Finding Direction

Sunset“And so, Sally, what’s next for you?”

Dan and I are anchored in North Cove, off  Thetis Island. We’re sharing a bottle of malbec and watching the clouds swirl scarlet and gold as the sun sets. We’ve been talking about next steps in Dan’s journey, and now he’s turning my questions back on me.

What’s next? It’s a question I’m feeling more ready to answer these days. I’ve spent the summer in a waiting period, letting go of my need to control the next stage of my life, and just enjoying the gifts of the moment.  And in the process, I’ve started to find my way back to me. I’m beginning to recognize again what I value, and what I want and need in my life. And as I get more clear about my needs and values, I’m finding again a clear direction in my life.

Sunset 2One of the hard truths I’ve had to face up to since Griff and I broke up is how easily I lose myself in a relationship. I don’t do it purposefully, and I’m certainly not forced into it, but slowly I let go of what I want, and lose sight of what’s important to me.

It’s only when I’m single that I really stay focused on doing what’s most important for me. And so what’s next for me is to spend some time getting clear about my values, my goals and my dreams. I need a clear direction. And then I need to make a commitment to myself not to compromise that direction before I enter into another long-term relationship.

I’ve often marveled at the ways in which the Universe delivers. When I wrote my first ever online dating profile, I advertised for a man with “courage, brains and heart, someone with whom to take the first tentative steps on this new journey.” I got exactly what I asked for, a lovely, healing summer fling that restored my faith in men and my belief in myself.

Here’s the opening of my most recent profile, which I posted in May:

Easily Led Astray

“You know when you get to one of life’s intersections and you’re not quite sure where to head next? And you don’t have a GPS? And the last copy of “The Lonely Planet’s Guide to the Road Less Traveled” has been signed out at the library? I hate it when that happens. But here I am.”

I’m shocked as I read this at how lost I sound. I haven’t a clue what I want or need, and I haven’t any sense of direction in my life.

And so it’s interesting that “D is for Dan” has appeared in my life this summer, he with a purpose and a direction so clear that he actually has a compass tattooed on his calf.

And it’s interesting that one of the things that he’s been teaching me when we head out on his sailboat is how to chart a course and then steer in the right direction.

It’s not easy, I’ve learned, to stay on course. There are winds and currents and all sorts of obstacles which pull a boat off course. In fact, I’ve become quite adept at steering the boat in perfect circles from time to time.

But what Dan has shown me is that I need to keep my eyes on a fixed mark somewhere in the distance, and to just keep making regular, small adjustments to ensure that I stay on course. And I’m getting better at it. Today I took the helm and kept us on course across a large, open channel. I didn’t steer in circles once!

And so what’s next for me? It’s time to chart my own course, work out exactly what direction I’m headed in life, and then find a fixed mark from which to navigate. Only once I’m clear about my own direction can I entertain the possibility of entering another long term relationship, and even then, I’ll need to stay focused on my own direction, making those  small, regular adjustments to ensure that I stay on course.

It’s time for me to take responsibility for my own direction, to own my inner compass, and to let go, once and for all, the concept of easily led astray.



About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in Living Deliciously, On Adventure, The Alphabet of Dating, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Finding Direction

  1. I absolutely LOVE reading your blog. This journey, thus union is such a reflection of where you are in your journey right now; the steering, the boat the no expectations or pressure. I just love it. You are so blessed to be out there rediscovering yourself again. Creating your own journey and direction. Brilliant!

  2. “I’ve often marveled at the ways in which the Universe delivers.” Words to ponder…and reflect that your insightful writing brings such ways to us.

  3. Seb says:

    Good for you. I always confuse the direction for roadside attractions and forget, soemtimes where it is I want to get TO 🙂

  4. You’re so wise! I’m like Seb, I confuse the direction for roadside attractions, exactly!

    • No, I’m not wise. These are lessons I kep having to learn over and over. One day I’ll actually learn them and then I’ll be wise 🙂 And in the meantime, those roadside attractions are looking awfully attractive!

  5. Jerry Keusch says:

    I’m going to strike a different note here! When a major change occurs in your life it can feel like you have been set adrift in a rowing boat without any oars, you are pulled by the wind and the tide with no control over direction. If, as you say in your blog, you know what direction you wish to take in your life, sure you can set your course and keep nudging yourself back on course every time you start to wander. However, I suspect that often when a big change occurs in our life, we really don’t know what direction to take. How can we be so certain that we’re not taking a direction that we think we should go in, rather than following our spirit? In these times of personal change, I’m inclined to think that all we should focus on is our next step, that we just take the next stepping stone that feels right for us. Sure, we might end up going round in circles, but eventually we might find that ‘road less travelled’, that special path that we never knew existed.

    • Wise advice, Jerry. I’ve actually written before about feeling that I’m adrift at sea, and, being someone who wants control in her life, it’s an uncomfortable place for me. Your comments remind me, once again, about the need for me to let go – and perhaps letting go of that control is part of my learning at this stage. I’ve been using the stepping stone approach to life this summer, and it has served me well. Your comments prompt me to wonder why it’s so hard for me just to stay in that place a while longer. At the same time, I do think it’s important that I get clear about what I want and what I value. I can so easily lose myself, and that is something I’d like to change in my life. Thank you for your thoughtful response!

  6. kp says:

    I too have lost myself in relationships….not just with men, but with my children and my work. I too continue to struggle with knowing what I want. It is so easy for our dreams and intentions to get lost in the fray with lives that are full, particularly when we are spending time with others who are so clear about their needs and wants. But I also agree with Jerry above….that is may not be so much about plotting a long-term course, as it is about staying true to your self at each step in the process. Good luck….and thanks for sharing!!! Kim

    • Thank you, Kim, for your thoughtful commentary. I hadn’t thought about the ways I lose myself in my work and in my family life too, but it is so true. I like what you and Jerry have to say about moving step by step and need to think more about how that looks for me. It’s interesting: I feel that I gave up some really important parts of myself in my last relationship, and yet I wouldn’t give that experience up, because I found other parts of myself that I hadn’t fully owned before that. Such a lot to learn….

  7. amb says:

    I loved this post! It’s so true, it can be easy to lose sight of it in the stress of day to day life, but the universe really can bring us exactly what we need!

  8. The Landy says:

    “courage, brains and heart, someone with whom to take the first tentative steps on this new journey.”

    Crikey, I was thinking they’d be as scarce as hen’s teeth! Sounds like a wonderful journey that you are on…

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