What does “home” mean to you? A place? A group of people? A memory? Or is it a feeling deep inside that touches your heart and soul? All of these perhaps. Our own life experiences define what home means to each of us. I grew up in Illinois, later lived in California, and then settled in Massachusetts for more than 30 years. Massachusetts is where I met my life partner, Anne, and where we were married. I’ve always loved both coasts, but I didn’t realize how much the Northeast had become home for me until I moved away and then returned for a visit.
As Abraham Hicks say, “Your happiness is the single most important thing in your life.” This might sound selfish or like an ego-centric statement, but when you look at the meaning that supports it, it makes a lot of sense. If you’re not happy, what’s the point? Typically most are not motivated by sadness, anger or boredom. It’s hard to preserve self-joy and happiness. Certainly we can all agree that the world is a much better place with your smile and your happiness! Because joy is a state we live in and not a spur of the moment feeling, it merits some introspection right? If we’re not feeding our joy center, how can we love others optimally? How can we teach love if we don’t have a full reserve of love for ourselves? What makes you calm? Smile and daydream? What makes your lungs want to breath in deeper? What do your hands long to touch? What is your soul primed for? Clearly I can only answer those questions for myself. However I encourage you to attempt them for yourself. Why? Because your happiness makes the world a better place.
Since I am a gardener, I am outdoors a lot of the time in the spring, summer, and early fall. As I plant and take care of my flowers in the yard, I often see neighbors walking their dogs. All kinds of dogs: labs, Scotties, pit bulls, schnauzers, pugs, huskies, terriers. Some are intent on their “appointed rounds” through the neighborhood, sniffing every tree and bush and not that interested in the occasional human gardener. Others, however, are absolutely thrilled to encounter another human besides the one at the other end of their leash.
Two dogs in particular come to mind: a small white terrier named Honus and a large black lab named Maggie. One morning, as I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds in the front border, I heard a kind of whining panting sound immediately behind me. I turned, and there was Honus, straining to get to me, at the absolute end of his leash, as his person tried to keep him contained. He was still a bit of a puppy then, waggling all over, his eyes sparkling with excitement and the overriding desire to get close enough to greet me with licks and touches. Who could resist such intensely focused friendliness? I immediately fell in love with Honus. Every single time I’ve seen him after that initial encounter, he has behaved exactly the same: so excited to see me, this human crawling around on the ground at his level. He is always stretching to get to me before I hear him, turn around, and then reach out to pet and talk to him. It’s a huge gift that makes me happy all day.
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