Always Home

Never Lose Yourself ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.”


This quote echoes a theme that seems to reverberating throughout my life right now: coming home to myself. Being rooted or grounded has nothing to do with geography. It has to do with that mysterious quality of “presence.” The opposite of presence is abandoning oneself, living in one’s head, disembodiment, living in the past or future, you get the idea. The beginning of sanity is always coming back to the here and now. Stability is about emotional steadiness, not how long you’ve lived in a given location. Plenty of mentally unstable people never live outside of their hometown.

I’ve always lived in Michigan. That is the past and the present. However, my values have shifted dramatically and I now prize portability. I want to be where I can do the most good. I will likely start out in Virginia, but am open to moving around for a few years.

I’ve heard of meditation as a coming home to oneself. I’ve also found an article that refers to the hara (a spot about two inches below the navel also known as the tan tien) as a person’s home. It reminds me of a saying: wherever you go, there you are. There is no real running away from oneself, no matter how hard one tries.

I’ve always been fabulous at running away from myself (living in my head). It is really sad how I have spent so many days obsessing about something, just to avoid boredom or homework. Obsession is ugly, but there have been times when I’ve relied on obsession’s energy to get things accomplished.

The problem is that if you spend enough time running away from yourself, you may never find yourself again or, at the very least, you no longer recognize yourself. On the one hand, you can never truly run away from yourself because you follow yourself everywhere. On the other hand, you can distance yourself from your real reactions to the point where you feel fake and have no idea what you truly think or feel anymore. I’ve been at that point where I wondered if there even was a “real” me because I felt like I responded so differently to various people. I now see myself as a shifting entity, always changing. The reason it’s important to stay with the moment is to keep track of the moving parts of myself. If I don’t pay attention, I can change fairly drastically without even being aware of it, and I only notice when my reaction is so obviously different than what it would’ve been in the past.

The idea isn’t to never change; it is to be up-to-date on who you are and want to be right now.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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