Compass

“ Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I’m changing myself.” — Rumi”

Ancient sailors used lodestones, naturally magnetized pieces of mineral magnetite, to guide their explorations. These stones showed them their true north. If we want to know where to start—and we always start where we’re at—we can pick up the map, reference the legend and find the compass.


I developed a compass model when I began listening to patients in hospitals. I noticed that the broad topics of their lives and on their minds tended to fall into certain categories. The categories, if put on a compass, were in relation to one another. Years later, on a plane headed to Australia, I read Therese Rowley’s book Mapping a New Reality, which illustrated how the stories of our lives can be unwoven to find their original purpose and weaved into a greater purpose. I realized that her book provided a working template for my compass model, and demonstrated that once we bring awareness to where we are on the map of life—when we recognize our beliefs, values and intentions—we can re-orient and shift our life’s course. This awareness allows us to navigate our lives in the direction of our loadstone: our heart.


If each of us re-orient in this way, what would our communities look like? If our communities could re-orient in this way, what would our world look like?

It begins with us. We are the compass. But how does this happen if most days we are wondering WTF, spinning in the winds of our lives and the cultural happenstance?


I go back to Mr. Jenkin’s sixth grade class and review the parts of a map: TITLE, SCALE, LEGEND, and COMPASS.


  • Title: Ok…that’s easy! ME!

  • Scale: How closely do I want to look at my life today? How big is my perspective? That really depends upon the day and my mood. Some days I feel like I can take on the world. Other times, the map is sequestered in my glove compartment. Let’s talk about that later.

  • Legend: Ok, that’s where we look for the signs, the clues. Lots of things to consider there. Memories, timelines, some journals, some scars. We develop the legend on the way.

  • Compass: We are smack dab in the center of our reality and because we enjoy the amazing gift of free will, we can walk in any direction we choose to go. And we can park it for a while if we need to. This seems like a good spot to just breathe.

Step one.

ROLE CALL! Let’s make sure we are all in. That is mind asks body, you OK? And body says, Yeah, I’m good and then body elbows spirit to say, Are you ready to have some fun? Yes, this happens in lickety-split time and no, you aren’t generally conscious of the process but it is a feedback loop and it’s a continuous one at that.


OH, THE PLACES WE’LL GO! But before we do the Dr. Seuss two-step, before we even consider where to dial up and roam, let’s just chill. Breathe. Be still and take in the view.


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