Dwell and dwelling are words that have hugged my ears and tugged at my heart each month this year. To dwell is to live in or at a particular place – physically and/or mentally. Dwelling is defined as a place of residence – a physical place. We can dwell in physical places that feel comfortable, safe and homey. We can also find ourselves dwelling, at work or at home, in nature or in built-environments.
Safety and comfort are important parts of my dwelling place. To dwell in a place means that I feel protected, cared for, creative, and inspired. Without these qualities, I’m living in a place rather than actually dwelling in a residence. Somehow the word dwell offers the visual of open arms and a warm, supportive (non-demanding and unconditional) hug.
Dwell carries with it a sense of permanence and stability; a sense of sustainability. Dwelling brings the imagery of a structure that provides shelter from nature and from the world; that provides places to keep ourselves and our things; that provides room for creativity; and that evokes a smile even when we are away from it.
Many animals dwell in a nest for at least a portion of their lives. Others dwell in water or dirt, grass, or caves. Each location is chosen for its safety and comfort while raising young, while surviving winter, and while simply sleeping.
Dwelling can also happen as a part of our state-of-mind. We can dwell on positive memories. We can dwell darkly on past hurts. The point being, that we can choose upon what we will dwell mentally and where we dwell physically.
Upon what and where do you dwell?
Note: This Jana Kemp post first appeared online November 29, 2018.