Friday, May 26, 2017
“But afterwards, is there nothing more for me in life - no true home - nothing to be dearer to me than myself?”
Thanks to a good friend, I found out this week that the North Star, Polaris, has not always been our North Star. In fact, for a very, very long time, that distinction was held by another star that positioned itself high above the North Pole, called Thuban. And because of the earth’s gyrations as it twirls around the sun, Thuban will once again be our North Star someday far in the future. This new-to-me-information had my head twirling with thoughts of my own personal North Stars and how they too, have changed seats throughout my life.
As children, I suppose our North Stars are our mothers – after all, they are our first loves and upon whom our very existence depends. Thus, I recall how my infant daughter’s eyes followed me whenever I moved about in her room, even before she could sit up by herself or speak. I was not only the person responsible for her very life; I was her North Star, the beacon she sought for guidance and safety in her brave new world.
I thought about other North Stars I’ve aligned myself with –those that helped me try out different roles when I was younger and those that gave me parameters for living as I experimented with new ways of being me. Sometimes our North Star is our beliefs and concepts and sometimes our North Star represents just one person. I think it is rare to have only one North Star for all of life because we change so often and adopt so many roles, especially as women.
For a while, my friends at school were the star I wished to follow. There were years, my guiding principles came from organizations I embraced such as the Girl Scouts or my church. Other times, I found a mentor or a friend who had already traversed the road I was on and I looked to them to ground me and keep me on course. But lately, my North Star is harder to spot. I wondered if it's because I have finally grown into the woman I was meant to be. Mostly, I prefer to take my own counsel, set my own path…listen to my own heart...
That kind of trust comes only from years of living and experiencing. It comes from an innate knowledge that “Yes, I have seen this before”. And my reactions stay true to those core beliefs I didn’t know I was honing - through childhood when my mother and grandmothers guided me, through motherhood when I looked to seasoned mothers to show me how, and now to beyond, when my skills for soothing and advising myself seem sharper than ever. And happily, I find in myself the ability to be North Star to others. Or at least that’s what I hope.
So the bottom line is that the pinnacle of growing older is that we may get to be, not only the cosmic light for others, but also the beam of sparkle and glimmer that we used to seek outside ourselves. Looking back, I realize that my constellation has changed many times over. Perhaps now...and at last...I am my own North Star.