Let it always guide you home.
The Inukshuk (pronounced IN-OOK-SHOOK) meaning "in the image of man", are magnificent lifelike figures of stone which were erected by the Inuit people and are unique to the Canadian Arctic. Standing along Canada’s most northern shores, they endure as eternal symbols of leadership, encouraging the importance of friendship and reminding us of our dependence upon one another.
In the Baffin region of Canada’s Arctic, the traditional meaning of an Inukshuk was to act as a compass or guide for a safe journey. The Inukshuk, like ancient trackers, helped guide people seeking their way through the wilderness. An Inukshuk on land with two arms and legs means there is a valley. At the end of this valley, you will be able to go in two directions. Today, this serves as a reminder that we always have a choice in the direction we choose to take in our lives.
Erected to make the way easier and safer for those who follow, an Inukshuk represents safety and nourishment, trust and reassurance. The Inukshuk guided people across the frozen tundra and gave them hope in barren places to handle hardships they encountered. These primitive, stone images showed the way ahead… pointing you in the direction you wanted to go. Had they been able to speak, I am certain they would have said… "Here is the road. It is safe. You can meet the demands that this path holds. You can reach your goals and attain your vision of where you want to be."
What is true about the Inukshuk is true about people.
Inukshuks in themselves are the product of cooperation. The hands and efforts of an entire group were required to build these massive stone sculptures. They are the result of a consensus of purpose, of focused action by a group united in its goal and labor. The inukshuk reminds us that as good as our individual efforts may be, together we can do even greater things.
Each individual stone in an inukshuk supports, and is supported by, the one above and the one below it. No one piece is any more or less important than another. Its strength lies in its unity. Its significance comes from its meaning as a whole.
Each individual, by themselves, is significant. As part of a team each of us supports, and is supported by, another. We are united by our common goals, and together we are part of a greater whole.
The stones which make up the Inukshuk are secured through balance. They are chosen for how well they fit together. The removal of even one stone would destroy the integrity of the whole. So, too, with a team. Each individual in a team is necessary for the realization of the team’s purpose. The removal of even one person will result in the weakening of the structure. What holds the team together is the balance – the complementary nature of the individual skills.
The Inukshuk are a symbol of the human spirit. They recognize our ability to succeed with others, where alone we would fail. Remind us of our need to belong to something greater than ourselves. Prompt us to reconnect with our individual responsibility to invest our efforts today so we may all have a better tomorrow. Ask us to heed the knowledge of our inner knowingness, hear the voice of our intuition and move to the harmonious music in our heart and spirit. Inukshuk convey the importance of personal contribution and reinforce our ability to commit to common goals. They implore us to share the fruits of our learning, our wisdom with one another.
The Inukshuk is a reminder for all of us that our efforts towards the common good of our earth community are appreciated. It is an enduring symbol that invites us to speak with one another on a higher level, from our hearts and spirit, about what really matters in life.