Returning to your Inner Homestead
It’s been two years since we bought our hundred-year-old villa in the country. Since moving into an old and seasoned homestead, I’ve experienced a type of self-discovery that I never knew existed. And it happened upon me, not in an expensive women’s retreat or online course in self-development, but in the quietest and most gentle of ways. The gift of this old lady homestead has been that as I came to know her, I’ve delightfully come to know myself through her.
Prior to moving here I’d lived near the ocean for twenty-ish years. The joy and gratitude I had for the beach life was immense and I did worry about how I would cope living rural, secluded country. I had a thriving life, running two businesses, raising two teenagers and two pretty cats. Would country life be too boring? I flourished in the social scene and networking in the city life. Would I miss people? Would I miss the hum of activity and connection?
Would I miss out?
Yet there was a part of me, that already felt like that. That something was missing from my life, yet I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Like an overtired two-year-old incessant that they want something yet are so far in their tantrum they can’t determine what that thing is.
It turns out that what I needed, what my move to a Homestead showed me was missing from my life, was me.
I had been living with little awareness of Me, the real me, the Me that exists underneath all the doings, the stuff, the thoughts, the feelings, the conditionings. I thought I knew who I was, had formed a lovely self-made identity (ha, I can laugh at this now) yet unbeknown to me, the real me was still to be discovered.
And so, as I came to know my homestead, I came to know myself.
Slowing down and Being here has allowed me to observe her intricacies, to notice her nuances, feel her spirit and to see, that we are not all that different, her and I.
And you too?
Do you remember her? Your inner homestead?
She’s that part of you that feels timeless, as if you’ve witnessed all of time and time to come.
Well established, sturdy foundations, strong bones, deep roots.
She’s that part of you that feels everything - Wooden floorboards that have felt it all – worn down from the pitter patter of tiny feet, which grew into fast running feet – tag you’re it. Felt the tip toes, the stomps, the slides, the skips, the bare feet, the gumboots, the work boots, the slippers, the wedding high heels, as the family moved from room to room and season to season in their lives. She feels it all, with grace.
She’s that part of you that hears everything – her walls have heard all of the cries; loud newborn babes, even louder toddler tantrums, tumultuous sibling rivalry, frenetic relationship conflicts, quiet sobs of grief and loss. She’s also heard belly laughs around the kitchen bench, singing from the bathroom, frequent calls of “Dinner’s ready!” She hears it all without judgment.
She’s that part of you that smells everything - like roses in the little jars positioned in every room, hot soup on the potbelly, smoke from the continuous wood burning fire, jam and pickles from the preserves boiling on the stove. She smells it all acceptance.
She’s that part of you that tastes everything – like fresh grapes in Autumn, warmed tomatoes picked off the vine, fresh bread from the oven, roast dinners with the family on a Sunday. She tastes it all with joy.
Your Inner Homestead is that part of you that experiences all the simple-ness of your life, through your senses, with total acceptance, And in doing so, receives great pleasure and contentment and a sense of peace for what is.
Even the gardens that surround the homestead have messages for us; huge old trees with roots firmly secured into the ground, with flower beds that are so long established they don’t require any fertiliser and barely any maintenance because they just “know” what to do to as they move with the seasons. Can you feel the energy of that? Can you remember?
Despite your incessant need to grow and change, there is that part of you that is all knowing, all seeing, all hearing, tasting, smelling, the part of you that remains the same. And there’s a stability and a sense of safety that comes from knowing your foundation, your core, that your roots are unshakable.
There’s a reassuring ease that’s felt at the Homestead. Not to say it’s easy, because there are always challenges and there’s always something to do. But there’s an ease that comes with being present and aware, to address what comes up when it comes up, and not the anxiety that comes with preempting an uncertain future. There’s an ease that is felt from knowing what’s been, remembering the storms and seeing them through to the other side, a history that demonstrates that despite all the changes, the Homestead remains.
There’s a joyful ease that emanates from the Homestead. It comes from attending to the most basic of human requirements – nourishment, clean shelter, movement, connection (to nature and each other). Providing for your own needs, rather than outsourcing the cleaning, the cooking, the handiwork, the gardening, even the food source, can bring you right back to fulfilling the basics. Maslow’s hierarchy implied that having our basic needs met are our strongest motivators and our survival depends on satisfying them, yet perhaps an important missing element of this is the empowerment that we feel when we attend to meeting these needs ourselves. Yet in today’s fast paced society, have we demonised the slowness that is required to do the mun