“We are actually, literally, made of stardust. Every atom in your body was formed in the belly of a star, then sent out into the cosmos when that star exploded.” Martha Beck
Each night I’ve driven home this January I’ve listened to Steering by Starlight, by Martha Beck. As I venture into dusk thinking about where I belong and the next step I’m preparing to take, I feel inspired by Martha’s encouragement to find your “right life,” not the life that’s scripted for success, rather the life that sets your soul on fire.
There were many insights that resonated with me throughout the book, but more than anything, I learned to trust my inner intuition more deeply, leading me to feel the magical energy conspiring with me to change direction.
Martha explains that all “it takes to steer by starlight is inner quiet, and attentiveness to your own feelings of tension or relaxation, stress or delight.” That’s all, yet—how does it get so complicated to be confident about going after what you really want in life. Enter the inner lizard.
Until Martha Beck, I had never heard the term “inner lizard,” but now that I know what it means I am determined to kick its ass. Your inner lizard is your reptilian brain; controlling your body’s vital functions as well as making you fear anything that looks a little bit different. If you let it, it will scream at you to hold on to what you have, watch out for what you may lose and to not take any chances putting yourself in harm’s way.
The inner lizard was of great use when we were being chased by tigers in the wild, but today only serves to leave us with a scarcity mindset. It tells us to not try anything new because it could present danger—stay in that relationship or you will never find a mate, don’t leave your job—you won’t be able to feed your family, don’t move from you hometown because you won’t have the support of your family…the list goes on and on.
Despite the strength of our lizard brain thoughts, we are still called to be steered by starlight. Not all of us answer the call, feeling as though it’s better to not deny the lizard or our current belief systems. However, for those drawn to this blog, book or a dream of a new way of life—starlight is shining for you.
The audio book I am listening to includes 7 discs and many exercises…but Martha boils the process down to a few sentences: First, you blast out of your mental limitations by dissolving your fear-based, ego-driven thoughts. Then you map out your future by telling new, more interesting stories. Then you make a map by freeing your imagination. Finally you move forward by doing just enough work to solve the problems you encounter.
As you delve into this process, your mind will produce amazing insights and the universe will unlock opportunities you didn’t know were possible before you started to put your inner lizard in its place. Even your dreams become more telling of steering toward or away from starlight.
As an example, for months I had been dreaming that I’m back in school, not reading the chapters I’m assigned and skating by with B’s instead of perfect A’s. I’m truly content and enjoying popping in on classes that I find interesting. In the end I’m one course shy of getting a business degree and fail to get it and don’t feel concerned.
Reflecting back on this dream, I know I’m beginning to steer nearer to starlight because I can literally feel the contentment in this dream. I now understand that I am letting go of the perfectionism of the past and really letting myself explore what could be. Not all the pieces of the puzzle are together, but my mind is allowing me to play.
Play, is at the core of this practice—learning how to live like we are playing more often than laboring is key. Our lizard brain will tell us this is not possible, but our inner stargazer knows life doesn’t have to feel this HARD. No doubt that job, relationship, financial hardship etc. may be tough—but situations can change if we change our mental limitations and maps.
If you’re looking for more “play” in life, I encourage you to read Martha’s book Steering by Starlight and set out on your own mission to map and realize your destiny—you won’t regret it.