Coming Home

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malasana

by Jessica Abelson

For most of my life I believed that home was a stable concept: something unchangeable, forever the same. But as I've gotten older, I've been forced to learn that this isn't the case.

My entire childhood played out in one home. It was the brown house with the white shutters and the red door. It was the one with the rope swing and the basketball net where I learned to shoot hoops. It's where I said my first words and where so many years later I stepped out the door primped for prom. I loved that home.

I can even remember when my parents remodeled their bedroom and needed to tear down a wall. I was five and the night before construction started, I lay on the floor next to the wall and said goodbye.

To me my family home wasn't just a house, but a living, breathing organism that nurtured my childhood and my life.

When my sister and I went off to college, my parents decided to move. I was devastated. Tears? Yes. Tantrums? Guilty. If this place did not exist in my life, how would I go "home"?

But being in college in Boston, my idea of home had already changed. When discussing flights to California for Christmas with my mother, we both talked of "home," – I referring to school, and she referring to California. After a bit of confusion, we realized the miscommunication and laughed a bit, both of use becoming aware of the shift that was occurring.

My parents finally made the move right before my graduation. As I came back to California, I wondered what this new place would be like. Could it nurture my family like my other house had done? I was about to leave my temporary "home" in Boston only to come back to a new "home" that I'd never seen. I craved a stable place like I'd known before; I craved consistency.

During this transitional time is when my yoga practice began to take off. I had dabbled here and there but never made my practice consistent. With a growing devotion to yoga, the simple act of unrolling my mat began to nurture me.

Instead of learning to walk or write the alphabet, I am now growing in different ways. On the mat is where I stretch and grow both mentally and physically. It is where I challenge myself and accept the outcome, good or bad.

I used to need a concrete image of home—a house or a place that was always the same. But what I've found in my yoga practice is a consistency within myself that grounds me, making me feel, quite simply, at home.

It may not be large and glamorous, but the mat has become my home. It is my grip when I need to hold on, my cushion when I need to rest, and the place where I can grow into my truest Self. This home is stable because it is inside me, and it is something that no "for sale" sign can ever take away.

Jessica Abelson is the Web Editorial Assistant at Yoga Journal.