Detail from Brown Squirrel And White Squirrel by David Wagner
What is this Wayfinding? It's a series of experiments with Martha Beck's "technologies of magic," as described in her book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World." They are Wordlessness, Oneness, Imagination, and Forming. We do the experiment together!
I keep coming back to the meta-purpose of this whole experiment, which is a connection with and reliance on the Wayfinder equipment I hope I was born with. The equipment I'm increasingly trusting I was born with and am learning how to use. Guidance! Direction! Confidence.
But I'm also starting to think of Wayfinding as more than just learning my way around a control panel and figuring out how to interpret feedback. I am also OH DEAR LORD Iamwritingthisinapublicforum starting to wrap my being around the idea of working with "guides."
(Note to my guides: Sorry for the quotation marks! They're lame. And they won't even help because everyone already knows I'm a freak anyway.)
My sister has been trying to get me to work with my guides for about 35 years, without success. Too freaky, even for me. But Martha Beck is talking about working with guides now, too, so I have pricked up my ears.
On her quarterly coaches' call a couple weeks ago, Martha bluntly admitted she'd gotten on the crazy train and wasn't even getting off to stretch her legs anymore, and after announcing there was no time to waste, said she thought we were all being, oh, let's say, encouraged into a new style of consciousness.
Martha went on to say that she didn't know everything about this new consciousness, but she knew three of its components:
- an experiential conviction that your physical being is maintained via living joyfully, and not through selling your soul to the company store
- we are all guided and have ready access to guidance via guardian angels, or whatever you want to call them
- we are all connected, and we do this [the consciousness upgrade, I guess] together, not alone
Item #1 is essentially what I've been Imagining here all along: trading the grinding way I've habitually done everything for an easy way. Ease.
And Item #2 the way I've been trying to get there. Wayfinding my way to ease, via ease. Now with added backup from, um, guides.
Martha adds about working with guides that if you ask for aid and keep an eye out for statistically improbable coincidences that serve to help you out, you will start experiencing a "sense of having backup in a magical way that is incredibly calming and comforting."
So that is what I have been practicing with this week: Asking for help, chiefly around shutting down the project of seeking out company stores that might give me a little cash for my soul, and finding joy and ease in work and life.
Coincidences (possible signs of Forming):
The other thing I asked for backup on was finding some missing earphones. I really thought I'd looked everywhere, several times. A bit humiliating for Soi-Disant Finder, you know? At the end of the day, somewhat despairing, I remembered Martha's suggestion to ask for help from my guides, which I did then and there.
What happened next was I opened my eyes and saw a jacket in the rumpled bedclothes. Without thinking, I put my hand in one of its pockets and pulled the earphones right out. It made perfect sense that the earphones were there in that jacket, but I had no memory of having stowed them as I drew them out - just a sensation of my arm and hand moving without conscious direction on my part.
You know what? I love that feeling.
It was legitimately freaky. Comforting, too, as promised.
Also this week, not a coincidence, but just an interesting animal sighting while out on Walk-n-Coach, we saw a white squirrel. I gather there are areas where white squirrels are commonplace, but Brattle Street in Cambridge is not one of them. It was fun! I often see black squirrels in that neighborhood; equally cool.
About squirrels, the freakishly awesome Sarah Bamford Seidelmann says in What the Walrus Knows: "Play on purpose. Chatter, chase and goad recruits into your game."
Actually, ok, that's a pretty darn good coincidence right there. And it's straight out of a Friendly Book.
Updates on past experiments
We're coming up on the autumnal equinox, and we've just passed the opening of the acadmic year here in New Blighty. This is the time of year that I really think of as The Big Beginning, and it always makes me want to take stock.
I'm reviewing all the things I've been Imagining, and how most of them are proxies for something deeper. Pot racks, Sunday lunches, more clients, holidays in Wellfleet: They all boil down to a few feeling states that I want to spend my days in:
- Ease, warmth, comfort, conviviality, connection and cosiness
- Ease, flow, mastery and power
So whether in repose or in activity: Ease. Confidence. And it's happening. Here are some ways:
- Comfort via Friendly Books and guides
- Conviviality via Sunday lunch
- Warmth and connection via working with the exact right clients
- Flow in work via asking for guidance (when I've remembered) and putting in my easy 10,000 hours...
- ...and work flowing in to me, more all the time. Thank you!
If you're doing a similar Wayfinding experiment and want to report results, or reading Martha's book and want to talk about it, you can leave a comment right here on this page. Tell me about your white squirrel sightings, your own work with guides or your number one Friendly Book. I want to hear it all!