Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Lost Is Found

I've been lost twice in the last week. Yup, one day I got in the car thinking I knew where I was going and I proved myself wrong. On another day, I decided to take the dogs for a walk in an area I'm not very familiar with and I got all turned around. I came out far away from where I thought I was and far away from the car.

I have a bit of a reputation for this. Friends are often hesitant to ride or walk with me. I wander and I explore and I experiment. And I allow myself to be distracted by the new environment. And so while I'm very immersed in the present, all that is new around me, I lose track of the past (where I came from) and the future (where I think I'm going).

So I rather like getting lost. When I'm at home in Northern Michigan, getting lost means I keep walking or driving until I find a two-track that leads somewhere. In Northern Ontario, where I visit often to fish or paddle, I can easily be lost for a whole day or more.

Getting good and lost means I must relinquish all attempts at being in control of my situation and any need to know where I am, where I might be going and what it will take to get back to where I began. In this state, nothing matters but my current surroundings and I am more fully able to immerse myself in those surroundings and let go of what has been and what is to come. “Lost” becomes and attitude that breaks any psychological barriers. And my body responds to that attitude.

There are some cultures, mostly island cultures, which simply don't have a word for the experience of being lost. But for those of use who do “know” lost, there's an attitude shift to work through. So here it is. The price we pay for the freedom of being lost is to be vulnerable. The gift we receive from the freedom of being lost is new, unexpected and random things like unforeseen circumstance, interesting people, and odd surroundings. It stimulates us. If we pay the price of vulnerability, we can let go of being threatened simply because we are lost.  We learn to not waste our energy panicking about the direction we should take.

Current theory from the mathematics of quantum physics indicates that we should be able to remember the future as easily as we remember the past. This theory helps me understand that getting lost is not really lost in the traditional sense; it's lost with the knowing that the future will find me.

“Don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~Diane Ackerman