“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~T. S. Eliot
I’m back, baby! And happy and grateful to be here. I took a litle va-kay from my column and blog and it’s good to be home. Thanks to all the lovely people who let me know I was missed and who expressed their appreciation for my writing. The truth is, I missed writing. Sometimes (always) it’s instructive to separate from things in order to know just how much (or how little) they truly mean to you; a little hiatus can show you many things about yourself, and it serves to heighten appreciation for what you truly love. Missing something, or someone, is a very good thing.
My five-month walkabout was hugely illuminating in ways completely unexpected. I left, I thought, to do some new and different things, and I did: I did some business coaching and writing and a lot of thinking. I figured I was heading out on a pretty straightforward journey to go from A to B. What I wound up doing was making one, long spiral back home, a spiraling which gave me an entirely new perspective.
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, sometimes (always) we have to leave home and make a difficult journey in order to discover who and what we really are. We can’t really see ourselves clearly until we meet and are challenged by something outside of ourselves, and my journey was nothing if not challenging. Discomfort and debacles abounded. I made my coach crazy with my switchbacks and emotional processing. And she, for her part, caused me to lie awake at night ruminating about who I am, why I’m here, and what I truly want. As painful and frustrating as it was, those are good things to wonder about. After all, those are the essential questions of life. And eventually, after some really heinous self-examination, I’m home.
Home is where the heart is inclined. Home is our passion and our intuition. Home is the gifts and talents we bring to this life. Home is our soul, our true self, the place where our humanity and divinity meet and make magic. It’s the journey away that makes home meaningful, the journey that allows us to see ourselves in a new light and shows us capacities that we didn’t realize we had, or didn’t fully trust. That’s why we make these sojourns. It’s not to reach Oz: it’s to return home and discover it anew.
My goal-oriented coach did not understand this. For her, it was about getting to Oz. For me, it was, ultimately, about discovering that there’s no place like home. Just as the tasks presented by the wizard showed Dorothy what she was made of, the tasks I was given awakened my self-awareness and emboldened me — not to become a brilliant and aggressive marketing machine, but to embrace who I am, rather than trying to be someone I thought I needed or ought to be. Sometimes a great big “No!” is just as valuable as a great big “Yes!” Sometimes it is a great big “Yes” in “No” clothing. I would not have been so inspired to champion my own way had I not been confronted with an alternative way.
There really is no place like home: being who you truly are, using your passion and talents in service to the world, and loving and appreciating what you had all along.