The Practice of Getting Lost

A student called me today and expressed the feeling of having lost herself. What could I say? I remember menopause. I remember my father-in-law with Alzheimers questioning over and over, “Where am I?”

My answer was always, “You are right here.”

On occasion he would respond by saying, “Good sermon.” He had been a preacher who started 30 churches in Indonesia. He did not approve of me being a yogini; but, in the end, he didn’t argue with the truth.

My student and I agreed, at the end of our conversation, we would both go for a walk. We live in different towns. She would seek out her walking area, and I would enter the nearby park to find that trail which has not been maintained for years.


Each time I choose this trail it seems easier to lose the path. Over time, I have found this particular challenge to be a good way to practice dealing with my initial and instinctive panic reaction. When I find myself disoriented, I stop, take several yogic breaths and tell myself, I am here, nowhere else. I am exactly where I need to be. How can I be lost?

I manage to avoid poison oak. It is very prevalent here, and I remember how there were times when I thought I might never be able to enjoy a free-wheeling California nature walk. Now I have mugwort growing around our property as my perpetually available medicine against the itchy nuisance.

I give myself permission to turn around whenever I wish, and I do. After all, I have found what I am looking for–gratitude. Resolving to check in with my student to see what gifts her walk brought about, I return. The circle feels whole. The afternoon deepens, and a breeze refreshes. Birds chirp, cheep and hoot, and the earth continues its healing mission.


  1. Deborah said:

    Great post.
    I once read that “You’re never as free as when you are lost”.

    May 6, 2015
  2. Abhaya said:

    “I have found what I am looking for-gratitude”.

    “I am exactly where I need to be. How can I be lost?”

    Yes, indeed, Gudrun: it is my misconceptions, drawn from misperceptions that cause me to feel so lost and afraid.

    Thank you for sharing your writings.

    May 18, 2015

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