Dante’s Divine Comedy begins with a predicament most of us find ourselves in at one time or another: lost.
“Midway this way of life we’re bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, Where the right road was wholly lost and gone . . . It is so bitter, it goes nigh to death . . .”
We may find ourselves entering a “dark wood” so slowly that at first we have no idea we are even lost. We feel restless and nearly bored with things and people that have defined our sense of self. Familiar and long-standing relationships may no longer feel right and fulfilling. We may not see the purpose in our work and really can’t imagine it leading any place we would care to go. It is like slowly going to sleep; it is the dark wood of depression.
For some, the “dark wood” is as sudden as waking up from a nightmare and wondering if it is all real or not. It may be the unexpected job loss, a divorce or break-up, an investment or business gone bad, a child in trouble, a diagnosis, illness or injury, a house fire, separation caused by death. Any upheaval can leave us in unfamiliar territory “so bitter, it goes nigh to death.”
Finding our way out of lost can begin with an honest assessment of where we find ourselves. How we got there may be interesting, but not so helpful if we get stuck there and remain focused on the past. Building up some personal energy is a good place to begin in the trek toward what is next. Personal energy comes from doing the regular routines of self care, whether or not we feel like getting up, getting groomed, eating and drinking. Walking around (literally) can build physical and psychic energy as we re-boot. Being open to our spiritual guidance and connections and finding a trusted companion at this time may also give us the energy to either find a new path or make one.