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vi. not at home

Last week in one of my classes at school, our teacher asked us how we would work with a potential sixteen-year-old singer coming to us for a voice lesson with the wish to sing "Listen" by Beyoncé. (Here’s a video so you can give it a hear before continuing to read if you'd like):

This catchy and emotional song played through my mind over the following days. This morning, I listened to it again while in the shower. Beyoncé sang the lyrics: "I am alone at a crossroads; I’m not at home in my own home“ while I was squeegeeing the shower door. The power of the words and her soulful singing moved me deeply and tears began to flow. 

Many of us have had the experience of feeling far from home in some way. 

It could be as simple as going on vacation and missing one’s pet or craving one’s own bed after being gone for a week or something a bit more long-term, like moving out on one’s own for the first time.

Relocating to another country and the process of adjusting to life in Germany left me feeling, at first, very far from home. After a certain point of living here, I began to feel homeless in a sense: I no longer lived in or identified with the USA in the same way that I once did; yet, Germany was not exactly home either.

At a certain point of having lived abroad for a while, I began to experience, sometimes, the feeling that I had two homes: old familiarities to enjoy when visiting the USA and new experiences unique to my living in Germany that enriched my life and made it more beautiful. 

Experiencing this filled me with a type of gratitude that made the aforementioned homelessness feel like a manageable price to pay for the beautiful reward.

Since that point, I have experienced both feelings of homelessness and deep belonging in equal measures.

When I listened to Beyoncé sing this morning in the shower, it wasn’t the literal, traditional definition of the word "home" that resonated deeply within me, but, rather, a different one: 

the home that is my own body. 

Physical location aside, these occasions on which I have experienced the feeling of being most connected to my own body have led me to the deepest feeling of "being at home“. The opposite also seems to be true: times of disconnection from my body have led me to feel lost, distressed, and disoriented.

There are many reasons why one might disconnect from one’s body: trauma, mental or physical pain or illness, dissociation as a result of these things.

There came a time in my twenties when it became clear to me, little bits at a time, how disconnected I was from my body.

Due to certain emotionally and physically painful things I had experienced throughout my life, I developed the habit of dissociating from my body. 

When disassociation happens, our brains adopt a protection mechanism to attempt to protect us from experiencing more pain. It is well-meaning, but ultimately leads to a sense of numbness, of "homelessness".

When this type of homelessness occurred in my life, I felt I was in a lot of pieces that I slowly needed to begin to start picking up. I gradually began the long and intricate journey of finding my way back home to myself, a journey on which I still find myself today. Along the path, one approach in particular has begun to open the door to working my way back to my true home, that is: mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown around a lot currently and can look a thousand different ways: it might look like going to therapy, like meditation, dancing, screaming, sobbing oneself dry, kicking and throwing things, writing, creating, walking, running, hugging someone for a long time, hugging oneself for a long time, jumping for joy sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and watching the trees move outside...

Mindfulness has, for me, ultimately meant existing in my body as my body is at any given moment.

Practicing mindfulness can be really hard!

It can be really difficult, amidst illness of any kind, to accept the state of mind and body in which one find oneself.

I have been there.

The notion of sitting with and noticing pain isn’t a simple one. 

Be it emotional or physical, many of us are taught to judge and resist our pain, wishing it away. Thus enters dissociation. 

The unfortunate truth about the numbness that occurs when shutting out pain, though, is that everything else gets shut out along with it: all the true joy, freedom, and warmth that are also available within our beautiful homes. 

Mindfulness can begin to open doors to connecting with these true parts of ourselves again. 

For artists, when experiencing the numbness that comes with disconnecting from one’s true home, creative freedom can feel nearly impossible to access. 

Along my singing journey, when I began to disassociate in the face of pain, the act of singing became, for me, one more expression of this dissociation: something I was doing but without any sense of what I was feeling while doing so, not listening to myself, and shutting off my connection to the experience to avoid the potential feelings that I could have discovered.

Now, having embarked on the journey of learning to live mindfully, I am learning about what it can mean to be in my body while creating my art. 

I want to emphasize that this is a daily journey, a daily exploration. If you have been doing things a certain way for a long time, change can be challenging to bring into fruition.

That being said, I want to emphasize that if you find yourself desiring change and wanting to take steps in the direction of living more mindfully in your body but don’t know where to start or don’t know if it could be possible for you, taking things day by day and celebrating the tiniest of shifts is a great place to start!

I will discuss in my next posts what some of these mindful choices can look like (spoiler alert, topics will include things like: mindfully choosing when to engage in making art, working with visualization, improvisation, working with the senses while making art, mindfully working on musical technique, and more!) and how I have applied some of them, as well as areas I would like to still explore and encourage you too, too!

Today, I would like to commend you if you’re brave enough to be in the midst of the process of searching for home in your body, especially if you are struggling with pain of any kind. This is by no means an easy process! I see you and hope you can find some solace, hope, and practical ideas in reading these words and future words I will share.

Please feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me to share your experiences with mindfulness and coming home into your body.

Mindfulness can be an invaluable tool in connecting, healing, and assisting one on the path to the truest home one has:

the home within.

My original home, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA


Mar 25

It's just beautifully put, the home within... ❤️

Lauren Humble
Lauren Humble
Mar 29
Replying to

Thank you so much. The truest home we have!

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