Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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Homesickness and Finding Your True Self

I remember homesickness. 

I was maybe 10-11 years old and had gone to a summer camp. This wasn’t unusual, I had been to camps before. But this one felt different. 

I felt like I didn’t fit in, although I was surrounded by old neighbour friends and my siblings. 

I couldn’t get comfortable, find my place. Everything felt awkward and “not quite right”.

Have you ever felt that way?

I remember suddenly being overcome with tears. I couldn’t stop crying. Yes, very embarrassing when you are busy working hard to fit in. 

So they let me call my Mom to se if she could calm me down. I just remember saying “I’m so homesick. I just want to come home.”

It was a terribly uncomfortable feeling that only had one cure: to go home. Everything else was a bandaid, a temporary moment of ease. 

I don’t actually remember what happened after the phone call but I can guess that my mother made me stay, she was all for making us tough!

Over time, I have come to know homesickness in a slightly different way. 

In retrospect I can see how I, and all of us, look for the feeling of home as we do the necessary voyage away from home and then the return. 

Our younger years are spent exploring and free, if we have that privilege in our families and our communities. 

We then make the trek outside of our home, breaking ties with our family and ‘finding’ ourselves on the Road Less Travelled as Scott Peck so famously said. 

It is a period of search, of experience, of adventure, heartbreak, joy and pain, often driven by ambition, excitement and curiosity.

We must spend time looking for our reflections in the outside world and in following our bliss, experience, adventure, trials, tests, enemies and mentors Joseph Campbell describes in his Hero’s Journey.

Then, it starts to grow thin. There is a glimmer, a slight recognition that we are not the roles we have been playing. We cannot be found in pleasing others, in conforming to society’s rules and standards, or in our children, in our jobs. 

How do we know this? By how we feel. That is, IF we are honest with ourselves about how we feel.

There comes a time, usually in mid-life where we start getting signs of whether we are aligned to our own journey, our unique path, or how far off we are.  

If we have lived a life that is NOT our unique path, it starts to erupt. YOU start to erupt in your body and your mind tries to cope with stories, racing thoughts and fearful thinking.

In anxiety

In depresion

Chronic pain, tension, 

A knowing that there is a place that fits, and it ain’t there. 

The lies that we have been told and believed of who we should be come to the surface, the mirror shatters, the masks come off…

and if we can allow this stage, for a period we are left homeless and asking “Who am I?”.

Who am I if I am not my career

Who am I if I am not my family

Who am I if I am not my money, my success, my relationships, my possessions, my achievements, my athleticism, my ideas?

Nope, there is something else, somewhere else.

The sense of yearning, of homesickness gets stronger. 

If we can let go of the “shoulds” the “have-tos”, the ideas of what you should have been, turns out you open up to what is already here and always has been here. 

This is the homesickness that, if not followed, can lead to illness, pain and a life unlived. 

“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of a parent.” Carl Yung

Think about it, the people that are the most inspiring, attractive, compelling, are not the ones who are being martyrs or looking for glory. 

They are the ones just getting on with the job of being themselves… and in that glory comes. 

Feeling homesick?

What do you need to say NO to?

What do you need to say YES to?

Start that, and the fertile ground of your true home will safely and softly catch you.

 

I have come to know that feeling well as a sensitive person

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