Finding Your Way

girl reading map

I’ve been studying topographical maps and compass use for several years. By no means does that make me an expert. There is much to learn on these 2-dimensional images of a 3-dimensional world. Contour lines, magnetic declination, water, peaks, saddles, vegetated areas, and the list goes on and on.

Do you know what I love about topo maps? They accurately tell you what’s around the corner. Sure, they take some start-up time to learn. But once you understand the system they are amazing tools for navigating. You can ask the question, “Hey, I wonder what’s around that bend?” You can then orient yourself, look at the map, and see for yourself. It’s remarkable.

What if you had a life-map? Something to help guide you when you had a question about where to go. We humans can achieve so much if we know which direction to go.

Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Part of achieving something is setting a clear goal. Let’s say you want to finish Kamana 2.3 and you’ve been stuck there for a few months (or a few years).

Often to move forward we have to recognize the past. You may have all sorts of feelings about not being good enough, embarrassment about how long it’s taken, or regrets of not having taken the steps necessary to move forward. That’s all common and legitimate. It’s important to acknowledge those things. BUT it’s even more important to accept that they are part of the past. You can learn from them, but don’t let them stop you.

Now it’s time to set a bearing.

It’s good to have a larger goal, but it is also essential to have shorter term check-points. What are you going to do in the next week? What about tomorrow? How about right now?

Here’s an example: I want to finish Kamana 2.3 by November 1st. By the end of next week I will have gone to my sit spot 3 times, done one excellent Field Inventory, and done 3 species journals. By tomorrow I will have done 1 journal and have gone to my sit spot once. Right now I am going to go for a walk and do a sense meditation.

While our personal life-maps might not be as accurate as a 7.5 minute topo, they are be important to cultivate. So whether you’re trying to finish a Kamana level or running a marathon find a clear path and walk it strong.

Wilderness Awareness School