As I reflect on 2016, one of the great things about our six weeks of travel last Fall was teaching my kids how to feel settled and safe emotionally, in their hearts, when we're unsettled physically. How to live from a suitcase. How to pack and unpack every day. How to make each space we slept in feel safe and homey. How to value what we have. How to play with and enjoy each other. How to notice similarities and differences in all the settings.
This year we've created more unsettledness in our physical surroundings. We're moving an hour away in stages and have things scattered in boxes here and there. We left our home of 8 years last month with clothes, books and things we cared most about. I brought the basics for the smaller rental house and the extra stuff won't follow us for awhile, perhaps not ever. My husband is transitioning more slowly, living at our previous home and readying it for resale. We're building a house a few minutes away from the rental, questioning how our family functions and what structures would support us best.
There's discomfort in the unsettledness, the not-knowing and all the newness. A month ago, making a fire in a woodstove was completely foreign to me. Fire burns stuff automatically, right? I thought. How hard could it be??? I'll tell you how hard--we froze our patooties off the first week! The woodstove in our rental is the primary source of heat. And I like heat. After much practice, some advice from friends and Youtube and some hands-on lessons with my husband, I'm a much better fire builder. Now the time I spend making a fire is like a meditation inviting awareness.
We have at least two more moves ahead of us this year. One to another temporary space, hopefully on our property, and one to the home we're building. Yet right now we feel settled at this home, in this space. The rental is cozy and filled with heart. The move feels right. Crazy, but right. Our new community reflects our values and we've benefited from the love and support of friends in the transition.
We feel settled in our hearts.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "home" as "the social unit of a family living together" and "a familiar or usual setting". I believe our family is enhancing our social unit by teaching the spirit of "home", the settled, safe feeling that is a family living together and caring for each other in any setting, familiar or otherwise.