Fighting the experience of “being lost” with more and more activity, work, seeking, partying, trying, hiding, groping, searching, learning, and hoping is understandable and common. It also often makes things worse rather than addressing the real problem. The following poem is adapted from a Northwest American Indian teaching story and gives an elder’s answer to a young child’s question:
What should I do if I’m lost in the forest?
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called “here,”
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger.
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
Listen. The forest breathes. It whispers
“I have made this place for you,
if you leave it you may come back again, saying ‘here.’”
No two trees are the same to the raven.
No two branches are the same to the wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you
---then you are surely lost.
Stand still. The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.