Everywhere I go, people have been sharing stories about how chaotic life is right now. Turn on the news, talk to a neighbor, scroll through Facebook and the message is pretty consistent: many of us are feeling lost, unsure, and a little scared about where we are heading. There are so many unanswered questions. What is happening politically? How can I raise my children in a way that supports their wellbeing? Are my relationships working? What is my heart called to do? Maybe everything is crashing apart all at once. Maybe life feels overwhelming or frightening.
When I look at my own life experience, there has been no shortage of change lately. But strangely, I feel comforted by this. I feel comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in the transformation that is taking place.
I can’t fully see where the tracks are leading, but when I reflect on other times of big change in my life, I know the feeling of this place. Poet David Wagoner calls it “Here.” That saturated present that calls you into being. In his beautiful poem, “Lost,” he gives instructions for navigating Here. You can never see the full path forward. Here requires internal stillness and surrender, as life asks you to trust in nature and let the world find you. He writes:
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
When life seems chaotic, I remind myself to return to Here.
I find that the more I surrender control and open myself to trusting where I am, the more that life invites me to slow down and drink in the beauty of the world around me. I can feel myself coming alive in a whole new way.
The other day I found myself in Grand Central Station in New York City for the first time. I wanted to sit in the station for days and just stare at the multitude of profound, unique, challenging, and interesting ways that life expresses itself. A couple kissing. A homeless man singing. Friends talking. Bodies tense. Two men fighting. People eating. Children laughing. Every expression and every movement was captivating— the flow of so many different emotions and lives unfolding together, Here. I was reminded that the more we surrender to life, the more fully we can drink in the experience of being alive.
We can’t know the future. But we can trust where we are. So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or scared or lost lately, remember David Wagoner’s advice and be still. Let life find you. Here.