How to Journal: Spiritual Compass

I was first introduced to the Spiritual Compass while taking Linda Bendorf’s class at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Spiritual Compass - jpg

As indicated on the handout above, each direction represents a different region of your life:

  • EAST:  As the sun rises in the east, this direction represents New Beginnings in life – Transformational events
  • WEST:  As the sun sets in the west, this direction represents endings of any sort – job loss, relationships, belief or value systems that no longer hold true or serve well.
  • SOUTH:  The south represents our spontaneous side – a return to childhood when we were playful, imaginative, creative.
  • NORTH:  Think of the North Star: “true  North” that guides you through life. What is your calling or purpose that keeps you moving forward on life’s journey.

There are times when you may want to spend time in all quadrants of the compass in order to gain a baseline of who you are and where you are on the journey.

But there will be other times when one direction seems dominant in life – or perhaps seems a little out of sorts. At those times, it is important to focus on that quadrant and ask insightful questions to redirect you and get you back on track.

Here are a few suggestions.

  • EAST: What new beginning are you facing at this time? How does this make you feel? Can you see both the positives as well as the negatives to this change? Do you recognize you have agency in this change? What can you do to help make the change smooth and/or easier to accept?
  • WEST: What have you had to release lately? Or perhaps… what are you holding on to that you need to release? How does it feel to consider that possibility? Can you see both the positives and the negatives to this change? What is causing you to continue to hold on?
  • SOUTH: Think back to childhood when perhaps life was a bit more carefree and spontaneous. Recall a fun time… close your eyes and watch yourself playing. What are you doing? What did you want to be when you grew up? How can you reconnect with that younger you at this time in life?
  • NORTH: What do you see as your true purpose in life? How are you doing on this journey? If you’ve become sidetracked, what one step might you take today to head you in the right direction?

This is another journaling exercise that I would advise doing in long-hand rather than computer keyboard. These are some deep questions that could profit by slowing down your mind – and your body – in order to discover some hidden insights.

I might even suggest creating a peaceful environment by lighting a scented candle and perhaps playing some soft instrumental music in the background. I always find it beneficial to begin these sessions with prayer, asking for Divine guidance in navigating my life’s journey.

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with another quote, this time from Janet Conner in her book Writing Down Your Soul:

When you write, you use several modalities at once: VISUAL – you see what’s on the page; and you also see the events you are writing about in your mind. AUDITORY – you hear yourself talking about the events you are writing about; KINESTHETIC – you feel the pen, the paper, the whole physical experience of writing. That alone – using all three modalities – makes writing very, very powerful.


4 thoughts on “How to Journal: Spiritual Compass

  1. Pingback: How to Journal: Introduction | Revising Life after 50

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