When I was little, I wanted to be Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I wanted to move to the frontier, away from everything I knew. (I also fell in love with long haired mountain man Sully, and that fantasy remains.)
I can’t quite put my finger on the appeal. If the objective was to explore and see new places, surely traveling and then returning home would have been sufficient.
I liked the idea of starting fresh in a place where I knew no one.
I thought it would be easier to be my “true self” if no one had a pre-existing character for me.
I liked the idea of creating myself.
The problem, of course, is the people you leave behind. Sometimes they take these sorts of moves personally, like you’re running away, rejecting and abandoning them.
It’s hard, especially for people who have never done it. There are so many unknowns, and if they don’t have faith that they could do it, sometimes they project that onto you.
A wise woman I know once responded to those projections with, “Maybe she’s not running away from anything. Maybe she’s running towards something new.”
The thing about consciousness and soul is that they must always run towards the unknown. It must expand, as a tree must split its seed casing. The Ego, your idea of yourself, can only appropriate what it knows. In order to truly grow, you must find new experiences outside of the “womb” you’re accustomed to.
And her heart ran cold
But her love runs deep
She’s fire on the mountain
Wrecking everyone she meets
She’s like rain when she rolls in
But that sunshine in her thunder
Makes the loneliest heart wonder
If the ride is worth the pain
Might not be storm clouds in sight
Oh but don’t you worry friend
She’s coming around the bend
She’s holding lightning in both hands
She’s a natural disaster
She’ll tear the land in two
She’s running to be running
‘Cause it’s all she knows to do
– Zac Brown Band, Natural Disaster
Jung used to talk about two kinds of guilt. There’s one where you betray the conventional idea of who you are – as a person, mother, child, lover, citizen, employee, friend, etc. There’s a real price there, and it’s very painful.
But there’s a second kind of guilt that comes when you betray your soul’s calling, usually in favor of safety. Jung called this “soul murder,” and it is.
Your “running” may not take the form of travel. It might take the form of growing out of friends, out of jobs, out of relationships. It may come in the form of creativity. It’ll usually come in the form of desire, pulling you for reasons you can’t quite articulate.
If you must go, go. There may be voices, internal and external, that try to herd you back to the conventional life, role, and expectations. As painful as it is, you must remember the function of these voices: to keep you in the known, in safety, in a role.
… our challenge in behalf of the wild soul and our creative spirit is to not merge with any collective, but to distinguish ourselves from those who surround us, building bridges back to them as we choose. We decide which bridges will become strong and well traveled, and which will remain sketchy and empty.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves
When your soul calls you, there is a reason. Go.
Go. Go. Go.