Do you have a spiritual home?

Beach
We’ve just spent two weeks house-sitting for a friend in Brighton, my old home-town.

It’s the strangest thing but after two or three days in Brighton, I feel something shift – like a change in my centre of gravity. I find myself thinking, “Oh yes, this is who I am. This is what it feels like.”

I feel more myself in Brighton than I do anywhere else I can think of.

Part of my attachment to the city is perhaps that my memories there have such emotional resonance – it’s where I bought my first flat and my first car. It’s where I got engaged and bought my house, and my dog, then got married, and had a baby. It’s where I made my closest adult friends. It’s where my marriage broke down. Every time I turn a corner, there’s a memory that’s powerful enough tostop me in my tracks.

But I think it’s more than that.

I love the energy of Brighton. It has a youth and creativity that you don’t find everywhere, and the beach balances out the noise of the city. It's a place that embraces difference – in the small town where I live I am the only single parent I know, but in Brighton our social circle included single Mums and couples gay and straight.

Difference makes life more interesting. Flea's nanny was gay and used to work for Cher. Our neighbour was a Green Party MP. We knew people who home educated and people who had set up their own Quaker school. I love that kind of diversity and difference – you’re always learning new things, being surprised.   

There are problems in Brighton to be sure – drugs and alcohol are a big issue, the parking situation is nightmarish, and let’s not even talk about the school situation. But, oh, I look up at the sky there and I feel at home.

I wonder if it’s just sentimentality, or missing my youth (which, let’s face it, is a distant memory at this point) or can you really have a spiritual home – a place where you’re just meant to be? Or is home where you choose to make it? 

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

28 Comments

  1. 5th August 2011 / 4:55 am

    Seems fitting that we share the same feelings about brighton. Whenever I return a feel a sense of calm not realised in any other home.

  2. 5th August 2011 / 5:32 am

    Reading this makes me miss Brighton so much. It’s a very special place.

  3. 5th August 2011 / 5:38 am

    Don’t even get me started – although part of my current unreat is that I hate this relentlessly hot weather.

  4. 5th August 2011 / 8:42 am

    I certainly think that there are places which generate and hold energy for certain people, places where they are meant to be. Enjoy the feeling!

  5. dinosoles shoes
    5th August 2011 / 10:17 am

    Yes,a place where you can find silence and peace.For me the best spot is near the seaside because you feel the breeze of water and wind that you can meditate and feel more relax and away from any stress and problems in

  6. 5th August 2011 / 12:30 pm

    For me it is the centre of Dartmoor, for almost the opposites of what you describe. it is peaceful and lonely and slow and staid and life just moves like a river. And beautiful and healing and all sort of other things.
    I think I fell in love with a secret part of my dh there too, which adds something. When he took me there, to the place of his childhood, he finally let me see a part of him he keeps closed up. It made a difference. We will move there one day, we’ll bury Freddie there – but that is because he gave it to me as a home, having been a child myself who grew up all over the place.

  7. 5th August 2011 / 1:16 pm

    Well, we are psychic twin best friends forever, right?

  8. 5th August 2011 / 1:16 pm

    It really is! I’m glad other people love it as much as I do.

  9. 5th August 2011 / 1:16 pm

    Oh, poor you. Is it blistering at the moment?

  10. 5th August 2011 / 1:16 pm

    I do enjoy it, I just miss it when I leave!

  11. 5th August 2011 / 1:17 pm

    I think Brighton has some peace but perhaps it’s about what we lack elsewhere – and for me that’s energy and diversity and creativity. But your description of Dartmoor is really lovely!

  12. susie@newdaynewlesson
    5th August 2011 / 1:59 pm

    very and stupidly humid as well.

  13. susie@newdaynewlesson
    5th August 2011 / 2:00 pm

    I am still looking for a particular place that makes me feel like that and just calms me.

  14. 5th August 2011 / 9:22 pm

    I always feel like I have a spiritual home – Yorkshire, the only place I can go and not get an upset stomach! I grew up there but left when I was 10 but I just feel like that’s where I belong, where I need to be with my family. You can make a home wherever, but I definitely think you can get this spiritual pull for a place.

  15. Gill
    5th August 2011 / 10:04 pm

    I can relate to how you feel. My spiritual home has to be Torbay. It’s maybe lost some of its sparkle and perhaps looks a little bit tired here and there but on the whole whenever I go there I feel like I’ve ‘come home’. It’s where I spent my childhood holidays and I’ve revisited many times as an adult too. I always get a funny little lurch deep in my stomach when I see Paignton sea front after a few years of having not seen it. It’s where I left my childhood behind, the long hot summers aren’t all in the mind, they were real and I remember them well, it just never rained in the summer when I was a child.

  16. 5th August 2011 / 10:19 pm

    I’ve never “lived” there but our spiritual home is Barcelona. I’d love to live there. Every time we go, we mostly know exactly where we are going and hardly use the map. It just has a nice vibe to the whole place. If it weren’t for the fact our Spanish or our Catalan is nowhere near a decent standard to make living there easy, we’d have moved years ago! (Oh and it’s expensive to buy property there, that might be a problem!

  17. 5th August 2011 / 10:23 pm

    Gill, we used to go to Paignton a lot as kids and my family have regularly gone back there throughout their lives. My sister moved there about 13 years ago and is still in Paignton. She does love it there tho staying in employment seems to be a constant battle.

  18. 6th August 2011 / 12:02 am

    I have never lived in Brighton but I love being there, we both do. I feel so calm and relaxed and feel alive again. It is a very special place and we have some great memories there as well. xx

  19. 7th August 2011 / 12:00 pm

    I’ve never been to Brighton- will have to go soon. I think anywhere near the sea gives me a feeling of calm. I grew up in a coastal city in Massachusetts and love the sea. The gray churning stormy sea and the calm sunny sea. I love the smell of low tide and the sound of the hurricane sirens going off. I love going to sleep listening to the waves crash. OK now I’m homesick.

  20. 7th August 2011 / 4:51 pm

    I love that the place you live is exactly where you want to be – perfect!

  21. 7th August 2011 / 4:52 pm

    Yorkshire is lovely – my favourite places are around Bolton Abbey and Harrogate – just gorgeous.

  22. 7th August 2011 / 4:52 pm

    Ooh, I adore Barcelona – the architecture, the food… blissful.

  23. 7th August 2011 / 4:53 pm

    St Annes beach is lovely, I agree – we often visit as it’s just a few minutes from our house.

  24. 7th August 2011 / 4:55 pm

    I think if you grow up by the sea, you always come back!

  25. 8th August 2011 / 8:44 am

    I think you’re right, there’s always a place where you feel most comfortable. To me it’s the area of Liverpool where I grew up. Even though I haven’t lived there for years, whenever I visit I almost feel like I’m returning ‘home’.

  26. party bags
    6th September 2011 / 2:36 pm

    I find this really inspiring. Good thing I happened to read it. I hope you’ll continue inspiring people.

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