Last week, I sold my apartment in Union Square, a neighborhood I’ve called home for over 15 years. I’m currently staying temporarily on the Upper East Side.
Yesterday morning I skipped the gym for a walk through the streets of the neighborhood where I’m staying. I walked through the streets up to the low 90s, over to Carl Schurtz Park, and down the East River esplanade.
In geographic measurements, Manhattan is not a big island. At its widest point — close to 14th Street — it is only 2.3 miles wide. It is only 13.4 miles long. And yet, walking around this neighborhood in the far east corner of the Upper East Side, I felt like I was in a different city.
I noticed a recurring thought:
I’m so far away from home right now.
Then I reminded myself that home is not a building or an apartment or a neighborhood.
Home is internal.
It’s in me, and therefore always available.
How fitting that it was Yom Kippur.
A Day for Homecoming
Yom Kippur is also known as Yom Teshuva. Teshuva is often translated as “repentance.” Yom Kippur is the day we atone for our sins, releasing the past and clearing the slate for the future. It is a long day of prayer and fasting.
Although the day is serious, Yom Kippur is not a day of mourning. It is a happy day; a day for celebration.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks explains that a sin is an act committed in the wrong place. Back in ancient times, the punishment for sins was exile — banishment from the place of the community.
That is true today too. We send the worst offenders to prison — a place of exile from the community.
Even if our actions are not crimes against society, they still separate us from others, ourselves, and from our divine source.
Yom Kippur is a day for homecoming. It is the day when we reconnect to our truth and return home in a physical and spiritual sense.
Home Is Not Something to Find
Our true home is not something we need to “find.” There’s no search to run, no listing portal to scour, no properties to tour.
It is something to uncover, not discover. It is not something we need to research; it is already within us.
Occasionally we separate from our home. We lose our way.
A Blueprint For Returning Home
Yom Kippur offers us the perfect blueprint for how to return.
The path of return is not about doing more things. It’s about undoing. Pause. Rest. Stop.
Homecoming happens from a place of stillness.
We come home when we remember who we are in our truth — when we are not locked in a prison of fear or sequestered in a spiral of doubts.
The path of return comes through release and reconnection.
We return home when we release the things, stories, mindsets, beliefs, fears, attitudes, perspectives, and people that interfere with our ability to remain in our truth.
Our home is revealed when we strip back the surface layers of identity: our societal roles, what we do, where we live.
It surfaces when we peel back the masks and veils that we use to define our persona to reveal the human being beneath.
We return home when we reconnect our body — the permanent vessel we inhabit — with our breath — the fuel of life.
And we return home when we reconnect with our divine purpose.
What is the greatness to which we are being called? What is our role to play? What is the part assigned to us?
What is the thing that only we can do, the message only we can share, the transformation that we are uniquely qualified to catalyze?
This is home.
Being At Home
I reminded myself of this as I stood by the water. Surrounded by an environment that felt world’s away from my usual haunts, I closed my eyes and breathed life into my body.
I felt the presence of the moment on this day designated for homecoming.
Body. Mind. Emotions. Spirit. Soul. All united in one place.
And just like that, I was home.