A Beginner’s Guide To Getting Lost. By Dr Linda Berman.


Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Mönch_am_Meer_-_Google_Art_ProjectCaspar David Friedrich. The Monk By The Sea.1808-10 Wikimedia Commons.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”


Are you, or have you ever been, lost? This question has so many meanings, so many implications.

Getting lost may sound scary; as children, being lost was a fearful and panic-inducing experience. It still can be frightening for an adult to be lost in unfamiliar terrain.

However, there can be a joyful side to being lost, for it may feel freeing to stray away from the beaten path into the unknown.

“We’re not lost. We’re just headed somewhere different.”

Emily X.R. Pan.

It can be exhilarating  to allow ourselves to wander from the familiar and take ‘the path less travelled.’ (Robert Frost.) 

49519426498_3ee7fde837_oDavid Hockney – The Gate 2000] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Getting lost is just another way of saying ‘going exploring.’”

 Justina Chen Headley

This may apply not only to being physically lost, but also to feeling lost in a psychic sense.

Perhaps letting ourselves be lost in this way can help us depart from socially accepted norms of how we ‘ought’ to be, rather than whom we desire to be.

Sometimes these ‘rules’ might help us feel secure or contained, as if we belong; at others, society’s expectations can be quite stultifying.

It can feel as if we are trapped in a forest of other people’s projections and needs, rather than being free to be our authentic selves and to find our own personal directions through life.

“Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are.”

Rebecca Solnit

  • Lost In Uncertainty.

“Have we ever thought that being lost is our destination?”

 Craig D. Lounsbrough

Life is full of uncertainties; we cannot know what is round the corner.

However, developing a capacity not to know and to stay with feelings of uncertainty can be a highly creative and freeing experience, even during difficult times.

Plank_bridge_-_geograph.org.uk_-_96485Plank bridge. Wikimedia Commons.Author:FollowMeChaps.

“Who cares about the crowded, broad road? I’ll walk the single-plank bridge into the night…..”

Mo Dao Zu Shi.

Max_Jensen_-_Ship_on_Rough_SeasShip on Rough Seas. Max Jensen. 1908 Wikimedia Commons.

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.”

Blaise Pascal

Instead of rushing to find the ‘right’ direction, what if we were to allow some degree of uncertainty, letting ourselves wonder, wander, and be curious?

In a psychological sense, this refers to having an ability to wait, staying with ‘not-knowing’ what might happen next in our lives.

It is a state of relaxed acceptance of being ‘lost,’ resembling  Keats’ ‘negative capability,’  when one is without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.

It is highly relevant to the therapeutic ‘journey,’ as we venture into our internal world, focussed, yet open to new discoveries.

“To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In Benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.”

Rebecca Solnit

The above quotation is from a book entitled “A Field Guide To Getting Lost.  The book offers a superb exploration of the fascinating theme of being lost.


Could we take the risk of facing the unknown, of being lost, and give ourselves some space and time to wait and see where we find ourselves? Who knows where we might end up? 

‘It is important to recognise that we must live with uncertainty, with the unknown, the unknowable. Even if we eventually manage to produce a theory which describes the way the universe works, we will never know that there isn’t another chapter in the story, waiting for us to discover it. We can never know whether we have come to the end of the story.’

Du Sautoy

We might discover new places, replete with fresh possibilities. In pausing to see what might arise from such a space, we allow for an evolving kind of self-expression. 

“I am free and that is why I am lost.”

Franz Kafka

XbMzSW4T9l0opxwp9fT1k7UXmRmQM4O4UMEIfX26Vilhelm Hammershøi – The Balcony Room at Spurveskjul [1911]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go”

Rebecca Solnit.

50887180672_1f8f2ec210_oYuri Vladimirovich Matushevsky – By the Lake [1969]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“If you stay here, you become lost. And no one can find you.

I like lost.”

Ally Condi

Such ‘free-falls’ might be chancy, and allowing ourselves to be lost feels like a risk; however, it is often one worth taking, for the rewards can be considerable. We may, actually ‘find ourselves.’

“Leap out into the air to begin
you’ll find more of a footing
there than you thought possible.”

Hilda Morley 

What does it mean to “find ourselves?” This is a term that refers to discovering who we are, gaining self-knowledge, finding our authentic identity.

“No-one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”


Perhaps we have to experience a sense of being lost internally before we can find who we are.

Aivazovsky_Chaos_1841Chaos. The Genesis. Ivan Aivazovsky. 1841. Wikimedia Commons.

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of chaos, and sometimes in the middle of chaos, you find yourself.”

Boonaa Mohammed.

Being in chaos can be a beginning, a vital part of the process of any creative journey into peace and resolution.

49933476392_8526f65966_oVincent van Gogh – Field with Poppies [1888]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Lost is a lovely place to find yourself.”
Michael Faudet

Within our minds, we all have an internal landscape, a vast and complex internal world of our creation, both conscious and unconscious, a blend of many aspects, including memories, dreams, beliefs, imaginings, experiences, fears, thoughts and feelings.

“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”

Masaru Emoto, ‘Secret Life of Water.’

Being lost can lead to change, as we traverse our inner landscape, searching for ourselves.

“He ceased to be lost not by returning but by turning into something else.”

Rebecca Solnit

48047986392_e210b9dcc5_oRené Magritte – The Beautiful Walk [1965]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“This inner world is truly infinite, in no way poorer than the outer one. Man lives in two worlds.”


Being found by others can also be a rewarding experience. If we are lost, either psychically or in a physical sense, the hope may be that we will find someone who will help us.

Along the way, we will inevitably meet some special, memorable people who will be able to guide us on our journey through life.

This may involve being shown possibilities, fresh directions in which to travel, and perhaps making new friends.

“Maybe family were the people who came looking for you when you were lost.”

Vikki Wakefield

“Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost that we may find the right person to ask directions of.”

Robert Breault.

Sometimes, we need to allow ourselves to get lost, to find new ways, new paths, new directions.

Losing our way may help us discover our real needs, the hidden treasure that is both within ourselves and in the world around us.

50958622351_b6bf325209_oClaude Monet – Olive Groves in the Moreno Garden [1884]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”

Erol Ozan

©Linda Berman.

I do hope you will find your way to follow my blog! Join my list of followers to receive weekly emails about new posts. Thank you. Linda.


  1. Absoloutely loved this. I totally agree that being lost can be a time of great transformation. I have experienced this place many times through life, at different times and through different experiences. For me it has has always been a time of growth. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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