The Compass of Your Soul

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 6

I love to travel. If you’ve come to Life Refocused before, you likely already know that. My gypsy feet and heart don’t just “like” to travel, they need to travel. If money were no object and I were free to spend my time in whatever ways I desired, my life would be full to the brim with travel. As it is, I’m fortunate that the life I actually do have allows me quite a bit of latitude to roam. For that, I am truly grateful. In addition to the literal physical trips I take, I find myself journaling most mornings about “my path” and the creative and professional journeys on which I’m traveling. I end most of my morning pages by asking the Universe to guide these journeys, to guide me, and to show me the path.

Sometimes I feel so lost — like I am so far off the trail that I’ll never find it again. Other times, I feel like I’m confidently marching along to the beat and the path feels so clear, so right. And then there are the times when the options seem daunting and I have no idea which way to go. So today, I share some poetry about traveling and following the “compass of your soul.”


For the Traveler by John O’Donohue

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

6 Responses

  1. Lindsey says:

    Oh, wow. I had not read this poem before and it’s simply breathtaking. Thank you. xox

  2. oh, how i love this.

    i have the amazing opportunity to travel a bit for work and pleasure, and it’s what fuels me as well. i count the days until my next adventure. i look forward to what i’ll find when out on a new road, wandering down a quiet alley, sitting on a bench near water.

    traveling alone at first seemed daunting. now i love it. nobody to wait for. nobody telling me what I should do. just being alone with my thoughts and dreams and a camera to document what i find. i love these moments so much.

    some of my most pleasurable days have been spent alone during travels. wandering the streets of paris and lying at the foot of the eiffel tower for what felt like hours. sitting on a park bench near the harbor in camden, maine. sitting on the jagged, initial-carved rocks at sunset cliffs in san diego, watching the sun go down as the waves hammer the rocks only inches in front of me.

    everyone should travel, even if it’s just down a road in their hometown they’ve never been on before.

    thank you for this post. <3

    • Meghan says:

      Oh, Kasey. I so resonate with what you shared about your own travel adventures. Yes. I do love to travel on my own and with friends/loved ones. Such totally different experiences. Thanks for commenting! xo

  3. Love it! It’s funny that this was one of the first things I read this morning (even though I’m only getting around to commenting now) because every once in a while, I find myself itching to go or aching for a place I’ve already been. This morning, before I even opened my eyes, I remembered driving my scooter at night through the back alleys of the town I lived in in Taiwan; the glow of red paper lanterns, the glimpses into people’s homes as they settled into their families for the evening or sat down to dinner, the sound of the wind as it whizzed past my ears… I, too, would travel far more than I do if I had the opportunity, but take such comfort in returning to the places I’ve loved over and over.
    Thanks for the fantastic post, Meghan! xo

  4. Kristina says:

    I love to travel and my dream would be to pick up my family and move abroad for a few years. I would love for my kids to experience new cultures and life outside the bubble in which we live. And I love the notion of following the compass of your soul…..something I will try and put into practice. Thanks for the great post!

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