My own primary Life Themes (as an example) are Education, Spirituality, Family, Friends, Pets, Writing, Travel, and Romance. All of my significant “shaping” events represent one or more of these Themes. These Themes have had rather distinctive trends and they have had quite different sorts of impacts on my life. Education has had a progressive,’ ramp-like pattern, creating a very gradual incline. I have experienced spirituality by a sequence of plateaus, step by step and with wider and longer plateaus along the way. Friendship has generally been more like a rising slope to a steady table for each relationship, though there have been a couple of major dips or blockages. Romance…well, let’s say that went through a rather Up and Down, roller coaster sort of pattern until it flatlined several years ago, though on a positive note. Pets are almost always a strong and positive influence, with dips when their shorter life span takes them, ever too soon. Travel is always a lifting factor, no matter what else is going on. It brings forth my Idealism and my ambition to forge new pathways; to reach for distant horizons and to realize my dreams.
How about you? If you were to draw the trend or pattern of each of your primary Life Themes, what tendencies and impacts does each one weave? Do some Life Themes tend to lift you higher while others hold you back or keep you ‘down’ in some respect? Do you tend to shift to one or another of these thematic threads unconsciously to negotiate the ups and downs of your life? I invite you to sketch these patterns out; you can use different colored pencils or crayons for each Life Theme trend or pattern. If you show each one chronologically from birth til now, you can see how their different patterns overlap or relate to each other. I encourage you also to write about these trends and about how you are impacted by your particular combination of recurring kinds of situations in your life.
One life mapper I have interviewed—I’ll call him Scott—went through a rocky period of trying to establish himself in a sales clerk career, only to gain and then lose several jobs. Every time he would lose one position, he would look for work further away from home and then he would move to take the new job; only to lose that job too. Then he would move back to his home town in defeat. Travel was Scott’s attempt to jump-start his work life, but he described his losses as arriving at “no pot of gold”.
For everyone, Life Themes form dramatic arcs in our life. They set the stage for our most dramatic moments; our successes or losses, our sorrows and our joys. They bring variety to our lives, the “spice of life”.
I encourage you to take some time to explore and reflect on how your own Life Themes have impacted you or how they help you to express your sense of identity and your feelings, motivations and attitudes. How do they affect your Life Goals?
I always welcome YOUR insights and stories!
Stay tuned Sunday for next week’s topic: Your Turning Points!