My path back to me often leads through the arboretum. Realizing I am not going to find myself once and for all is a great relief. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being forever found. Yet, it’s clear life doesn’t unfold that way. And because that’s how it is for me, and for everyone I know, it seems purposeful.
When I feel lost two things happen…
I begin to notice just how awful I feel. My sleep is restless, shoulders are hunched up around my ears, and I keep searching the kitchen for something to silence disquiet… maybe peanut butter, pretzels, or chocolate are the answer.
Sooner or later, I begin looking for a true path back to myself.
Recently I received an email from a woman in one of our circles. Over the past few years she has been co-coordinating the care of her aging mother while meeting the demands of a high-powered career. As you might imagine it’s been difficult. After a phone call recounting a troubling visit with her mother she hung up the phone feeling exhausted and tired.
These are her words…
“I sat there a bit, feeling like an unhappy, empty shell. Then I got three of my journals and started reading them. Little by little I started connecting with myself. I can’t say I was HAPPY, but I felt so much more me. All I was doing was reading my journals but this simple exercise breathed new life into me… By the time I went to bed I had returned to my body and soul.”
I don’t know what she found in her journals, but I bet she found parts of herself that had been voiceless for awhile. The way back often requires we find which aspects we’ve stifled. Usually that mute part is some characteristic we judge as unacceptable.
But who we are is complex and filled with paradoxes…we are the dutiful daughter…the angry daughter…the peaceful yogi … the agitated driver… the competent professional … the lost little girl.
Here is what I know: When I reject a part of myself all of who I am begins to shut down.
Also, I am most likely to disconnect from myself when I have stopped journaling, meditating, being in solitude or doing yoga.
The journey back can begin with these questions…
• What part of me have I been saying no to?
• Which practices do I need to start or begin again?
Feeling adrift is an invitation to open our arms. And just maybe that is the gift of feeling lost …it urges us to find ourselves… again and again.
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