All those who wander are not lost.
I heard the phrase many times that "you can never go home again" and there is a tendency amongst people that if you hear something often enough, you believe it must be true. For many of us, life's journey involves much back and forth between tasks and obligations, but little exploration that gives us radical new insight into ourselves or our world. We don’t always question the folk legends or collective beliefs such as you can’t go home. So we stay. Or worse yet, sometimes we get stuck.
After many years of living in the United States, recently I returned to live in my birthplace and previous homeland, Ireland. That casual sentence makes all that sound very matter of fact when it was actually anything but that…
When facing a major life decision that will involve uprooting those you love along with you, you don’t enter into it casually. For decades I put off this decision in large part because I probably didn’t think the return was even possible. Obligations and habits kept me going to and fro like an ant on a trail carrying crumbs. It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t like crumbs.
“What do I really want?” I started to ask myself this question. I did not have an answer.
If you pause and ask yourself that question now, what is your answer.
Is that really your answer?
Do you really truly know the answer?
This process of asking myself questions and then examining the answer was new. But the startling part was that I was not clear or sure. I didn’t have the confidence in the answer at all. But, one day when I must have been feeling very brave on a hot Florida day, I whispered in a little voice “I want to go home…” The vocalization of this desire was met with tears. I would call it weeping but it was more like wailing in the spirit of the ancient banshees on the open moor.
The follow up questions followed. Yes. Yes. Yes. Answers came getting stronger each time.
Once the decision was made, the rest was easy. No, that’s not true. It wasn’t easy. That’s the problem with positive thinking, we have an illusion that what we want should come easily. It was not hard to leave after being in America for decades, but it was possible. And more than that, it was worth it to not just me but my partner and child.
Our desires don’t just impact us but they impact all those we love. Our actions are like stones thrown into the center of a pond and rippling out. They impact people in waves depending on their closeness to us.
What is important here to note is that not everyone will be happy for you when your desires don’t help them. When you decide to do something you deeply want that will not benefit them personally, some people will be unhappy with you. The people who will positively benefit from your desire, will be pleased with you. But, this is when you find out who really loves you, because those who love you will actively help you and support you in your courage.
Having a vision for what you want is just a longing unless you put an action plan together with it. I can want something all day, but without action steps getting checked off my list, I will be no further along.
It’s important to know yourself and to have a deep awareness of who you are and what you want. Not just for you but for those closest to you. It’s impossible to get what you really desire if you don’t even know what it is.
Everyday that passes either moves you closer to what you want or further from what you want. It’s really your call but we live in such a busy, noisy and demanding world, it is very hard to know that.
The only way to be true to ourselves is to find ways to be quiet. To strip away all the cultural clutter and chatter to see what is really true for us. No one will give us this time so we have to create it.
There is no danger in living a life you don’t love except that one day there will be no more days. And we don’t know when that day will be. It’s not meant to be morbid but it is a reminder about the fragility and preciously fleeting nature of life.
So, what do you really want? Once you answer this and take action your life will come full circle. And you will be home. Wherever that may be.
I shall see you there. As one of my favorite quotes says “we are all just walking one another home.”