So as not to create any controversy I have used the Spanish word, and thus totally disguise what I could be referring to. There are those who use Scripture to suggest any inking is against the will of heaven. I find that a bit of a stretch, given there is considerable weight also against two kinds of material being worn, or mixed seeds in a field being sown – all under the rubric of ‘holiness’. I don’t like it when I see ‘sleeves’ or people covered in tattoos (DOB has something to do with the ‘I don’t like that’), but an ink here or there seems immaterial.

Here is a tattoo that some smart guy in Madrid slapped on me. Why the little cartoonish bear? Glad you asked.

Some while back I had on my back (no pun intended) ‘True North’ inked with the ‘o’ being a compass. I had it up my spine cos I need to have a straight spine, be upright and know where I am headed. If I get my true north then I can venture in all kinds of directions, not deviating from who I consider I am meant to be.

I am challenged by a few (understatement) of Paul’s statements. The ones I understand and the ones I don’t; the ones I think I take in context and the ones I know are out of context. So to the last category, here is one that I take out of context:

But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.

One thing I do. We all probably have 100 things we need to do, to give ourselves to, but I have long considered that I might try the 100 things, the result being I might do okish with 3 or 4 of them but not touch the ‘one thing’ that I must do, or in line with the inking, I might not align to ‘true north’. If I really focus on the ‘one thing’ I might well then end up achieving quite a few more than I expected.

So the friendly bear?

I took a piece of paper that Gayle had been doodling on, that doodle was this bear. I had the result done when we were in Madrid, the symbol of Madrid being the bear. And then… keep with it, all will be revealed as to how significant this was… How do you find ‘true north’, the pole star? Find the bear and follow the trajectory, the bear will lead to true north.

One thing – hope I am not cheating with two things here! If I lose true north I need to allow the bear (drawn by Gayle) to guide me, so I need to find Gayle, be aligned to her and from there I will find my true north; or maybe find Madrid, who is she, what does she symbolise, align to her, her future, the future of Spain, the future of Europe. If I do that I will find myself being aligned to my true north.

Maybe I am not cheating by naming two things, maybe it is not two things, but I need to pick one or the other when I am in danger of missing my way cos I suspect they are intertwined.

I don’t think tattoos are taboo, they are neither here nor there, but a focus on true north and the ‘one thing’ and when we need to the finding of helps that redirect us back to our alignement seems very significant.

Note to self:
Don’t be too concerned about all the things you have not done well… what should be your focus, Martin, that one thing?