Feeling at Home.

The view of Derwent River from my lounge room.

What does it really mean to “feel at home”?

This has been a thought that has teased me for a long time.

I left my parents’ home when I married in 1955 and during my 42 years of marriage lived in many rented places until purchasing a little house in Toowoomba in 1965. A modest little worker’s cottage, exactly like one my maternal grandmother lived in at Maitland where I was born.

Only 2 years on, we were living on the Gold Coast,at 2 different places- then Brisbane at another 2 different locations, and after that, the Sunshine Coast where we had a new house built for us. All those houses, were they Real Estate investments more than homes?

Apparently it was not enough to save my marriage, so I “ran away from home” and lived as a single woman in lots of rented accommodation.

Eventually, I was asked to go to Sydney to live with my daughter and her husband when her first baby was born.This was to continue for 12 years, I loved every minute of sharing their lives, with me in the granny flat in the garden.I was able to take care of my grandchildren when required, and enjoyed the life I made for myself in the new surroundings.

Circumstances change however and in 2016 I came to Hobart to have a holiday with my son Peter. I really like Hobart and was happy being with Peter in his house and taking an interest in his garden, the year went by and then I was asked to stay longer in Hobart. A crisis in employment had affected my daughter and son-in-law and their future in Sydney was uncertain.

This required me to think carefully about how I should spend the rest of my days. I was technically “homeless” according to the census that year, had my 80th. birthday and wanted some independence and security.

I managed to find accommodation in a rented unit for “over 55’s”, and moved in, even though the rent was too high and I lived there for almost 3 years.

This has been a steep learning curve for me getting to understand and learn how to fit into the Age Care category of citizens.

Fortunately, I was urged to register for My Aged Care and a Government issued Package of Services was eventually made available to me. I do not know how I could have managed without this help.

The biggest surprise of all occurred in July, I had a phone call asking me if I was interested in moving to Sandy Bay. (I had previously filled in an online request for information about vacancies.) After forgetting all about it, I had no hesitation in coming over to inspect the Unit and quickly said Yes! That was a month ago.

So, I am all settled in to another home.

This time I hope it will be the last one. I love it.

A New Beginning 

by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space Between Us

This is one of my favourite poems from John O’Donohue and expresses perfectly the way I have been living and now , as I settle in to my new home.

Who would not like to wake up each morning to uninterrupted views across the beautiful Derwent River from the inlet to the ocean right around to snow-capped Mt. Wellington. Just magnificent.

May you allow beauty to hold you in its embrace today…

In Greek the word for the beautiful is to kalon. It is related to the word Kalein which includes the notion of ‘call’.

 When we experience beauty, we feel called. The beautiful stirs passion and urgency in us and calls us forth from aloneness into the warmth and wonder of an eternal embrace. It unites us again with the neglected and forgotten grandeur of life. 

The call of beauty is not a call into the dark or the unknown; in some instinctive way we know that beauty is no stranger. We respond with joy to the call of beauty it can awaken under the layers of the heart a forgotten brightness… Beauty does not linger, it only visits. 

Yet beauty’s visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm, it calls us to feel, think, and act beautifully in the world: to create and live a life that awakens the beautiful.”

John O’Donahue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace