The Art of Being Lost

December 30, 2014
Mount Shasta, CA

I’m not exactly lost. I have vision; I just can’t see yet what it looks like, exactly. I’m ready to accept that I don’t know.

Ready to pack up my shawl, to my now-former-partner’s chagrin (maybe he would feel differently if he knew it was a gift from my last partner?), I picked each item off the coffee table it shrouded: the plant our friend Nathan brought when we hosted Shabbat, Natan’s typewriter, a glass with one last sip of water from the Sacramento headwaters…and a book I’d never seen before. I flipped it open to a page with the section title: The Art of Being Lost.

The first time I was seriously lost and accepted it began at that moment of dazzling light and shadow on Cascade Peak, the story with which this book commences…At that moment, my geographical position in the Adironack wilderness was the only way I could locate myself in life. I found myself at the beginning of an indefinite period of knowing neither my career, nor with whom I would go through life (if anyone), nor even what my life was about. I was lost, knew it, possessed a few rudimentary skills and knowledge to help me stay lost, and chose to relax into being lost as best as I could, by not pretending any longer to be a research scientist and by setting off alone, wandering into the west.”

-Bill Plotkin, SoulCraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche

I woke at 5:30am this morning with a hunger that must have been deeper than my belly. After some journaling and job- and house-searching, I tried in vain to fall back asleep. Accepting that it was time to go on this ride, I broke from my paralysis, grabbed the compost bucket and the water jug, and drove the frost-covered Magic Mobile to the headwaters just outside town. Golden sunlight on the wise redwoods invited me into peace. I didn’t have to engage in the drama, didn’t have to despair this as the “last time I’d go to the headwaters”. Yes, the decision to leave Mount Shasta two months early happened quickly on the surface, and the thought of dismantling my life within a day brought up grief. It also excited something vital within me.

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The previous day had been full of surprises. I found myself on the dark side of a pattern that’s been teeter-tottering for weeks now, getting closer and closer to a surrender to the irrational knowing inside of me that even though I’m capable of being happy here, and have been for the most part, my time here is done. I sat on a street corner in downtown Mount Shasta with a medicine-bag-sized Galena crystal I’d just bought and emailed my mentor, who’s been away on pilgrimage in Turkey all month. Writing helped. It usually does.

Taking my peace into my own hands, a daily practice, I decided to go for a hike. On my way home I stopped and talked to my next door neighbor Chris, a kind and handy man with a great memory for names who spends the warmer months clearing and maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail. When I mentioned that I was going for a hike and opened up for suggestions, he naturally offered “The PCT!” Why not?

Bringing my water, my camera and no expectations, I relished each step of the climb from the trailhead in Castella. The trees spoke. I listened, and sang back to them. I remembered myself. I remembered the beauty of playing games and my desire to co-create an adventure with my partner. I was excited to come back together and connect in a way we hadn’t been so much lately.

Life had a different plan. I’ll spare you the details, but we decided by the end of the night to go our separate ways. We’ve been sharing an apartment he rented before he met me, and so I found myself leaving not just my partner but my house, town, community and physical/financial security. Of course, this is precisely what I signed up for. My soul knows exactly what she’s doing, and I have to applaud her for the brilliant selection of experience.

The day before this sudden shift, I pulled this card in a reading where I asked my Spirit Guides about my current spiritual journey. The card implies that Spirit shakes us out of our illusion and comfort in an often uncomfortable and sudden burst of Truth. Creator does this for our liberation; note the Hebrew "yod"s falling from the sky (the first letter of G!d's name).

The day before this sudden shift, I pulled this card in a reading where I asked my Spirit Guides about my current spiritual journey. The card implies that Spirit shakes us out of our illusion and comfort in an often uncomfortable and sudden burst of Truth. Creator does this for our liberation; note the Hebrew “yod”s falling from the sky (the first letter of G!d’s name).

I feared this…I’ve never experienced quite such a voluntary break-up, my last partnership in Israel ending because I had another year of college left in the States. And to have no escape from the pain and awkwardness of being broken up as I packed and got ready to leave…and go where?, I didn’t know. Thank G!d, baruch hashem, I was ‘forced’ to stay present with the situation. Connecting with such honesty felt so good, I had second thoughts about leaving. Fortunately, I’ve chosen to journey with a deeply loving and wise soul, who reminded me that I was right when I sensed our paths diverged at this point. We’ve done our work together, and love now asks us to part. 

I thought about heading back to the Southwest, and perhaps this originates more from a fear of being homeless in a cold place than a true joyous desire to live there. The things I really want are in the Bay: my mentor, Hebrew Priestess training, Jewish Renewal community, inspiring organizations to work with, friends, and passion! I’m being asked to remember why I left Minnesota in the first place: to start a life in the East Bay and learn and grow in a supportive, inspiring environment with my spirit tribe. As always, I attempted to stay open and allow what Source wanted to emerge. I followed that deeper yearning to Mount Shasta, knowing I had a little more traveling to do before settling down and desiring to grow with this awesome man I’d met in Berkeley under the guidance of the Sacred Mountain.

Well, we got exactly what we wished for. Even as our partnership dissolves, we fulfill our commitment to one another by supporting each other’s highest good and connecting in a pure, loving space. I am blessed.

I am also, in some senses, lost. I don’t know for sure what I’m being called to in the physical realm. I know I’m being called to abandon my attachments to what I’ve built here, and remember that the only thing to cling to is the Truth: that G!d is Love and I’m here to be a vessel for that love. Without realizing it, I accomplished what I came here to do. I had exactly the experience my soul desired, and now it desires to leap once again to the great unknown and trust that Source is already catching me. 

I’m “lost”: I’m unemployed, recently single, houseless and unsure of what the future holds. I know and accept that I’m lost. And I have spiritual tools and some physical resources to support me in staying lost for a while.

I’m also more solidly found than I’ve been in weeks. There is no more room for illusion that any of those things, a job or relationship or home, are ME. I am Presence. I AM that voice within that guides me perfectly if I will only listen. Trusting myself and trusting G!d are one and the same because, as the central Jewish prayer the shema teaches, there is Nothing in this world but G!d. The Creator is so kind, she watches for when I get caught up in my unique array of ego and accomplishments and martyrdom and doing things for the sake of being “enough”, and reminds me I am already Here.

So, tomorrow onward to San Francisco. I embrace the gift of a deeper journey into the Art of Being Lost. I give thanks for a perfect, growth-stimulating partnership ending in mutual respect and love. I welcome the coming blessings with excitement and curiosity! Let’s play!