What is Off the Map?
The last few years have been disorienting for me, as they have been for many. I’ve come out of my religion and my political affiliations—two things that played key roles in my decision-making for my first four decades on this planet. Some life events showed glaring inadequacies in those guiding systems that I couldn’t unsee if I wanted to. I know that, while my story is unique, my experience is not. Our world is changing, and many of us feel poorly equipped to navigate the changes.
Other people who have let go of old guidance systems sometimes describe feeling a loss of certainty. My experience is the opposite. “Uncertainty” does not match the emotional truth of my journey—far from it. I have FELT more certain and more confident in my path to self-leadership than I ever felt before, even though the steps are much less clear. The unwinding and peeling away of beliefs has uncovered an inner guide that I didn’t knew existed, one that I know I can trust without having to think much about it.
What has been less certain and more bewildering is how to find company on the path. Others are leaving some of the same systems, but we all land in very unique places. I find a great deal of inspiration from those whose identities have forced their exoduses upon them, but their model is not one I can follow. As much as I would love to go to one, there’s no equivalent of a gay bar for people who are simply coming out as human beings.
Every journey is different, and every landing point is different when we embrace spiritual self-leadership. I have things in common with people who have landed in very different places than I have. People still in the evangelical church. People in religions I know nothing about. People across the political spectrum. As I have listened to their stories and thought about my own, I have noticed that what we have in common isn’t where we land or even the path we follow to get there, but how we navigate.
We are all following things that feel true to us from the depth of our being. We all feel like we suddenly see a disconnect between our place in the world and the sacred longings of our hearts. The more we follow those longings, the more certain we feel that we are on the right path, even as it carries us away from our old maps for a good life.
I have traded in almost every important aspect of my life to follow those longings, and I know many others who have as well. Off the Map publishes stories of people who have followed those sacred longings as well as reflections on what those longings are and how to uncover them.
Who is Amy Farnham?
I am a writer based in Alaska, where I live with my boyfriend, Sean, and my dog, Orion. I live the best of my life outside of four walls—on the trail, in the park, in a kayak—anywhere not under a roof.
I call myself a word apothecary. I facilitate healing and spiritual self-leadership through words and stories. I believe we are all capable of finding deep meaning through creativity and connection. I write to uncover my own meaning and to find meaningful connection in a rapidly changing world.
In addition to this newsletter, I publish the Trivial Circumstances blog, and I am working on a memoir, Pious Magic. Go to amylfarnham.com to learn more about my work.
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