My inner guide is a yellow-green firefly of unusual size. She reminds me of how I need to be. An essay on inner guides and their purpose.
This summer I took part in a guided journaling session in the Joybook community on Spiritual Practice. We had a fairly long segment of guided meditation at the beginning before we started journaling. In the meditation I had a very clear visual of my inner guide.
Before this journaling session, I had never given much thought to having an inner guide or what it might look like. While I don’t know her name specifically, my guide has been so very clear to me since that session that I’ve put a good bit of thought around her.
Who is this? What is this?
I pictured a yellow-green light blinking lazily far away. As I move closer to the light I see that it is illuminating bits of a vast Alien-movie looking spaceship wall/cave/hieroglyph bunker. The light is actually a firefly roughly the size of my hand and she is blinking slowly and steadily. She illuminates parts of the weird space as she moves and beckons me to follow her. The firefly is both a comfort to me and a defense for me. I am both intrigued and challenged by this image and what she and the big space represents.
Since I don’t typically visualize things in quite this way, I find that the image leaves me with more questions than it solves. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of my firefly guide and what she is trying to teach me.
I don’t know the way
I really like to think I am in charge of what I am doing. Making a plan and then following my plan and then checking it off on my list once I’ve finished is what I am about. Yay! Look at me! I accomplished the thing! My firefly reminds me that I don’t actually know the way and that I’m always busy punching in the dark. She reminds me to be humble in my plans. And to be ready to be flexible in what I’m trying to do.
Nothing has been more obvious to me that I don’t know the way than in this season of my work. This past 18 months has been some of the toughest time of work and life that I can remember. My family has faced a lot of unexpected events. Over the past 4-5 months in particular I’ve been ready to quit being an artist multiple times. It’s been that hard.
My firefly has encouraged me to keep going even in this dark time. She is providing illumination for the next few steps. I feel like it is my responsibility to her to keep taking those steps even when I am weary and very unsure of the path.
Focus on what is right in front of me
Hand in hand with limited visibility, her small circle of illumination reminds me to focus on the thing I am working on. I can really get in the weeds when I “what if” too much. The circle of light is small. So my focus should be tight as well.
She’s illuminating the wall and it it is covered in writing I don’t understand. It looks a bit like hieroglyphics but it is shiny, carved metal so Alien looking too. It’s intimidating to not be able to read the information. Maybe she is reading it, interpreting it, and leading for me. I just need to focus on the work that’s right in front of me and let the bigger issues sort themselves out. I’ll let her be in charge of the bigger picture by focusing only on the thing I’m working on right now.
I don’t have to have all the answers right now
I can’t read the partially illuminated information on the big wall. Maybe it’s not important but also I think it is a reminder that I don’t have to have all of the answers right now. I’ve been to places in the world where I was functionally illiterate because I couldn’t read the language on the signage. It always made me very appreciative of any guidance people would offer me in my own language because I was incapable of making it on my own.
My job is to make art and figure out ways for people to see my art. Maybe this is a reminder to keep my eyes focused on what my job is and let my firefly read the road signs. She will let me know when I need to course correct.
Slow and steady
I am learning with every year that passes that I am often in too big a hurry. I want to do things fast and have results now. Often I think things that look quick should actually have been made quickly. I don’t think what I do actually works that way. The more I slow down, the more I realize this. I like to think I have somehow escaped being a product of my culture and yet…
Without my firefly moving slowly, I might think I need to rush too. She is moving slowly, almost lazily. There’s a big lesson there that this work is about the long haul and not a quick fix. Thanks, I hate it.
Now you go
Do you have an inner guide? What are they like? Do you talk to them? Or have conversations? Do you ponder them and their meaning? Is it something that is a regular part of your life. I’m dying to know if other people have this kind of thing or if I’m the lone weirdo. Leave a comment here or email me or tag me on socials.