When you feel lost, the best advice is to stop, breathe, and stay right where you are.
Some of you are dealing with situations filled with unknowns: a new diagnosis, impending retirement, financial distress. You do not yet know the way forward. The pathway is obstructed or unclear, and it feels scary and shaky.
Because of the fear that uncertainty engenders, many of us move fast to try to figure it all out so we can end the feeling of discomfort.
Yet, our son who leads wilderness trips said that when his hikers are actually physically lost, the advice is for them to stop and stay right where they are. It’s the best way to be found.
In our first March Hineni session of this month, I shared the following poem, Lost. I wonder if the advice about standing still when physically lost might well apply to the times we confront an unknown road ahead.
The writer suggests a different process to working with our own anxieties than googling the night away or rushing to a solution.
Lost is by an American poet, David Wagoner. It was dictated to him by a Native American elder, as an instruction to young people in the tribe about how to meet the world.
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers.
I have made this place around you;
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.David Wagoner, Traveling Light
(the poem Lost is quoted in David Whyte’s, The Heart Aroused pp 259-60)
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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – please comment below. For another article about Lessons From the Wilderness click here.
Larry Snider says
To stop, to listen, to pay attention to your surroundings is good advise for one who has lost his/her way. ShalomSalaamPeace
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman says