Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Wednesday, October 11, 2006 ~ Warren, Michigan

You can't go home again.
~ Thomas Wolfe, 1934

It's late. Past midnight. So it really is Wednesday, not Tuesday.

I've been back from tonight's sound initiation event for a couple of hours but I'm too tired to go to sleep, not an uncommon experience after a live event or teleconference.

I'm also still awake because of a revelation I had a while ago.

Yesterday in Flagging Resistance, I wrote about my adventures with my auto insurer and the mystery resistance that had lifted sufficiently to get me the last bit of paperwork I needed to drive in Canada.

Well, if emotion is an accurate polygraph, I seem to have discovered at least one aspect of the mystery.

It happened while was on the phone with a Toronto friend, batting around possible causes for whatever anxiety had been causing my resistance.

Was I afraid I would have difficulty getting back into the U.S.? Possibly. I've certainly had some experiences to support that anxiety.

Was I afraid I'd have such a great time revisiting my roots that I wouldn't want to come back? Less likely, but still possible.

And then the aha! that was more than a possible point of resistance. It was the piece de resistance.

I realized that, for me, Toronto is like the emergency stash of cash some people keep in the back of a drawer or closet. As long as they know it's there, they feel safe. It's a security blanket, never to be pulled out, other than to reassure themselves that it's still present for them.

What would happen, though, if they opened that closet or drawer and the money was gone?

What happen to me if, in visiting Toronto, I realized that returning there was no longer an option, that it could no longer function as my security blanket...that I no longer had any safety net?

As soon as I spoke those words aloud, I felt a catch in my throat...was close to tears...knew I had touched the truth.

I knew, too, why it was so important to make the trip.

A few months ago, when considering a Canadian visit, an inner voice told me I would be returning "to say goodbye."

It wasn't until last night that I understood what that meant.

As Thomas Wolfe put it 72 years ago, I can't go home again. I can't because what I perceive to be home lost that designation on June 19, 1997, the day I drove away.

Yet as long as part of me continues to cling to that onetime home as an emergency hatch, I will never be fully free to move forward because one foot will always be anchored in the past.

There's a scene in my novel The MoonQuest where the new king bows before his father, who has abdicated in his son's favor.

Distressed, the old king pulls his son to his feet.

"Do not bow to me, my son. I stand here as the past, and you must never worship the past. ... Honor me by living your own reign, by learning the lessons I could not. ... Don't let your vision linger longingly on the past. Let it go, my son. Let it go."

We all have bits of the past we worship, however unconsciously. We all have old places, attitudes, behaviors and relationships we cling to, just in case. We all feel better flying with a net.

What I learned last night, and continue to learn, is that there are no safety nets, no security blankets, no emergency exits and no secret stashes that can save me. There is only this moment and the currency of faith, which will always sustain me, protect me and keep me moving forward.

What I learned is that any tether to the past prevents me from soaring...flying free...savoring the adventure of the moment. And that even one toe stuck in the old home prevents me from living fully, passionately and prosperously in the new one.

Photo by Mark David Gerson: Death Valley, California

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