Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lost and Found

The other day, as I mentioned in my last post, I arrived from an epic two day hike from one village to another over an obscure and remote mountain trail. It was a experience rich in adventure and life lessons.

On my hike there was a moment where I was completely lost in the thick forest as my path turned into a dozen smaller versions. Only after climbing up through the bush to the mountain ridge did I finally find a main trail. However, I didn't know which way to go! Right or Left? I sat down in despair. I just couldnt decide which way! I pondered everything I knew about my current position, the guidance I had been given, what I could see from the top-- but still, it was a complete draw. Left or Right?

Alas, my normally trusty intuition was no help either. When I asked it which way to go, all I had in return was a bad feeling at the very question.

Restless, I decided I had to keep moving. I forced myself to choose a way. I hiked right. The ridge trail took me up the mountain higher and higher two kilometers. Then, not spying anything promising, I decided it was the wrong way. So, I hiked back to the point where I had begun. Then, I hiked left, a steep, downwards and perilous kilometer.

That's when I met the three bushmen.

They were quietly making their way up the mountain trail towards me with steady, knowing steps. They had carved walking sticks, straw hats and one of them a blade of grass in his mouth. I've learned a fair bit of the local dialect, so after some pleasantries, I discovered I was headed back to the village I had left that morning! How embarrassing! They offered to show me the way. With only a few words, they had me follow them back the way I had come.

To my vast chagrin we hiked back up the one kilometer, then, alllllll the @&$!; way back up the two kilometers that I had hiked first. Here we stopped and they showed me the turn to make that I had missed the first time round.

All in all I did 6 kms when all I really had to do was 2kms!

Trully, it would have been better if I had just done nothing, chilled out, and taken a nap! I had a bad feeling and I should have just waited until things were clear. This was actually one of my thoughts when I first came to the trail. And it would have been sooo nice to have taken a snooze! Sometimes we can be vastly more productive doing 'no thing'.

So there's two lessons here. First, chill if things arent clear.
The second, is a little less obvious, and much more profound.

You cant find your way by yourself.

It's a lesson I needed a good reminder on. It's true not just in the mountain, but in the rest of life. The individualistic concept of a lone journey of self discovery is fundamentally flawed.

You can't become yourself by yourself.

I'd like to quote here an exigesis of this powerful statement. It is from two women who are exploring the concept of co-creation.

"Even though we have friends and cheerleaders, our approach to changing our lives, realizing our potentials and even transforming our world has been largely inside a masculine power system that celebrates the power of the individual.

In this power system we assume that we don't really need each other's partnership to create the things we most long for (we can find the path on our own!).

Most of us have been working on ourselves by ourselves for decades, struggling in isolation to breakthrough old patterns and bring forth our gifts and talents into the world (or to climb a mountain!).

Even though we may have supportive friends, or may even belong to supportive communities, we still emotionally feel like we are alone and lacking in the kind of support that we sense is critical to being able to flourish and thrive in ways that would represent the true realization of our potentials.

And what's even worse, we pathologize ourselves for not being able to do it alone. (boy, was I frustrated at myself!)

We tell ourselves that we are weak, inadequate or that there's something wrong with us because we can't gain mastery over our lives without support.

We need to recognize that we are relational beings and actually need each other's partnership to access the power that we need to thrive.

So, we want to validate the deeper knowing that you may already sense:

You were not designed to be alone!

You need much more support to bring forward the fullness of your gifts.

And it's only by coming together that we have access to the power to take on something as big and overwhelming as responding to the challenges of our world."


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