Go Straight Home
Ideas of home, focus and discipline have been coming up over and over as I begin my twenty-fifth year in a new city.
Moving three time zones and over 2,000 miles from my “hometown” in Queens, NY, has given me an opportunity to rethink what home is/ what it could be, to delineate my responsibilities to my home, and to practice gratitude for the spaces, people and ancestral messages that feel familiar or that guide me to safety.
In my last essay, I conceptualized “home” as a safe place. I used the metaphor “go straight home” as a framework to analyze how “home” once represented constraint and now, in my adult years, it‘s come to represent freedom, divine protection and abundance.
This week I come back to talk a little bit more about the dynamic meanings of “Go Straight Home,” and the messages this “living word” has for us.
Unlike “go home,” “go straight home” has a dimension of directness attached it. It’s a focused imperative with emphasis on continuing without stop until arrival. It’s cautionary wise counsel to remind of us to have fidelity to our missions and allegiance to ourselves.
The phrase also has “light at the end of the tunnel” or a finite element to it which, can be a relief after a journey. For example, after a tiring day at work, there’s nothing I want more than to “go straight home,” to release the weight of people’s expectations and impositions on me. Thus, “home” is sacred sanctuary and my responsibilities include spiritual and domestic work to sustain myself through relentless onslaughts.
“Home” is a unique place; not only does it conjure feelings of freedom, it is also a place where I can manifest different levels of power. For example, in my home, I set the norms, influence/control decision making, create atmosphere and more. Voltaire (or Peter Parker) would say, with such immense power, comes great responsibility.
Why do we go straight anywhere? What variables support the sense of urgency to focus solely on goal attainment? What’s waiting for us at home? Who’s counting on us at home? What must be done?
All of these questions are connected by the thread of duty and responsibility. Last time we talked about what an immense blessing “going straight home” could be when you reframed your thinking or shifted the context. Today we advance this idea and focus on responsibility and gratitude.
We go straight home, not only, because we value our safety – we go straight home because we have work to do.
We go straight home so we can fulfill our roles – by resting, by cooking, by cleaning, by leading our families, and reflecting on moments where we betrayed or fortified our integrity.
We go straight home because we have a duty to maintain ourselves, our people and our safe spaces. We return back to our origins so we can depart from external sources of validation and take looks inward at our bare selves. We go home so we can remember and come back together or fall apart.
We go straight home by holding space to acknowledge painful/intrusive memories and releasing them to return to peace. We go straight home when we encounter something familiar that reminds us who we are and what we could be.
Even when our home is not a physical space but rather a person or a feeling, it’s important to dedicate quality time to edification, evaluation and reflection. If we value a feeling as sacred and familiar as “home” or “safety,” what are we willing to do continue or cease to cultivate feelings of safety? If our homes are in people, how do we account for agency, development and freedom from control or stagnation? Further, how are our growth and values reflected in the places and people we call “home”?
While our physical homes may benefit from a smudging ceremony, prayer or Swiffer mop, “go straight home” serves as an additional reminder to return to peace through fulfillment of duty, reflection and rest.
When “home” presents itself as an embodied feeling of peace, safety, comfort and most importantly, freedom, we can use mindfulness as a tool to go straight home via meditation, music or mindful breathing.
Within “go straight home” exists a level of exigency to embrace natural evanescence – we seize the day because we cherish our history, live in the present and know the only thing promised for our futures is change. We “go straight home” by facing the realities of temporality and having faith in the universe and new beginnings.
When feelings of “home” are based in connectivity and communion with others, caring for “home” begins with healthy boundaries, honest communication and respectful conflict management. We are home when we connect openly and intimately with people who respect us, through and through.
We care for our homes by honoring their roles in our lives. We practice gratitude for the walls that keep us safe from hostile force, for the hearts that hold space to touch our souls and for the peace of mind to venture out confidently though we feel fear. We love the places where we know/feel we belong so we “go straight home” and revel in our responsibilities.