I feel a bit like an asshole saying this but it’s 100% true for me - you can’t be lost when you’re not trying to get anywhere in particular. My wandering without a goal or destination brought this lesson to me. I might find myself down some narrow lane or one-way alley ending in a nondescript parking garage, but that don’t mean I was lost. Even when I got turned around and lost my sense of where exactly I was, that didn’t mean I was lost either, only temporarily disoriented.
You can’t be lost as long as you’re connected to curiosity about exactly what’s going on right where you are. I noticed a widening of my perspective - a greater perspective of all of the possibilities. I always know I’ve learned something significant when I start beating up on myself for not having figured it out sooner. It’s a special kind of perfectionist who beats herself up for such, but this was one of those occasions.
There’s a great lightness of being when you realize you don’t have to be always going somewhere in particular. You have all the time you need. I know practically everything in our culture says otherwise, but it’s true. Honestly. All of this running at our goals can blind us to what we’re put on the earth to do because we never develop our soul’s dead reckoning - the ability to listen to our senses and move in the direction of what excites us most. Getting lost and finding your way back forms the basis of some of our most beloved myths and stories from The Hobbit to The Wizard of Oz to Odysseus.
It’s simply not possible to be lost when you maintain an intense curiosity about where you are. In each moment there are a bewildering number of possibilities. Let’s inventory mine: continue writing, but about what? Already the possibilities boggle the mind. I could write about any crazy ass idea I wanted. This paper and pencil will allow me any flight of fancy I can dream up. What else? I could get up from the comfy bed and finish doing laundry, go send a naughty text to any of a list of people, make a snack, watch one of about a billion movies, surf 2 trillion web pages, dance to any song from most of the catalogue of all the music that’s ever been recorded, take a Lyft to anywhere in the city, have a nice bath. I’m sure you get the picture. Every moment is impregnated with nearly infinite possibilities.
If you’re feeling lost ask yourself one question - what’s it time for NOW. Look around and notice where you physically are. If there are flowers, smell them. Avail yourself of whatever abundance greets you.
It’s all too easy to get stuck in the worries about the future or in ruminating over what should‘ve gone better in the past. It’s a fucking trap to try to analyze the past to craft a set of logical rules by which you may decide whether to go left or right, straight ahead or stop. This might sound quite shocking to you. What else is there if not the past to guide us through the lens of cool-headed guidelines?
A deeply wild, curious heart will take you places waaaaaay off the map. There ain’t no map where you’ll be going. In maps from the medieval period, the lands beyond the reaches of their knowledge bore the label “here be dragon,” with colorful hydra creatures of half-man, half-dolphins and strange beasts of tooth and claw. It was as if cartographers of old sought to make excuses for the limitation of their craft by saying “if you were meant to go there, we’d be able to chart your course, but since we can’t, we’ll frighten you into staying within the borders we quite literally draw.”
This work has taken me so far past any territory recognizable to myself or anyone I can consult that it scares me half to death sometimes. The ancient invocation “know thyself” sounds all yummy chocolate donut with sprinkles on to surface, but turns out to be an often - breathless gasping awe at the infinitely twisting path you never could’ve imagined walking were you to set out a scheduled itinerary. Life, after all, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.