Hello, Wendy birds!
I was so inspired by our Ask Wendy Live session that I wanted to revisit some of the questions I touched on then, mixed with some new ones that have come in. Often times, I wish I could answer every single one of your questions, but I only have so much column space. This week, I thought I would try grouping a few questions together that were linked by a similar theme. Maybe hearing other people’s stories can help shed light on your own!
The theme of this combined column is feeling lost. I’ve received quite a few questions touching on this issue. Elvanlady wondered how she could stay in the town she loved when she couldn’t find work there. Both Vicky Angel and Shelby Loren wondered how they could get unstuck. Carol and Lost Girl Looking wanted to feel more connected to their lives. To me, all of theses questions have the same common core: how do I find my place in the universe?
Oh, Wendy Birds, my heart goes out to you. As human beings (and fairies too), we all have a desire to be known – this means finding the place and the community that fits us best. When we don’t know how to find this (or how to stay there once we have found it), we feel unavoidably lost. This can manifest in feelings of stress, loneliness, and depression.
I know these were some of the things I felt when I was 27 and wondering if I would ever leave Neverland. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my hometown (I wouldn’t be back here if I didn’t!). It was that I couldn’t grow into who I needed to be by staying here. I had taken advantage of every opportunity and mentor I could in Neverland – and it was time to follow my heart and make a change.
It sounds like everyone who wrote in this week is feeling that call – you’ve found yourself in a mindset or situation that has caused your soul to stop growing. You feel the urge to change that, but you don’t know how. You want your inertia to become momentum so that you can become the best you that you can be. Seems to me you have starting point, a path, and a destination.
If a traveler has a destination are they really lost? They just have to do what every explorer has done before them: chart the path from point A to point B.
I knew I wanted more than my little town could offer (and Elvanlady, I think you know that too). I was feeling stuck, so I needed to give myself the opportunity to change. My first step wasn’t quitting my job or packing a bag (those things came much later) – it was exploring what other possibilities there might be. Lost Girl Looking, maybe you could start reading about other programs, consider taking a class or two in another field. Shelby, maybe you could vow to try something new – rock climbing, sushi rolling, learning to knit – every week. The surest way to stall your progress is to scare yourself by not starting small. Just take that first exploratory step.
Because here’s the thing about momentum, it grows and grows. Once you see that you can do that one thing (and not die!), you will feel confident, Carol, to try something else, maybe two other things. Eventually I went from looking at new jobs to applying to them. I also started telling people about my dreams. And once you start taking more and more actions, you’ll see more and more change. It will be exciting and invigorating and, sure, just a tiny bit scary. But I bet you won’t want to stop.
The funny thing about finding yourself, Wendy Birds, is that you have to do it on the move. The more you try, the more you fail, the closer you’ll get to finding out who you are and what you want. The more I allowed myself to explore and stretch my boundaries, the more at home I felt in my own skin and the less I needed to identify with one place or person. One day, I would like to truly be able to say I feel at home wherever I am. That’s a destination, and I’m still on that journey.
There’s a reason Ralph Waldo Emerson said life is a journey not a destination. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to that level of confidence, but I’m going to enjoy trying. And the only way to enjoy it is to actually do it. So, Vicky, start trying one thing after another and eventually you will find yourself on a path you’re excited to be walking.
But remember the first part of my advice: follow your heart and make a change. The further afield you go from your heart’s desires, the less you’ll enjoy the path. Kind of like a cross country skier choosing the beach just because everyone else is doing it. She may get a terrific tan, but she’ll be forever longing for those snow-capped mountains.