The Guiding Voice: External Alignment

knowing external alignment

As I write this, I am in the Willow Barkery on Prince Edward Island.
My eldest sister, Jen, and her daughter, Elissa Rose, are opposite me.

I was knee-deep in finalizing details for the next Knowing Retreat when I heard Jen exclaim, “Did you think of that all by yourself? That’s brilliant!” 

I perked up. 

My niece and goddaughter is brilliant. She is nine years old and going on twenty-five. 

Elissa had been musing:

According to the Biblical narrative, Herod Antipas, Ruler of ancient Galilee and Perea, held a feast at which a beautiful woman, Salome, danced for him. Her dance garnered such pleasure that he swore, “Whatever you ask, I will give you up to half my kingdom.” Salome’s mother whispered that she asked for the murder of a prophet. Salome complied and presented her request, to Herod’s dismay.


Elissa Rose drew the parallel to another narrative yet with a completely different outcome.

King Xerxes was similarly pleased with his wife, Queen Esther, and vowed that whatever she may wish, ”It will be given to you. Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”
Unbeknownst to the king, Queen Esther’s life was in jeopardy. Therefore, her uncle and advisor urged her to request saving her life and her people.


I attentively listened as her little brain put the analysis together, and she presented her thesis.

“One (guiding voice) was used for good, and one was used for evil,” Elissa Rose summarized thoughtfully. 

Two similar offers for wishes to be granted, two guiding voices, two entirely different requests and outcomes. 

While I had initially intended to write this article in a different direction, her observation caused me to reconsider and thus rewrite it.

1) We must know what we want and the desired outcome. 


Besides clarity over what we want, we will be guided by the whims of those around us. 

The other day, I met with a new therapist, and she asked me, “What do you want?” about a particular situation.

What a critical question. It is one far too easily overlooked for innumerable reasons. In fact, I overlooked this question for the majority of my life. I fixated on those around me and allowed their opinions, expectations, and experiences to represent my own. 

However, knowing what we want on a heart and soul level reflects to us elements of who we indeed are.


The logical questions follow: 

Who am I beyond the expectations of others? 

Beyond what others want me to be?

Who am I beyond the horizontal landscape in consideration of the vertical, as I am intended to be?


Powered by this knowing self, we are positioned to “want” predicated on authenticity and truth of who we are.

Asking this question was among the first of many which propelled me further on my journey of knowing self.

2) We must know what is right, the ideal outcome. 


In both scenarios presented by Elissa Rose, “What do I want?” must be weighed with “What is right?” 

Three critical reasons for this:

1) What I want may not align with my values.

2) What I want may not align with my Ideal.

3) What others advise may not align with either. 


Aligning our wants with our Values.


What we tend to in the garden of our minds overflows in our speech, behavior, and actions.

But before our thoughts become outputs, those thoughts receive tending in our minds and thus cultivate into our very wants and desires. Therefore, we have power over the very thing which we desire. So, if I am tending to that which aligns with my values — purity and joy and wisdom, among others — those thoughts become wells of deep desire within me that gestate before their outputs.


Eventually, the internal springs forth, overflowing into the external.


So, when considering what I want, I must equally consider what is right to ensure I am vertically aligned at a core level and not merely blindly guided by a fleeting whim or fancy. 


Aligning our wants with our Ideal. 


Clarity over our Ideal informs our response to the actions we take when considering these two questions: “What do I want?” and “What is right?” 

What I want now may be opposed to who I want to become.

We must afford the time, energy, and space to sit with our Ideal to equip us with a vision that propels the proper action in the moment of reckoning.


Perhaps a more holistic question to consider is: 

“What does the right action look like in light of my Ideal?”

Who I want to be outweighs what I wish to be now, which begs the question: What is right?

Clarity of our Ideal facilitates clarity of right action and wise decisions today. 

What others advise may not align with either


Mentors, accountability partners, and masterminds are examples of those who may serve as guiding voices in our lives. And we desperately need them!

However, at the end of the day, you and I are held radically responsible for every decision we make and their subsequent outcome. Therefore, we must pay keen attention to the external voices attempting to guide us. 

As the adage goes, We are the sum of those around us.

Beyond official titles or groups, the people with whom we spend our time influence our thoughts and, thus, our outputs far more than we may realize. 

Who are you becoming as a result of your environment? 


Are you assuming radical responsibility for the inputs so they align with your desired outputs? Does your community know what you want, both in values and ideals? 

Have you clearly defined and dictated what you want so that they may support you and guide you accordingly?

3) We must know how to get to the pathway to the outcome


I smile as I write this. 

As aforementioned, for the majority of my life, I did not know what I wanted, much less how to get there. However, through my journey of knowing myself, I have gained clarity on what I want and, slowly, clarity on how to get there.

The latter is where the input of others has been most significant. 

Given others:

  1. Know what I want
  2. Know my values
  3. Know my Ideal

they are positioned to offer guidance on how to do it successfully. 

In community is the place where knowing and action meet. It is the place where guidance is offered. It is where accountability is held for activating our wants and dreams. 


Knowing who should be in our community is predicated on first knowing ourselves—our wants, values, and Ideals. Only then can we hand-select the proper individuals, mentors, and groups to curate our community and serve as propelling agents forward.