pictured: Finding Home zine by Annie Ruygt
I have this reoccurring pattern of getting lost and feeling like I’m not quite dwelling in the center of myself. Lately one of the things that’s been helping me with this is making doodles about what’s going on in my inner world, and today I drew this map to represent the current terrain of my psyche:
I’m currently re-reading The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. There’s a part where Campbell quotes Novalis, a 19th century poet who described the place where your inner world and outer worlds meet as “the seat of your soul.” That little HOME star at the center of my map is the seat of my soul. The other stuff is what I find myself trudging through to get back there.
I’ve been at this journey long enough to be certain that this quest to find HOME, to find the seat of my soul, is basically the theme of my entire life. It’s come up for me again…and again. Oh and look, now again!
I don’t want this to be a “woe is me” post, because the truth is that on some level I can always sense an undercurrent of meaning in all of this. Even when I’m mired in the fog of fear or tucked away on the isle of apathy, there’s always a sense that HOME is still there. The only time it’s reaaallllly hard to tap into the undercurrent of meaning is when I’m in that wretched desert of depression. That place is no joke.
Somehow, even though I keep going through these unpleasant terrains time and time again, I keep finding my way back home. It is a tender process. It can be a confusing process. The specifics of navigation vary depending on the exact circumstances. But I’ve picked up some wisdom along the way, and eventually, I find my way back home.
I think part of the reason I’ve become intimately acquainted with this landscape ties into the work I’m here to do in this world. All of the points on this map are universal aspects of the human experience that manifest uniquely for each one of us. My clients are often going through their own seas of self-doubts and groves of glumness. It would be arrogant to say I can totally understand the individual traits of this territory for anyone but myself, but I do think my direct experience gives me a useful empathy for other people’s journeys.
One of the most important things for me lately has been remembering not to freak out about the fact that I’m a little lost. There’s a quote that’s always stuck with me, I can’t find the source but I think it was a Buddhist monk who said something like: there will always be suffering, but you don’t need to suffer over the suffering. In this instance, suffering over the suffering would look like “OMFGGGG I’m tripping over the sediment of old stories once again, OMG NO WHY this can’t be happening, I thought I already overcame this?!? NOOOO!”
It’s much better to be honest and curious – not panicked – about where you are. “Hmm, I see I’m tripping on the sediment of old stories again. That’s interesting. I wonder how I might progress from here?” Is a much more effective approach than suffering over the suffering.
I know from past experience that I have to be really honest with myself about what’s going on. It’s always tempting to try to convince myself that I’m fine and that everything is really good, no problem, nothing to see here! But ignoring the lostness just makes it even worse and more confusing and more tricky. You’ve got to look right at it.
Another thing that’s been quite good for me lately is reminding myself of the things that have helped me in the past. This requires me to be really patient and gentle with myself, but also really straightforward and authoritative. Carrie, love, I see that you’re lost again. Perhaps it might help to return to that book that shifted your perspective once before? Or return to that fulfilling creative endeavor you abandoned?
(This explains why I’m re-reading The Power of Myth and doodling again even though I’ve long been convinced I can’t draw.)
Due to the impeccable timing of the universe, I also recently received a lovely little zine from my friend Annie. It’s called Finding Home: Tips and Encouragement to Help You Create a Roadmap to Your Self. In the pages of this zine, Annie gives poignant advice on practicing magical self-love. Finding messages in dreams, connecting with the moon and brewing your own teas are just a few of the topics covered here.
Essentially, Annie’s zine walks you through creating a map that is a sort of antidote to the map that I posted above. The zine is available on Annie’s site for only $5, and I do recommend it if you enjoy incorporating mystical elements into your self-care practice.
(Annie and I are also working on a reaaaalllllly exciting project together. We haven’t officially announced it yet but we will be soon and your hints are that she’s an artist and I’m a tarot reader and eeeep!!)
So, this is where I am. I see it, and I accept it. And I know that I will keep finding home again. And again. And again.
Because that’s just what I do.