Home is where the heart is?

I have lived in the Washington, DC area all my life. It’s a great city in which to live, and in all my travels, I have found very few places where I would consider moving, because I’ve always been quite content right where I am. Last week, I took a vacation in western North Carolina. Even though North Carolina has never been one of my favorite places, I found while traveling on business, that the western part of the state is a different place entirely. I’ve always loved the mountains, so with that, we planned a week in mountain Paradise.

It was perfect weather, and we found perfect hospitality everywhere we went. It reminded me how unfriendly a place Washington, DC can be. We make fun of how rude New Yorkers can be, but honestly, I am beginning to think that DC is worse. Then, when contrasted with the unbridled friendliness of the mountain folk (even the transplants!), it becomes that much more apparent.

I had such a nice time, that I have seriously contemplated digging up my deeply planted roots and moving. Most of my family has moved away, and it occurred to me that there really isn’t that much here for me anymore except too many unfriendly people and lots of traffic!

Needless to say, as I returned to reality, I have found myself with a dilemma on my hands. My life plan didn’t include a move just yet, and there are still things here at home that I have yet to do. Meanwhile, the hills are calling my name. I have decided to call it “mountain withdrawal.” I get this way whenever I come home from travel in the mountains, wherever that happens to be. I guess my heart is there.

After I returned home, I noticed a post by a friend online. It said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Boy did that hit home right at a weak moment! I was about ready to call in the Realty brigade (real estate – not “reality”) and start packing!

They say “home is where the heart is,” so I guess it’s time to think carefully. How do you handle the predicament when your home is in one place and your heart is in another? That’s where I have been for the past few days. So after shedding a few tears, and realizing that picking up and moving on a moment’s notice isn’t practical, I decided to wait and meditate on it. I knew the answer would come.

Today, someone who has been quietly hiding on a certain social networking site for several years, finally posted something for the first time. And boy was it a doozey! And more so because it was posted by the most important person in my life:

“People travel great distances and spend a lot of money trying to find peace. Well no matter where they go, “there they are” with the same consciousness. Turn within to find lasting peace, and you will have it with you no matter where you are.”

How true, and how appropriate. I suppose someone knew how much this was eating at me, and decided to take unusual steps to say what I needed to hear in a way that I would hear it! I don’t need to retreat to the hills to find peace. It might be easier to find it there, but that doesn’t mean that peace isn’t right here, wherever “here” happens to be. In a crowd, among the chaos, or on a mountaintop, peace of mind is there if you allow it into your presence. We push peace away instead of welcoming it in. And I guess I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

The mountains will be there, long after I’m gone. I may still move there, but when the time is right, whenever that is – next week, next year, next lifetime. Meanwhile, being here, in the armpit of suburbia, really isn’t so bad. Heck, it’s all I’ve ever known. If I’m not used to it now, I don’t think I’ll ever be! “Mountain withdrawal” ain’t gonna get the best of me, at least not today!