Unpack: Be present, Be here!

Hi There!

The past month has been a delight over here at Heart Your Home Love Your Life! In addition to a Winter Wonderland (we got 10 inches of snow last night here in Massachusetts!), we’ve also been in House Call Wonderland!  I’ve gotten to enter the intimate territory of your homes through some very sweet phone conversations with many of you!  A big thank you!

winter wonderland!

winter wonderland!

And now, as we are in the heart of the holiday season, I have something for you that has absolutely NOTHING to do with gifts, shopping, trees, parties, cookies, or elves.  This something is a home-something, a something you can do for your home and for your life that just might have some big relevance for you during this holiday season—and beyond.  Hint—it has to do with unpacking our lives so that we can live in the now.

Have you ever returned from a trip and stared at your suitcase of clothes for days, not wanting to unpack because it would mean that the trip is over?  Or, to go away on a trip and never really unpack your bag in the new place because, well, why bother if it’s only for a week? Returning home after a recent week away for Thanksgiving, I was reminded of the meaning behind all of this and how unpacking our bags actually allows us to be present and grounded wherever we land!

When we come home from traveling and put off unpacking our bags, it leaves us in limbo-land, not fully here and not fully there.  Part of us stays in the place we left behind and makes it hard to really be back home.  And when we’re not fully home, it’s actually harder to go about relating and connecting with our selves and our communities.

My antidote to the loss we may feel in returning to normal life after a trip away from home:  create a “remembering space.”  This is a spot on top of a table, dresser, or kitchen counter where you place several reminders from your time away—to keep the memory alive so you don’t have to let your unpacked bags keep it alive!  I find myself doing this after most trips away—see the above picture of a remembering space I created after a recent trip. It allows me to keep remembering the special moments of the trip while ALSO fully being back home.  (Iceland Lonely Planet guide, Icelandic rhubarb jam, a heart shaped rock we found hiking, a piece of coral, an Icelandic coin, and some Icelandic chocolate!)

And when we travel to a new place and don’t unpack our bags there because we figure we’ll just have to repack them again in a few days or week, part of us stays home and doesn’t ever fully arrive at our new destination.

To fully unpack—whether on the coming or going end—communicates to ourselves and our hosts—I am here!  I am in!  I am ready!  I am available!  And for those who are not traveling, but hosting—encourage your guests to fully unpack and fully arrive—which may mean making sure there’s space for them to do so!

Here’s an invitation for all of us this holiday season…to unpack, to arrive, to be present, to be ready, to be available, and to open ourselves up to all the magic of the season.

Wishing bright homes + bright hearts to all of you during this special time of year.  See you in 2014!

Much Love, Anne