I’ve just started what looks to be an interesting, nurturing, soulful book, Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls written by Norman Fischer. Toward the end of the introduction he has this to say.
Maybe, like Odysseus, we are finally ready simply to return home to what we are, to our beauty and strength as well as our limitations. Maybe we are ready to see that what’s wanted and needed is what was there all along, our animal life, our love and our presence. Maybe we’re ready finally to become the creatures that our deepest stories and metaphors have always described: half heavenly, half stupidly earthbound, full of wonder and awe, powerful and vulnerable. Maybe the point of our life’s journey, our spiritual odyssey, is not conquest or perfection, whether spiritual or worldly, but rather the simple transformation into what we have been all along: flesh-and-blood people in a flesh-and-blood world, feeling what people feel and doing what people do. Returning home to what we are.
As he points out there is the outward journey we all must take to test the world, to try to find ourselves, to search, to challenge, to grow. But in the end we end up returning to who we have been all along.
I think this is one of the great beauties of later life – this ability to calmly, happily embrace who we are. I know this grace does not extend to everyone. Many continue to chafe, to fight, to resist. What a relief it is for me to accept, to relish this return. It is full of peace and joy, and equanimity. Truly a blessing.