Where is home?

Where is home?

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This is the question that keeps me awake at night. It is a question I have never really been able to answer. For many years, it was the question I didn’t know I needed to answer!

There is such an innate human need for us to belong. From an evolutionary point of view, it makes complete sense, as working together was how we survived and thrived. Yet these days, this need can imprison us as much as it can bring us joy.

Deep down, I have always felt like an outsider – wherever I was. I have always felt like the madman screaming from behind the glass that nobody could hear and there has been a loneliness that has always come with that.

Learning to be who I am is one of the toughest and rewarding challenges I have faced to date. Finding a place where I feel that I belong, now that I have discovered who I am, is the next challenge on that journey.

For me, it comes down to living in a place that is aligned with my values. Living in a place where anything is possible. Living in a place where quality of life is valued above anything else.

At the moment, I see that I have 3 options, and I am working on all of them in some way:

1. To find somewhere I belong

The worldwide search continues. Finding the right community for me and my family is my top priority.

There are so many great places out in the world, that all inspire and connect with me in some way. Each place I visit, I learn from.  But I have yet to find the place I truly connect with.

I plan to keep exploring and am open to finding the place that feels right.

2. To create somewhere I belong

Two of the projects that have inspired me most in the past year have been The Downtown Project and Summit Eden. These are both communities effectively started from scratch, not only to create great communities, but also to use those communities to make a wider impact on the world as a whole.

I certainly have a passion for starting an intentional community at some point in the future, and there is an inherent freedom in starting one from scratch. I am an island boy at heart, so getting a bunch of people together to buy an island and to establish a world-changing community is still very much on the bucket list. You will be amazed at how many people out there actually want to do this as well! It’s pretty crazy, but I am certainly not ruling it out as an option.

3. To help re-engineer where I live, so I feel I belong

There is a huge amount to love about the Channel Island of Guernsey, but something in me thinks it is capable of so much more, with the incredible cards it has been dealt.

It’s funny to think that this journey might end up where it began. The irony of this is not lost on me. I have to say, a big part of me wants to help the place I’m from to become an even better place to live.

This wasn’t an option I had considered much, until recently. The more I go out and get involved in the community, the more opportunities I find, to help make the island a better place to live.

Two of the projects I am involved in are TEDx St Peter Port and The Dandelion Project, which both concentrate on shifting the focus from economics to quality of life. I hope these projects and the others that follow have a positive impact.

Even if I don’t end up staying, I hope to have given back in some meaningful way, to help improve the place I am from.

At this stage I have no idea which of the 3 options will find my home, if indeed I ever find it. All I know is that they seem like good things to be exploring right now, given the challenge.

What I will say is that the more incredible people I spend time with in the world, the more I feel that I have a place in it. Still, the challenge for me is to go to bed at night in a place where I feel that I truly belong.

‘Belonging’ is not an exact science. It is a feeling that can mean different things to different people. What works for me is not right for someone else  And one thing I have learnt the hard way is that there is absolutely no point in living someone else’s life. It doesn’t take you anywhere or bring you anything meaningful in any way.

Success is nothing unless it is in your own image. The easiest road to regret is not being true to who you really are.

We all feel it and know it deep down, yet that huge drive to conform and belong can lead us to lose ourselves in the process.

To live a good life, all you can do is be true to who you are – hoping that you find your place in the world by doing it. There isn’t actually much of a choice, because there is no other way to thrive and find peace within ourselves.

So I have no choice but to keep searching for, or creating, the place where my family and I belong.

Home is where the heart is. I just have no idea to which place my heart belongs, just yet.

Your ideas and insights are, as always, welcome in the comments section below.

Marc

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  1. I still haven’t found a place where I belong.

    Sometimes it makes me sad but the journey to find that precious home will be worth it.

    Thanks for the post, Marc.

  2. This is the most challenging topic because to belong somewhere goes with owenership, safety and where your heart is. Masl’o describes belonginess as a need that one satisfy before others needs like self ectualization. But home sweet home, no matter how other people can classify it, as long as I feel save and I feel I belong to that place.

  3. I don’t know if the heart belongs to a place. I think it belongs to itself, and when we reside happily in our own hearts, our true home, we are at home wherever we find our bodies. We are rather like turtles who carry their homes with them, but ours are much more portable.

    I’ve been working with people who want to deepen their happiness and health for four decades, and I’ve noticed the most interesting people often have that experience of isolation you describe. They look outside wanting to fit with people who are often wanting to be more like them, with no one seeing past their own confusion.

    It is futile to look outside for where we fit in — if we’re lucky, we don’t fit in anywhere!

    And if we’re really lucky, the fire of that isolation rubbing against a desire to serve will drive us to look within. That’s where we can realize what a great fit we are within ourselves. As we come to that realization, everyone around us benefits, and those who are looking for the contribution we want to make are more likely to want to make mischief with us.

  4. This post is so relevant to where I am in my life right now. I have been traveling and moving for quite some time and I decided this year to take a break from the chaos. I’m going to keep the basics steady so I can spend some quality time on my insides. As such, this question of home and belonging has been on my mind quite a bit.

    I know that outsider feeling all too well. My early years were spent trying desperately to mimic anything and everything that might make me look, sound, smell, and act like those around me so I could understand that feeling of belonging that I imagined everyone else had. As I grew into my own and started living my own life, I realized that I change all the time. Who I am at my very core is even in flux and former never evers are my norm and former forever and always concepts would never work for me now. I am currently working to accept that fact and to resolve that my truth then was “the” truth for me at the time and my truth now is almost guaranteed to change in small or epic ways.

    So if that is the case, if I am always changing and growing and discovering, is there even a place where I will belong? Or is the feeling of belonging more of a sensation of the moment? Communities take time to build and change at a much slower pace than I do. I am beginning to think that I will always be a gypsy on some level, because I can’t imagine finding a place that matches the rate and direction of my own personal change for very long.

    As always, thank you for the wonderful food for thought!

    • Thanks for sharing Jo. Certainly I think it is possible to create a community of like minded people that hold similar values and have a similar thirst for learning and development etc.

  5. Derek Burton says

    I think someone wrote a scfi book called “This Island Earth” which should remind us of the fact we are all Island boys (or girls). I live on an Island – the UK – and work on an Island (Denton Island) with in that island, and I have visited many other islands, including the lovely Guernsey and Sark. What strikes me is that they all have their own “Island mentalities” all very much focussed on some form of boundary. So I say no matter where you are we should all be striving to make this Island Earth the utopia is needs to be, because if we don’t then we’ve failed and there’s no where else to go. So Marc, get your local location right, be happy, but expend your energy and focus on the wide horizon of getting more people to become collaborative for the good of our Island Earth, something you are brilliant at no matter where you live.

    • I agree and certainly feel like a child of the planet in many ways. I certainly think on that scale. The problem is that I don’t feel on that scale – yet. Thanks for sharing Derek.

  6. I definitely shifted more from looking for to forming a home. But I think it is mainly about the people we have at our home, the belonging and the feeling to be understood. Some people find that early, some partially, some never. But being an emotion, it is quite associative, just as people start liking the bitter taste of beer because it gives them a pleasant buzz while being with their friends, people start appreciating facts about their hometown that are not great by themselves. Is is possible that something like that explains your love for islands?
    For me I decided that a big city is the place to be, combined with forming intentional communities. The live in cities improved way more (offer of culture and events) than in the country side (just still pretty and calm). It seems you want to form modern tribes like I do, forming a place you feel you belong to. As we have not found that place traveling the world, but we both met great individuals all over the world we consider part of our social circle, the vision would be to bring them closer together in one place. But the place has to be attractive for many people, and cities do offer a greater variety. And through history is the tendency, especially for more ambitious people, to move to the cities.
    I for now decided that Berlin is probably an almost optimal home base. Relativity cheap, popular (so many people come by), great infrastructure, and growing startup scene and a more law (freedom rights) abiding justice system than the big English speaking countries.

    • Hi Tristan. I live a split life between London and Guernsey for the same reasons as you. I have thought about intentional communities both in cities and away from the cities. I like the thought of a vertical village oasis in the heart of a big city like London. Marc

  7. To stop the incessant search for something else that is better than the who that you already are is probably the most difficult challenge to master……as the external focus on place, others or material superiority must be quelled in favour of an inner focus on being rather than striving…….I don’t have this cracked but its where I’m living at the moment…in the space between doing and being, between external and internal, between the need to be right or better and the true pursuit of happiness…..it is proving a tough road to travel……if you want to follow try some Tolle or Chopra……..but don’t expect a straight road from now to bliss…….

  8. “Best” is a relative term, depending on a hundred variables. That makes choices very difficult. There should be only one consideration when making any decision – Is this a statement of Who I am? Is this announcement of who I choose to be?

    All of life should be such announcement. A life lived by choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived by chance is a life of unconscious reaction

    This is the perfect circumstance and situation you need to define and express who you truly are – your highest thought, your purest feeling.

    Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Your truth relies within

  9. I echo your sentiments. I left Guernsey in 2010 searching for somewhere else to live but by fluke or by fate I ended up back on the rock, determined (mostly) to help create my place in the island by being truly authentically me, and to hell if I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Having read some of your blog and learning more about the Dandelion Project it has really inspired me and made me feel, however fleetingly, that I perhaps do belong on this tiny, slightly backwards, immovable island. So thank you.

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