I admit it, lately I’ve been feeling a bit lost. So, I looked to my bookshelves for inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how we can “randomly” pick something and it seems as though it was written just for us at that moment. I have a book called Handbook for the Soul. It’s a collection of short writings from well known teachers. I closed my eyes and opened to: Passion and Soulfulness by Nathaniel Braden, Ph.D.. What he wrote summed up some issues that I’ve been contemplating lately.
One point that the author made is that when he is away from something he loves for too long, he feels “discouraged, or at least, dispirited.” This caught my attention. I realized that maybe what I’ve been feeling lately is in part because I’ve been away from creative expression. In other words, absence does not make the heart grow fonder; embracing what we love does.
For me, I would say that discouraged and dispirited are a good description of when I feel lost. Life is a journey and a process. The road can lead us in endless directions. Sometimes we feel lost, other times, we find our way. Life events unfold and present us with an unlimited variety of motivations, experiences, and options. Whether physical like illness, emotional reactions, mental ruminations, expanding awareness of all that is, or a combination of all of the above, the realities of our being shift and steer us on or off course.
I realized a couple of things: One is that I had gone off road for a while and that had left me feeling discouraged. Going off road in this case means that I have been away from creative activities that bring me satisfaction and nourishment for too long. The result is that I’ve been struggling to get back on track creatively and energetically.
The other thing that I realized is that instead of waiting for motivation to magically manifest as constructive action, like writing for me, I need to just do it. Stop waiting to open my eyes and be back on smooth pavement. Instead, drive on the bumpy road that leads back to the highway. My conditioning says to push if I need to, but in reality I know that what I really need is to stop pushing. Stop pushing my expectations that I need to write something wonderful, entertaining, helpful, etc. which is beyond my level of development anyway.
So here I sit typing: Trying to find my way back to a happier, healthier, and more balanced sense of self. As I write, the process alone starts to serve as a marker that gently guides me out of rougher terrain and into hope. Feeling dispirited opens to faith and trust as I attempt to balance action and stillness. I acknowledge the suffering that conditioning and expectations create and simply let the underlying pain be seen and felt without needing to “do” anything about it.
Observe, breathe, let go, move on. Where I was is not where I am at. I am sure that I will feel lost again, but I also know that I will be found because we are never truly lost. Our souls, guides, and all that is are patiently waiting for us to find our way back and to create space for our souls to be heard.
Finding my way back isn’t fast and easy. I’m still on the dirt road, but I’m off the gravel and can sense the highway ahead. I am simply allowing my thoughts to unfold with keystrokes that serve to steer me home. Funny, once I finally started, it was easier than I thought it would be. As usual, the joke is on me, and the journey can be fun potholes and all.