We establish LIFE THEMES, or recurring types of situations and events, as we wend our way through life, and this thematic warp and weave of our distinctive lives varies a lot from person to person. Where one person might establish a life of Global Travel and Adventure, another might live primarily dedicated to Service activities, or someone might center their commitment around Children and Grandchildren as their most vital LIFE THEMES. We each compose an arrangement of several LIFE THEMES that weave through our lives, daily.
Life Themes are the basis of how we learn and express our social ROLES. Family roles, Work or Career roles, Relationship roles all require us to develop certain skills and strengths, and slightly different “social personas” that best enact or present these different roles in relation to our major Life Themes. A Doctor, for example, develops a “bedside manner” in the role of Doctor that calls upon specific attitudes and strengths. How we succeed with a Role, or how difficult it might be to succeed with a Role, can affect the development of our total personality and our outlook on life.
Later I will present the point of view I use with the Life Maps Process that these Life Theme based ROLES might be directly connected with what Carl G. Jung and James Hillman would call your personal unconscious Archetypes. For now it is enough to see how your Life Themes allow you to develop different aspects of your personality and your “presentation of Self”. A person may be a Doctor—carrying herself or himself appropriately in that role as a Healer, say—as well as a Parent, which evokes a different set of helpful attitudes and behaviors. Different Roles might even bring about some conflicts in our personal representation of Self; as when a Teacher is also the Parent of a child in his or her classroom.
So I am inviting you to identify your Life Themes this week, using the life mapping tool presented Sunday or in the right panel of this week’s blog. Then ask yourself, “What ROLES have I developed in relation to each Life Theme?”
You could make a list of corresponding Themes and Roles, as follows, for example:
LIFE THEME SOCIAL ROLE
Education Teacher (or, Student)
Religion mystic or seeker
Work (leader, or writer/artist, etcetera)
Family Mother/Father, Daughter/son/sister/brother
Relationships Spouse, Lover, Friend, etcetera)
These are only some possible Life Themes and Roles that might relate to them. I encourage you to discover and reflect on your own. Feel free to share your insights or stories!
I would also like to share with you a beautiful poem today by the brilliant blogger/ poet iithinks, called