Feeling a bit lost is something I’ve recently come to terms with and something that has deep roots in my personal history. I won’t go over the details of how I came to this realization, but my life experiences and my personal history paved the way for my circumstances. And I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling as though I’ve lost my direction from time to time. In this post I’ll be sharing my experience, in hopes that it will help to light the way back for anyone who may feel a little lost as well. So let’s start in the beginning with some beliefs forged early on.
Our Childhood Informs Our Future, Feeling Lost & Without Direction
This began for me at an early age. I wrote about it some in my post on “Why am I Pushing Myself so Hard“. About the trauma I experienced and the sense of loss and feeling lost, without direction. I was eight when things began to fall apart for me. My family had turned their backs on me collectively, leaving me to fend for myself. This, all under the veil of, “becoming a man”. Something that carried great weight, not only my family, but the culture as well.
This is where feeling lost and without direction and a home, began to take shape for me. I didn’t feel welcomed or loved anymore by anyone from that day on. Without a place where you feel welcome, a sense of belonging, then you really get the feeling that you don’t have a place to call home. I didn’t have the words for it at such an early age, but this was how I felt. Homeless and without a sense of belonging or direction.
Moving On & Letting Go
Bad things happen. I’ve come to terms with this to the best of my ability. From this recognition, I’ve realized that once I made the decision to accept the difficult things and that have happened to me and feeling lost along the way, then I can start to find direction. How to not only make up for the ways I cultivated being, in reaction to those situations and experiences, but also to heal from and move forward and find direction in my life.
The Buddha said it best when talking about anger and resentment, “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. This is so true from my experience. I was holding onto a lot of anger and resentment. As well as blame and pain. But all that did for me was to help me cultivate a greater sense of self-righteousness and unhealthy habits. These were not the best tools to survive life with.
One of my mantras in my early twenties was, “bridges are for burning”. As you’ve probably guessed, things did not go well for me with this mentality. I found myself alone, feeling lost and with few friends and no stable connections to anybody. There were reasons for my armoring beyond my understanding at the time, but as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. And I definitely did not know. The journey was almost always trying. Difficult to say the least. But there are other ways of being and different tools we can use to navigate life with. To feel a little more at home.
Ways of Feeling More at Home
These tools or resources, help to bring me a sense of comfort and ease. Direction to my chaotic life. In the following, I’ll be sharing some of the tools I’ve cultivated, to help bring me a sense of direction. As well as a feeling of being at home.
I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for about five years. Yoga has helped to bring me back into my body after dissociating from it for such a long time. This was due to all the abuse and neglect I experienced. I could comfortably be in my body while feeling difficult sensations that brought dis-ease. And there were a lot of difficult, uneasy moments for sure. But the longer I stayed, the better I became at being comfortable in the sensations, the dis-ease.
I was dissociated from my body for a very long time. So it took a lot of staying in order to feel as though I were comfortable just taking up space. If you have difficulty staying in, and cultivating ease in the moment, yoga may be the key to helping you be more present.
This one was helpful in many ways. First, it helped me to listen inwardly. There was a whole world happening inside of me that I was completely oblivious to. Tara Brach makes reference to a saying in the meditation community that’s rung a bell with me. The saying goes, “sit, stay, heal”. I like this saying because, as with yoga, the longer you stay with the difficult thoughts and emotions that arise, the easier it becomes to navigate them.
As a friend of mine had said, when talking about a mutual friend who feels like they’re in a cycle of ups and downs, “what they don’t understand is, that feelings become easier to manage the more you allow yourself to feel them”. For me, I don’t think it would have been possible to separate the voice that was beating me up, from the voice of reason and better judgement without being patient with myself and my feeling. This was difficult and took time to recover from feeling lost, but it’s totally doable.
Cooking has been a source of grounding for me. The smells while the onion and garlic are frying. The steam that rises from the pots of boiling liquids. It all comes together through my senses to make my house feel more like a home. I batch cook, but also have one night a week where I cook a self-care dinner. The latter is where I take my time and enjoy the process of watching it all come together. Sure it’s nice to order out every once and awhile, but the feeling of everything coming together holds a real sense of feeling connected to the act of nourishing myself. Here’s my Insta if you want to see what I’ve been cooking.
Friends & Family
Friends and family are important too. If it’s only you doing these things, it can feel lonely. And the point of these tools is to feel a greater sense of belonging and connection. Sure, first with yourself, but also with others as well. I’ve recently begun cooking with my family one night a week. This is a chance for us to connect. Also to get to know each other a little better each time while bringing a sense of collaboration. Of working on something together. And food tastes better when you have people to share it with : )
But the connections we’re building are what’s most important when we get together for family dinner nights. For me, I never had that type of bonding. So building something new, even though it’s a little late, has helped to fill some of that void that has been there inside of me from an early age. It also has a similar feeling as to when we gather for holidays and special occasions. It’s having something special to look forward to during the week. However small.
We share bits of wisdom we’ve collected in life. Stories from our past and in the process, we’re building a sense of belonging. A sense of being a family. And this is where feeling at home really begins to take shape. The stories and the shared experience is where these bonds lay. These are the moments we take with us into our futures, that help to create a feeling of homecoming when we experience them.
Writing for me has been a way to explore my ideas, thoughts and feelings that I’ve had about my past, present and future. This blog has helped me to go through some of the parts of my life that I had been too scared to look at before.
Journaling, as well, has been an incredible resource. It has been a place where I can plan what my future looks like. By exploring plans I have and things I want to accomplish. It’s a place to visit the past in a safe way. By writing down my thoughts and feels about what I’ve experienced. And also a way to stay in the present while revisiting these times. It’s helped to pave the way home from my days of feeling lost and helpless, on my own.
By writing down my budget, todo list and my other day to day tasks that need my attention, while I’m living my life. I’ve written about journaling before on this blog, but if you haven’t yet, check out bullet journaling. This is a unique way to bring the various threads of your life together in one place.
Finding Time to Relax
This is an important one. For me, I have so many things, responsibilities and people to catch up with, that finding time for myself is in short supply. I usually find some time in the evenings, before I go to bed. For me, relaxing looks like me burning some candles, listen to mellow music, reading a book, while sipping on a cup of herbal tea to help unwind from the day. Feeling at ease and making the time to relax is so important to our overall health and mental well-being. Yet it’s something that, at least I overlook. Or it’s the first thing to get tossed out when we have loads of responsibility to manage.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here is a perfect time to practice some self-care and order something out. Watch something mindless and just be with yourself or someone you’re close to and just be. We put so much responsibility on ourselves to accomplish so much in the day to day, that we never really stop to ask ourselves, “why”? “Why am I pushing myself so hard?” Taking the time you need to feel your best also shows you that you respect yourself and your time. It also brings you a sense of self-worth as well. And a little bit of this type of care goes a long way.
So try to make a plan to relax a little everyday. Maybe there’s a park you enjoy that you can go to when you take a lunch break. Or do as I do and take an hour or so before you go to bed and set up a calming routine to help you decompress from the day. Tailor it to your own needs and likes and make it a place or routine you enjoy coming home to.
It’s Your Life, Go Live It
I feel like this gets overlooked so often, and that is kind of amazing to me. We get so wrapped up in wanting to be as productive as possible, for others and ourselves, that we forget to take the time to slow down and find out, not just what we need, but what we want. What feels good. Also how to best feel comfortable in our own bodies and minds.
What are some of your long term goals? Things that you want for yourself that will bring you a sense of joy and happiness. Is traveling a passion of yours? Write down a plan to visit some place you’ve wanted to go visit. Even if you never make it, the act of planning can really bring a sense of curiosity and excitement for finding new places to explore. As Adrienne says, from Yoga With Adrienne, “find what feels good”, and do that. Because life becomes a chore when it is filled with a bunch of checkboxes we need to accomplish. There’s more to life than what’s on your todo list.
And when you begin to tend to these areas of your life that may have been neglected for ages, here is where the sense of direction comes to fruition. You now have a direction of what your working towards. Not just working yourself to the death. So find the things that bring you peace. They will help to make you feel more at home with yourself and with others. What are your resources, your go-tos for taking care of yourself? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below. Peace & thanks for reading : )