[This is a guest blog I wrote for 'The Temple', a wisdom-sharing project started by my dear friend. Enjoy!]
WE’VE LOST TOUCH WITH OUR INSTINCTS, OUR POWER, AND OUR OPTIMAL WAY OF BEING. IT’S TIME WE GET IT BACK; WANDERING IS THE WAY.
For most of us, Wandering was discouraged from a very early age. We were rewarded for following the rules, sticking to the plan, and getting it ‘right’. From the first day of school, our movements have been dictated by collective convenience. We were trained to eat meals at the same time, and begin and end activities on a schedule vs. being led by our instincts or natural rhythms.
WHAT IS WANDERING?
Wandering is movement without a fixed or predetermined destination.
To Wander is to be guided by an internal compass, not an external map, plan, or guide. Wandering is learning to be okay with (and even delighted by) what comes instead of what you thought you needed. Wandering creates space for discovery and unexpected wins.
Wandering isn’t just a way to travel. It’s a way to run a business, love your partner, navigate your education, or build your life.
When we move exclusively toward a predetermined destination, whether on a map or a business plan, the possible outcomes are inherently limited to one; narrowed to a pin-point. More importantly, we actually shut down our vision, and stop seeing or being present to the route itself. We become myopic, disconnected and complacent.
Wandering means letting go of the ‘what’ or ‘where’, while having a clear ‘why’ and ‘how’. The focus is on the state of being rather than the action or end product.
I was in Greece recently, in a town called Chania, on the island of Crete. The Old Town there is great for Wandering. Many days my ‘why’ was a combination of: see the ocean, chase the sunshine across the sky, find a new spot to eat, a new way to my favorite, or discover a new part of the city.
The ‘how’ - instead of being a way or a plan - was more about how I wanted to be, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted the journey to go. My ‘how’ was to feel relaxed, inspired, and delighted. I wanted to be present, curious, and open. I had general parameters and aims. I wanted to find lunch, and I wanted to be home before it got dark and cold outside. Other than that, anything was fair game.
I recently looked back through my Instagram feed from that time, and realized all the treasures and discoveries I’d shared, were a result of Wandering in some form.
WANDERING WINS (AKA LESSONS LEARNED)
- Because Wandering isn’t dependent on a fixed result, it means almost never being disappointed. There are infinite ways to achieve the ‘why’ and ‘how’. The ‘what’ or ‘where’ were largely arbitrary to begin with, and likely defined by some societal, familial, or cultural predilection.
- By valuing the journey itself, Wandering offers a more sophisticated form of efficiency resulting in greater satisfaction and less waste of time, energy and other resources.
- Wandering hones and amplifies our instincts (and our likelihood of trusting them). We learn to rely on ourselves instead of a prescribed plan. We’re able to adapt to unexpected twists and turns; cultivating resilience, resourcefulness, and the ability to innovate.
- When Wandering, there is no ‘lost’. You can always begin again and find ‘your way’.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS...
Wandering is a muscle we can flex and strengthen. You can start today, and it doesn’t take much.
Go outside and Wander your backyard or your neighborhood. See things differently. Let go of having an agenda.
Simply 10 minutes of deliberate Wandering will awaken your senses, re-energize your body, and reveal new perspectives.
Wandering is your natural state of being. You’re already good at it; you’ve just forgotten how.