“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Do you know the way?
I awoke recently in the pre-dawn hours with a question and a vision.
The burning question, as if speaking from somewhere within, queried: Do you know the way?
The corresponding vision placed me somewhere in the great outdoors. I was on a trail with no clear road leading anywhere. The “way” to travel was not apparent and there was no one around to ask directions.
The vision and query weren’t given to prompt my knowledge of geography or logistics (neither of which have ever been my strong suits).
Instead, the probing question was asking for the directions to somewhere less concrete. It was inquiring about an inner place of happiness, peace and rest.
In short, it was a quiet call of the soul.
Do You Know the Way . . . ?
Right behind the question arose an old, but familiar phrase: Do you know the way to San Jose? And the reminder of it made me laugh!
Do you know the way to San Jose? was a pleasant but distant memory. The title of one of Dionne Warwick’s most popular hits, it often played on the radio when hitting the pop charts back in 1968. I loved bopping along to it over breakfast before heading off to school.
I remembered some of the lyrics but figured I should to return to it with the eyes, ears and sentiments of both adulthood and experience. Celebrated in the U.S. and several countries abroad, the song proved far more popular than I’d realized. Its message and appeal struck a chord far greater than I knew.
And today it spawns my latest podcast.
The lyrics to Do You Know the Way (to San Jose) invites listeners to yearn not just for the then-sleepy northern California town. They beckon us to return to our own senses and heart.
Dionne’s tune speaks of an impressionable young woman drawn away from her small town roots in answer to what she believes will deliver her greater happiness. Following the lure to Hollywood’s bright lights and a media-centric culture of Los Angeles, she realizes that doing so has left her hollow. Despite the crowds and din of LA’s thriving metropolis, she eventually feels alone.
Like a gas tank that has been emptied, she recognizes that her soul has been depleted and unfulfilled. The now enlightened Dionne recognizes the life detour that took her away from her source and resolves to drive “home” to San Jose.
An Inner Call . . . . and the Good News it Brings
Like the question and vision that came to me in the early morning, perhaps the same call has arisen like a dawning in your heart. If you have been searching for something you once had that now feels distant and faint, maybe it’s time for you to head back “home” as well.
I love the reminder that this song brings to each of us. We can be drawn away by someone else’s idea of fulfillment, joy and success — only to learn that the dream was never ours.
The good news is that we may seemingly get “lost” — separated from our own home and heart — yet remember that what dwells within us can never truly be far away.
Our focus and attention may have gone awry, but with mindfulness of what was our former sense of peace and joy, we can always return to our source.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely acknowledged, “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
For more background on the song and further insights about returning home, I encourage you to listen to today’s podcast.
For a fun bit of 1960s music nostalgia, tune in to the YouTube video below. Dionne will have you singing, bopping and smiling your way back home, too.
Wherever you are in life, may you know the way back home to your happy place!
Maura Sweeney is a Podcaster, Author and Speaker
Her mantra is “Living Happy – Inside Out!”
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