by Beth Haley
If you get stuck or lost as you journey, you most likely don’t want to know where not to go. I mean, you’ve already been there. You probably want step-by-step instructions, or to be led directly to your destination. –Mark Tyrrell
The City of the Mind is a place that contains cities within cities, within cities: There’s the City of Depression, City of Doubt, City of Fear, City of Regrets, City of Stress, City of Bitterness, City of Loss… the list is as endless as the revolving loops and dead-ends are. One can get lost in these cities, looking for a map that leads to quieter paths and straighter roads, and each city has its own emergency routes back out.
Less traffic. Less noise. Less lost.
More…found. What does found feel like? What does it look like for you?
Even cities that are familiar can seem foreign when you are stressed or traveling through dense fog. It can be difficult to remain centered and calmly plan your route. Strategy and logic? They flew out the window as the fog thickened and the steam engine of your mind jumped through the hidden pot hole. You were looking for the City of Hope, but now you’ve found a sink-hole somewhere else.
So, where’s the map?
“How do we know where we are? And, how do we know where we’re going, and how soon we’ll arrive and when we’ve arrived?”
When you’ve found your way out once, you’ll be able to navigate, on your own, much easier the next trip.
I transported a patient and his wife yesterday through a torrential downpour and they got into a discussion on the difference between a pothole and a sinkhole. One said that there was no difference. The other one clearly stated that a pot hole is something you sink into and bounce back out of, and that a sinkhole is something you lose your car in. All gone. Bye.
…just in case anyone wondered what the difference was between the two. I never really thought about that before. Now I know. 🤪
Beginning to Create your own Map
The first Step: Where are you right now?
“Where are you?”
This is a question I have gotten often while I am traveling. “I’m between the last tree and the next tree,” I answer.
Mile-marker numbers are always a winner.
I’m not much help with feedback. But oddly, I’m not lost either. Somehow, it just works. A wing, a prayer, and “Proud Mary” get me there.
They stopped asking. Where is the fun in that?
Even though one can spend hours talking about the city that they are currently lost in (depression, fog, situations, disappointments, sadness, fear), what is needed most is:
Second Step: Now that you know where you are, where do you want to be instead? What is your ultimate destination?
Third Step: How will you know when you’re leaving that city behind? (I won’t be afraid anymore. So, what will you be, instead of fearful?). How will your thoughts change? How do your emotions change?
Fourth Step: What signs show you that you are getting close to your destination? (That supermarket on the corner with the big red sign that reads, “City of Hope’s One-Stop Market?”) What do your landmarks look like?
Fifth Step: How will you know when you’ve arrived? (I know I left that city behind because…) Touchdown!
Photos by: T.H. Chia and Andrew Neel