Sunday, March 13, 2011

“Not All Who Wander Are Lost”

A book I’m reading had a great thought that has me reflecting. The passage I was reading was about how those of us who go through monumental change (like learning to live clean and sober) go though a period of time where we feel lost. When we feel that way, we need to learn to accept it. Not wish we weren’t lost, not search frantically for our way, but just sit in that feeling of being lost and learn to be okay with it.

I’ve felt lost at many times during my life. There have been many others where I haven’t exactly been lost, but I’ve wandered without any sort of specific destination in mind. Sometimes I know I’m firmly on a path, but I have no idea where it’s going, what I’ll see along the way, or what my destination will be like.

Recovery is a lot like that third option. When we start out, we often have no other goal than to just get off whatever it is we can’t stop using. As we progress, as we see the miracle that it is possible to live clean and sober, we begin to wonder what other miracles are possible. A healthy relationship? A good job? Renewed relationships with our spouses, parents, and children? We’re told that Recovery is a process, not an event; a journey, not a destination.

I must admit, I enjoy being a wanderer (or is that wonderer?). I enjoy doing my best to go through life with an open mind, trying to free myself from preconceived notions about the way things are or are supposed to be. It’s part learning to see the world around me and myself in terms of what Is, and part learning to let go of my expectations for what might be. That last one can be really hard. We’re human; we can have expectations without knowing it. The skill then becomes learning to let go. Life didn’t turn out the way we think it should or thought it would? Well, how about that!

Not everyone wanders. Some people set out for a destination and go straight there. And that’s fine for them, it just doesn’t work for me. I like enjoying the journey, watching the scenery around me change, and noticing how I change as time goes by and I stay on this spiritual path. There’s something about the mystery of where life will take me that is really appealing.

From time to time, I get frustrated with not knowing where my life will take me. I can become stuck and become frustrated with that, too. That’s when I reach out to my higher power and ask for guidance. When I’m really spiritually fit, I don’t wait until I’m stuck to ask for guidance.

Feeling lost, in the end, is just another feeling. As we learn a new way of life, through working the program, we are going to feel lost. A lot. The best way to handle it is the same as with any other feeling--accept it. “I’m lost.” Boom. It doesn’t mean the world is over, it doesn’t mean we will always feel that way. In fact, we can be certain that we won’t feel like that forever, because all feelings pass.

It’s okay to be lost. If we can learn to accept the feeling, be comfortable with it, then we move into a different place, a place where we aren’t exactly lost anymore, we simply aren’t sure where we’re going or how we’ll get there. It’s like being lost, but without the fear.

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