I am not a natural homemaker, at least not in the traditional sense. For one, I was raised in New York City and I’m not sure that this constitutes as a proper excuse, but by the age of ten, I was ordering in Chinese food or a hamburger from Jackson Hole, a diner a block and a half from my apartment. All I had to do was call and boom—a complete meal, ready to go. Yet, even as a kid, a part of me longed for an idyllic country scene, replete with an oversized kitchen and a garden in the backyard set amongst acres of verdant landscape. I had a dream of growing up and moving to a farm in Vermont, much like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, stocking homemade applesauce in my cupboards with an infant cradling my hip, leaving my urban dwellings behind.
That dream, however, has yet to materialize (despite, admittedly, a great deal of my adolescence being spent in Connecticut). So when I read that the theme for this week would be homemaking, I winced. What do I, a childless, single thirty-something woman living in Los Angeles who has changed residences 7 times in 10 years, have to offer on the subject? What could I possibly lend to this conversation? For one, I’m often on the move throughout my day, grabbing food on the go (thank you Gjusta, Café Gratitude and Huckleberry!) consuming meals at cafes that double as my pantry. I am not exactly proud of this; I know I still have a long way to go to achieve the domestic goddess I so desperately covet, but it got me thinking about home in general and what it represents.
For most of my life, I had been running from one place to the next, from one group to the next, one career to the next. I was forever searching for that illusive place I could call home, where I would feel eternally safe, nurtured and secure. I kept moving, sure that the next place would be the place. It took me until thirty to realize that the thing I was running from was myself and that home would have to be found, first and foremost, within.
In astrology, the fourth house represents our home, both literally and figuratively (there are twelve houses in a natal chart, each signifying a different aspect of life). It reveals our roots, our ancestry, and our upbringing. It’s who we are at midnight, alone with ourselves in the dark.
Fourth house transits can be painful, but they’re often foundational. When Saturn, the planet of maturation, was transiting my fourth house, I returned to school to obtain my MA in Spiritual Psychology. Throughout the program, I was forced to tear down and rebuild my sense of self, the very floor I was standing on. Essentially, I had to start from scratch. Who was I and where had I come from?
Home means different things to different people. Some find they are deeply rooted in tradition, anchored in their ancestry. Others find home on the go, more comfortable on a plane, readying for adventure, than with routine. To others home is to be found among a makeshift group of friends, a lover, or spouse. Home, and what it means to any one individual, is about as personal as it gets.
But what I ache for most of all—and what I’d venture most of us ache for if we’re truly honest, is to feel at home within ourselves, to be okay regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, to be at peace. Isn’t that the ultimate sense of home, the final arrival place? After all, where will we ever feel at home, if not with ourselves?
But it’s a process, isn’t it? I know that I still yearn for that home on rolling green hills, for an oversized dining room table beautifully set and filled, for a wraparound porch. And maybe, some day, I will have it. But we still have to live day to day, navigating the ins and outs of life, no matter our current conditions. And so in the meantime, I have been learning how to cultivate a home, how to cook, working my way towards domesticity, albeit slowly. And as I do, I’m finding myself more and more connected to myself, more and more grounded. In a very real way, I realized, homemaking can be meditative, a direct portal into the present, if we allow it to be. Because isn’t nurturing one’s home essentially an extension of nurturing oneself, a way of landing exactly where we are?