sincerely, kryz

go back home, always.

I heard a famous quote saying, “Home is not a place; it’s a feeling.” I took that as relational when I was in college back in 2019. I studied in a city. That means I had to travel 4 hours from our house to my university as someone from the province. No wonder I will try my best to come home almost every weekend or other weekend, even just stay there for not more than 24 hours. Being in my province, especially sleeping in my province, is a homely feeling that heals me.

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When the pandemic started, of course, I had to move back from the city to my province to continue my studies on an online platform. I became so excited that I could do my homework and/or take my quiz right on my desk, in my own room, and in our own house in my province. Seems like the university brought itself to our home. Which I thought could make me extra homely, peaceful & happy. But with time, even though I am studying in our living room, I still feel this disturbing feeling of nervousness and sadness I could not explain. I should feel homely and at peace since I sit on our lovely couch by the Christmas tree and watch ‘The Loud House’ cartoon while tracking my to-do’s for the day. Why is this? From then on, I knew what was missing. My peace of mind relies solely on my circumstances and external factors that I forgot to have my agency, which I can internally control — my choice to be peaceful and joyful. Even though I am in the four corners of our house, I still feel the same feeling I felt on my first day at Davao for my college. That uneasy feeling of sadness and loneliness and uncertainties.

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This bothered me, but then I remembered what my college professor had told us once. Our brain can only hold so much that when it gets used to it (to a particular place, for example), it becomes tired and unable to process well in that state. This could be like sitting all day while working or studying so you do not move around. Did you know that the average adult sits for six-and-a-half hours daily, and all this chair time affects the brain? Interestingly, a study shows that too much sitting is connected to the crucial brain’s memory section, which changes. Using MRI, researchers look at the medial temporal lobe (MTL) (brain region that produces new memories) towards individuals aged 45 to 75. It was then compared to the average number of hours per day the individual sits. Fascinatingly, individuals with the most extended sitting had their MTL regions thinner. This MTL thinning can be a sign of cognitive reduction and even dementia. (Siddarth, Burggren, Eyre, Small, & Merrill, D. A., 2018).

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So the warmth of the familiar isn’t good after all? Nope. It’s good. It’s just that when we stay in a place for so long, we don’t move or do things differently from the day before; we can get used to it so much! My dysfunctions in seeing things so homely were clouded by my mind toward linear progression and thinking. Even though I am in my ‘familiar place’, I cannot name the feeling as homely because I accustomed myself to it and failed to realize there’s so much to do outside my worrisome mind. 

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Even now, even though I was favored to work from home (which I absolutely love because I can clean the house at the same time work and still watch movies or read a book all at once in a day!), I still feel nervous when my shift starts because I tell my mind that it’s too much for me to handle, where, in fact, it’s just a simple task for me to do. I mean, it’s all in my mind, really. I noticed the same pattern when remembering my pandemic experience about the ‘homely feels’. Home is not a place; it is indeed a feeling. Recently, when I was almost done with my working hours at our kitchen table (I love working here because I can get a nice view of green trees outside the yard), the breeze of January and the birds chirping just caught me. I stopped for a while and really noticed it. It is so beautiful and homely. From then, some fears seemed plucked out of my mind and reminded me that I was in the best place possible.

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It warmth my heart, and realizations cascaded like I never knew they could. I know the ‘bird and the wind’ experience is an outside world factor, but what really changed that day’s thinking is that I can make my brain feel better regardless of my circumstances if I willed it to. It’s not only the birds and the breeze; my brain can take those things as homely as they are since I noticed them intently. Now, wherever I am, I should always have something inside me to keep me from wandering away from my ‘home’.

I guess intentionality coupled with slowing down, feeling the warmth beneath your feet, and REALLY noticing things inside us makes us mindful of seeing the things outside us and can make our daily lives meaningful as the true home is all along within us. Sometimes, it needs a little bit of a knock of gratitude & a mindful mind, and of course to stand up from our chairs and move around.

…and a prayer would always do every single time we will start even a very small, and simple task.

I hope you are having a blessed day! Have a beautiful weekdays ahead. May you remember what you have learned. I hope you will. See you next Sunday here.

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Grace be upon you.

Sincerely,

Kryz

References:

Siddarth, P., Burggren, A. C., Eyre, H. A., Small, G. W., & Merrill, D. A. (2018). Sedentary behaviour associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults. PLOShttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195549

Solan, M. (2022). The worst habits for your brain. *Harvard Men’s Health Watch*. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-worst-habits-for-your-brain

hebrews 11:16

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