Have you seen Frozen 2?
I’m guessing no.
Or, at least, you likely haven’t seen it as many times as I have in the last two years.
Even though Frozen 2, affectionately known as “Never Change” in this house, is no longer in the primary movie rotation, I still receive a good dose of it.
One of its big numbers, starring Broadway impresario Jonathan Groff, is called, “Lost in the Woods.”
The song employs a more modern Disney innovation of providing an easy literal translation and a deeper meaning that adults *should* pick up on. And maybe some of that deeper meaning will seep into the kids, too.
Kristoff, a dewy-eyed lover, is lost, as in he has no goddamn idea where he is. He is also emotionally lost, unsure of how to connect to his beloved, Anna (not the princess with magical powers, for those keeping track).
I, too, was lost in the woods this morning in both ways.
Seeking fresh air and perspective, I hiked a trail 20 minutes outside downtown Boulder. For context, 99% of people here would never do that because there are 250 trails located 5 minutes from downtown Boulder that are just as lovely.
But I was seeking some solitude, as I have learned that being alone in nature is not the same as being alone at home or with a phone.
I’ve also been feeling a bit lost lately in the face of what I can only describe as the so-muchery of life. I think life’s most interesting chapters combine seemingly opposite experiences. Grief and Joy. Loss and abundance.
I wondered if I might find some guidance about this, too.
The round trip was supposed to be about 4.5 miles, so when I had covered 4 miles without turning around, I assumed that I had erred somewhere along the way.
But something occurred to me as I doubled back to retrace my steps: I never do that in life.
When I find myself stuck or unsure, I don’t tend to retrace my steps. I stand stubbornly in the thicket and presume there must be a path forward from where I stand. But what if there’s not?
What if the only way to move forward is to go back to where I took the wrong turn in the first place?
It reminds me of something I tell myself that I keep in mind but do not: to be lost is a matter of perspective.
Lost assumes that I should be somewhere different than where I am at this moment.
I might be somewhere that I did not intend to be.
In fact, I often am.
I did not predict the chapter of my book in which I chose to pursue a career in rapping at 34 years old.
But if lost means finding your way, then I’m going to be lost for what I expect to be the rest of my life.
It seems unlikely that the weird and insatiable curiosity that brought me to this point will suddenly dry up.
And I hope (really, deeply, truly) that I have explored the previously explored enough to know that the flavors of life that I seek aren’t available at most ice cream shops.
What I found more remarkable about my experience today is that my sense that I had taken a wrong turn came before I checked my phone to see how far I had gone.
The trail looked like the rest of the trail.
There were rocks and roots and evergreens. I could see the massive green valley to my right.
It wasn’t a sense of too much time expired or distance covered.
But I just had a hunch: I don’t think this is the right way.
I don’t always listen to that voice. But I’m getting better at it.
I have many questions swirling around music and an album that is slowly but beautifully becoming a completed piece of art.
The album feels like the view you get at the top of the hike. After a good dose of sweat and not being sure where you are or where you’re going, you get a brief moment where your work coalesces into something beautiful, something more than the sum of its parts.
And it’s tempting to sit in it forever. To just take in the view.
But eventually, hunger and cold and tired legs remind you that there’s more to do.
I’m going to enjoy the album when it’s all finished (fingers crossed for June 1!).
But I have videos to make and content to shoot and venues to reach out to and blah blah blah.
I have a story that I need to do this “the right way.” To have a really smart plan that will be super effective and valuable after I put in all the work.
But then I got my last gift from my hike today.
How would this hike be different, I wondered, if I went for a hike not to notice all of nature’s details and not to seek the view (not to mention the little side trail discoveries that one can find) but instead to avoid getting lost?
If I focused on getting it right and not allowing it to unfurl as needed?
I can’t say for certain, but it seems like there would be less joy and presence in the alternative. I don’t think I would enjoy it quite as much, or certainly in the same way that I do now.
So, as I think about where to go next with my music, art, and ideas, am I seeking the view, or am I avoiding being lost?
I can say with certainty I have avoided being lost in the past.
And I will tell you: being lost after you have invested time and energy into NOT being lost is a real kick in the shins.
So, I’m not going to try and get this right.
I’m not going to try and avoid being lost.
I’m going to pay attention to the details.
And trust that there is a beautiful view somewhere up this mountain.
It may take longer than I expect.
It may not look the way I thought it would.
But I know it’s up there.
And for now, that’s all I need.