The philosopher Pliny the Elder once wrote “Home is where the heart is” (in Latin, of course). Though written 2,000 years ago, these words still resonate today – especially when we reflect on the places and the people in our lives from which we draw confidence, courage, and our sense of origin.
Here are ten brief questions to help rekindle an awareness of where we start from… and perhaps use this knowledge to see where we are heading…
- Think to your earliest indoor environment. What words best describe the physical space that surrounded you – Open? Intimate? Warm? Cool? Bright? Airy?
- Of the words you use to describe your first environment – which of these elements do you still seek in the present day, when you want to feel energetic or happy?
- Describe briefly the room where you slept (and dreamed). What elements made it easy or difficult to fall asleep? What, if any, dreams stand out in your memory, and why?
- When you were growing, what sensory memories do you associate with most strongly? Can you recall the regular presence of specific foods, flowers, or music, for example?
- Was there ever a time where something (physical object or person) was lost, and you were unable to find it? If so, does this feeling connect to something (abstract or intangible) you may be trying to locate today?
- Was there an individual person who encouraged your ideas about the greater world in some particular way? What specific feelings (caution, hopefulness, wonder) might this person have inspired?
- What sort of outdoor spaces made you feel most adventurous, courageous, or daring? Do such spaces still exist for you now?
- When exploring new territory did you prefer to go it alone, or with a friend or sibling?
- If you found a paper today on which your child self wrote what you wanted to be when you grew up – what would the paper say?
- What people in your early life made you feel most imaginative? How do friends and family inspire this same feeling of creativity and wonder within you today?
From where we come, we go; often in life, our questions about what we are meant to be can be answered by returning to our homes, our starting points, our places of origins. There is another famous Latin phrase, although not attributed to Pliny; What you want to be, you are, and always have been.
Memory of the past does not necessarily determine our futures, but it sure can be helpful in redirecting our search within.