Forty years ago I left home. I was eighteen years old and ready to begin a new adventure. After all, it was a cultural norm to go to college. I put as much thought into the college I chose as I did most other choices in my earlier life. What was I thinking? I wonder how other people choose where to go to college. I would think that one would have to know one’s self well to make a wise choice. But this was far from my situation at the time. How I chose the University of Miami is beyond me, since in retrospect, that college is about as far from who I am as I can imagine.

But it choosing the University of Miami was a choice that eventually led me to knowing myself better than before, by helping me discover who I was not. My former spiritual teacher in New Orleans once referred to me as “the Miami socialite” when describing my Shadow self. This was right before they gave me a Shadow Christmas present of a plastic machine gun that exposed a part of myself I was not prepared to reveal, and these two events, which predated my self-awareness, intersected.

I stayed in Miami for the full four years to complete my undergraduate degree. I was very interested in the research project I was involved in regarding the positive effects of different forms of meditation. Working on this thesis was a big part of my resume for future endeavors. After Miami, I moved to New Orleans to attend graduate school at Tulane University. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I moved to New Orleans. I loved the sleepy southern town that had so much character and so much soul. The relationships I created in New Orleans have sustained themselves throughout my life. This is where I raised my children and this is where my children call home. I have to admit that it was in Louisiana where I truly grew up.

After four years in Miami, thirty years in New Orleans and five years in Colorado, I felt it was important to return to Pennsylvania. There were many reasons for me to move back to Pennsylvania; the illness was progressing steadily, my children and family were in the Northeast and my intuition from the first trip to India strongly suggested that I return to Pennsylvania for the next piece of my healing.

I am unclear whether my work here is done. I suspect it is, and in my meditations I am told that it will become clear in retrospect. It was made clear to me a few months ago, before things became complicated medically, that I needed to move back home, to Colorado and the mountains. This was met with both excitement and opposition from people who cared about me, depending on which side of the mountains they were on. And as it often happens with conflict in my life, the polarities become manifested in my body. A virtual tug-of-war was initiated when I declared my intention. What is it about my body that seems to play out both sides of a conflict? As if I didn’t know both sides of the conflict clearly, it is like taking a megaphone and screaming the two voices. Enough already. I get it. I am listening and I care.

The medical complications seem to drown out the excitement. Is that the intention? Is this another existential hesitation scaling the precipice? Is this another call for, “how much do you want it?” Is this a replay of leaving home again with all of the ambivalence and guilt and challenge? Probably all the answers are a resounding YES.

Well, it’s five more days and my intention is to go home again. In Thomas Wolfe’s novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, George Weber was trying to go home and he found that he couldn’t return to the narrow confines of his previous life. That refers more to Scranton than Crestone. With my body in rebellion, I sometimes wonder if I can leave the narrow confines for the more expanded space on the other side of the precipice. Can you LEAVE home again, George?

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