who will ever love you the way that he can. It's the feeling of catching up with old friends; sharing your memories and stories with the people that stood right there beside you on the most important day of your life; the ones that celebrated you in a way that finally made you realize that you are loved far more than you ever knew. It's the feeling of comforting familiarity while you wander aimlessly through the streets that you grew up in; and even though you look around, no longer recognizing the names of the new and trendy shops that have replaced your old-time favorites, it does not matter, because the streets still know you and you know them; it's a bond that you were born with and one that will never die.
It is the feeling of home. A feeling that I thought I knew, until I found it.
So I guess that was what was screaming at me from the inside. It was not something that was going on, but rather, it was something that was missing. How do I know that this was it? Well, you can never really know, but the feeling of calm and closure that softly overtakes when you answer whatever it was that was hurting is usually a pretty good sign. So is the message then to go home? Not at all! The message is this:
1) Travel the world; new cities and new cultures will broaden your perspective and shine a light on what you really crave from life
2) Open your heart to all kinds of people; their fresh and diverse perspectives will open your mind and clear a passage for empathy where it previously seemed blocked
3) Explore new ideas; and don't rule out the "silly" ones. Just because it might not be something you ever before considered does not make it silly. It just makes it new. And the new is what helps us grow.
4) Try new things; even those you think you can't do or won't like, for when you can and when you do, you will not only enrich that moment, but you will also "“ perhaps unknowingly "“ produce a shift in your attitude that will fundamentally change your life.
And perhaps most importantly, 5:
5) Through it all, discover the place that you call home. And don't only find it; feel it. Because when you do, you will appreciate it in a way that you previously never could.