Last week (or now if you like) you wrote down and briefly described 12 or so events from your life history that were influential to you in “shaping the person you have become”. Now then, I invite you to read through that list and ask yourself: which of these events or situations has had such a huge impact on your life that you feel you were “not the same person” before and after that event happened? These “Critical Life Events” are your Turning Points. Usually a person might identify 2-6 or so of these.
Now that you have identified these critical events from the rest of your significant events you have listed (BTW, keep the list; we will do more with it next week too!), next I invite you to number these Turning Points, then create a brief title sort of tag to identify each event, and then arrange that set of critical events along a page. For our purpose today, you can simply place the event tags across a blank page from left to right chronologically (alternately, you could arrange them along an upward looping spiral or in other fashions, but do keep chronologically adjacent events next to each other at least for now). You might wish to place your critical event tags above or below a central (neutral) age line. This will be to represent their respective positive (Up) or negative (Down) influence on your life overall. (That’s why I chose the musical score sheet for today’s image!)
Now then, you may read over this sequence of Turning Point events and reflect about them as being like the highlights of a dramatic script. Please consider that all of your life experience occurring BETWEEN any two of these Turning Point events (including Birth as your 1st marker and Now as your final point) has been a LIFE CHAPTER. As the Author of your own life script, go ahead and create titles for each of your Life Chapters.
To illustrate with an example, let’s say you identified 3 Turning Points (before and after you feel you were ‘not quite the same person’). Perhaps when you were 6 years old your parents divorced and you moved away from home with one of your parents; then at 16 you met the love of your life but broke up two months later; and at 23 you moved to Calcutta from Colorado! So you will have identified 4 Life Chapters which you can give meaningful titles to, something like: Innocence (0-6 years old); Growing Up to Reality (6-16); Struggling (16-23); and Finding My Freedom (23-Now). Allow your Life Chapter titles to represent your personally meaningful flow of life experience.
After you have identified and named your Life Chapters, you can think of what they represent together as your Life Story! Feel free to arrange these Life Chapters either in this chronological way or in any manner that feels meaningful to you. Welcome to the art of life mapping!
I’ll offer more activities that you can use to develop and further embellish your Life Story account as we go further with the weekly Life Path mapping activities. (Of course, I am only presenting partial material for the blog, as the self-help Handbook that will accompany the upcoming book, Life Paths, will contain all of these activities along with many more complete forms and background for each technique.)
I would love to hear from you about your results in mapping your Life Chapters! Please feel free to Comment and share (if not too private for you) your dramatic sequence of Life Chapter titles. There is still time to write a story, too, this week about Better Choices in your life. Please send that to me by Saturday night to be included in Story of the Week.
So have fun, Author! And by the way, what TITLE would you give to the series of Life Chapters that comprise your Life Story? You can write your Life Story Title at the top of your Life Chapters page.
Better Endings to You All!