Inevitably, there are times when your focus shifts to a different source of guidance: an external search for validation that drains you with its desperation and silences the inner wisdom that's taken you so far.
So you recognize. You become aware. And you mourn your time spent wandering lost, away from your path. You think it was a waste. Nothing is. You learned something from this journey, even if it seemed the path went sideways - even backward - instead of the helpful forward motion that tells you you're enough. You're still enough. Everything that has happened has happened to equip you with whatever you need to continue to grow. You may never realize that you learned something, or some years later the meaning of it may sparkle back at you like the flash of a gemstone. And you'll find the treasure in it.
In the meantime, you recognize, and you give yourself a break, and you give yourself a road map back to your truth. It might be a totem that brings you back to a memory of yourself: a seashell from that transformative summer on the beach, a photo of your childhood self nestled in the safety and homeliness of your favorite place, your great-grandmother's handkerchief spritzed with your grandmother's favorite perfume to remind you of the line of strong women who share your bloodline. You excavate the foundations of your experience, and you find your key back into yourself. You might store a poem or an affirmation in your mind or your heart, a simple sentence that becomes your own personal prayer. And you hold fast again, like Dorothy's prayer to the rhythm of clicking ruby slippers.
And you come home. You dust yourself off, you begin again. You know you've been somewhere important.