Map Your Relationships

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Life Mapping lets you review the trends and potentialities of each of your Life Themes within the epic adventure of your lifetime! This year at Better Endings for Your Life Path we are exploring one Life Theme per month (see monthly topics) by using and reflecting on life mapping techniques; for February we are focusing on Relationships.

Many life mappers identify Relationships as a primary Life Theme, either directly or according to sub-themes like Family, Romance, Pets, and/or Friends.  I would like to invite you to choose one or more of these topics to map across your life course. If you choose more than one, then I would ask you to color code the events you will map for each Theme you are exploring.

The basic technique of life mapping which I will be presenting fully with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH (see right panel!), invites you to first make a list of Significant Life Events pertaining to your Theme(s), then plot their relative impact on shaping “the person you have become.”

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First then, make a list of events or situations involving key relationships in your life. You can make separate lists if you are exploring more than one Relationship theme, like one list for Romantic relationships and a separate list for Family or for Friends events (or do one at a time). Keep a wide left margin on your page. Let this be a list of events or situations that have influenced you in significant ways. You can start with the earliest or with the most impactful life experience involving this Theme, then feel free to recall earlier or later events freely (you will order these chronologically later).

After you have a list of key events, in the wide left margin next to each event, note the age you were when this occurred (either a single date or a time frame). Then ask yourself, “How has this event or situation impacted the person I have become?” RATE the event or situation relative to the time frame when it occurred, from -5 to +5, where -5 is extremely negative and +5 is extremely positive. Note that you could rate the same event as both Plus and Minus in its impact, such as -3/+5 if you recognize the event has had both a negative as well as a distinctively positive impact on your life for one reason or another.

Now then, you can use the Life Map chart below to simply PLOT the impact scores you have used to rate the relative positive and/or negative influence of each event in your list. Use a pencil (you can copy this post and enlarge the chart or make your own separately) to put a dot or an x along the time line , marking onto the 0 to +5 or 0 to -5 lines to represent your events. Plot these impacts according to the relative age you were when they occurred. You can write your Age for each event along the center, neutral Age Line.

You can “connect the dots” of your plotted events on the chart to reveal trends or PATTERNS of how this Theme has unfolded in your life.  Connect two plotted events especially if they seem somehow connected to you as forming a trend, like if you went from a negative experience to a positive one, or if a series of events were all negative or all positive (or neutral = ) on the chart).

It can help to draw a vertical hash-marked or dotted line where the event you have plotted is so significant that you may feel you were “a different person” before and after this event occurred. (These are your Critical Life Events or Turning Points.)

If you want to map more than one relationship sub-theme, repeat the above steps for each Theme you are interested in exploring.

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images are from pixabay.com

After plotting your Map, review it. Journal or contemplate (or both) or talk with a loved one about the PATTERNS you observe in this Theme. If you have mapped multiple Themes, do you notice differences in the patterning of each of these as they have interwoven within the fabric of your Life Story?

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Walking the Labyrinth Path

Green cuted bushes (triangular shape)

Last weekend a friend came to visit. We reconnected by visiting an area where we once shared a home, and near there we walked an outdoor labyrinth on monastery grounds near our old home. While we sat on a bench waiting for another pair to complete their walk, first my friend found a beautiful red and white spotted feather from a bird (flicker?) that flew overhead; the bird then joined several others in the nearby trees. Then I looked to  the North and watched an amazing, unusual being walk stealthily past: what appeared to me to be a coyote/wolf mix  (or perhaps a stray Russian wolfhound or hybrid)! He turned his head to watch us as he continued along with his own quest.

In Native American “power animal” symbology, sometimes a flicker (woodpecker) can mean a move/ relocation; a coyote/wolf hybrid could mean something that “helps you see your own mistake” (coyote) and “being a Pathfinder” (wolf).

Blue Garden Abstract Background

So then we walked the Labyrinth (a Chartres modelled rose path). The slow winding pathway is so liberating to the mind and heart; with every turn your contemplation deepens. At times when you seem very close to the Center you are actually far away, and when you feel most far away you are but around the bend to Home, the Center that represents Self-Realization or God-Awareness.

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At the Center of this labyrinth someone had created a heart shape made of small reddish rocks, and both my friend and I deposited something meaningful into the heart. Then we walked back out, for myself I would say feeling less encumbered than on the way in.

As if this labyrinth walk were not enough, the very next day my friend took her son and his girlfriend back to that same labyrinth, and I took my dog Sophie on a walk at a Franciscan Retreat Center where—guess what?—I fairly stumbled upon yet another Chartres style outdoor Labyrinth!

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(I found this on Zillow today while surfing online for homes for sale near where I will retire in 3 years.  I actually do intend to have a labyrinth there, so this was such a strong sign of confirmation!)

So again I was able to walk the Labyrinthine path. This is a great way to “center”; to examine and release your thoughts about any situation and symbolically to reconnect with your own inner divinity. At a time in my life when I am facing a difficult ordeal at the workplace, the Labyrinth helps me to “unwind” the  complex weave.

In the Labyrinth nothing external seems too heavy or important.

The Labyrinth Path leads Home!

 

 

Mentors, Masters, and Friends: Alchemical Conversation

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Continuing this week’s theme of exploring mindful communication, and as an emerging life mapping tool, today I’d like to explore and invite a review of how mentors, Masters, family and friends have helped us learn important Life Lessons.  I invite you to do this for your own life history.  As we’ve also been a mentor, a teacher, family and friend in turn, we can also reflect some on lessons others may have gained from their conversations with us. Of course, it is always reciprocal.

Buddha Mountain

I believe in synchronicity. Every relation opens a unique window on another’s world. Every Lesson is a stepping stone along our individual spiritual Quests. When I reflect about the gifts I have received from Mentors and Friends, I find their gifts of insight and understanding have often come through what I have been looking at this week as “alchemical conversation”.  By this I mean a kind of conversation that may start as mundane or ordinary, but develops to a level of profound sharing. You walk into your mentor’s space with a question, or your friend asks how you are feeling that day. What follows in your conversation probes a topic deeply, wending like a spiral to deeper and deeper and then higher and higher levels of insight or empathetic understanding. Time seems to disappear.  Space may seem to expand within the bubble that frames you and your mentor or friend.  At some point you, together with your friend, achieve an epiphany, a realization of clarity that goes further than your original question. This is the Gold forged from the refined lead of shared experience.

I’ll share a brief summary from my own life mapping review:

Early Childhood (7-12): Karen/ Friend:

Life Lessons: Sharing imaginary playworlds, creativity unfolds in tandem with unlimited potential. Be flexible, listen, share. Friendship is Golden.

Teen Years (13-18): Barbara, Friend:

Art holds many answers and opens mysteries; it exposes elements of the Inner as well as the Outer. Adventure and Freedom require self-responsibility. Friendship is Golden.

High School: Mr. Scelsa/ English Teacher:

Teaching requires humility; if a student 30 years later acts on something you helped him learn, without remembering who he learned it from, being a teacher matters and is worthwhile.

Late Teen Years, College and beyond: Diane M./ Mentor and Friend:

Everything is possible. Hone your talents to realize your potentials. Never lose the Innocence of being a Seeker of Truth. Friendship is eternally Golden.

Undergrad College years (Buffalo, NY, 18-22): Toni P./ Mentor, Philosopher:

Be amazed by the depths of Life; “Bathe in the Ocean, daily.”

College Fencing Coach and teammate/Friend, Ro (19-22):

Teamwork and individual practice allow your abilities to shine. Reach for a Star! Explore life deeply.

Late college through Grad School years:

Zee (Master): Explore other dimensions, practice dreamwork and contemplation. Find your own answers inwardly; surrender Ego.

Pattie (Friend): “Drop, Kick!”

Chela/ Ariel (Feline Friends): Unconditional Love remains in the Heart wherever you might travel.

Colorado (38-59):

Zee and Friends: In service is your Reward.

KC/ GM (Partner/ Friend): Love is forever; Unconditional Love.

Luisa (Mentor): Excellence grows from within!

Denise (Friend): There is No Box!

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***

What really IS Alchemical Conversation? Socratic dialogue is a well-known variety. DIALECTICAL conversation would be another name used, because a dialectical conversation moves from one pole of contrasting principles to the other and achieves a Synthesis which is greater than either polarity. Archetypal dialogue, which I employ with the Life Maps Process, can also facilitate Better Endings. But now I like the idea of Alchemical Conversation, which has just come through for me via the blog posts and responses this week! What I am trying to refer you to are those sorts of connections which engage you so deeply that you reach beyond where you have been, reciprocally in conversation, or it could also result from reading, listening deeply to music, immersing in Art, playing with a pet, or “taking in” the beauty of a landscape! I would never be where I am now in life (and won’t otherwise get to where I’m yet aiming to arrive!) except for these sorts of engagement. I was fortunate from a young age to connect Soul-to-Soul with Friends who have opened Doors for me that have led to unlimited exploration!  You, too? Let’s celebrate our Connections then!

I invite your Comments and Stories!

Mentors, Masters, and Friends: Alchemical Conversation

dogs3-01-111413-813.eps

Continuing this week’s theme of exploring mindful communication, and as an emerging life mapping tool, today I’d like to explore and invite a review of how mentors, Masters, family and friends have helped us learn important Life Lessons.  I invite you to do this for your own life history.  As we’ve also been a mentor, a teacher, family and friend in turn, we can also reflect some on lessons others may have gained from their conversations with us. Of course, it is always reciprocal.

Buddha Mountain

I believe in synchronicity. Every relation opens a unique window on another’s world. Every Lesson is a stepping stone along our individual spiritual Quests. When I reflect about the gifts I have received from Mentors and Friends, I find their gifts of insight and understanding have often come through what I have been looking at this week as “alchemical conversation”.  By this I mean a kind of conversation that may start as mundane or ordinary, but develops to a level of profound sharing. You walk into your mentor’s space with a question, or your friend asks how you are feeling that day. What follows in your conversation probes a topic deeply, wending like a spiral to deeper and deeper and then higher and higher levels of insight or empathetic understanding. Time seems to disappear.  Space may seem to expand within the bubble that frames you and your mentor or friend.  At some point you, together with your friend, achieve an epiphany, a realization of clarity that goes further than your original question. This is the Gold forged from the refined lead of shared experience.

I’ll share a brief summary from my own review:

Early Childhood (7-12): Karen/ Friend

Life Lessons: Sharing imaginary playworlds, creativity unfolds in tandem with unlimited potential. Be flexible, listen, share. Friendship is Golden.

Teen Years (13-18): Barbara, Friend

Art holds many answers and opens mysteries; it exposes elements of the Inner as well as the Outer. Adventure and Freedom require self-responsibility. Friendship is Golden.

High School: Mr. S/ English Teacher

Teaching requires humility; if a student 30 years later acts on something you helped him learn, without remembering who he learned it from, being a teacher matters and is worthwhile.

Late Teen Years, College and beyond: Diane/ Mentor and Friend

Everything is possible. Hone your talents to realize your potentials. Never lose the Innocence of being a Seeker of Truth. Friendship is eternally Golden.

Undergrad College years (Buffalo, NY, 18-22): Toni P./ Mentor

Be amazed by the depths of Life; “Bathe in the Ocean, daily.”

College Fencing Coach and teammate/Friend, Ro (19-22)

Teamwork and individual practice allow your abilities to shine. Reach for a Star! Explore life deeply.

Late college through Grad School years, and beyond

Zee (Master): Explore other dimensions, practice dreamwork and contemplation. Find your own answers inwardly; surrender Ego.

Betsy (Mentor): Write for others; aim to benefit as well as to learn.

Pattie (Friend): “Drop, Kick!”

Chela/ Ariel (Feline Friends): Unconditional Love remains in the Heart wherever you might travel.

Colorado (38-59)

Zee and Friends: In service is your Reward.

KC/ GM (Partner/ Friend): Love is forever; Release those whose lives call them elsewhere;                          Unconditional Love.

Luisa (Mentor): Excellence grows from within!

Denise (Friend): There is No Box!

What some others may have gained from associating with me: Acceptance, Trust, Exploration of Ideas, Freedom to be Open, to share and unfold new potentials.

spiral

***

What really IS Alchemical Conversation? Socratic dialogue is a well-known variety. DIALECTICAL conversation would be another name used, because a dialectical conversation moves from one pole of contrasting principles to the other and achieves a Synthesis which is greater than either polarity. Archetypal dialogue, which I employ with the Life Maps Process, can also facilitate Better Endings. But now I like the idea of Alchemical Conversation, which has just come through for me via the blog posts and responses this week! What I am trying to refer you to are those sorts of connections which engage you so deeply that you reach beyond where you have been, reciprocally in conversation, or it could also result from reading, listening deeply to music, immersing in Art, playing with a pet, or “taking in” the beauty of a landscape! I would never be where I am now in life (and won’t otherwise get to where I’m yet aiming to arrive!) except for these sorts of engagement. I was fortunate from a young age to connect Soul-to-Soul with Friends who have opened Doors for me that have led to unlimited exploration!  You, too? Let’s celebrate our Connections then!

I invite your Comments and Stories!

Also, I have added a new Link to “Panic Yesterday“, certainly a concept akin to Better Endings! IN fact, I invite you to check out all of the Blog and web sites I have linked this site to (right panel). We are all so very interconnected in the Dialectic of Living! 🙂

Your Pets Lifemap

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For our Better Endings Life Maps Activity this week, you can start by listing all of the pet friends who have shared their life with you. Using your own intuitive guidance, list your pets’ names, the years they have been in your life, and something unique or characteristic about each pet and about the time frames they shared with you. You might use an adjective or a phrase describing each one. Then create a Mapping that shows in a way that is meaningful to you an arrangement of how these pets have ‘patterned’ in your life journey. The Bubbles chart shown here is my own mapping of individual or groups of my pet friends who have been in my life in different time frames. As an example for your own creative mapping–which might take another form for you–let me describe my mapping:

The first time frame shown in the orange bubble to the right represents Special Animal Friends from my Childhood, from about 8 years old til 18. Reviewing the list of some of my favorite animal friends from that time, I see some patterns. I befriended a wide variety of animals, both wild and domestic. I was always bringing animals home: frogs, white mice, a pigeon who flew into my garage and stayed for a year. I rode wild colts with my neighbor friends at local horse farms. I had a parakeet, Petesy, who was a close friend to talk to for many years. There were many cats…most of which I also brought home and only a few of which my father let me keep; and Queenie, a great companion beagle-poodle, who was ubiquitous as my special friend until and even after I left home at 18 for college.  These childhood friends exposed me to my own wildness and unconditional love. Animals were my special family, my Friends.

Reading my Pets Lifemap from East to South to West to North (yes, like a Medicine Wheel!), next came my heart throb of 11 years, my first solo pet away from home in college: Chela. I described her in my pet ‘reincarnation’ story Wednesday. What a great friend and constant companion Chela was. She accompanied me on my Big Move, from East to West; from Buffalo to Phoenix, Arizona. I would say she was a lifeline for me. CONTINUITY has always been one of my most valued and important values in relationships, and Chela was there for me–and I for her–as a thread of continuity linking my Childhood to my later life Journey in graduate school, dissertation research at Zuni,and beyond.

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After Chela left, Ariel, shown here, moved into my Heart.  She was a dear Soul companion (absolutely I believe that Animals are Soul, Too), for 20 years!  Reflecting on her qualities that were a big part of my journey with her and other pets we also had while she was with me, I see attributes of their special characters that mirror archetypal character aspects  of myself: Intelligent/ Artistic Ariel; Freedom loving Skyway (a brindle dog who was an escape artist and loved to run!); Quiet/ Timid Ellie (an orange boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who was Skyway’s life companion and mine but who was very timid; a one person dog); and Expressive Loki (still in my life; a beautiful, all-white cat who is very communicative; he was quite the mischievous kitty and is such a SOLID friend!).

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All but Loki passed–by their own life stories–before the next Ensemble Set arrived. I now live with Loki-Emily-Arthur (3 cats) and Sophia (Sophie, my Shorkie buddie; shown above with my mother, Elizabeth).  All of them are always there and I am there for them. They are my refuge, the Family I return to daily and spend the nights with between having to be out in the world. As a most naturally quiet and introspective sort of person myself, my pets are my touchstones. I am entirely humbled by their magnificent unconditional love and companionship. They are constant and true, whatever hardships or complexities have come into and gone out of my life among other Humans.

So try mapping your animal friends in relation to your life history. When did which of them enter and exit? What QUALITIES did they exhibit for you; what relationships did you learn about through them? People say we tend to resemble our pets. I would say there are no accidents and each of our special friends has had a special affinity with us; an archetypal synchronicity. Take some time if you would then to pause and APPRECIATE the wonderful LIFE GIFTS each of your animal–and human too, of course!–friends have shared!

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I invite you to compose your own Pet Life Mapping. And do feel free to share your insights–or pictures!–with us!