Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Aligning Your Inner Compass...

   In elementary school I loved it when my teacher would say, "Get out your geography books."  I was fascinated by all those faraway places and I chuckle now to think that so many of those places I once studied no longer exist...like Ceylon and Rhodesia.

   My Grandfather taught me, when I was quite small, how to use a compass and I thought it quite magical.  It's magnetic hand would always point to true North.  He also told me about the pointer stars on the outside edge of the constellation known as the "Big Dipper".  These stars pointed to the North star and runaway slaves would use this "drinking gourd" as their compass to freedom.  His Mother, my great-Grandmother, was a Quaker and living as she did in the Hudson River Valley of New York, was part of the underground railroad system in the 1860's.

    I'm a fervent traveler.  I've taken to heart what St. Augustine of Hippo proclaimed when he said, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only the first page."  North, South, East and West are ALL magnetic for my seeking soul and my compass pulls me equally in all directions.  But when I became a contemplative photographer I discovered  a 5th direction; the "Right Here, Right Now" direction.  It has become my aligning inner compass.  It no longer matters in which direction I travel or how far because the only direction that truly matters is the "Right Here, Right Now" one.  Be sure your inner compass is properly aligned and you will always be where you need to be regardless of how much or how little you wander from home.
   I watched the wonderful PBS series, The Abolitionists, last month and I recommend it. On this, Lincoln's Birthday, it is so important that we remember and learn from that period of American history. In some respects it seems as if we are still fighting those battles even today in a country that seems profoundly divided.

   I'm proud of the small role my family played in this vital movement in American history.  Since February is Black History Month, I've added a link to a YouTube video of a rendition of the classic folk song that led so many enslaved people to freedom...

No comments: