If You Don’t Know Where to Go

Welcome to the Ways We Are Lost Blog.

For the past few months, specifically after graduating with my Masters degree, I have felt lost. Helpless. Unsure.

This is unusual for me. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt as though I had a clear idea of where I was going in life. What I’d be doing. Now I’m 25, struggling to find work, and trying to keep the writing going post-MFA.

Sure, there would be times of uncertainty, but it wasn’t long before something excited me, some prospect, some Grand Idea of where I Wanted To Be. Now, I have absolutely no clue. There are still goals I hold onto. Publish my manuscript. Keep writing. Etc. But writing can be done anywhere, and I don’t exactly like where I’m living, but I don’t know where else to go. In the back of my mind, my mother’s voice says, “If you don’t know where to go, stay where you are.” And, however much I loath the idea of staying in this place, I simply must wait. And listen. And allow myself to be lost.

I don’t like this. It’s uncomfortable. I panic. Acceptance is hard for me when I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

But do we ever know what’s going to happen next?

The idea for this blog came, oddly enough, today, after talking to a friend. He was helping me brainstorm about what I wanted now, in life. PhD? Maybe. Travel to the West and write about a Spiritual Journey? Maybe.

But I can’t! I heard myself pronounce.

Why? He said.

Because something is telling me I just have to hold on a bit longer. Wait and see what happens.

What do you think is going to happen? He said.

I don’t know. Maybe my book will be picked up by the contests I’m submitting it to. Maybe something is keeping me here, and I just don’t know what that something is.

Then why do you sound so upset? He said.

Because I feel like I should KNOW. Because it feels like, all my life, I’ve been carried by the metaphorical eagle along a path, even if I didn’t know where exactly the path was leading. But NOW, the eagle has dropped me in the middle of a forest and I see now way out. No idea of what to do.

So why not allow yourself to feel lost? Write about the many Ways We Are Lost.

Thus the birth of this blog. And I plan on writing about the different ways many of us may feel lost from time to time in life. Psychologically, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

*

Definition of Lost:

1 : not made use of, won, or claimed
2 a : no longer possessed b : no longer known
3: ruined or destroyed physically or morally : desperate
4 a : taken away or beyond reach or attainment : denied <regions lost to the faith> b : insensible, hardened <lost to shame>
5 a : unable to find the way b : no longer visible c : lacking assurance or self-confidence : helpless
6 : rapt, absorbed <lost in reverie>
7: not appreciated or understood : wasted <their jokes were lost on me>
8: obscured or overlooked during a process or activity <lost in translation>
9: hopelessly unattainable : futile <a lost cause>
*
Many of these definitions seem, well, hopeless. But I want to find the beauty in being lost, rather than focus on the misinterpreted mass of trees, obscuring the “way out.”
If one is lost in the wilderness, the first piece of advice is to stay where you are, unless you’re in immediate danger.
So, let’s stay still, I think. Let’s see what advantages are to be found in being lost.
I keep coming up with the image of being dropped in the middle of a strange forest, devoid of barrings. At first anxious, terrified, unsure.
What about the beauty of the strange forest?
Rene Menard wrote that “In the forest, I am my entire self.”
But what is this self, especially when lost? Can we find more about the self and the world around us, through this being-lost?
Tonight, I was reading the philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset–
At every moment of my life there open before me divers possibilities: I can do this or that. If I do this, I shall be A the moment after; if I do that, I shall be B […] But man is the entity that makes itself, an entity which traditional ontology only stumbled upon precisely as its course was drawing to a close, and which it in consequence gave up the attempt to understand: the causa sui. With this difference, that the causa sui had only to “exert itself” in being the cause of itself and not in determining what self it was going to cause. It had, to begin with, a self previously determined and invariable, consistent, for example, to infinity.
But man must not only make himself: the weightiest thing he has to do is to determine what he is going to be. He is causa sui to the second power.
This presents for me a problem. What do I want to be? What do I want to make of myself? And, is being lost, allowing myself to discover within this being-lost, a futile effort? An avoidance? Or am I trying to take it as a gift? I want, and have always wanted, to be a searcher, one who searches–for truth, beauty, God, I don’t know. Through writing, I always felt I was on a quest. And, I suppose, I can allow myself to search within the being-lost. A quest seems put on hold if one is lost. Where am I going? What is the big picture?
And we always want to achieve, gather, gain. Or at least it seems this way in our culture at present. And if we don’t know what we’re achieving, if anything, and if material possessions don’t fill the void, or personal achievements don’t seem to add up–we lose or can’t find a job, become disinterested in whatever we thought would make us happy–what then?
Friends, I am lost. But I want to decide, among the weightiest of tasks, to Be Lost. And to discover more about what the Lost-Self feels like.
I can do this or that, as Ortega says. But I don’t see any this or that at present, other than my poetry, art, relationship-to-other, which in itself is a search party, so I will search out, cry out, sit still, observe and converse with all things / people, Lost.
If you’d like, check out a recent post on my other blog, to see the roots of some of these recent wanderings, HERE
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4 Responses to If You Don’t Know Where to Go

  1. ida-ho says:

    Hey you,

    It’s interesting, when I read the definitions of “lost” I found myself surprised by how many sounded appealing. I’m sure you will be able to revel in this lost-ness, & in yr ambling collaborate with beauty. Looking forward to keeping track of this as well as I keep track of anything in my own Lost.

    xoM.

    Like

  2. I like being lost, in many ways. πŸ™‚ Glad to “see” you here. I think I’d enjoy being lost better in Idaho, though. πŸ™‚

    Like

  3. Floyd says:

    “the weightiest thing he has to do is to determine what he is going to be.” Ah, yes. Only us humans are burdened with this. . .perceived destiny and burden. Having been your “friend” on Facebook for a period of time, it is your “lost” life that I find fascinating because your interests are so varied and you chronicle your “lostness” well. This will serve you well. I, myself, do not ever want to be “found.” It is a gift. Grab it! There are goals, ambitions, aspirations, and then there is flying-by-the-seat-of-your pants. Wear great and sturdy pants. Play lots of Brahms. I’m so looking forward to following your great adventure.

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  4. Shaine Parker says:

    That you are “lost” or seemingly so indictates a questioning mind, and that is in essence the way out of the maze. A certan amontof acceptance is necessary, but you are well on your way out. I enjoy your philosophizing here.

    Like

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