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A good quote, questionable who said it first (JRR Tolkien seems to be the winner on Google), but, nonetheless, fitting for my post this week.
Feeling "lost" is uncomfortable. The thought of sharing this out loud with another person is even worse to think about, especially when it appears that everyone has this thing called life all figured out. So we sit in our discomfort and assume that we're the only ones who feel it.
What's ironic is, feeling lost, overwhelmed, uncertain, chaotic, disoriented, purposeless, whatever you want to call it, is a shared human experience. We ALL feel it at given times in our lives. Life is unpredictable and throws us curveballs into situations we can't possibly know how to navigate on our own.
I was one to stuff "I'm lost" feelings in a box while focusing on what society said I needed to be happy: status, money, companionship. But deep down, I knew those weren't the answers for me. I knew I needed to look inward to figure out why the heck I felt so lost.
So finally, when the lost feeling got bad enough (I highly recommend not letting it get to this point), I acknowledged the internal battle had to stop.
I started first by journaling, then therapy, and opening up to trusted family and friends. Writing gave me permission to begin accepting myself, my unique journey, and to slowly but surely get curious about my own desires and interests. Like magic, I started to no longer feel lost!
By tuning in with my intuition, thoughts, feelings and emotions and trying life out, my way, my lost feeling transformed into the gift of "wander."
This gift of "wander" has become a practice and guide, that encourages me to lead with curiosity. It is a practice, and I can't say I do it everyday, but for the past month, I've been making a conscious effort to wander for at least a 15 minute chunk each day.
To me, "wandering means:" taking time to reflect, be with me, my thoughts, emotions, Stan (my pup), and the present moment.
Doing this consistently can reap huge benefits. I compare it to the feeling you get on vacation, exploring a totally new place. You feel so alive, like the world is your oyster - you don't know what you'll experience or who you'll meet, but you're excited by the possibilities.
What's cool about "wander" is that you can do it anywhere. I know, it's easier said than done... we have so much distraction at home. But I know we all have occasional days where we have few to no work calls, get to work from home, or start the weekend a little earlier.
Why not take advantage of this time to add more "wander" to your life? Try this exercise:
- Choose something you do at least once a week (preferably outside). Ex. Walk to the office, public transportation, dog walking, etc...
- Go take a break from life to do it; consciously tell yourself you're not allowed to worry about anything for this chunk of time.
- Start by breathing deeply, in through nose, out through mouth: 5x
- Engage your 5 senses and ask yourself one or all of these questions:
- What you are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching?
- Notice anything you haven't noticed before? A new tree or building? Colors? Smell? Newly paved street? Fall breeze?
- How do you feel? Is there anything in particular making you feel that way? How often do you feel this way? Do you enjoy that feeling? What feeling do you crave more of?
- Is there anything you're particularly excited about? Feel it... and let the excitement swim through your body.
- How do you want to feel after your time spent outside?
Doing this exercise as frequently as you can throughout your week will allow you to reap some amazing benefits:
- Deeper connections with friends and family
- Increased resilience
- More peace of mind/living in the moment
- Greater productivity
- Higher tolerance for uncertainty
Start with low commitment - once a week, twice a week, etc... and it will become more natural. Try it out and let me know what you think!
If you're feeling lost, and want to create a vision and plan for your career and lifestyle, please schedule a clarity session with me.