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Creating “Home”

August 13, 2013


Several years ago my family moved into what I considered our “dream home”; it felt like “love at first site” when I first walked through the door. Over the years trees were planted, gardens grew, memories were created.
Life circumstances changed, my life took a new direction and the house was sold to a new young family.
Several months after the move I went back, to retrieve some mail. I wasn’t sure how I would be affected. They had painted over all our beautifully colored walls, threw rugs over the lovely floors, made it their own. However, I noted that the trees were doing well, the gardens were well tended.
As I drove home, I was mindful of the fact that I no longer had a connection to this house, but I was not sad, and I did not have regrets that this house was no longer our home.
Last month I wrote here about creating family, and I suggested that we have the choice, each and every day, to include those in our lives that are positive, uplifting and supportive, and to gratefully include them as “family”. Today I suggest that we can also mindfully create “home”, where ever we happen to reside.
As behavioral health support providers through Vista Hill SmartCare, we encounter people every day who are stressed by life changes: marriage and divorce, births and deaths, loss of work and financial means, and others. All of these life events can affect our living situations and/or environments. We are by nature creatures of “sameness” and are naturally affected by change. Change can be frightening and leaves us feeling that we are not in control.
But as we learn and grow with change, we can obtain a sense of mastery and control by accepting change and moving forward with it. By being present and mindful of our current situation, as opposed to regretting what’s lost, or fearing what is to come, we can be comforted and perhaps even empowered.
“Home” can mean something different to each of us. On one extreme are nomads, who move from one place to another, to meet the needs of their livestock or their own subsistence. Some people, due to mental illness or financial misfortune, call the streets their home. On the other extreme are those who believe they won’t be content until they have the biggest and most elaborate of dwellings, filled with the finest of furnishings.
But when it comes to creating “home”, Dr. Danielle Dowling has some wonderful suggestions to invite comfort, warmth and gratitude into our home environment, including such simple things as making your bed each morning, clearing out the clutter, lighting candles, and surrounding yourself with things that evoke positive memories. My additional suggestion is to invite those that are your “family” to your home often: those that support and encourage you and bring you joy.

Pamela Sachs Bryson, LCSW

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