Lost In The Woods
Originally uploaded by stickyak8

Have you ever had one of those moments when you think, “This is the worst moment in my entire life. I don’t know how I’m going to make it from here.” And it’s always worse when you know that this has come about because of wrong choices you’ve made.

A few years back I had a moment like this. Correction – I had several moments like this in a two year period. I made some wrong choices. I allowed myself to be subjected to emotional blackmail and verbal abuse. I parted with my self-esteem, my self-confidence, and yes, even my money!
When I look back at this time and wonder what made me sink deeper and deeper, here are some of reasons I come up with.

Not trusting my own instincts: Deep within, I knew that the choices that I was making were not good for me, but I shut out that inner voice and attempted to lie to myself.

Suffering from a I-know-it-all-syndrome: I refused to listen to the advice of those who loved and knew me. I thought I knew it all and since I didn’t want to hear what I didn’t want to hear, I just shut out these voices of concern.

Suffering from a poor-me syndrome: I must warn you that this one is a sure killer. There’s nothing worse than feeling sorry for yourself.

Not seeking opportunities for growth: I didn’t read the kind of books that would inspire me. I gave up on attending programs that would challenge me to change.

Not reaching out for help: Instead of sharing my situation and fears with people who could have helped me, I kept things to myself and attempted to manage on my own.

What happened to me is what Elizabeth Gilbert describes in her book ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘: When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trail head any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and its time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises any more.

Eventually, I did reach that time when I admitted I was lost in the woods. Strangely that was also a moment of great clarity. I realized how utterly foolish I had been. I had been selling myself short by not giving myself the love and respect I deserved.And most of all I realized that I had to start my life over.

Here are some steps I took towards this:

Working on my thoughts: According to Dr Wayne Dyer ‘The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.’ This, from my experience, is very true. I worked on my mind and belief systems.

Taking responsibility: I stopped feeling like a victim and took responsibility for the consequences of my choices and for the feelings that followed. I stopped blaming others including the persons who had taken advantage of me.

Desiring to be happy: Now, I’m sure you find this funny. You’re going to say, ‘Who doesn’t want to be happy?’. The strange thing is often we don’t really want to be happy – we’re so used to being depressed and unhappy. The proof of desiring happiness is in the pursuit of it. By thinking happy thoughts, hanging out with happy people and seeking happy places, we demonstrate our desire to be happy. That’s exactly what I did. I re-ordered my mind to think happy!

Dreaming again: When I got ‘lost’ I gave up on my dreams. Now, I dared to dream again.

Praying again: I began to spend a few minutes in prayer – various kinds – meditation, quiet time, reading a reflection, writing a reflection and often just crying! This was a time of healing and letting go of the pain of failure and the feeling of being ‘lost’.

So that is how I wandered out of the woods and put my life back on the path it was meant to go on – back to myself as I was meant to be. Of course, I’ve got miles to go but the journey is not clouded by self-inflicted pain any more. Now I am filled with ideas and dreams…..and a lot of love for myself.

So if you’ve wandered off in to the woods, it’s never too late to find yourself again and it’s never too late to be happy!