Let Your True North Find You!

North Star, Stars, Night, Night Sky, Sky

Usually we are told or conditioned to take active, even bold when needed, steps to realize our dreams or to claim our happiness. We value our sense of agency although sometimes this may lead to our feeling like it is me (or, you) against the world, like somehow we need to wrest happiness from a harsh and forbidding world. But this week I have had an experience that shows me the value of letting my next step in growth and development, I’ll call it my True North, find me! 

Over a year ago I took action based on a sudden impulse; I wrote a letter addressing an agency in the hometown I was preparing to move back to.  Without exposing details here on a dear opportunity still only in its infancy, this agency had helped me with some writing projects in the past, and I thanked them and let them know I was returning to town so that if there was anything I might be able to do that they might need (like PT work for them), I would welcome that. In truth an underlying reason for reaching out to this agency in my beloved home town was because I was looking for a way to give something back to the community (and this agency) that had given me so much and helped to launch my life career on many levels.

Greeting Card, Letter, Paper, Stationery

I heard back maybe a month or so later from staff at the agency. The director I had addressed was not in town due to COVID19 and no, they did not need any help. Okay, I thought, at least it had been worth the effort to reach out based on following my inner nudge.

I relocated and have now been back in my hometown for nearly a year. I love it here. It is the same quaint village yet more developed now around a performing arts center (that I ushered for during its first two seasons while I was finishing college as an undergraduate). The wider location is expansive and dynamic; there is no end of opportunities for adventures to explore.  I continue to teach online, which I also love and am grateful for being able to do ‘remotely,’ now from my beloved hometown.

People, Parade, Fun, Friends, Lifestyle

Then three days ago I get this call from a local phone number. It is the director of the agency I had written to over a year ago!  He had returned from living in Canada through the worst of the pandemic and he found my letter while looking through some papers that had accumulated at his office. He is perfectly delightful; we talked quite awhile, realizing we share many points of intersection in our interests and experiences.  In fact next week we are set to meet for coffee to continue the conversation and there are possibly some opportunities for me to be of service and also for some of my current writing projects to be reviewed in new ways.

All of this has been so unexpected, at least consciously. If you’ll remember I had a dream last week about moving into a more expansive or roomy (and more Rumi, I associated) state of consciousness. Then just two days later or so, this phone call from ‘out of the blue’ opens new possibilities for realizing some of my deepest life ambitions for service and for writing. These are two ways through which I aim to serve life, to embrace and give gratitude to all life with love, perhaps in the sort of vein of gold Rumi bespeaks in his remarkable poem I included last time (“Word Fog”).

So we shall see wherever this might lead, but I am grateful for the opening to greater possible connections!

Characters, Statues, Sculptures, Trust
images are from pixabay.com

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Better Endings Story Seed

Let Your True North Find You!

How about you? Have there been moments in your life, or are you seeking such, whereby you relaxed and found that your next step reached out to YOU?  I invite you to contemplate, dream, or journal about that as a Better Endings exercise.

A More Rumi State of Mind: “Word Fog”

Dhammakaya Pagoda, Budha, Gold, Buddhism
image is from pixabay.com

Funny. I knew last week that I wanted to post the Rumi poem below, “Word Fog”, with this week’s blog, even if I did nothing but share this poem itself because I find Rumi’s words to be sublime, with such amazing depth of insight (as translated by Coleman Barks in Rumi—The Big Red Book).  Then a few nights ago I had a dream about moving into a new apartment. The apartment was very spacious, room after room unfolding as I walked through it, so when I awoke I knew the dream was about moving into a more expansive state of consciousness. Then it hit me how this was a more “roomy” = Rumi consciousness! May it be so!

Where Roads Diverge? Contemplate Stories that Model Your Options

Brain, Woman, Arrow, Sign, Direction

Should you stay or should you leave; accept an offer, or not; go in one direction that invites you forward, or another?  We each stand at meaningful crossroads sometimes, needing to make difficult choices that could affect our Life Story either greatly or somewhat “ever after.”

You could start by listing some stories that include significant choices, especially if those choices are like yours. 

Here’s the idea: find a story or list a set of stories in which a character is faced with a similar choice and consider what direction the character takes, whether it works out well or not, and how you feel about the character’s choice and its results. Would you have made the same decision in the character’s shoes, or not?

To model the approach, here are some stories I might currently list along with brief synopses of the choices involved in the story:

  • Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse:  Stay home in a pampered, sheltered environment with expectations of an easy, privileged existence, or leave his father’s safe and opulent world to experience humanity and the world in all its misery, and splendor.
  • Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken:  that he took the less traveled path most others would not have chosen, “and that has made all the difference.”
  • Defending Your Life: The Mel Brooks character often chose the least risk or the safest course of action rather than the bravest, so he is judged harshly between lives; versus the Meryl Streep character, who always chose the riskier path in service to life and others. She will certainly be “moving on.”
  • Lost Horizon: Robert Conway must choose between life in the world as a well-known and respected public servant, or to follow his heart and forge a difficult passage to return to Shangri-La, where spiritual enlightenment, potential for solitary but global service, and love await his return.
  • The Razor’s Edge: Again, life in the familiar world of home and normative community values versus a more solitary life seeking to develop and share the fruits of spiritual exploration.
Footprints, Path, Mystery, Unknown

My story choices are much of a piece, I see, in that the characters face similar challenges contrasting normative community lives of ‘getting by’ in a respectable, easy fashion, or stepping off into an out of the ordinary life of more solitary spiritual adventure.  On which path can they achieve deeper enlightenment pairs with which path will lead to greater opportunities for unique service though in less guaranteed or publicly acknowledged and sanctioned modes.

This exercise elevates, for me, the nature of a meaningful crossroads I am at personally, and that is helpful.  The set of synopses are contemplation seeds that help to reveal many angles on some of  my own current underlying questions.  I have found over the last few days of contemplating these stories that I have gained a much greater clarity about my path forward, while also my understanding of the messages in these stories has deepened.

Sign, Arrow, Street, Direction, Symbol
images are from pixabay.com

In some sense we are all of us always at a crossroads; which path stretching out before us shall we choose today?  Sometimes these choices become more meaningful as we seek to advance in our lives overall.  

So please, if you like, try this one on for yourself. The right panel Better Endings Story Seed prompt encourages you to contemplate or engage with this technique in your own journal.

To Mine Your Story, Find A Parallel Myth

Ball, Rose, Young Woman, A Princess

What sorts of character arcs and storylines do you find most compelling? Can you identify with a particular story; does it mirror aspects of your own life goals and challenges?  I like to say, myth is the stuff our lives our made of, because myth is made up from the stuff of our lives!

Our lives have the meaning that we give to them, and much of the meaning we bring to our life experiences derives from stories we have related to from childhood.  “The Wizard of Oz,” for example, tells the tale of a young person seeking to find her own strength so she can save her beloved pet dog from being taken away after having disturbed a mean neighbor’s garden. This story propels the main character, Dorothy, into her own unconscious archetypal depths to find the courage, heart, and wisdom she will need to face the wicked neighbor with a more mature, integrated sense of Self.

Ogre, Troll, Fairy, Elf, Forest

Many of us have faced ogres or so-called witches in our worlds, needing to dig deeply into our unconscious reservoirs of archetypal personas to assemble and marshal the character traits we may need to confront the forces of negativity and emerge whole from either a physical and/or from a moral and spiritual perspective.

In my book Your Life Path (2018), I present a Parallel Myth technique that can help you identify a story that resonates closely with the Life Chapters, themes, and character arcs of your own Life Story. (You can see a template for this technique without buying the book by downloading for free the My Life Path Mapping Toolkit from the right margins of this blog.)  So one way to find a parallel myth to understand the meaningful stuff of your own life story is to discover your Life Chapters and compare these with some story you identify with. A simpler approach would be: think of or write a short list of stories you have always loved because somehow you feel you can identify either with the plot of the story or with a character in that tale. Let’s take that approach here.

So, make a list of stories from novels, short stories, or movies that you have long felt you can identify with. Write a brief account for each of these as to how or why you might identify. I will give an example of some of my own most meaningful stories just to demonstrate the process:

  1. The Wizard of Oz:  In my youth I would often “run away” because I felt berated or tormented by my father’s harsh temper. I would hide in a closet or actually leave for a while (or sneak out) to gain a sense of independence or freedom.
  2. Contact: I share Eleanor Arrowway’s drive to pursue uncommon truths via both scientific and spiritual pathways.
  3. Harry Potter: In my childhood I often felt myself to be the ‘runt’ of the family (short, awkward, plain), but as I discovered spiritual truths and a sense of spiritual camaraderie from my early twenties on, I have gradually gained tools, and friends (including in my family), that have helped me recognize my own strengths to be of service to others.

Do you have your list? Write it out. What are some parallel mythic themes, characters, and messages from these stories that are mirrored in your own Life Story?

Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Girl, Cave, Nature
images are from pixabay.com

Next then, what messages might you take forward from your parallel myth(s) that can help you achieve the Better Endings you seek in your own storied life? Review your listed parallel myths and pay attention to the positive potentials of these stories’ resolutions. E.G.:

  • The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy unifies her sense of self by combining her archetypal qualities of courage, heart, and wisdom so she can stay ‘home’ and face the dark forces that had beset her there. Somehow I figure at the end of the movie that Toto is going to be okay, because Dorothy is strong enough in her own more mature Self to face the neighbor from a sense of responsibility and courage. (My message: Find the courage to stand my own ground when faced with negativity or obstacles.)
  • Contact: Ellie discovers a parallelism between science and religion (mirrored in her own relationship with Father Joss) when her ‘through-the-wormhole’ solo space adventure reveals new dimensions to reality. (My message: Continue to plunge the depths of science and spirituality, sharing as possible, but mainly to deepen my own understanding and awareness of incontrovertible realities beyond the ‘pale’ of common knowledge.)
  • Harry Potter: Teaming up with his own archetypally well matched ensemble cast of friends, Harry solves some of the mysteries of his lower self to gain courage and self-awareness that can defeat any negativity that may confront him or his world. (My message: Stay true to who you are and stand up for your highest values despite any efforts to alienate or undermine your and your friends’ finest qualities.)

What messages do you derive from comparing some of your favorite parallel myths and your own Life Story (to now)? What do the positive endings or potentials of these stories offer forth to you about achieving Better Endings in your own mythic-story?