When I was in my early 20s, I spent some time in Zimbabwe studying dance and music and in between I would get lost. Literally lost. My sense of direction was so bad it was good! I would ask for directions somewhere and would start walking with so much conviction that everyone cleared out of my way. At times, I even fooled myself into thinking I was going the right way because my steps held so much conviction. I got into a little trouble once wandering around dark streets of Victoria Falls at 3 o’clock in the morning looking for the campsite. I walked for hours in the dark while grunting warthogs roamed the streets. Scary! Or another time I walked around downtown Harare absolutely certain the backpackers hostel was only blocks away (when it was more like a few miles). That happened a lot!
I am happy to report that my sense of direction has since improved but I learned a lot about myself while I was busy getting lost and then found. Bravery and courage were there to lead me through accompanied by a heightened sense of awareness. A big lesson for me was learning to trust complete strangers to help me when I otherwise had little choice. Whatever street-smarts I brought with me to Africa, I came back trusting myself more than I ever had before.
I’m not suggesting you lose your GPS and get crazy, but maybe tomorrow take a slightly different route to work. Maybe instead of averting your eyes on the subway, you could build up the courage to make eye contact with a fellow passenger and smile. And here’s another thought: maybe playing it safe and following the directions isn’t always the safest way to go?
Keep on keepin’ on. Enjoy the journey, you’ll get there eventually.
-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger