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  • How Do You Deal with Home and the Holidays?

    “Home and the Holidays”: there’s such a sense of natural and even sentimental warmth around this phrase. Home is a word that is full of emotional power for us.

    home and the holidays
    PHOTO: Stock Photo Secrets

    You know that you’ve reached that “Home and the Holidays” space when you again hear all the Holiday music playing in stores and on the radio. In my area, at least, we’ve been in that place for a while now. For many people, this time of year brings up a lot of feelings: positive, negative—or both! What is it that is so powerful about these twin themes of “home and the holidays”?

    I’ve written about the powerful archetype of “home” previously. Here is something that has great emotional resonance in our culture.

    One of the songs played frequently at this time of year has the chorus “There’s no place like Home for the Holidays”. Other than that rather sentimental chorus, the song is basically a description of people making all kinds of efforts to get back to wherever they identify as “home” for the Holiday season. They do this regardless of the expenditure of time, effort or money involved. Somehow, this resonates powerfully.

    Something else is worthy of note about this particular song. The people described in the song all seem to be somewhere other than “home”, and they have to travel to get there. This probably resonates far more with our experience in the highly mobile world of the 2020s than when singer Perry Como recorded “Home for the Holidays” in 1959.

    Trying to Get Home for the Holidays

    This Holiday season, like every Holiday season, many of us will be “trying to get home for the Holidays”. That phrase can mean a wide range of things to a wide variety of people. For some, as for the individuals in the song, it will be a matter of trying to physically travel “home”, wherever and whatever that might be. In addition to physical travel, people will be trying to “get home” in a whole range of other ways.

    It’s actually those other ways of “trying to get home” that I want to focus on. Consider that classic movie scene from “The Wizard of Oz”, where Dorothy repeats to herself with more and more fervour “There’s no place like home!” It’s evident that she’s referring to a geographical location—but also to much, much more. Just what exactly is she on about, and why has it stayed in our imagination for the last eighty years?

    “There’s no place like home!” PHOTO: Stock Photo Secrets

    It’s important for us to think about all the things that get symbolized by the image of “going home”. Among other things, “home” can symbolize:

    • the place where I was born;
    • the place where I grew up;
    • the place I lived the longest in my life;
    • the place where I connect with my family of origin, or certain key members of that family;
    • the place where I live surrounded by my current family and friends; or,
    • the place where my family is from (e.g., when members of my family referred to “over home”, they meant the UK, even though none of us were born there!)

    In short, “home” is a symbol for the place in your life where you feel in control, physically and emotionally safe, and related to your life in the proper way. It’s a place of security, where I can be myself, meet with absolute acceptance, and feel my anxiety is at a minimum.. In the words of Knox College Prof. Frank Andrew, “In short, ‘home’ is the primary connection between you and the rest of the world.”

    Things That Get in the Way of Going Home

    So, all of these things—and considerably more—are in the background when we reflect on “home and the Holidays”. When we reflect on the Holidays with anticipation, we may very well be trying to connect with this “home” reality. Jung would stress that it’s important not to underestimate the strength of our drive to make this connection.

    We may go to gatherings with our relatives. We may settle down for celebrations with our nuclear family. We may travel back to the place where we were born. We may do these things with the conscious and/or unconscious expectation of encountering some sharing in the longing for “home and the Holidays”. Perhaps we find some of that reality. Or, perhaps we meet with disappointment—for many people, an all-too-familiar disappointment.

    Perhaps the place where we are longing to experience “home and the Holidays” is not “home-like” at all. Perhaps there are bits of “home”, mixed in with other difficult feelings and experiences.

    We yearn for something that can be hard to find. Where can we experience the reality of home? Is it something that we can find externally, or is it something that we need to find within ourselves?

    Our Real Home

    What or where is your real home? When have you felt connected to “home”, and why? How can you take care of yourself, so that you feel more connected to home, and feel more “at home” in the world? In your world? These are key questions for our well-being.

    A supportive, relationship with a Jungian /a-midlife-transition can greatly help in the process of finding our own way of feeling more at home in in the midst of our own world, and our own real lives.

    With every good wish for your personal journey,

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