01 May Lost in a Fog
Lost in a Fog
Once while boating in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, we hit a fog bank and couldn’t see more than a few hundred feet in any direction. We looked to our radar screen and GPS for guidance and, much to our surprise, our sense of where we were going was very different than where we were actually heading. We could have sworn that we were still traveling straight toward home yet the instruments showed that we were beginning to make a wide loop – in effect preparing to go in circles.
When surrounded by fog our intuition and sense of direction, which are very well developed, failed us because in truth we were disoriented. Surprisingly, we had to let go of our usually very dependable gut feelings of the way to go and trust our instruments instead. If we had not depended upon our support system, we would have become truly lost.
Our experience in the fog could be equated to how people are when they get upset and disturbed in their lives, and how upsets diminish your ability to see where you actually are. When you get upset, you lose track of your true direction and get lost in the intensity of the disturbance. You also lose sight of where you are in relation to those around you. When in a fog, you can’t visually pick a point and steer toward a safe port. Boats or harbors nearby can’t reassure you because with your limited vision they don’t exist. So too, it is with an upset. You may have friends who are nearby, willing to lend their support but if you are lost in a fog and you can’t see them or don’t trust them, they are forced to watch as you wander and go aimlessly in circles.
So, how do you get back on track when you are lost in a fog of upset? First and foremost, don’t panic. When you panic, you make really bad choices. Next, you need to include other people in your life and let them support you. Generally, when people get upset they try to “go it alone.” Steering this course is bound to send you more deeply into dangerous waters.
Have you ever noticed that when you are upset, there are plenty of total strangers who are not? If you go out for a cup of coffee or to the deli or a local store for example and don’t keep your head down but actually interact with the person who is taking your order you will have to let go of the upset long enough to be there with them. This is one very valuable tool in releasing yourself from an upset. If you can begin to operate well in non-demanding interactions with others, it becomes easier to regain your balance when you are alone with your thoughts.
Next, recognize that you don’t have to tough it out alone and trust your friends. In challenging situations and difficult times your friends are invaluable. It is as if they are standing outside of your personal fogbank and can give you tips, helpful suggestion and call out the direction they see you heading so that you can find your way. If you wait until you are back on track until you let yourself be supported, it is highly likely that you will have already over steered so that your life is still off course only now in a different direction.