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On Being Lost and Finding Your Way

May 10, 2016

By Jacinta Hin

A while ago, somewhere in the countryside, I went for a walk rather late in the day. And got hopelessly lost. It was rapidly getting dark, and I could no longer make sense of the maze of small roads winding through fields and forest. My mobile phone battery almost empty, I panicked. Why had I left the house so late? What if I couldn't find my way back?

In life too we go astray every now and then.

Life is not a straight line. We move in a zigzag pattern. We wander, drift and roam. We get distracted and sidetracked. We go through periods of feeling seriously lost, when nothing seems to work or when we need a change but are clueless about the what, how and when. Busy or confused by conflicting feelings, we lose sight of original intentions and goals. We get stuck in detail and forget about the bigger picture and what matters most. One day we’re on top of our game, the next a disintegrating mess.

At least, this is my experience of life. Your own may be different.

My ego demands that I’m always at my very best. My heart, which I’ve learned to trust, has a different message: it gives me permission, encourages me even to lose my way once in a while.

To be lost, my heart tells me, is a beautiful and fertile state.  Such times are when we open up to new ways of being, thinking and doing, processes that involve getting rid of clutter, toxic energy, illusions and breaking with the past. In our lost-ness we find ourselves. We ask questions and examine thoughts and beliefs. We connect with old and new dreams and sense of self.

We get lost unintentionally. What happened, we wonder? How did we end up in this place? Eventually, we need to find our way back, restoring balance, which requires a more conscious effort.

Here are some ideas that may be of help:

  1. Embrace your off-balance, off-track moments. Be wonderfully lost. Forego judgment, knowing you need this temporary, transitional space in order to make adjustments to the course of your life. Trust that you will find your way back which is also a way forwards and out of whatever caused you to get lost. Life is transitory by nature. You are never lost forever.
  1. Remember that you are not the sum of your stories: the roles you play, your job, your family background, your history, the situation you’re in, beliefs about yourself, the way others look at you. Beneath and beyond all of this you are whole, boundless, pure and uniquely you.
  1. Grounding is my first step out of lost-ness. Ungrounded, I feel as if I’m floating, barely in touch with planet earth. Not here, not there, but somewhere in-between. Grounding, the art of realigning your energy with the energies of earth and heaven (my definition), helps me return to the here and now and my roots in this life. This may sound a little fuzzy-spacey to you, but remember what quantum physics has taught us: the physical world, of which we are a part, is primarily composed of energy; the universe is pure energy. There are many techniques for grounding: meditation, yoga, gardening, time in nature, energy work, chakra balancing, visualization exercises, earthing, time with people who are important to you, and more.
  1. Do the Work!  You can hope for a safe return to firm ground, or you can build one. Make use of your lost days to remember who you really are and what you want. Become a student again, both of your own life and the larger context of your life. Learn what floats your boat and what doesn’t. Get to know yourself. Return to what matters most. And dump, in a self-loving and step-by-step manner, whatever has no place in your new world. This includes people, habits, patterns, beliefs, stuff and so on.
  1. Look for Inspiration. In both your internal and external life. When I’m in need of new direction, I read books. I also pay attention to signs. And have coffee or dinner with friends who love serious and searching conversation. I go for long walks alone, spend time in solitude. The smile of a homeless person, a flower about to burst in bloom, the courage of someone fleeing a dire situation, a friend about to turn his or her life around, people standing together in protest…inspiration is hidden in every detail of life.

Lost that day so long ago now, back in the countryside, I knew there was no point in giving in to fear. Instead, I called on my inner girl scout to come to the rescue. Glad to be of service, she quickly led me out of the desolate woods and to a house where I asked for help. A startled, but friendly man brought me to the main road and soon I was safely home, ready for my next adventure.

To be lost and find myself: I am learning to embrace this in-and-out-of-flow nature of life. Every time I drift, I return home (to my self) a better person. I grow an inch.

How about you? What is your experience?

LABELS:   Balance   Embrace   Grounding   Heart   Inspiration   Jacinta Hin   Life   Lost   Self   Walk   Wander   Way  
About the author: Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.
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