Can We Ever Really Go Back?
For the last few weeks, I’ve had this overwhelming urge to go back…
To what? I’m not exactly sure.
But what I am certain of is this: where I’m going feels equally unclear. It’s not that I don’t have anything going on, projects in the works, future goals, etc., I’m just not sure where all that is taking me. This lack of certainty causes an uncomfortable feeling that makes me want to revisit the past…closed doors I’d probably be better off never opening again. But I keep thinking, maybe, if I went back to something in my past, I’d find what seems to be missing right now.
Whenever you find yourself at a crossroads or a place in life where your path seems foggy, it’s natural to panic a little. When you feel the slow-down, it’s easy to consider turning back, back to a former relationship, a previous job or position, back to school, to a time, place or activity you knew before. Back to when things were more predictable, more familiar.
At the very least, you knew who you were back then (or so it seems). It’s very, very tempting, but it’s only a distraction from what’s really happening – you are evolving. Change is happening inside of you, but it’s hard for you to perceive because it’s happening so slowly. If it happened too quickly, it would knock you off of your feet.
The truth is, we walk away from the past and certain experiences because we learned what we needed to at the time in order to evolve. Going back can’t solve our dilemma or dissolve our feelings of discomfort (at least not for long). Those are necessary parts of growing and evolving. Our soul desires evolution and it will always find a way even if we’re not 100% ready. We might not have the answers for how that will happen or what the next experience will be for us. We may need to sit at this crossroads for a while, listening to our heart, waiting on a forward moving train.
I’m not saying we can NEVER go back, because I’ve known people who discover a long lost love and are happier than ever, but often we don’t know the difference between that and running away from our fears about the future.
So the next time you get the urge as I did to go back to some former version of yourself, pay attention to how the thought of it feels. You’ll notice when you think about going back, there’s no actual excitement, just a desire for safety calling you. You’re longing to slip into something familiar.
But moving forward feels different, like excitement, inspiration and probably a little fear all mixed together. When the time is right, moving forward pulls you along like swimming downstream in a flowing river. Things just feel right. Even if a challenge awaits us, we’re happy to embrace it because it aligns with how we imagine our best selves emerging. It is easy now to say YES!
Believe me, the time is coming; it always does.
So try not to get so freaked out by the unknowns in life that you follow the temptation back to a place that’s no longer right for you. Recognize the feelings of discomfort and the overwhelming nostalgia for another time for what they really are – our inner child’s need for safety and security.
As humans, we all gravitate toward certainty and comfort at times. Honor those feelings for what they are and rather than going back to what you’ve already mastered, find another healthy way to comfort yourself while you wait for answers. Perhaps do less and be more – be available to your friends and family. Be attentive and curious. Be open and willing. Listen. Learn. Maybe take a class you’ve been interested in. Maybe visit a new local place you’ve never been to before. Be creative, doodle, write, put your hands in the Earth and grow something wild.
As for me, I’m sitting still. Everything is up in the air…money, place, people are all shifting around me and all I can do is acknowledge that I’m here in the dark, a place I’ve been hanging out a few months now. But as far as I can tell, I’m still safe and as long as that holds out, I’ll wait patiently for what’s next. Maybe I’m just getting better at not pushing, at not trying to force things. Maybe I’m learning how to be more relaxed living in the flow. I’m not really sure; so for now, I’ll just focus on what matters most and pray that takes me safely into tomorrow.
Have you ever felt that life had stalled, wondering what’s next? Share your story in the comments below.
Thanks for reading…