Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Not All That Wander Are Lost

This old phrase happened to catch my attention a couple of days ago and since then has latched itself onto my subconscious, strutting around and demanding attention. So I've given up fighting its presence. I've turned on the stage lights, given it a soap box, taken a back seat and said, 'Come on, show us what you got'.
So Join me, relax and enjoy the show.

I would be only fair to start by telling you how I rediscovered this line; or better still, how it found me. Well on the 30Th of April, a dutch public holiday with all our kids safely ensconced in the abodes of their other parents, Jer and I decided to treat ourselves to a movie:
Somewhere in the heat of the action, Wolverine bursts out butt naked and tears across the screen seeking shelter in a seemingly deserted barn. Nothing had prepared me for the unexpected pleasure of seeing my hero in the full glory of his birthday suit. However I was given no time to wallow in this unexpected delight because something else, something small caught my eye and attention: It was the image of a small car bumper sticker like the one above; attached to the car of an old couple who had appeared on the scene.
Correct me if I am wrong but I believe there was a pun intended here. I believe that there is a line to be drawn between that sticker and Wolverine, a naked man, origins unknown, dashing from the past into an uncertain future in the middle of nowhere. A Wanderer yes, but not lost. Perhaps a man with a purpose.

Any intended pun here was certainly not wasted on me or I wouldn't be writing this now. As you can see this little statement got to me alright. It embedded itself into my psyche, making itself not just your regular food for thought but a royal banquet. All thoughts and fantasies on Wolverine's glorious behind were effortlessly abandoned as I focused entirely on what I had just read.
Not All Who Wander Are Lost

As fate usually has it with these types of things, the days that followed found me held under a siege of some sorts and constantly bombarded by images, thoughts and writings that reminded me of this one statement. I turned the words over and over like a smooth pebble in my mouth and made tracks and parallels connecting them with my life and the lives of some people I know.
When is one a wanderer and when is one a lost soul? What makes a wanderer deviate from his yellow brick road and disintegrate into a million lost pieces? And how does a lost soul find his way back again to the path? How do things, fallen apart, become whole again?
In all ancient cultures the wanderer archetype has always been represented in many ways. Take Hermes for example the messenger of the gods in the Western mythology. I will not to go into western mythology here since you all are probably quite familiar with it having all followed willingly or not, a formal education based on western cultures, ways and history.
My preference lies in the exploration of the lesser travelled roads. Consequently I choose now to briefy explore the Wanderer archetype from another perspective.
The wanderer I realized, has many faces. He is also the Nomad, the Seeker, the Vagabond and even the Exiled.
He is one who embarks at first on a seemingly ordinary quest until along the way something happens. His path is crossed by something divine and his quest takes on a different nature. It inadvertently becomes a conscious and personal search for the truth, the origin of things and a fundamental search for oneself.

Living this life makes us all wanderers. Walking the paths we choose to take, this inner path like Siddhartha's will ultimately lead to our purpose in life, self fulfillment or even enlightenment. Time and time again we get lost and deviate from the path. We become the Lost Soul as we engage in all practises of self delusion and destruction settling for the false safety of the imitation instead of the real thing. For some the journey is more about being lost than wandering for others it is vice versa.
Currently My partner Jer is furiously walking the wanderer's path and with his permission I will shed a light on a portion of his journey.
Jer is going through a process of some sorts that drives him from moments of ecstatic clarity and childlike purity to hellish confusion, frustration and futility.
He is the Rip van Winkel of his own life's script who has finally woken up from an enchanted sleep only to realise that he has been living in the Matrix all this time. Whilst having fun and enjoying the hollow successes of the false world, he unknowingly lost touch with his inner self, his true goals, his sense of community and his purpose of being.
It is no surprise that on waking up, the realisation of all this, plunged Jer into a sea of despair and What-Nows.
I applaud him now first and foremost for his awakening. The first step on the Wanderer's journey is awakening from the mirage and owning up to reality. This is usually the most painful part of the journey as high levels of shocked despair and hopelessness can send one tumbling right back into the false familiarity of the mirage.
Jer, never one to back down from a challenge has picked himself up and has proceeded on his journey down the rabbit hole. The fact that it is a journey fraught with obstacles reflects on the number of times he has changed his profile on ecademy, as his process of self rediscovery progresses and purpose struggles to be reborn.
Jer has grown weary of superficial business contacts and empty connections. He is looking to connect on a deeper level with people who carry the potential for a genuine connection. A connection whereby both parties would feeling a certain spark connecting them both.
This makes me want to ask you all : What are your views on community and connections? What are you actually prepared to give of yourself and what do you expect from the other person?
Please feel free to air and share.

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