So, remember my comb?
Well, we took another cruise September 5-10, this one out of New Orleans. (I brought two combs – just in case.) The second night we were far into the Gulf, and I was feeling lost. The cruise ship was great, the entertainment was plentiful and varied, the food was delicious, I’d already gotten a ton of great pictures, and the next morning we’d be pulling into Cozumel for tourism and shopping, the morning after would be a tour of Chichen Itza where I could clap my hands and hear the call of the quetzal bird in the echo from the steps… but I was lost. We were on the water, far from land – the surface below my feet was unstable. The horizon was distant and monotonous. Clouds and lightning were following us through the Gulf, it seemed, and of the few stars I could see through the light pollution of the ship… I didn’t recognize. I had no idea where I was, even though I knew where the ship was going.
Late in the evening of that second day, I was hanging out in the hot tub, gazing horizonward at the lightning reflecting off the clouds above and the water below, hearing the thunder growl across the Gulf. I caught a glimpse of stars overhead, where we were sailing out from under the storm, and when I got out of the hot tub I walked to the rail. There was a spot – a fairly narrow, specific place – between the ship lights where a person could look out and let the eyes adjust to the darkness beyond.
I searched skyward. I just needed one, some sparkling bit of light that I recognized, a familiar friend whose name I knew. Some bright little piece of home that would tell me where I was, give me some sense of position and distance and permanence.
The clouds cleared, ever so briefly, and I found Cassiopeia. A five-star constellation in the shape of a “W” who lives in the northeastern sky. And as my eyes fastened on her, I breathed out and felt my whole being relax. I knew where I was.
I knew where I was.
Cassie led me to the Big Dipper – which was so low on the horizon the two bottommost stars of the bowl were hidden – which led to the Little Dipper and Polaris, the North Star.
It reminded me of some things I’d learned in the MKMMA. Every single one of us has a gift, a special, unique talent that sets us apart, a piece of our deepest selves that we are obliged to share with the world because nobody else can offer what any individual does. I’ve been struggling for months to find mine. I don’t know what makes me jump out of bed at eyes’ opening, eager to get started with the day. I don’t know what I feel passion for. I don’t have a guiding light.
But I do know why it’s important. And I know how I can figure out what drives me. But the answer, whatever it is, won’t be an easy, knee-jerk response.
Because the trouble is, the reason so many folks live that life of quiet desperation is that they either can’t answer the question, or they answer it using a source outside themselves. When asked about their guiding light, many cite their religious beliefs; many others, their children. But an internal compass has to point to a lodestone within, a deep-seated desire of one’s own devising; else as a solid reference point, a star to steer for, it will fail.
The MKMMA didn’t define for me where my passion lies. That’s not what it’s for. It did give me the tools I need to find it for myself. And when I finally discover what that special gift is, that unique talent, that spark of originality the world needs for me to share…? Like the moment I spotted Cassiopeia, I’ll know. My entire being will breathe out in relaxation, because I will know where I am, and where I’m headed.
The MKMMA is not for everybody. Counting how many paths there are to a single destination would be an impossible task. But it is a way, one that’s been well-thought, practiced, refined, and simplified.
What’s your guiding star? Would you like to find out?
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