Unless you give yourself a destination, you’ll be adrift. Let’s think together: where are you headed?
There is somewhere which for you is home. And it may not be the home of your youth or even the house where you currently live. But there is a place to which, when it is allowed, your heart is drawn. But unless you identify that place, you’ll chase one shiny object after another. And come to the end of your day or your week or your life feeling disappointed with yourself.
Identify your Ithaka.
There’s a powerful poem by C.P. Cavafy callled Ithaka. In it, Cavafy takes the ancient story of Odysseus and translates the longing for home into a more accessible concept, helpful for your heroic journey. Of course, you could read the Odyssey. But here, for you, is the essence of that story’s longing for home, to carry with you.
As you set out for Ithakahope your road is a long one,full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:you’ll never find things like that on your wayas long as you keep your thoughts raised high,as long as a rare excitementstirs your spirit and your body.Laistrygonians, Cyclops,wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter themunless you bring them along inside your soul,unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.May there be many summer mornings when,with what pleasure, what joy,you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;may you stop at Phoenician trading stationsto buy fine things,mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,sensual perfume of every kind—as many sensual perfumes as you can;and may you visit many Egyptian citiesto learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.Arriving there is what you’re destined for.But don’t hurry the journey at all.Better if it lasts for years,so you’re old by the time you reach the island,wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.Without her you wouldn’t have set out.She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
So please do this.
Where are you headed?
You heard what Mr. Iyer said, right? Among the highlights:
- Home is less a piece of soil than a piece of soul
- Where you come from is less important than where you’re going
- Home is where you become yourself
And the quote from Seneca:
“That man is poor not who has little but who hankers after more.”
Can you imagine yourself stopping — so you can see where are you headed?
Stop a minute and ask yourself: where are you headed?
Want more help?
I can help you identify that place where your heart is most at home.