I saw this trip, which I highly anticipated, as an opportunity to unwind—to eat some wholesome meals and enjoy the freedom of sleep without disturbance from alarm clocks. Interestingly enough, I had associated hard work with very minimal downtime to be rewarded with relaxation—and to me, that reward was to take a vacation. If I hadn’t worked hard enough, it seemed to me that I wasn’t deserving of any time for personal reflection.
And there it was, I was in the office at work, crowded by my colleagues while we received an email advising that we would halt our business for our health and safety—while I simultaneously scrolled through Instagram and noticed that other companies were also making the executive decision to do the same. That very moment instilled confusion and fear because I was uncertain about whether I’d be returning back to the office the following day, or ever again.
I knew that this journey wouldn’t require me to seek assistance externally, but rather to dig deep to discover my personal needs.
While much of our world and the individuals around me began panicking and wiping the grocery store aisles of pasta and toilet paper, I was seeking ways to keep myself well—both physically and mentally. In the midst of this unforeseen chaos and developing world health crisis, I knew that this journey wouldn’t require me to seek assistance externally, but rather to dig deep to discover my personal needs—the long list of things I had unintentionally neglected and dismissed for years.
Quite ironically, I wasn’t concerned about catching the virus—and this is not to be dismissive to those who have been affected by it, but my main concern was to prevent my mind and body from depleting through a state of worry and not doing anything about it. In result of this, I often had conversations with people, whether that be friends and family, colleagues or even strangers—that the most important way to cope with this pandemic, is to pursue activities that teach us peace.
These daily patterns had left me without a choice, but to use my home as a pit-stop.
Even so, in light of this unprecedented time, my life has drastically shifted and unveiled as much more of a blessing rather than a curse, as it’s manifested as a direct extension of myself—peace. It has become a profound space that has provided me with an extensive amount of time to practice stillness—free from disorder, panic, and trauma. This stillness has gifted me the opportunity to love my home, through activities such as sleeping, praying, meditating, writing, cleaning, exploring new meals, and even laughing in abundance—stuff that I’ve never had the chance to enjoy in my own home, ever.
Over the last decade, I had been preoccupied with the gym, work, and the commute, errands, and my social life. These daily patterns had left me without a choice, but to use my home as a pit-stop—a space used entirely for rest by night. I had a non-negotiable commitment of 19.5 hours out of a 24-hour cycle, from the very moment I had exited my front door, yet that doesn’t account for the tasks that I was required to partake in to help me prepare for the following day.
And, as a result of this always-on-the-go lifestyle, I was left feeling pure exhaustion. I was deprived of self-care. In retrospect, my home was just an accommodation for my in-and-out, fast-paced, demanding way of life; where I would frantically arrive after a long day that had noticeably slipped between my fingertips, accompanied by a race between my mind and body to decompress first.
As I’ve adjusted through quarantine, I’ve optimized my time with utilizing my home in more ways, reshaping it to become a place for me to love wholeheartedly through giving myself the most important thing I could give, as intangible as it is—time. I’ve always been happy to come home, as it’s an indication that my priorities for the day have been met and completed, however, over these last few months, it’s become more of a steady occupancy of wellness, rather than a place I come to, briefly, after a long day.
Though I may not have a fixed schedule for my daily practices, I’ve made a conscious effort to allocate time for solitude several times a week.
Instead of turning to my home as a place for prayer and meditation when I’ve felt defeated, and truthfully too tired to commit to when things get bad, I’ve transformed my home to allow me to seamlessly take part in these areas of reverence on a day-to-day basis, rather than planning these activities around my day-to-day.
In return, this commitment has supported my transition to a place of ongoing gratitude to say the very least. As I’ve taken this into account, this routine should not be a state in which I’ve recognized as solely an end goal, but a state in which I immerse myself in from day-to-day. Though I may not have a fixed schedule for my daily practices, I’ve made a conscious effort to allocate time for solitude several times a week—and this has given me an overall greater appreciation for my home being more than just a shelter.
Now as our world begins to transition back to what we would deem as normality, with the introduction of the vaccine, my main objective is to actively prioritize and maintain my well-being, by continuing to use my home as my sanctuary—to enable a healthier and happier me, for me. This commitment to sustain optimal health is no longer forbidden within these four walls and only embraced as a way to recharge because I’ve given myself permission to unapologetically operate within accordance with my new core values.
When one asks where home is, quite often many will respond with its where the heart is. But, as our lives become controlled again by the perpetual work cycle, we should not lose sight of investing in both our hearts and home, and because they’re synonymous—it’s proof that we can’t live without either one.
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