The Power to Get Lost
When we travel by ourselves, when we leave everything and go far away, or more simply when we make important decisions, the ones that we have to make all by ourselves. Generally, in those moments, our emotions are multiplied by ten. When we are happy, we are super happy. When we are stressed out, we are super stressed out. When we are sad, we get hopeless, life doesn’t make any sense anymore, open the window and step aside, I will jump. Also, we change moods in a second. It is something I have been told before my very first trip in India. I remember every word of it. You’ll see, when you travel by yourself, your moods completely change in a flash. You’re going to feel lonely and far away from everything, and the next second you’ll be happier than you ever have been before.
As for myself, in my moments of doubt, I don’t feel particularly lonely, or stressed out or unhappy, I rather have the feeling to be lost. It is a feeling that has followed me for a while now; it is not specific to Bali. When we leave, we take all our luggage with us, right. The question that is constantly coming over is: what am I doing here? It is a pragmatic what-am-I-doing-here: like here, now and in the upcoming days. But it is also a global what-am-I-doing-here. In this life, in this society which walks backwards most of the time, in this world.
The first time I realized that I felt lost, that I really put a precise word on my feeling, I freaked out. How that lost? I tried to put my ideas and my life in order, it wasn’t possible, I couldn’t feel lost, there was inevitably a mistake somewhere. And yet, this question didn’t stop coming back into my mind. What am I doing here? I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go, or who I wanted to have close to me. And at the same time, I didn’t really want to know. What am I doing here? The answer to this question was already found: I have no clue. I don’t know what I am doing here, at this exact minute. I don’t know what I am doing here, globally. But in the end, does it really matter?
Not knowing. We have always been taught the opposite. I don’t know, has never been a valuable answer. Never. We’ve been taught to have an answer to every question, goals and life paths already all planned out. We’ve been taught to be in control, and far more than that, to improve our control. Control everything, all the time. What you’re going to do, where you’re going to do it, where you see yourself in a year, in ten years, how many children, a career plan, a job title on your resume, a countryside house, a 4×4, and three dogs. We’ve been taught to put age in front of our goals. At 18, you graduate from school. At 22, you do your internship abroad. At 25, you sign your first contract in a company. Before 30, you’ll have bought your apartment; you’ll be married and waiting for you first child. The control disregards who you really are (and incidentally your level of happiness). Maybe you didn’t want to intern abroad but rather go raise goats in the Larzac. But also, the control put you under an unhealthy pressure. If at 30, you have no job, no apartment, no husband, no children, like I do, you begin to frighten people. And if above all, when you’ve been asked what you’re going to do, you answer that you don’t have a clue. You’re done.
I was talking about it to my friend Nasser last week. Nasser is Egyptian. He worked for Facebook in Ireland; he was in charge of data security for seven years. He left everything, Facebook and Ireland, travelled few weeks in Bali and went back to Cairo, close to his family. He has no idea of what he wants to do. He’s thinking of going back to school, he’s thinking of looking for a job in Cairo, travelling, changing everything, questioning everything. To live, regardless of the rest. Just be happy. I am talking about Nasser, but there really are so many people around me in the same situation (or about to be in the same situation).
Not knowing, in the end, is the biggest chance we could be given. Take a day after another, take the time, just live. The control is a ploy. We don’t have any control in this life. Nobody is even able to know what we are doing here. I am not the only one to ask this question. Everybody is. And nobody has the answer. I don’t know. To accept not knowing. And more than that, to enjoy not knowing. To seize that chance.
With Nasser, we called it the « not knowing phase ». A phase when you have no idea about anything. No idea about where you want to live, what you want to do, how you want to make a living, people you want to hang out with. Wipe the slate clean, wait and see. Open all the doors in front of you, everything is possible again. But I am thinking. What if it wasn’t just a phase? What if it was way more than that. A new way of seeing thing. A new philosophy of living.
Quite often I’ve been asked why I was doing yoga and what I was getting out of it. The answer is there. When you practice a lot, at a certain point, you connect yourself to something else, to the very inside of you, to the now. Yoga is not a physical practice. Not just that. The physical practice is the first step. To learn to know your body, to get a complete freedom back in your body and in your movements. Yoga is a spiritual practice, above all. To find the balance inside of us. Yoga is a way of going home to yourself. Yoga practice becomes addictive for that, we never want to lose that connection. When we are connected, we don’t need anything from the outside. We really don’t care about what we want to do, neither where nor with whom. Nothing really matters except the moment we are living. And then, we lose that connection. We lose it and we feel lost. And the question comes back: what am I doing here?
Yesterday, I talked about it with one my teachers, Murni. I told her how much I felt lost every now and then. She looked at me and answered quite simply that we all feel lost. That it was exactly the purpose of life. That we have to get lost to find ourselves. And that it is when we get lost, that we can keep learning. It made me think about a line I really love in « Eat, Pray, Love ». Sometimes, to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life.
To accept to lose balance, to accept to lose control, to accept not knowing. We don’t need to put words on everything. We don’t need to have answers to every question. We just need to let go and have faith. A blind faith in ourselves, in who we are and in what makes us happy, and a blind faith in life. When we have enough faith, life becomes magical. And to get lost becomes a gift.
Imagine it more simply. It is like taking always the same way to get from a point A to a point B. To know the way by heart. Not discovering anything anymore. Not seeing anything on the way. Moving forward like an automatic pilot. And then a day, to accept to be carried away, to wander in new streets, to take a new bus line, or to pass through a new area, to find a new itinerary. Maybe you will try several itineraries before finding one truly wonderful. Maybe you will find the wrong way. Maybe you will lose some time. But you will discover. We should never stop discovering, never lose our childhood curiosity. Because in the end, we don’t know much more today than we knew when we were kids.
I wish you to get lost as often as possible. Maybe not in every area at the same time. Begin small! Get lost in your job or in your relationship. Open the doors in front of you and imagine that everything is possible. Hold out your hand and let the life come to you.
From the bottom of my heart,