Historians credit author Thomas Wolfe for coming up with the expression, “You can’t go home again”.
Although this was just the title of his book, many people have expanded this idiom to mean that you cannot return to where you once lived.
I am positive Wolfe never meant to have his words taken literally. There is nothing wrong with returning to live in the town you grew up in. You might even need to move back with your parents, or because of a job. This is all normal stuff. But it is true that you can’t go back home to become who you once were any more than a rooster can return to the egg, or a fallen leaf to reattach itself to the tree.
Recalibrating wrongful thinking
The idea I could never go back to my old self has made me melancholy when I am in the middle of difficult life transitions. These dark stretches had me convinced I would never return to a time when my life would be bright, hopeful and carefree once again. Would my inability to return to these better days mean that I would forever live in misery and regret?
Looking back, I see how I hitched my wagon to some crap thinking. On the one hand, my belief that things once broken could never be healed forbade me to take risks. Risk could lead to changes that would disrupt my sense of security and comfort. I might never forgive myself if I lost those things.
Many people run through these same mind games. Religious teachings are at the core of these old beliefs. All poor Adam and Eve did was take one bite out of an apple, and God banished them from their home in Paradise forever. The whole idea of sin and eternal damnation teaches that humans are immoral beings that God has to keep in line. We are also scared into thinking that we can burn in hell for eternity depending on how God judges our lives.
What kind of God is this? Certainly not one that I want to believe in. This is not the all loving, and ever creating Higher Consciousness I have come to know. Unfortunately, it is the vision of a harsh and vindictive God that is the inheritance we have passed on to our kids.
These beliefs are wrong. Our spiritual and emotional evolution is the very reason we are on this earth. Mistakes are a part of learning every bit as much as successes. That we cannot go back to who we were is a blessing, not a curse. Change is the way of everything around you, it is a necessary part of our lives.
Change makes us greater
After four years living in Vero Beach, I decided it was time to move on. I had arrived in Vero Beach, Florida, torn apart by a divorce, an unplanned relocation and an unwanted retirement. This small town on Florida’s Treasure Coast became the much-needed cocoon for my transformation and healing. And, after several years of reflection, spiritual studies and meditation, I was ready to go out into the world again. I decided it was time to let my soul’s ship leave the safe harbor that Vero Beach had become.
My first thoughts were to return to my beloved city of Denver, a place where I had spent over five decades. In Denver, I had received all of my education and had dedicated my life’s work to making it a better place. Eagerly, I visited the city to gage the possibility of returning.
It only took one visit there to realize I had transformed from the person I had been. Not surprisingly, friends and family whom I visited still viewed me as the person I once was in their eyes.
This was understandable, for they had not been privy to my personal transformation. What became clear was that, if I returned, they would try to shoehorn me back to the person they knew me to be. I decided not to return to Denver.
I share this story because it is so typical of what happens in so many lives. The reason we cannot return to our old selves is because our old way of thinking can no longer restrain our spiritual growth. For this reason, sometimes our spiritual growth demands a new setting, whether that is a job, different relationships, or a new location.
It is not bad news that you cannot return to who you once were. As you develop, you move towards higher power, possibilities and understanding. Not being able to go back “home” is a sign that you are maturing into the greatest person a Higher Consciousness meant for you to be.
Photo by Aditya Naidu on Unsplash