Guest Blogger: Leigh Dornfeld
I am almost positive we have all had that gut-dropping feeling of realizing you were lost. Whether you were a small child and you lost sight of your parent in a place packed with people or you lost your child in the opposing situation, both produce the same level of adrenaline/panic in your brain. I know I have, but I have also had a solo hiking trip where I literally got lost by myself in the park. Reflecting upon that experience and now going through a major life change in my life has me thinking how great the title quote (pictured) is metaphorically.
Let me explain….Thinking you had your bearings under control only to realize that you are now standing on an abandoned golf course/farm field and you've run smack into one of those “No Trespassing” signs gives you that gut-dropping feeling. You know the kind of sign, right? Not the ones that softly call out, “Please remove yourself from this property. It's not yours.”, but the scary looking one where all you can picture is some owner stepping out onto their front porch with their shotgun, firing a warning shot for you to get a head start. This happened to me in the past year where I was completely and utterly physically lost. I panicked…...for a moment. Then I cleared my head and focused on something I could control, which was taking steps in one direction and starting to find my way out of my misplacement.
"I believe personal growth is not linear, but an ever present process our whole lives."
Getting lost is a perfect metaphor for your own personal emotional growth in life. The steps that you take in your personal life are opportunities for growth no matter the final outcome. Beginnings and especially endings are your chance to learn something new about yourself and become stronger. Physically you may try to backtrack or try going left for a certain amount of time only to realize you just made the biggest mistake of the afternoon and you need to try another route. I´ve always told myself that if I ever assure myself that I have it all figured out, then I am so “lost” that I immediately need to book a counseling appointment to get my head on straight. I believe personal growth is not linear, but an ever present process our whole lives. “Getting Lost” in your own personal growth is necessary to do just that. Embrace it and enjoy the journey of getting yourself unstuck. As an educator we teach our students that making mistakes are where the learning takes place. Getting lost in the real world is where the personal growth take place too.
I eventually was able to logically figure out my predicament. After my cortisol subsided and my rational thought came back, I paid attention to my surroundings and realized I knew where the sun was so I knew the general direction of my car. I knew the park had a set of train tracks crossing the northern border. I knew if I ran into those, I should not cross them. Lastly, I had my phone with me. 911 is on my speed dial. I am that kind of mom! It was a beautiful late summer afternoon so I literally put one foot in front of the other, leaned into the unknown, and headed west towards the sun. No scary men with shotguns stepped out on that front porch, and after a 2-mile detour and a fantastic hike later, I made it back to the actual park grounds. I checked out the map and found my mistake and chalked it up as a good learning experience.
My final point for this random stream of thought is we grow the most inside of those physical lost experiences and especially when the “feeling lost” is just up in our head. I recommend cliff diving into those thoughts and experiences. Even if you don't like cliff diving I can guarantee you will be safe to do it and will come back out feeling invigorated and proud of yourself on the other end. What can you learn? You need to go out and get lost to find out. Hike up towards your own personal growth!