Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Being lost in a place full of maps...

There are times when being lost is a good thing.  When I lived in England, I would often take roads that I had never been on before just to see where they went; I discovered some of the coolest things by doing this.  I have done this while traveling in Italy, France, and Germany; I have done it while traveling in Canada and the United States; and I have done it when hiking or climbing in the mountains where I lived when I was younger.  I find not knowing where you are to be somewhat exhilerating. The fact is that not knowing where you are leads to new things and new experiences, which makes life that much more pleasurable and happy.

When we define ourselves, if we bother to try, we usually look back at our lives and use our past as a sort of rubric or template by which to base our definition of self upon.  In many ways this is normal and natural.  Plato believed that we are the sum total of all of our experiences.  In other words, we are who we are because of what we have done, or haven't done; because of the choices we have made, or haven't made; and because of the way we have reacted, or have not reacted to the choices that others have made.  I have said this before, and it is something that I will say again because I strongly feel that it is true.

However, having said all of this, there are times when being or feeling lost is not what we want to feel, or be, but it is what we are.  There are times when the vagaries of the world combine against us and force us out of places we feel comfortable, into places that we don't.  Although there may be exhileration connected with discovering that which is new, there can also be sorrow or fear.  There are times when not knowing, or seeing the way can be frightening, if not terrifying, and if this happens too often, the feelings associated with things that are new may not be positive or happy.

We all feel like this at times.  It's true... we all do.  Even those people we look at and think have it all together, even those who seem in control, and even those who we turn to for comfort and guidance have found themselves lost and afraid.  It often happens when there are maps and signposts all around, but we have, for some reason, lost the ability to read them clearly.  However, the wonderful thing is that these times do pass and we find ourselves again, or we find the joy in being somewhere new, and we move on.  It's like traveling through a field of roses.  We see the beauty before we enter the field, we experience the thorns while we are within the field, and when we have left and look back, we once more only see the beauty.

Life is good, even when it isn't.  This is because, like Bilbo Baggins, we go 'there and back again', and we are never the same person when we return as we were when we left.  New places, new things, and new experiences shape us, and grow us, and teach us, and I believe that this is good.

1 comment:

  1. So true. I wonder if more people came to this realization how much happier we would all be?