How to Find Yourself When You’re Feeling Lost

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ollow synchronicities like you are tracking a wild animal. Forget neon signs, billboards, and airplanes towing banners. Look instead for the gnawed branch, wayward leaf, and disturbed debris. Compressions and depressions, points of contact. Imprints of movement.

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ill the myth of the authority figure, the big daddy, the guru who’s going to see, affirm, and protect you. Stretch out and luxuriate in the fact that it’s you who are going to do these things. It’s okay to need others, but marshal your resources, tap into that still brain, confer with your heart, sift through your experiences. You have more power than you realize.

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ay attention when your brain fuzzes over. Lean into the exact situations to which you don’t want to pay attention. These are gold — your blind spots — the places you need to grow some muscle.

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hen you realize you are devising schemes that will take more energy or time than you actually have, when you imagine the person you will be — when you magically stop being the person you are—stop. Lean instead into the feelings you are trying to avoid.

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hen it’s just you and the rock face, remember that feelings can be footholds and handholds. Wedge your fingertips and edges of your feet into the tiny ledges and creases. You’d be amazed at how much leverage and power you can get, how much weight the smallest nub can bear. It’ll hold you. Not forever, but enough to get you to the next right place. Don’t be afraid to scramble. Use friction, tension, and even your desperation to help you move.

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ay attention to the moments your heart lifts. Pay more attention to when it drags. The heavy heart, the spent energy. Do not be afraid to tell yourself the truth. If what you’re telling yourself is overly negative, despairing, hateful, self-loathing or angry, it isn’t the truth.

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nside you lives an artist who needs time and space. Art is no self-indulgent escape. It’s a way to make sense of suffering, express joy, salute beauty. It is solace, affirmation, validation, breathing room, and savoring. It’s a way to hold space, make sense, and connect.

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ake time for joyful movement every day. Even if it’s just a finger-snapping, hip-rolling, head-swaying moment, a flicker of time. Haven’t you suffered enough?

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hen you let the wild creature inside you free, it will flee its cage, mad with happiness and desire. Track yourself. You will recognize your traces. Keep going until you get to the clearing where the animal is joyfully tearing up the meat, finally able to get what it needs.

Writer|Editor. Believer in the power of stories.

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