Lost & Found

“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too.”

– Kristin Martz

I love this quote. Perhaps because I felt lost once and found the way back to myself was in doing more of what I love.

I used to think the answer to feeling lost was something I could find in books.  A formula, perhaps? I looked to conferences and experts. I read articles, listened to TED Talks, attended workshops.

The more I looked outside for an answer, the more lost I found.

That’s because finding yourself isn’t something you can – ironically here – find outside of you.

We feel lost because we’ve lost track of where we’re going, and we’ve lost track of where we’re going because where we were headed no longer serves us. We, in essence, feel lost because we are having a mini identity crisis: What we thought we wanted, and who we thought we were, do not match up to how we feel today.

And that’s perfect. Feeling lost is a beautiful opportunity to reroute us.

It’s like we’ve been following a map for a long time and now that we stop and look at where we are and where this path is taking us, we realize we might not want to keep taking steps in that direction. It might have been so long since we started our journey that we, as a person, might have changed along the way and with that our goals and desires.

We can reroute ourselves naturally by looking within, reconnecting to who we are in this moment.

I started following my curiosity, the things that naturally interested me.

The more I followed my natural curiosity, the more I felt true to who I am.

The more I connected to my authentic self, the clearer my values became.

The more I allowed myself to be me, the easier it was to align with my purpose.

Where I used to fear getting lost, I’ve now learned to welcome it. Each time understanding I’m shedding a part that no longer serves me and arriving at a truer version of who I am and where I want to go.

Purpose

Feeling lost can also be incredibly overwhelming, tiresome and can feel anxious and scary. Especially when you throw in the daunting task of figuring out your purpose.

Purpose. Ask any young adult for a more cliche’d word. There are books on it, workshops on it, and thousands of articles and beautiful pinterest-worthy quotes of it across the internet.

My personal favorite: The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain.

Nothing against Mark Twain, he’s great, and I love me some Tom Sawyer, but in the midst of the darkness, this quote used to feel like a mockery. “Great”, I used to think, “so at least I have 1 out of 2.”

Most books will tell you your purpose will be tied to doing things you love, and they’ll have that right.

But when you’re feeling lost, even answering “What do I love?” can feel daunting. Because if I’ve lost sight of who I am, then I might struggle to even answer the question with certainty.

Yes, I might have been devouring books and looking for guidance from experts, but there came a point when too much input, even positive, became maddening. I was listening to a hundred different voices, all but the one that mattered: my own.

If I was to “find myself” and my “purpose” I needed to start hearing my own voice and that meant silencing a lot of the noise.

The self identity crisis demanded I look within, sit with uncertainty and be open to whatever came next.

Crisis

“You have been offered “the gift of crisis”. As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift”, as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.” – Glennon Doyle

I wish in my crisis nearly 10 years ago, I would have understood this. It took at least 3 more crises, including a totaled car accident, a breakup and one major health crisis last October to really understand the beauty in the breakdown.

With each breakdown, I’ve felt a breaking down of my ego and a breaking open of my heart. Each one, chipping away at another part I no longer need to carry on this journey and leading me, sometimes by force, to discover a truer part of who I am.

Finding myself has been, just as feeling lost, a rollercoaster of emotions, but one I no longer shy away from.

Like the car accident 3 years ago, I understand that I must let go of the wheel and let life do its thing. Trusting that wherever I end up, I’ll be able to pick up the pieces, or if the situation is grave enough, be willing  to walk away and start all over again.

If I trust that crisis means to sift and that what matters most cannot be taken away as Glennon Doyle writes, then I’ll always be left with what I need. More often than not, it has been as simple as gratitude for my health, love for the people in my life and hope for what comes next.

Those three things, Gratitude, Love and Hope are more than enough to fuel me through the uncertainty of what comes next.  

 

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