I can recall with fond memory many of the class projects I worked on while attending elementary school. The exploding volcano might have packed too much of a punch for poor Mrs. Guyatt though. I’ve never seen grey hair instantly turn white like that.
Perhaps my favourite one had me researching and writing a speech about Canada’s Inuit. The politically incorrect book titled, Eskimos in the North served as my guide. Wikipedia was two decades away so physical trips to the community library were necessary to peruse and research from … dammit, what were they called, oh right … encyclopedias.
I loved studying about the Inuit because it was during my preparations for my speech when I was introduced to the Inuksuk. (pronounced in-uk-shuk)
From one of my favourite galleries and art shops in Vancouver via Granville Island comes a little more explanation about the Inuksuk:
Inuksuk, the singular of inuksuit, means “in the likeness of a human” in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inuksuk is “Someone was here” or “You are on the right path.“
In other words, inuksuk (in the Inuktitut language) means “to act in the capacity of a human.”
It’s quite literally an extension of the word inuk which is defined as “a human being.”
Life is an uncertainty. One never really knows what may be thrown at you. Cancer. Job termination. Flooding. The paradoxes of a rich life can overflow, out-duel and even dampen the spirit in us all.
I wear both my heart and head on my sleeves at all times. I don’t know how to be any different. It can get me into trouble, particularly with those who fail to see the bigger picture. This has happened, happens and is happening in my place of employment. I suspect it will always occur, rightly or wrongly. I empathize, sympathize and can understand someone’s differing point of view but a myopic mindset isn’t something I’ve ever been comfortable with.
I’ve never been in it for ‘the money’.
I’ve never needed riches. My riches come in the form of family, friends, fun and freedom. It’s my frabjous life!
I simply seek a life and a career with purpose. Getting paid is important but millions of dollars is not my goal.
In times of trouble or concern, however, I look to the Inuksuks I’ve left scattered across the lands of my life and career. Now is such a time where I recall the Inuksuk.
I have been here before. The Inuksuk reminds me.
I have felt this experience before. The Inuksuk reminds me.
I am on the right path. The Inuksuk reminds me.
I am acting in the capacity of a human, although my foes are not. The Inuksuk reminds me.
I am a human being.
The Inuksuk reminds me.
Last week I had the fortune of speaking to a group of up-and-coming leaders in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. I really enjoyed my time with them, however brief it was. The day before, I was being fed to the wolves in a situation that forced me to pause, ponder and reflect my overarching purpose. I sought out my Inuksuk.
As luck had it, when I was gallivanting around Parliament Hill the bells of the Peace Tower went off at 6pm. It was an audible sign. Snap out of it Dan, go find your Inuksuk.
A block away from Parliament Hill in Ottawa was an art gallery.
Naturally, I bought four Inuksuks. One for Denise and I … and one for each of our children. The Inuksuk is a beacon. Over time, I hope the goats learn the importance of the Inuksuk.
They will receive the Inuksuk lesson (and their first Inuksuk piece of art) this coming Christmas, for it’s an important lesson.
I am a human being. The Inuksuk reminds me.