Excerpt from the five-day writing retreat I’ve just returned from. Day five…

I’ve known a lot of homes. An endless cascade of houses where I lay my head and unpacked my bags. A dozen educational institutions where a seat was mine and mine alone, and I found a place to feel belonging and purpose. Friends where no amount of time and distance have separated us, and despite the years in between, a phone call picks up where the last conversation left off. And I’ve found home in my husband and children, when all my world crumbled, grief stumbled in, joy and excitement were too big to contain, they’ve been the place to sit and share and hold me.

But there is one more home I seek. Myself. I need to come home to myself.

If home is a place of safety, security and familiarity, then that is the place I seek. A place deep inside my belly with an eternal knowing that no matter the tsunami of life eddying around me, there is security in my being. I have survived every day life has gifted me so far.

To come home to myself would mean an end to numbing. An end to punishment and self-recrimination. The beginning of acceptance and love. A willingness to embody the body I was born with – and appreciate its ability to carry me with ease and grace. Resisting illness. Growing and nourishing children. Carrying me into the ecstasy of carnal love and allowing me to experience the agony of brokenness and the relief when agony abates.

To come home to myself would mean an acknowledgment of all my faults and flaws, in equal measure with all my gifts and talents. To accept the whole of my unique self, as no better and no worse than any other – as we all attempt to navigate the world around us.

To come home to myself would mean a deep sense of peace. A peace I barely know or recognise, but have in brief moments of time, felt deep in my soul. A peace I yearn to know more deeply, more easily, more frequently. A sense of comfort with myself – the wrinkles, the scars. My intellect and creativity. My empathy and caring. My inclination to rush and catastrophise. The well-intentioned need to solve everyone’s problems. My gift of teaching and music and writing. The whole of me. The me my friends choose to spend time with – decade after decade. The me my husband adores. The me my children love. The me my father is so proud of.

Forgiveness is an act of courage and strength. And to come home to myself requires forgiveness for all I am not. All I have lost. All I regret.

Appreciation is an act of love and kindness. And to come home to myself requires appreciation for all that I am. All I have been. All I have achieved.  

Self-love is an act of compassion and acceptance. And to come home to myself requires self-love from my chipped painted toe-nails, to the roots of my greying hairline.

I choose to come home after this long journey of recovery and healing. To take the hand of the little girl who was never good enough in her mother’s eyes and say, You are enough. Right now. As is. To squish her to my breast and meld her to my heart. Complete healing. That is to come home to myself.