When you feel lost, you don’t need to make a way in the world, you need to make a way back to yourself.
When we feel most uncertain, it’s often because we have spent so many years looking outwardly for our milestones and goal posts, for our validation and assessment of whether or not we are okay.
The truth is that when we feel lost, it’s not because we are actually lost, but because the measures by which we were running our lives can no longer apply and so the discomforts and unhappiness that they were masking can likewise no longer be soothed.
You are not more lost than you were before, you are probably just aware of how you’ve felt all along.
This is not a bad place to be.
In fact, this can be the healing ground upon which we build all else.
When you are lost, what you really need to do is nothing.
Nothing at all.
For an hour, a day, a weekend.
As long as you can take.
You must stop treading in circles in the forest, trying to find your north. You are only dizzing yourself and becoming incrementally more entangled in the problem. You have to sit down and you need to rest. You need to hydrate and you need to nourish yourself. You need to give yourself permission to take deep rest. Really deep rest, in whatever caverns of your existing life you can make space for it. Sometimes, this can look like nothing more than simply giving yourself a break from worrying, from looking for the next step.
There is no next step.
There never has been.
Your life is a constant and unending unfolding in the now, and all that shifts is how you show up to it.
The trajectory you have thought your life was running on is one that your mind constructed out of pieces that you were told to aim for as you grew up and as you interpreted what your peers valued and admired. The path you believed you should be on, and are subsequently not on now, is not one of your inner truth, it is one of outer expectation.
This is who you have been showing up as.
This is what you are here to resolve.
When we take a moment for deep rest, we are not just asking which way is forward, we are asking what we previously believed was forward and if it really is. We are asking where all of these forward steps are leading. We are asking whether or not all of these forward steps are worth it. We are discarding the heavy baggage that we can no longer carry, pieces of our past selves that we can no longer sustain. We are wondering what belongs in our arms, and we are letting go.
But we aren’t just readjusting, we are also releasing.
We are grieving for the 15-year-old who had dreams that weren’t fulfilled. We are mourning for the 20-year-old who had their heart broken and shoved that pain into a dark corner and wanted to believe more badly than anything that it was gone forever. We are processing every micro-moment of doubt, every fear that’s ever planted a seed in our subconscious, every piece of ourselves that we built out of a decimated place where we determined that we were not enough and had to drastically change our lives to become enough.
Feeling lost is not always a call to reinvent your life.
Sometimes, it’s a nudge to wake up and realize you don’t need reinvention.
This moment might be a chance to realize that unworthiness is an illusion. This moment might be the time you figure out that solving the problem might be creating the problem. This moment might be the opportunity to do the truly brave and subversive thing of deciding what the hell you actually want and actually pursuing it, even if your legs shake while you do it.
You aren’t lost, because you can’t be lost.
You cannot be a stranger to yourself, you just think you are.
You cannot be on the wrong path, because there is no right way to go.
What you are receiving right now is not a disruption, but a pause for consideration — a chance to evaluate what you’ve decided is next, and whether or not you really want to take it.
Don’t go forward.
Spend nights in candlelight with a journal. Take days of opening your mind to possibilities you didn’t know existed. Study the contours of your body, exactly as it is. Decorate yourself in what you want to be. Dance naked. Lay naked. Come home to yourself. Apologize. Hold space for your old selves as they are leaving you now. Say thank you to everything that has gotten you this far.
The only way forward is inward.
The only way out is through.
When you spend time reaquaintaing yourself with your soul, something magical occurs: you figure out what to do. You wake up one day and you just begin. The answers come. Not when we are desperate for them, but when we release attachment to the outcomes, and simply see what would work for us, what would be the next right step.
Then we have to become comfortable with only ever knowing, and trusting, that next right step — because that’s all we will ever have.
That is all we ever have.
The rest is an illusion, one that mostly traps us.
It is not our place in the world that we lose track of, but our inner guidance.
You feel lost because your attachments have become unstable.
You have spent your life constructing images in your mind that you can rest your heart on, ideas that soothe you into believing that you are enough, you are on track, you belong, and most of all, you are safe.
If you’re really unlucky, you’ll get a set of attachments really young and they’ll never be disrupted. You’ll live your entire life in the dullness of the same things, over and over, never to be progressed, never to be changed, never to be bettered.
This is not because we are meant to continually improve everything around us, but because over time, we learn who we really are inside, and if we are courageous enough, we can make our outer worlds reflect those inner truths.
Your crisis right now is a signal that you know an inner truth that your outer world is not reflecting. Your fear is what you’ll lose if you make the shift. Your hesitation is the idea that choosing one reality over another is permanent, as opposed to an ongoing unfolding during which we can always make amendments. You are worried about stepping backwards, when there is nowhere to step back to. You can only ever come closer to who you are, if you have the courage to see yourself clearly.
And that courage? You already have it.
It’s streaming through your blood as you read this. It’s fueling your fear. It’s trying to motivate you to leap, even when you’re dead-set on staying where you are.
Your truth is so powerful that it is trying to initiate a massive, life-changing shift within you, even though every single other corner of your mind was wholly and decidedly attached to what you thought you wanted before. That’s how deep this runs — no matter how convinced you are that you’re on the right path, the truly right one rises to meet you regardless.
Right now, you’re being asked to let go of the images.
You’re being asked to let go of trying to manage other people’s perceptions of you in your own mind.
You’re being asked to let go of the five year plans, or even the one week plans, and settle right into the moment.
You’re being asked to see something greater than what you could anticipate, better than what you’d know to ask for, truer than what you currently feel.
Soothing words are one thing, but formulating an action plan is another.
Sure, you might feel better, but what now?
Let’s get practical, then.
When you’re feeling really lost, you need to find one thing that’s a “fuck yes.” Just one thing.
Do you know what “fuck yes” is? It’s when you see something an on instinct, you think: Yep. You get a resounding feeling of certainty, which is really just a feeling of, I like this.
A way you find a “fuck yes” is by exploring. Seriously, scroll through a Pinterest board. Look through your closet. Look back on old photos and memories with friends. Think about your daily routine.
Is there at least one thing you can identify that’s a “fuck yes?”
Is there a really cool couch that you see and like, and hope to have in your home one day? Is there a hairstyle that you think looks awesome and you always wanted to try? Do you like the way you take your coffee and couldn’t imagine having it any other way? Have you ever taken a trip, or had a really great night out, upon which you look back on fondly?
The difference between “fuck yes” and everything else is that “fuck yes” comes from a deep place of soul and truth while a lot of other things in your life can easily be placed there through expectation and obligation.
Something is a “fuck yes” if you like it without really having a reason to.
If you have to stop and wonder why you like it and find evidence for why you should, then it is not a “fuck yes.”
Seriously, just figure out one of these absolute things in your life.
It can be so simple, you’ll laugh and think, this is ridiculous.
But if you could nail down just one or two things in your life that make you feel really in resonance, really sure of what you want and what you like, then you’re starting with a really strong foundation, because you can now measure that feeling up against everything else that you do.
The truth is that if it’s not a “fuck yes,” it’s probably a no.
This does not necessarily mean that you need to uproot your entire life and start over because you don’t feel “fuck yes” about your work and your partner and your home and every other detail.
The point is that you need to figure out ways to adjust those things to get them into better resonance. What would it take to move those things from “eh” to “yes?” Can you do it? Is it a dead-end?
The other thing is that you are not going to feel “fuck yes” about every single thing in your life, forever. This is an unreasonable expectation that’s only going to set you up to fail. Instead, try to pick a handful of super important things that you want and need to feel “fuck yes” about.
Start with the basic, and most simple.
This will help you get back in touch with how you feel and what you want.
The next thing you’re going to have to do is release all of the pent up angers and frustrations and pain that you’re currently experiencing, all of which are subconsciously coloring your perception of what’s happening right now.
It’s hard to identify your “fuck yes” if you’re still seeing the world through your past traumas.
Find a trusted professional or friend who can simply listen to you vent, whom will give you positive reinforcement and validate the way that you feel. If you can’t find this kind of person, write down in total honesty what happened and how you felt about it, and then validate it yourself. Acknowledge how difficult it was, how much you’ve hurt, and how it is okay to feel the way you do.
The more you are able to express the way you feel, the more you lighten the backload of emotion that’s currently clogging your system and distorting your vision.
Then return to finding a “fuck yes.”
You’ll probably find that it comes a lot easier, or at the very least, you’re better able to think about at least one thing you know, for sure, you really like, enjoy, or want to pursue.
Once you know what you definitely want, it’s time to map your steps there.
Remember that you don’t need to feel “fuck yes” about everything, just one thing. It can be a hairstyle, it can be a type of work, it can be a day trip, it can be a meal, it can be an accent wall in your bedroom.
Seriously, start as small and as simply as you can.
All that matters is that you reconnect with your sense of what’s right.
Then you build the ladder.
No, you’re not going to arrive into your big, bold, abundant and joyful “fuck yes” life today, and probably not tomorrow.
What you need instead is to figure out what the next right step is.
If you know where you’re heading, and you know what you would want, then what are the most reasonable next steps for arriving there?
Break it down into annual goals, then monthly, then weekly, then daily.
Order those tasks by importance.
Is your “fuck yes” to eat vegetarian food and keep an organized house and write a book? Great, figure out how you distill those goals into tiny, bite-size micro-shifts.
Then implement them really slowly.
Just start with one thing.
Cook one meal, write one paragraph, take one step.
Then congratulate yourself because you did it.
You became unlost.
You’re officially on track.
You’re heading in the direction you want to be going.
Not the direction someone else told you to go, not the direction you were too afraid not to follow, not the direction that you know, deep down, is wrong for you, not the direction that leads to nowhere but your own inner dissatisfaction.
Then you’re going to need to do this every day, for the rest of your life.
The honest truth is that none of us are ever really “found.”
We can only ever spend our lives pursuing the things that light us up inside, that set our souls on fire, that give us a guttural “fuck yeah” response, the feeling that we are absolutely doing what we are here to do.
These things will probably be surrounded by other, less desirable tasks, like the upkeep and maintenance of living, the inconveniences and stressors. Those don’t go away.
But when we know what our “fuck yes” is in the moment, they become a lot more manageable. Pleasurable, even.
Because we know what we’re working toward.
We’re no longer just surviving, and treading water to stay afloat.
We’re taking broad strokes in one direction or another, and it makes the swimming feel worthwhile, because it’s going to add up. We are going to get there one day, if we keep at it. There’s no other possible outcome.
You are not lost.
You have never been lost.
All of the discomfort and uncertainty that you have been feeling has been the result of following everything but your own inner knowing of what you like, what feels right, and what you want to spend your precious and limited time doing.
You don’t need to arrive anywhere.
You don’t need to be any different than you are right now to pursue this.
You only need to be willing to take a small step in the direction of your dream life every day, and then keep walking.
You are not lost.
You simply took pause to evaluate where you’re going, and if you’re lucky, you’ll turn around before it’s too late.