This past week, I took a walk up Mont Royal, thinking to take advantage of the sunny blue clear skies and warm weather we're having, and as I walked up the familiar path, I thought, aww, how nice, I'm walking up the same path I did last year, but how much has changed, etc - and as I walked further, admiring the leaves and the very blue sky, I thought, hmm, I've been walking for quite a while now and I'm still not up at the top. Where am I?! I started to walk a little faster, thinking every turn might bring me to the familiar city view, but I just kept walking into more trees and more trees, until at one point, I reached a clearing where there was literally nobody in sight. Nobody. And I thought, gosh, I think I'm lost.
Getting lost is a funny thing; I find for me that it's often a slow realization that I'm lost, that I've done a few turns and I thiiiink I'm going the right way, and then as things look less and less familiar, I think, maybe, just maybe I'm lost, but I'll just keep going, and then I do some more turns and the suspicion grows, and then a few more, and then - yeah, I'm lost. And I don't know anyone who loves being lost, who seeks to be lost - getting lost is usually an accident, something we don't plan for, something that actually throws a wrench in our plans and makes us stop and slow down and recalculate, reorient, redo.
I read an article on Brain Pickings (one of my favs!) on a field guide to getting lost, where Rebecca Solnit essentially calls for us to embrace getting lost. Similarly to what Rainer Maria Rilke writes about embracing the questions, allowing ourselves to get lost, in the same way, opens us up to the possibility to explore, to discover, to enter into the unknown and the mystery - and isn't it there that we grow and we learn? Sure, getting lost throws off our efficiency and our planned route, but it's that reorienting and recalculating that brings us to where we need to be, right? What if getting lost and that uncertainty and the clammy hands and racing mind that it brings on actually helps us enter into something new and previously unknown and, dare I say, wonderful?
This week, I have felt lost. Not just when I couldn't find my way up Mont Royal, but as I thought about this calligraphy business and where to go with it and what direction to go in. I felt lost, not knowing what to focus on or what to be doing next, or even the big picture steps of where to go with this. As i sit in that, though, I realize that as much as it's a hard feeling and tough thing to wrestle with, it's not a bad place to be. After all, to allow yourself to be lost is to allow yourself to found. It means the great, great joy of seeking and finding is open to me. It means that there's room to grow, paths to explore. It means that I get the joy of discovery, that aha, eureka moment, that wash of relief and excitement.
I want to give myself room, the opportunity to get lost, to walk into the unknown, to look into mystery. Even if it means that I enter into this space that is uncomfortable, I think it forces me to be fully present in that moment, and to not let it just wash away.
I wrote the following as I thought about what it meant to me to get lost, that:
May we give ourselves room and opportunities to discover, explore, and allow ourselves to find and to be found.
And Mont Royal? I ended up making it up to the top, and it happened all of a sudden - I made one turn and suddenly, it was there, the city view, and while it was lovely, I thought at the same time, hmm, I kinda miss that stillness now...