Have you ever wondered through the woods, thinking you knew where you were, and come to find you really didn’t?  Maybe you didn’t know which direction you faced, or which way to go to get back?  Lost, or so it seemed.   What was that experience like?  And how did you end up resolving it?

Trust in the unknown

I tend to have a good sense of direction when I am in the mountains, but I found out a couple of times that it wasn’t always right on.  There was this one time I was wondering around (off trail of course), started following a faint trail, which then ended at the intersection with another more established trail.  Which way to go to get me back in the direction of where I started?  The various curves of my wanderings left me unsure of directions.  Should I go up or down?  Left or right to return?  In the semi-dense forest under cloud cover, I really could not be certain where the shadows fell, so couldn’t use that to navigate.  I just had to trust.

Over the years, I’ve come to trust a few things about my abilities.  First, after I take a deep breath and really get present to where I am, what is around me, I figure out some way to get back.  I could use lighting to get an idea of directions, or I can turn around, see where I’ve come from or look out for familiar landmarks to help guide the way.  Sometimes, I stop and breathe and do a body check, asking what the most appropriate way to go would be.  And, I know that I can always backtrack if I really need, retrace my steps.

In this instance at the intersection, I felt moving downhill to the right, made the most sense.  I noticed the bits of doubt rumbling in my head, yet I let my feet walk until I found something familiar, an intersection with a unique tree.  Then, I knew where I was.  I wasn’t lost, just unsure for a bit.

Trusting in life

I found that this is approach helps in life as well.   In practicing staying present, I look over the general landscape of my day (or event), looking for the light or looking around to get my bearings.  Just like out in the woods, I really notice what is there, where I am drawn, what feels right, along with what I know about the situation.  I trust that I will know a way, although my doubting mind will have its say.   And, trust that I can put one foot in front of the other to make my way home.

My time in the forest is a good reminder to stay present and even-headed, even in the face of the unknown.  And, as I move forward in life, sometimes I don’t know where I am, or maybe, even where I want to go.  Here, there is no going back, only forward.  What signs do I need to look for?  How can I use this same sense of trust to move myself forward?  What about you?  What do you look for?  How do you trust your movement forward in life?