This Place We Call Home

On June 20, 1782 the Bald Eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States of America to symbolize all our nation stood for – long life, great strength and absolute freedom.  Today this majestic creature continues to stand for what we proud Americans have always believed- our country is the home of the free.

Something happened though to put a kink in our belief system about America.  The events of September 11, 2001 gave all of us living in America a shocking wake up call.  Home no longer felt as secure.

Out of nowhere planes crashed into The Twin Towers  of the World Trade Center in New York, The Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside killing many Americans, all in the name of politics.

I believe that those that perished made their way to a better home.  Those left to pick up the pieces, the grieving families and friends of those that died had to begin to redefine what “Home” means.  I suspect some have worked through much of the grief and have a renewed sense of what matters in life and cherish each and every moment.  But, others I feel sure are still grappling with the process.

I was shocked on September 2001 just as everyone was.  As I mentioned in my post, Houseless Not Homeless, I was in Richmond, VA doing some work at my brother, Don’s house.  Richmond is but a few hours from Washington, DC and that in and of itself was eerie.  But, the sounds of silence were deafening when we walked outside that day- no planes in the sky anywhere.  Period.  I was scared to death and stunned that our country had fallen prey to such evil.  I, like most Americans was used to things like this happening on the soil of other countries- not ours.  In a matter of minutes I had a feeling of vulnerability, insecurity and simple gut wrenching fear.  Most of us did.

But, I had already come to know this fear of losing my sense of home well.  Before September 11th I had lived with it for many, many years.

Let me explain…

Losing the sense of home

Bald eagle perched in tree

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

In the late 1990’s I became a statistic of divorce.  Married almost twenty years and with three kids, my world unraveled in what felt like a skinny second.  Everything changed.  I mean everything.  What happened?  More than a divorce, I lost my family unit.  That was the most important thing to me in the world.  It didn’t matter where I lived, what I was doing, or what I was facing, when my family unit was in tact I felt safe.   Home for me had always been defined as my family and now my safety net was gone.

In losing this safety net I lost what grounded me.  In fact, up until just a couple of years ago I carried a pit in my stomach at all times.  I can only describe it as a pit of fear –  fear of the unknown.  You see, my world had been uprooted and I couldn’t figure out how to reconnect and secure it again.  At the same time that I carried the pit in my stomach, I was plagued with almost nightly dreams that took place in the last house I lived in with my complete family.  Oddly enough, the dreams constantly varied in the details of what was happening but, the house was always the same -  the one in a neighborhood called Giverny in Charlotte, NC – the place I called home.  In some dreams I was putting new curtains up, others I was working in the yard planting flowers and still others I was sitting with friends on the front steps. Regardless of the dream situation, it was clear to me time after time that through these dreams I was processing a redefining of “Home”.  Hence, the new decorating and landscaping in my dreams!  Psychologically, I took from these constant dreams that I now needed to redefine what home meant to me.  I needed to regain the safety and security I had lost.

Then, out of nowhere came a wake up call.  A chance encounter in December of 2006 (oddly enough, approximately ten years after my marital issues arose)  forced me to reckon with my past and all I had lost.  Though the ensuing years have been full of ugliness, drama and consequences I have emerged on the other side of this encounter more centered, fulfilled and blissful than I ever could imagine.  In the process, I learned where “Home” really is – in my heart and soul.  With it there, I have no chance of disconnecting from it ever again.

Now I am in the refining “Home” phase. How exhilarating!

Home’s rightful place is in the heart

What I learned was something I need to pass on.  I learned that I had inaccurately defined home all those years.  I had put the meaning of home outside myself.  It should have been centered in me- smack  dab in my heart and soul.  If I had first had it there, I could have been better prepared for losing my family structure.

Remember my article, Houseless Not Homeless?  Remember how Kenny never lost his sense of home because all the while, even living in his red truck home was in his heart?  Kenny understood better than anyone I have ever met the truth about where home needs to reside.

Bald eagle watching nest

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

A few weeks ago by sheer coincidence (and I really don’t believe in coincidences) I learned about a tragic event that had occurred in the house David and I are renting.  Oddly enough, I learned about this event two days before my post, “What Makes A House A Home was published.  In the article I mention my landlord and her near obsession with this house.  In fact, I talk about how it is her “house” but, it is my “home”.  I assumed she was obsessed with the house because she had wanted to sell it and was worried about “renters” living in it. Oh my gosh, was I ever humbled with news of what had happened here.  It just goes to show you, assumptions are only that- assumptions.  The truth was she absolutely positively lost her meaning of home one tragic evening here in this house.   Dear God, no  wonder she is so attached to it.  I only hope she someday redefines home and I hope this place called “Home”  moves into her heart.  It is her only chance to live again.

Baby bald eagle

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Which leads me back to defining what home is.  I do not for a second believe that I have experienced the worst of the worst in losing my sense of home.  Never have I been without shelter (like so many, many people), never have I been forced from my house (through acts of evil) and never have I faced horrific living conditions (such as concentration camps, relocation camps, political prisons).  I cannot imagine what levels of strength it would take to rise up after an experience such as one of these and try to find home again.  Nonetheless, up until a few years ago my life was missing the wholeness I had once had when my family was intact.  So, I looked inside myself and found it again.

Wake up America

My chance encounter in 2006 was my wake up call to redefining home and putting it in its rightful place- my heart.

Kenny has it in his heart and I pray that my landlord finds a way to put it in her’s as well.

All of us can take adversity, trauma and tragedy to create the balance in our lives we so desperately need.  I believe it begins in the home.

Fly like an eagle

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

On a larger scale, this is what we Americans have had to do as a Nation after the horrible events of September 11, 2001.  Every single one of us has had to redefine what home here in the United States means.  This place called home cannot live outside of us.  No one can create it for us or provide it for us.  It must come from within.  The truth of the matter is that if we have accurately redefined “Home” we are better for it.  We smile bigger smiles, laugh deeper laughs and love with abandon.  For if we put “Home” in our hearts, nothing but love can burst forth.

I urge each of you to embrace the shift that September 11, 2001 and now its 10th anniversary has given us the opportunity to make.  Shift your priorities, shift your values and shift your attitudes to a more basic level of love.  As the country music duo, “Big and Rich” urged the audience to do the other night in concert at Naperville’s Last Fling, get on board the Love Train.

Don’t be left behind at the station.

When you get right down to it, love is everything.  And remember, everything begins in the home.

Love with abandon…

NOTE:  Nature Photographer, Susan Muehl has been capturing the beauty of these magnificent bald eagles throughout the last two years at a lake near her home, Lake Accotink Park in Springfield VA.  They gave birth to twins this spring – to life and living in the U.S.A.!

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Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

14 thoughts on “This Place We Call Home

  1. Hello. Jamie: I have reread this e-mail 3x. Gave me pause and time for I trospection. I do remember the feeling of horror and numbness on 9-11-01. I never felt so insecure. Gary and I celebrate our 50th Ann. Sept. 16th. We have had our trying times but lots of love times also. So glad to read you have found your HOME again and that you have David in your HOME too!
    Wish you many blessings.
    Joy Stark

    • Joy, first let me send you early congratulations on your upcoming 50th anniversary! Now that is something to celebrate! Secondly, I want to thank you for your kinds words. I am truly blessed to have my David- he is kind, compassionate and gives his love unconditionally. I am blessed to have found him. At the same time, I give him my unconditional love. Isn’t that what God intended us mortals to do?!? I believe that the chance encounter of 2006 uprooted any vestiges of what I had clung to as my definition of home. I dug down deep and reconnected with my essence after this encounter and learned something really, really important. There is nothing out there- be it fame, fortune, good looks, spouse, partner, children or friends that can COMPLETE us and give us HOME. I am reminded of the scene in “Jerry McGuire” when the character Rene Zellweger plays says to Jerry (played by Tom Cruise), “You complete me”. The truth couldn’t be farther from this statement. The truth is God is within us and so we are already complete. Everything else and everyone else is just more toppings on the hot fudge sundae of life. If we Americans understood this, I believe we would all live in peace and harmony. I choose to.

  2. Wow! What an amazing post! My favorite yet! Thanks for sharing from such a deep place, I love your raw emotion and honesty :)

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope others read my words, reflect on their own versions of HOME and embrace love and kindness. If the feelings most of us are feeling today as we remember back to the tragedy ten years ago stay with us beyond today’s anniversary, I believe we have a chance to live in peace and harmony – no matter your political persuasion, gender, age, economic standing or religion. All it takes is a desire to truly love from the heart and let go of the human condition called ego!

  3. Lovely post, Jamie, and it gives me a lot to ponder about home and our country. Reading your comment to Lindsay makes me also think about the unity we all seemed to feel 10 years ago. What will the 10th anniversary of our tragedy bring to us as a country? Time will tell, I suppose. I feel we’re a long way from the sense of oneness we felt then, but I am also hopeful we will learn to live in harmony and peace some day. I have to believe that. Today at the lake I watched juvenile hawks soaring in the sky with one of our juvenile eagles. They should be enemies, but they were soaring together today. Are they just too young to realize they shouldn’t be friends? Or have they somehow decided there is enough lake for all of them? It gave me much to dream about.

    • Thank you so much! I have come to love your eagle family through the pictures you so graciously provide for me to use in my blog. I hope I have done them justice! As you know, my belief is that it is through nature that we are the best we can be. For it is nature itself that grounds us, balances us and yes, unites us. How wonderful for you to have such an awesome show at the lake today! Two creatures living in harmony soaring to new heights! I am choosing to see this as a glorious sign that we can all achieve this in humanity. I believe it can happen. I know it can happen. I will be a part of it happening- one domino in line for creating a movement of love. Let us not forget September 11th ever! Let us forge ahead and care about each other in our homes, our businesses, our schools, our houses of worship and our houses of politics! All the best to you…

  4. When I was watching the hawks and the eagle soaring together, I was also thinking “if they can do it, so can we.” I don’t think it was a coincidence that I saw it today! I’ll happily join in your line of dominoes creating a movement of love! Also, your words on nature definitely resonate with me! How perfect!

    • I firmly believe that we must both singly and collectively as part of humanity reconnect with nature. To separate from nature in essence separates us from ourselves as we are as much a part of nature as the tress, the flowers, the creatures and the earth. That is why being in nature is so grounding- even if for a few minutes, the benefits are enormous. Thus, my mission to bring nature inside our homespace!

  5. Jamie, your words are always so remarkable. I do have to agree that this post is the best one yet. For me, September 11th means alot. I was born and raised in NY. Lived there for 21 years of my life. I had a lot of friends and some family members that were at the WTC. Your post hit home for so many reasons. I felt the same way when the towers were attached. One because I was worried about my friends and family members and because it was an attack on Americans as a whole. Thank you again for your posts and keep up the good work.

    • Thank you so much Kristin. It means a lot to me to hear you liked the article. I really, really wrestled with posting on the 9/11 anniversary. (Who wants to hear what little ole me has to say about 9/11, right?) In the end, I just had to. We Americans lost a real sense of security and balance in our lives that day. And as I mentioned, I had lived this loss of balance in my personal life many years earlier. After my chance encounter in 2006, I took the road less traveled by and began the exploration I needed to reconnect with my essence. In doing so, I redefined what HOME means to me. My hope with this article was to empower readers to use 9/11 and any other tragedy for that matter to travel the same road I chose. The road less traveled though bumpy and full of twists and turns leads to a place of pure harmony and bliss. Let none of us forget what the tragic times can teach us. Live life every moment and love with abandon. Keep reading…

  6. Jamie. Thank you finding your voice at this time in your life and for being willing to share it and speak it, not only to me but for me. You have a gift.
    I passed this article on to at least a dozen people yesterday to let them know they were in the home in my heart.
    Susan, your eagle photos are amazing. You have a gift also. What an affirmation right in your own back yard!

    • Thanks so much Lori. Wow, what an incredible honor that my words hit your Heart HOME and you were compelled to share with others. I am reminded of the words from the song, “I’m Here” in the musical “The Color Purple”. The words are, “I believe I have inside of me everything that I need to live a bountiful life”. Every time I hear this song or repeat it in my mind, I smile in thanks that once HOME found its resting place in my heart, my life became bountiful. It was and is that simple.

  7. Lori, thank you so much! It means a lot to me that you enjoyed the eagle pictures. It’s been amazing spending so much time with them over the past couple of years and really getting to know them! We’ve learned a lot from quietly watching. We are blessed to have such a beautiful park within walking distance of our home.

  8. Wow, I just got to to read this post. Beautifully written. I think fate had a hand in David sitting next to Melissa on the plane in Dec. 2006. I think the pit in your stomach was all the unknowns in your life. Once you were able to fined out the truth about the past, you could start the healing process. Jamie found “Home”. I am so proud that you are inspiring readers to look inside themselves to fine “Home” where ever they are. Hopefully the families of 9/11 victims have found home without their beloved family member or friend that were lost that day.

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