Honoring Your Inner Compass

When I was ten years old, I went to Alaska with my mother. With my souvenir money, I bought an Eskimo yo-yo and a compass. Compasses were, back in the Olden Days, quite common souvenir items especially if you were someplace out in the middle of nowhere

Bearing compass (18th century).

Bearing compass (18th century). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

like Alaska. This was not the Alaska of big cruise ships and whale watching. This was the Alaska of taking ever smaller planes to ever more remote locations, until all that was left was homesteaders, moose, and trees.

A friend of our family who was an experienced woodsman decided that if I had a compass, I should learn to read it properly and set out to give me a lesson. One problem with this was that no matter how still I stood or how flat I held my hand, the compass always pointed at me instead of North. He shrugged and told me that this happens with some people. He showed me how to find a suitable flat place, lay the compass down, and read it from a safe distance.

I did this for years with any compass I needed to read, even the fancy $300 dollar surveyor’s compass that we used in my Geology class. Eventually, I started running into skeptics. These skeptics are people who have been taught that human bodies do not ever have enough electro-magnetism in them to affect compasses, volt-ohm meters, or any other modern doodad. Obviously I was cooking the results somehow, and it was time for me to stop it and use a compass just like everyone else, in the palm of my hand.

So one day, I wanted to check something about the Feng Shui of our house. I don’t actually subscribe much to Feng Shui, but it does seem like a nice idea. I got out my trusty Alaskan compass and watched the needle spin and/or point at me. I tried holding it a variety of ways. I tried going outside. I really, deeply wanted to use that compass like a grown up person who wasn’t enamored by the idea of being “special”.  After all, I’d had any number of people tell me that my pesonal magnetic phenomenon didn’t exist! It was time to grow up, right? I couldn’t do it. Eventually I went inside. I had a mini-breakdown and crying jag. Then I pulled myself up and went outside and put the compass down on a flat spot, like I’d been taught all those years before.

Sometimes, we are what we are, even if that something is unpalatable or unbelievable to other people. To try to pretend otherwise does us no good at all. You know who and what you are. Don’t let anyone tell you how to read your inner compass. Or, if you’re like me, a bit more magnetic than usual– your outer one either!


11 thoughts on “Honoring Your Inner Compass

  1. What an incredible post! I love it, it just goes to prove that we are all unique. I feel like something I have been wondering about has been validated after reading this. I have begun to listen to my inner compass for what feels right with regards to my business, and I am listening less and less to the gurus out there, and more to what feels right to me. Thank you TL!

  2. Loved this! I would really like to visit Alaskan some day 🙂
    I definitely need this reminder today. I’ve been struggling with my authentic self recently and your post really put it into perspective.

  3. What a fantastic way to explain how we are all beautifully different, even or especially, when others don’t understand it. I was told once that I don’t have to explain who I am because there is nothing to explain. This post reminded me of that profound comment.

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