Becoming Lost

The paradox of life…

We forget the fearlessness of our youth, the willingness to fail, spectacularly, rise up and try again.

We reach a point where there’s more concern about what we might lose than what we might gain, a defensiveness that shuts out the very stuff that makes life exhilarating, that produces passion and breathlessness and the confidence to keep creating.

This happens with companies as with people. Mature companies slowly weed out the rebels, the iconoclasts, the difficult. They stultify insidiously until we become satisfied with less of ourselves than we were meant to be.

I don’t know where you are within your life, whether you feel stuck, or blissfully happy, or terrified by a future you can’t imagine. But wherever you are, Rebecca Solnit, author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost, can reach you if you’re inclined to take that risk.

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.”

“Three years ago I was giving a workshop in the Rockies. A student came in bearing a quote from what she said was the pre-Socratic philosopher Meno. It read, ‘How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?’ I copied it down, and it has stayed with me since.”

“The question she carried struck me as the basic tactical question in life. The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know, or only think we know, what is on the other side of that transformation.”

“Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?”

“To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography.”

“That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.

Sometimes I help those with whom I get to work with a simple push out of the office, outside the station, outside the comfortable, separate from the conformity and the stress and the expectations.

I know some of you reading this today have done that for me, more than once. You know who you are, and I am always grateful for your presence in my life.

Sometimes knowing someone who will nudge you to become lost for a while provides just the right mixture of courage and acceptance to believe in the possibility of the greatness you were meant to reveal.

It’s there, within, but you may need to lose yourself to discover it.

It is so worth it.