Reorienting in the Present:Where are you now? Where are you going?


Where will you go in 2021? Whether traveling over physical distance or taking a personal journey, it is important to reorient yourself and determine where you want to go. One of my favorite annual spiritual practices is the life compass exercise. It requires some time for reflection, perhaps 30 minutes or an hour, a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and art supplies if you want to be more creative.


I tend to go all out and create a vision board out of my compass, using magazine pictures, drawings, words, etc, but you may want to start with just a loose-leaf piece of paper for your first draft and go from there.


For this exercise, take a piece of paper and draw a circle. Draw an X through the middle of the circle to divide it into 4 quadrants, leaving open an area in the center. Label each segment with cardinal directions: N, S, E, W


In each of the quadrants, draw or write the events, choices, images, questions that fit that direction.



East: the direction of the rising sun – the direction of new beginnings.


What new energy and/or movement is starting to emerge in you? What is starting to happen and what are you taking hold of? Where are we being called to embrace something new? Are you aware of issues or areas in need of healing or change?


West: the direction of the setting sun – this is the direction of endings and letting go. What needs to be released, ended, shed? What beliefs, attitudes and patterns do you need to let go? Where is healing needed?


North: the north start represents a guiding light, the stabilizing forces.

Who is it that deeply loves and guides you? What are the images, or pictures of God that nurture and sustain you? Who are your individual and collective spiritual guides and friends? What is the grace story (from life or a biblical story) that animates your individual self?


South: the direction of the sunny exposure where you find your energy, imagination, spontaneity and play. Where is your creative energy being called forth? What do you really long to do or be?

How does you find sustenance? How is it nurtured? What are your passions? Where do you find individual and collective fun and play and rest?

What do you desire to say “Yes!” to?


When you finish the exercise, consider sharing what you have done with a friend, family member or your spiritual director. I would love to see your compass.


Want to do something more social? Do a virtual vision board party (similar to our in-person party in 2017) using the compass as your template.



This exercise is inspired by Enduring Heart, Spirituality for the Long Haul by Wilkie Au published in 2001 by Paulist Press



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