“You are here!”

While revisiting a series of photos I snapped after an ice storm a few winters ago, I noticed this one, a close-up of a clump of sweet autumn clematis vines, frozen solid:

The seed head in the photo’s center caught my eye today. For some reason, it reminded me of those red stars you search for when you’re lost in some labyrinthine space and need to find your whereabouts on a locator map.

“You are here!” says the locating star.

What do you suppose would happen if, theoretically, you had to navigate your way through the labyrinth of vines in this photo? What a convoluted mess you’d face. To extract yourself from a tangle like this, how could you know which path to try first? With too many options and no one, clear road, you might freeze in your tracks, just like this seed head.

Life is like that. You wend along your merry way when, suddenly, you enter territory where no clear path is evident. You stop. You blink. You rub your eyes. You look around. Which way should you go?

You freeze.

You’re lost.

In my life, I’ve felt lost more times than I care to enumerate. I’ve felt lost in the company of those I clearly didn’t belong with, lost on the career path as I moved from job to job. Before I was ready to handle the deaths of those dearest to my heart, I found myself lost and alone in an endless maze of grief.

When it comes to feeling lost, there are hundreds of scenarios possible. Live a little while and you’ll plow straight into one or two, or several.

Today while I turned over in my mind the hypothetical plight of a traveler frozen in a labyrinth, the words of the poet, Galway Kinnell, came to mind:

the first step . . .
shall be
to lose the way. 

And there it is:

Getting lost is bound to happen because it’s part of the journey. The discomfort of feeling frozen in a place you don’t want to be is what compels you to make your next move.

I have no special wisdom to share about how to get through The Labyrinth of Feeling Lost. But I know this for certain: feeling lost is most assuredly not the end of the journey; it’s merely a part of the process of moving forward into your life.

So.

If you’re feeling lost right now, go ahead, take a step. If you’re not on the right path, your innermost heart will know, and you can try again.

Remain true to your deepest self and persevere. Somehow, some way, you’ll get through this. Later on, somewhere down the road, you’ll glance back at the uneven ground you’ve covered and realize you’ve grown along the way.

As you travel, remember this: no matter how thick the tangle or unclear the path, there’s a way to get through, and you’ll find it.

“You are here!” says the locating star.

Don’t freeze up now. Go ahead, take a step.

Wishing you strength for the journey, and a light for your path.

xo

 

12 thoughts on ““You are here!”

  1. Thank you Amy! So simple but well said. I’m so happy that you’re writing more to accompany the beautiful photos. And I’ve always appreciated the gentle way you introduce me to more poetry.
    Have a wonderful day, you’ve certainly made mine better.
    Laura

    • What a lovely note from you, Laura! Thank you so much for taking a moment to write. You’ve certainly made my day with your kind words! I’ll just tuck them right here in my heart. Wishing you joy in the year ahead! x o x o

  2. Dear Amy. Your beautiful writing left me all quiet here, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean…..
    Very lost indeed after so many years of struggling, and yet still not at all ready to give up! Your words are so true! And so very timely…. In my sadness you comfort me with this post.
    It is not the end of the journey…

    I find it difficult to write what I really feel in English, but I hope you know what I mean.
    Fortunately I found your own, warm and wonderful blog once again. It is a most beautiful, quiet and love filled place, why did not I think of that earlier?
    Thank you so much, for sharing these thoughts, for shaping them into these glorious words, and giving me this comforting present.
    Good luck on your journey…let us travel on!
    Love and a warm hug.
    xx Annette

    • My sweetest Annette, no, indeed! You are not at the end of your journey! I love hearing you’re not at all ready to give up. My heart goes out to you in your sadness… But look! The path ahead is sprinkled with starlight, and I’m walking right here beside you. Come, let’s be on our way! x o x o

      P.S. You need not worry about expressing yourself in English. You have a fine command of the language and you shape your thoughts beautifully.

  3. dear amy, i love that close inspection of an old photo drew you into the fine focus of the “we are here” star at its center. i love too your notion that becoming lost — now in the GPS age — is a geographic and psychological state that draws us deeper into our own resources than we sometimes realize is possible. rebecca solnit has a beautiful essay on the power of becoming lost, and a reminder that it’s a vital state of being, even for, especially for, children. i remember being lost in the woods, the surge of panic, the resilience in determining to find my way. and coming out at the head of the trail, once again with my bearings. and thank you for the reminder that we needn’t always feel on top of everything to know we are wholly alive.

    xoxoxo thank you once again….

  4. Dearest B, I’m going to look for Rebecca Solnit’s essay on the power of becoming lost. This topic intrigues me!

    And brave little you, willing your way to the head of that wooded trail! Oh, that we could have played together as children….

    Thank you for being my sturdy pillar of loving support. I so appreciate you… xxoo

  5. Oh, dear Nan… It’s a bewilderment, feeling lost. Here’s my hand to hold. Take a step when you feel steadier. You’ll find your way… Sending love to warm this cold night. xoxo

  6. Oh my. You are such a comfort! To remind us that getting lost is part of the journey in a world filled with egos that scream for us never to admit we feel lost. Well, that’s just a gift to us. Thank you, friend. Just what I needed to hear–and I’m sure what many others do also! Beautifully written XXOO

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