Tulum Ruins Mayans Lighthouse LighthousesLighthouses serve as guide posts at the edge of the ocean. They warn boats of dangerous waters and serve as traffic lights for the sea. Before the construction of modern lighthouses, the idea can be traced as far back as 283 AD when the Egyptians built the tallest lighthouse, at 900 feet, that guided ships for more than 1,500 years. At the Mayan temple at Tulum, Mexico, the Mayans built twin fires for their lighthouse. Only the builders and those they trusted knew how to align their boats between the fires to safely enter the bay. Unaware of the danger, the first Spanish ship that tried to land in 1511, sank, ripped apart by the coral reef hidden just below the surface. Although there were several survivors of the wreck, only two known survivors made it to the history books: Franciscan friar Jerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero. How did these two thrive when others failed?

They built personal lighthouses that enabled them to navigate their new life. The Franciscan friar clung to his faith and survived as a slave until he was ransomed by Cortes in 1519 to serve as a guide and translator. Gonzalo Guerrero thrived by embracing everything Mayan. He followed the local custom of tattooing his body, and rose from slavery to marry a Mayan princess. Their offspring were the first known mixed race children between European colonizers and indigenous Americans. Despite several opportunities to return to Spain, Guerrero choose to remain with his wife and children. Legend has it that he died in battle protecting his family from conquistadors. Today, he is known as the Father of Mestizaje.

Lighthouse Guiding LightPersonal lighthouses are built upon life’s lessons. My personal lighthouse was built on the ashes of broken relationships that followed my parent’s death eight months apart. Losing my parents was difficult, but it wasn’t as painful as watching my family implode after their deaths. I sunk into the “dark night of the soul” with three burning questions: What have I done to deserve this pain? What do I need to change? and What lessons do you want me to learn?

The answers to my questions helped me craft my personal lighthouse. After researching the works of religious and spiritual masters, I conducted experiments before creating a formula for living called GRIPP Life that serves as my personal lighthouse. GRIPP Life stands for being Grateful, Responsible, Intentional Pursuing Purpose. When things happen, like delayed flights, flat tires and grumpy people, I find ways to be grateful, take responsibility for myself, set my intention and pursue my purpose. There is always an action I can take that enables me to feel victorious instead of victimized by life. My personal lighthouse guides me through tough times and helps lessen the pain when times are rough.

Lighthouse Guiding LightLighthouses are personal. During a recent conversation with my husband’s long-time friend, Vince, I discovered he carries his personal lighthouse in his wallet in the form of a mission statement. We were discussing various methods to transfer values to our children and grandchildren when he removed the laminated card from his pocket and shared the story of how it came to be. There are two sections to Vince’s mission statement, What I believe and Always remember. Each section has five statements followed by a Net-Net statement. Vince’s statements are a mix of wisdom from his father, Spiritual beliefs, gratitude, and lessons learned. He shares his card with the important people in his life. His wife and daughters carry a copy of his card and he shares it with his bosses and the people who report to him. The people he interacts with at work and home know what is important to him and can speak his language.

What challenges are you facing? Although we aren’t conquering new worlds like Jerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero, we face stress every day. When they survived the shipwreck, they were enslaved by the Mayans. We enslave ourselves through our choices and fears. The TV, internet, and radio interrupt our daily lives with terrifying global news feeds. Hot water heaters leak, the roofer lets the dog out, and insects invade our homes. Bills, credit card statements and medical reports assault our mailboxes. We eat fast food, skip regular exercise and don’t get enough sleep. Loved ones don’t return phone calls. Ghost pains show up in various body parts overnight. To live life is to experience challenges; it is part of the process. What can we do to thrive when we are surrounded by evidence of a hostile environment?

Lighthouse Guiding LightBuild a lighthouse. We have a choice in how we respond to life. Although faced with seeming impossible odds, Jerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero found a way to thrive in the new world by pursuing their values with passion and focus. Although their values were very different, each was driven to succeed by an internal guidance system, or personal lighthouse, that worked for them.

You, too, can build a personal lighthouse. Write a personal lighthouse statement and use it during life’s challenges. Test your lighthouse statement, and if you need to change it, do so. It doesn’t matter if i takes the form of a mission statement, formula, verse, or bullet points. If you are having difficulty writing your statement, consider your past. What values, virtues, or actions have you used to succeed? Ask people you admire about their lighthouse. Feel free to use my formula for living and GRIPP Life. Read inspiring literature. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. Prepare for life challenges by building a lighthouse to guide you through troubled times.

If you need help, send me an email to cindy@LegacyFamilyRevolution.com with Lighthouse in the subject line.