Getting lost and found

Do you feel a little lost and somewhat paralyzed when you’re not sure what to do? It’s easy to lose track of your internal compass when you’re trying to make big life decisions or if you’ve been on autopilot for a while. As with any obstacle, the place we are stuck is actually the doorway to where we want to be, the exact starting place from which to move forward. It all starts with “I don’t know.”

Every couple years, my family spends some time in Northern California to visit my best friend and brother. A few summers ago, I got pretty involved in a phone conversation while hiking up a mountain in the redwood forest. I was gone for almost two hours when I looked around and realized I had no idea how to get back. I had reached the summit and knew I had been in the general vicinity before, but none of the four or five narrow trails felt familiar. I tried one direction after another, retreating pretty quickly when I didn’t recognize the way. Had I meandered off the trail and not even noticed?

You may not get lost in mountain forests as often as I do, but maybe you know what it feels like to get off track, to think you’re moving along just fine, but end up confused and uncertain. Maybe you’ve tentatively started out this way or that, but have trouble committing to any direction because you think it may be the wrong one. It happens.

My return home that summer began when I said, “I’m lost. I don’t know what to do.” The map on my phone showed me as being in the middle of a big green blob. Relaying the trouble to my friend on the phone, I was reminded to “just start walking and look at your map. Are you getting closer or farther away from where you want to be?” This navigation tool worked. I started moving through the forest on and off the trails, checking my map to make sure I was headed more or less in the right direction. Eventually, I found a familiar road back home.

When I work with women who are feeling uncertain about their next steps, we start at the beginning: telling the truth of “I don’t know.” There is humility in this acknowledgement, and “I don’t know” is the perfect place to begin. After getting real in this open space of possibility, the next steps usually involve gathering support, remembering where you want to be, trying out some new options, and continually checking in with the heart’s compass. Is this choice bringing you closer or farther away? Trial and error guided by compassion and trust. It’s a process and an adventure, and through movement, everyone eventually arrives.

I’m wishing you the spirit of adventure on all your next steps, dear ones. And if you’re currently feeling lost or confused, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. No one else can tell you which way to go, but sometimes the right questions help you navigate your own way.

Sending all my love,

Julia

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