A while back I was looking at photographs of Pluto that were coming through via the New Horizon spacecraft showing a craterless terrain of frozen lakes. Astronomers were calling this ‘dwarf’ planet infantile because in the timeframe of our three billion year old solar system, Pluto is but a pup!
I think when the world first saw images of our own planet taken from space it must have opened our minds up to a new way of seeing life. It was then possible to imagine ourselves in our world in ways that were once unimaginable. Copernicus’ heliocentric universe was undisputable and that had to have changed our internal map of the world and our sense of self.
Seeing this new view of Plutonian territory has stoked the embers of an idea that has been glowing inside of me for some time now. “How do we map the internal territories of our lives?”
I guess I’m searching for a cartographer of the soul.
It started with a search for a poem – I was looking for words that might capture the way maps demarcate land masses and bodies of water and how this is a metaphor for the internal territories that need mapping through self awareness. Exploration about how we work and what matters most to us reminds me of those pioneers who discovered the Americas, Africa and the Indies who found treasures and oddities that theretofore had been undreamed.
Because my mind is like a labyrinth of corridors with secret doorways, I then made the association with the Legend of King Arthur and the quest of the Holy Grail. At the behest of King Arthur, the Knights of the Roundtable agreed to the adventure of the grail search. They arrived at the outskirts of the forest, where they realized that there were two possibilities. Either they all entered the forest together, in search of the Holy Grail, or they entered the forest separately. They felt it would be a shame for them all to go down the very clear path through the forest, but rather each Knight should enter at a place of his own choosing. Only then would it be an adventure.
You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.
Fathoming your spirit is such a personal adventure and maps might not be the answer. I think it’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery and of your own mystery within that. And that’s why I love stories so much. Stories of how others have ventured through their Forests of Adventure – I think there are truths here to help us navigate our unchartered internal spaces. In the end though, we must live the adventure to know it for ourselves.
Whilst I never found exactly what I was looking for, David Whyte gave me The Journey
Above the mountains the geese turn into the light again
Painting their black silhouettes on an open sky.
Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens
so you can find the one line already written inside you.
Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that
small, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.
Sometimes with the bones of the black sticks left when the fire has gone out
someone has written something new in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving you are arriving.