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Navigating in Woods

The Calibration Effect

“How am I navigating this journey?” 

Journeying Amid Global Crisis

During the best of times the journey of life can be difficult to navigate. 

No matter our circumstances, we exist in such a way where the unfolding of our lives is done in tandem with our development as individuals and our development in relation to others.  

The reality of this dynamic nature as a foundation for life, has been obscured and dissected from our awareness, leaving us with a fragmented worldview. In this way, emotion exists in contrast to mind, mind is detached from body, individual is in tension with community, “us” is isolated from “other”, human is diverging from animal, progress is in opposition to nature, and so on. 

As a consequence, we are left to pilot our course in resistance instead of relation. Instead of navigation in dynamic relation, deep listening to the condition of the ship, following the cardinal directions, and feeling the flow of the water; we push the ship past its breaking point, blindly following a singular path, and battling against the forces that have “conspired” against us. We are left railing against every force we come in contact with--internally and externally--never seeing them as potential connection to the parts of self and life that we have been severed from.     

To compound this long-festering wound of dissection, global crisis looms. 

Whether social, economic, ecological, or political, we are inundated with unrest, violence, famine, disease, and destruction. Social media, news, organizations, and any form of information download, drowns people in an ocean of crises. Even those who aggressively tackle every contingency they can conceive of and reinvent the structure of their lives (often in opposition to the ones that they inherited); people find themselves overwhelmed and with limited results. 


What can be done? 

Reclaiming Our Compass

In the most immediate way possible, we can simply choose to reconnect to the dynamic, relational living we have been severed from. The sheer awareness and desire to reconnect is a powerful step itself. Nevertheless, the “how” in practice can be a daunting effort to undertake. Instead of living in reaction and resistance, or haphazardly reacting to crisis (internally or externally), how do we live, how do we truly navigate in awareness and relation?


This is where the compass comes in.  


The compass is an ancient symbol that can invoke ideas of direction finding and journey. We can look to the compass as a convenient tool to orient ourselves, adjust our course, and continue the journey. Journeying in life involves no less and often necessitates such a tool. 


In reimagining the compass to embody different and unique directional points, the holder is inspired to ask, “how am I navigating this instance or this issue in relation to my cardinal directions?” This creates a small, simple, and consistent orientation tool for daily life, in an effort to calibrate ourselves away from resistance and toward relation. 

Designing Your Compass

Metallic Waves
Recycled Plastic
Brown Wood
Glass Panes

The opportunity for artistic creation is limitless! Your compass can take the form of:


Jewelry (e.g., ring, necklace, bracelet),

Image on any medium (e.g., paper, shirt, tattoo)

or even be a Working Compass


Whether designed and created by yourself or a professional artisan, whether in the shape of a traditional compass, astronomical globe, or even an azimuth circle, the only prerequisite is that this navigational tool is filled with meaning for you

This is a simple example of a 4 directional compass, calibrated to relational living.


The North has become neighbors, east environment, south self, and west world animals. Carried as a pocket token, worn as a ring, or even simply floating in a wallet, this image serves as a reminder of 4 major areas that we have been dissected from. Consequently, when the wearer reaches in their pocket, looks at their hand, or reaches for their wallet, they are reminded to pause, orient, and reflect. How are they relating to their compass at that very moment in time when they may want and need to? They are empowered to navigate.


* If you are an artist with compass work for purchase or to share, please reach out*

Discovering Your Cardinal Directions - Discovering Your Ship

- Questions:


* It is imperative that these questions be asked in a particular way. For example, in any instance where we are trying to create a space for honest communication, we need to provide a space filled with loving acceptance and open curiosity. Even (especially?) with ourselves. If we begin with judgment, already knowing the answers, we might as well not ask the question in the first place. Open up, be inquisitive, and wait to really “feel” the answer come. *


Questions to ask when creating your cardinal directions (try to choose one-word, general answers, as many as you like for each question, and in areas that invoke an emotional response):


What major areas am I most concerned about in my personal life?


What major areas am I most concerned about in my professional life?


What major areas am I most concerned about in my community?


What major areas am I most concerned about in the world?


- Consolidate:

Take the words from each question and try to narrow them down. See what words can be consolidated, endeavor to simplify. Here, using the same acceptance and curiosity as above, it can be helpful to ask “why” these words are value. 


- Associate:

Once you have your main words see if they can be associated with the traditional N,E,S,W (or if you have a different compass, use the number of directions you are working with). This can help in association and recollection in the effort to calibrate toward relation living. 


- Design:

Now that you have your directions, begin designing the image of your compass. Does your compass have lines or arrows connecting the different directions? How many directions will you have? Will your cardinal directions be written out or abbreviated? Will pictures decorate your compass? Brainstorm and imagine, feel and design. 






Ongoing Questions for Navigation

pause, orient, and reflect

*How are you relating to your compass at this very moment?

*How would you like to?

*What is stopping you?

*What needs to change in order for you to align?

* Keep in mind that these directional points, your compass, is dynamic. Just as our course changes, we learn more, relate more, and unfold. So too do our cardinal directions. *

The Calibration Effect

The Calibration effect and its tool, the compass, is not intended to be an answer, but rather an introduction to a way of being that invokes dynamic engagement and dynamic relation. For some, North may not be neighbor but nature, calibration may not be due South but rather Southeast, and navigation may occur during meal choices versus political efforts. No matter where one begins, it demonstrates that in order to affect change, we must reclaim our active place at the helm of our ships. This requires us to focus on all the directions we have been unaware of, and to finally begin orienting and navigating. The compass, not unlike other medallions or tokens, can serve as an empowering physical reminder of awakening to a way of being -- a way of being that navigates the relational journey and gives context to do so.


The intention is not a singular solution or a "how to" guide. Rather, it is an offering of empowerment, underlining that in the smallest of things, we have the capacity to intentionally navigate our course and affect change from the sheer depth of our relationships. With the coming changes that we face as individuals, as communities, as living creatures on this planet, it is imperative that we reclaim the helms of our ships through the calibration of our unique compasses. 

With each course taken, on this new tack, may every small action in this spirit begin to create ripples, that creates waves...that ultimately creates currents.    


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