Picture Your Life BETTER

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Imagine each Chapter of your Life Story as a picture. You can look at any of these pictures in your mental bank, as it were, to reflect and to examine that chapter like a single event framed in a dynamic, holographic wide angle photograph.

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Imagine the Big Picture of the Life Chapter you are in Now. Where are YOU in this picture? I invite you to journal, discuss with a loved one, or visually represent your response:

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How do you envision your current chapter might end and the next one begin? What IMAGE comes to mind as you imagine a coming TRANSITION? Journal, discuss,  or visually represent this coming Transition:

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Finally, draw yourself into the most positive potentials of a desirable future life chapter. Is this your next chapter or are there one or more other transitional chapters you can anticipate between now and then? See if you can imagine the series of chapters that can bring you to the fulfillment of your Life Dream, your Dream Come True. Journal or visually represent your response:

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Transitional Chapter

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Transitional Chapter

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My Life Dream Realized!

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As you engage with this imaginative technique you are drawing upon your Artist archetype Ally. YOU as Artist are a Visionary. Imagination is your Divine gift that can lift you from any situation and help you to manifest a Better Ending!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories from engaging with this imaginative self-development Tool. You could Comment to this post or send me a Facebook or email message and I will share your response in the Comments section.

 

 

Life is… What You Make It 

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If life were made of Moments, we wouldn’t know we had one.” – (The baker’s wife, Into the Woods (S. Sondheim)

Are you the actor, character, author, or the director of your own Life Story? What might it mean to recognize that you are all of these? In Life Paths, my aim is to allow you to reconstruct and MAP your own Life Story, literally. By reflecting on the significant, shaping events of your life and especially those events that have been so critical that you feel you were not quite “the same person” before and after these events have occurred, you can identify the thematic Turning Points and Life Chapters of your own Life Story and you can reflect on “who” you have been throughout these chapters as the protagonist of your own life-mythic narrative.

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Life is what you HAVE made it, so you always have the capacity to continue to  make any changes that allow you to realize your goals, from chapter to chapter.

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For this next few days, in a very open format, I invite you to simply reflect upon what “life chapter” you are in right now, and at what STAGE in this chapter you are at. Are you just beginning a new chapter? In the middle? Nearing a major transition? What are your goals for the Life Chapter you are currently living? How can you maximize the advantages and the strengths or lessons you are gaining in this chapter? Do you anticipate another specific chapter to follow from the one you are in? How can you prepare for that transition?

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I welcome your insights and stories!

The Multiple Threads of Your Life Story

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I’d like to invite you next to consider whether your Life Story might actually be playing itself out according to more than one Genre.  This week I have introduced you to three story types or genres that Life Stories represent: Comic Epic-Adventure, Tragic Epic-Adventure, and Episodic. You can determine which of these patterns your overall conception of your Life Story weaves by reviewing the sequence of Life Chapters you can identify by naming the event frames that have transpired between the critical Turning Points of your life’s Adventure (see the last two week’s tools in the right panel about identifying and naming your own Life Chapters).

Now then, might the same person’s Life Story be simultaneously Comic, Tragic and/or Episodic all at the same time? This is a profound question, for which I can say the answer is, Yes.  There are many layers to a Lifetime, after all.

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One way by which a person’s Life Story might be of multiple genres over time is simply in the sense that the Life Chapter you are in right Now—which I have called your Threshold vantage point—influences how you reconstruct your story. This is paradoxical, of course. If in the process of reflecting back about your Life you realize you stand in the Now at a relatively calm and aware precipice, then you are likely to name the Life Chapters you identify between your pivotal Turning Points in terms of a Comic Epic Adventure that has brought you to this Vantage Point of being a Threshold Dweller. On the other hand, if you are currently in the throes of a Dark Night situation, you might be more likely to reconstruct how dire events and repeating traumas have delivered you into this tragic Mess. (Please allow just for the moment my slightly droll attitude here, which cannot do justice to the real turmoil you might be experiencing.) Furthermore, if you find yourself currently on a sort of Lark of an adventure, relatively carefree and open to unexpected twists and turns in the Road before you, then perhaps you are more likely to reconstruct your Life Story as an Episodic, picaresque adventure.

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There is a more profound way, though, by which your Life Story might be transpiring according to multiple genres–and multiple story threads!– at the same time. This involves what Carl G. Jung or James Hillman or Carolyn Myss would describe in terms of Depth, or Archetypal, Psychology.  If you accept–and not everyone will–that we are each of us inherently “multiple”, all the time, because our personal unconscious domain houses a cast of archetypal character images or modes that exist under the surface of our conscious awareness yet they influence our perceptions and attitudes through dreams or ‘nudges’/ ‘impulses’, then you might be further willing to entertain the possibility that these unconscious aspects of Self may actually be construing THEIR Life Stories distinctly from your own conscious Life Story viewpoint. Perhaps you have an Inner “Wanderer/ Idealist” archetype sub-self in you. Then this figure might construe the life s/he shares with you as an Episodic Adventure, even while you may consciously be more goal directed on a Comic Epic Quest. Or maybe a ‘part’ of you that was squelched from early childhood trauma is in a Tragic mode and this colors all your experiences with a tinge of skepticism or sadness, even though for the most part you are consciously feeling happy and successful.

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I find that for Life Mapping, referring to Archetypes is very important and potentially very helpful and illuminating, so that in Life Paths I will be introducing a fresh new approach to working with some of your Archetypal “cast and crew”.  I also realize that Archetypal Psychology is not everyone’s cup of tea, outright at least. So in Life Paths I am also offering an alternative to thinking in terms of or making contact with your ‘depth’ archetypal impulses directly; you will be able to opt for simply reflecting upon your LIFE THEME values and qualities, instead.

For those willing to ‘sink’ to such depths (naturally), try reviewing the three Genres: Comic Epic Adventure; Tragic Epic Adventure; Episodic or Picaresque. Can you identify with MORE THAN ONE of these story types as having been or currently active in your life? I invite you to actively contemplate, talk about, or write/ journal about these multiple dimensions of your life.

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A third way to go about exploring your own Life Story Genre multiplicity is by simply reviewing one Life Chapter at a time. Sometimes each chapter is a Story in itself, and different Life Chapters may have taken their own forms as one of the three Genres we are exploring this week. Maybe your earliest Life Chapter as a Child was Episodic but your middle years were/are more focused as a Comic Epic Adventure. Maybe one of your chapters was distinctively Tragic but you survived and discovered a pathway to a more positive storyline. (If so was there a meaningful transition between these?)

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So what’s the point of all this complicating what seemed pretty simple at the start of the week? As humans we are Meaning Bearers and Meaning Creators. That is, our lives “Make Sense” because of our sense-making capabilities. If we are not entirely happy with the Story we construe ourselves to be living out right now, we can “switch horses midstream”, if we choose to.  We can look ahead to creating and re-modeling the Story as we choose! We are not locked into any storyline beyond our own control.

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Have you seen the Will Ferrell/ Emma Thompson/ Dustin Hoffman film, “Stranger Than Fiction”? I highly recommend it. A man (Ferrell) living out a fairly dull, overly routinized Life Story as an IRS agent comes to the awareness that he is actually a character in a famous writer’s story! The author (Thompson) always kills off her characters in the end. So an English professor (Hoffman) asks the man to try to determine whether he is the character in a Comedy or a Tragedy. I won’t tell you the ending but suffice to say, there is a definite turnabout needed!

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I Welcome YOUR Comments, Insights and Stories as you reflect upon or entertain these ideas in relation to your own Life Adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons: Your Currency for Better Endings

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Let’s focus today’s post on the potential value and benefits for you of Life Mapping.  How can identifying your Life Chapters this week, for instance, help you to achieve your own Better Endings?  Here’s a quick tip:

First, identify  your Life Chapters as phases of your life experience that have occurred BETWEEN your major, critical Turning Points (see Sunday’s post to get there if you haven’t done your Life Chapter mapping yet). 

Now then, I invite you to focus on one Life Chapter at a time, and to ask yourself:

 WHAT LIFE LESSON(S) HAVE I LEARNED FROM MY EXPERIENCE IN THIS LIFE CHAPTER?

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You could simply extend your Life Chapters chart to add the Life Lesson onto the chart for easy reference.

Personal Example:

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Next you might ask yourself, “How have I applied this Life Lesson, or how might I apply this Life Lesson to a decision or to a desirable future transition or Goal?

Personal Example — Life Lessons to Apply:

With retirement goals, listen but be wise about how much to share or  discuss this goal, as some will simply give cautionary advice based on their own considerations; also though, research very carefully every step of the way.

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Reblogged from Ajaytao, July 16, 2014

Please feel welcome to share your Comments and your stories!

The Chapters of Your Life Story

 

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Summarizing what we have explored so far with this sequence of weekly Life Mapping topics and tools, if you have been participating with the weekly tools you have so far reviewed your Origin Story, engaged in a Vision Quest, and you have had opportunities to identify and reflect about your current Life Metaphor, your Shaping Events, yourTurning Points, and your recurring Life Themes.  All of the insights you have gained from these reflections have laid the grounds for you to discover, this week, the distinct Life Chapters of your Life Story, to Now.

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Our lives are of the same stuff that Myths are made of or, as I prefer to say, Myths are made up from the stuff of our lives. That means that you are the central protagonist of your own “life narrative”; each of us is unfolding according to our own dramatic Life Story.

To identify the contours of your Life Chapters, I invite you to first simply list very brief descriptions of your Turning Points chronologically across a page (be sure to use a big enough page to represent these in one visible sequence). Place below each Turning Point representation the age you were when each of these Turning Point events occurred. Creatively, you could use computer clip-art or images cut out from a magazine to represent your Turning Points sequentially across a page, then place your Age at that event below or beside each image.

Next, simply use a ruler or a sheet of paper to draw vertical, solid or dashed lines right beside or through each Turning Point, from near the top of your page to the bottom.

So far, then, your mapping of Turning Points might look something like this:

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Now then, I invite you to reflect upon the periods of your life experience that have occurred BETWEEN each of your major Turning Points. From Birth to your first Turning Point experience, for example, what was your life about? Think of yourself as the Author–as you are!–and of this series of events as your Storyline. Be creative and assign CHAPTER TITLES to each of these time frames occurring BETWEEN your Turning Points. Then you can simply create a new mapping that keeps the age demarcations shown on your Turning Points map, but this time place the LIFE CHAPTER titles between each of the Turning Point boundary lines.

So now, your mapping of Life Chapters might look something like this:

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Of course, please be open and flexible to use your own creativity in designing how you might best represent or depict your Life Chapters. Maybe you prefer a pie-chart, or a Spiral, or a pictorial collage of your own design.  This is YOUR composition, so feel free to modify and to elaborate in a way that is meaningful to you!

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(To catch up on previous tools, please see the right panel invitation for any of the past 7 weeks, or click on dates for the past 7 weeks on the calendar below; or you may enter a topical search cue.)

Turning Points: Your Chapter Turners

Prescript: I have decided to add a fourth blog post per week. On Thursdays I will post your insights and/or your results from applying life mapping tools. I might also reblog relevant tips or life path affirming stories and ideas.

Here’s an odd idea I woke with today: Earn Life Coins to add to your Life Line every time you do something healthful and positive. The goal: to add more life coins per week than you ‘spend’ on unhealthful actions. After a two week-plus cross-country roadtrip during which my dietary habits suffered some while driving, I’m ready and need to start adding some positive coins to my own Life Line!- L

Turning Points: Your Chapter Turners

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Which situations or events in your life history have been your Turning Points: events of such magnitude that you feel you were a different person before and after each of these events occurred?  That is this week’s focus; to identify your monumental moments.  Now let me add this piece: if you were to rate each of your Turning Points in terms of its relative positive and/or negative impact on your life (say, -5 to +5), what would that be?

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 For example, moving from Buffalo, New York to Phoenix, Arizona for graduate school when I was 24 was a huge event in my life. I would say its impact was mainly positive (+5), but at the same time it required me to leave my family and friends and all I had grown up with to move to what felt like a very foreign world (-3).

This sort of “duality” may be a characteristic feature of Turning Points. Think about one of your own. Would you rate its impact as all positive? All negative? Or both to some degree? Why?

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 I invite you to describe each of your Turning Points in terms of their relative positive and/or negative impact on the person you have become.  I welcome any insights or examples you might wish to share (as Mandi of CagedNoMore did about her artistic Life Themes reflection yesterday; thanks Mandi for sharing and I am glad it helped you put some things into perspective!)

Turning Points—as we will explore a bit later here too—are more than page turners in your life. They bring LIFE CHAPTER changes. So, taking some time to identify these can help you to understand your major shifts. Which ones were by your own choice, or not?

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When I left Buffalo 35 years ago for Arizona, it was such a huge shift apart from everything I had ever known that I troubled over the decision. Every night I would raise an issue about the move in a nightly contemplation, posing questions for inner guidance. And every night I would dream in a way that clearly answered that question. How could I drive my red Buick convertible to Phoenix, for example. Wouldn’t it be too hot? That night I was taken to a rotating hotel restaurant overlooking Phoenix (there really was one at a Ramada Inn, though I hadn’t been there.) I looked down to see almost every car in the parking lot was—you guessed it—red!

Do you have a Turning Point sort of shift or a major decision coming up? What can you do to help yourself go through this most effectively, to help yourself advance to realize your greatest potentials?

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Share your stories if you’d like; I would love to share them.

Better Endings to You! – Linda

A Wake-Up Call

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Imagine waking one morning to this billboard-like statement pasted between your eyebrows, with bold letters in a black box just like the one above:

“You Have the Responsibility to Realize Your Dreams, Not Just for Getting By.”

I experienced this lucid dream some 14 years ago, and it was this VISION, this direct admonition of my spiritual and personal responsibility to pursue my greatest Life Dream, that has ultimately conducted me down a long and winding pathway ever since that morning to find out what that Dream IS, and to Follow it through.

Some few months after waking to this dream command, while wondering what topic to conduct research about for a university sabbatical, I woke to an auditory dream message just as clear as the sign above, that simply stated:

“LIFE PATHS”

And so, I embarked on research to develop a way to help people graphically be able to MAP their LIFE PATHS. One thing has led to another, so that now, 13 years down the road, I have gradually, step by step, with interview research then articles, then workshops and classes, then a published academic book and article, then more classes and individual coaching, manifested much already of my own Dream by developing the LIFE MAPS PROCESS. Over the past six years, in addition to the academic book (The ‘Life Map’ as a Cognitive Structure Underlying Behavior–A New Tool for Psychological Understanding; Mellen Press, 2010), I have come to understand what my original dream directive was really about: a self-help personal growth and development book that would allow anybody (e.g.,You) to apply the LIFE MAPS PROCESS directly;  so that anyone can

“LIVE YOUR DREAM, NOW!”

The book, called LIFE PATHS, with its companion self-help Handbook (The Life Maps Portfolio Handbook) now exists. I have completed a major edit and a wonderful agent will begin marketing LIFE PATHS later this summer. (Of course, I won’t put the cart before the horse; there is much work yet ahead before this can be released, but at least it is on a track headed potentially in the right direction.)

I realized quite awhile ago that my original dream impetus, the signpost I woke to that sent me on this quest to realize MY Dream, was intended equally for YOU; that is, for everyone!

So, please consider taking this to Heart:

YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY

TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS;

NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.

Today’s post initiates the next phase for sharing the Life Maps Process with all who might wish to benefit from it. This process is framed as a Rites of Passage adventure, with three stages of Life Mapping and Reflection; Life Path Exploration (via Descent and Re-Emergence); and Future Life Dream Projection and Manifestation.  The 80+ creative techniques and activities which the Handbook provides that include journalling, active imagination, “Archetype dialogue”, dreamwork, collage making, vision questing, action planning, Mandala envisioning, and Totemic grounding will guide you as the reader/ life mapper through a tried and true adventure of self-discovery, realization, and attainment of Your Dream.

For the next six months in this blog, I will gradually introduce several life mapping sorts of creative modalities. I invite you to try them out for yourself. While they are but a sampling of the full toolkit that will become available with LIFE PATHS, the Tuesday posts will from here on provide a series of life mapping opportunities designed as a processual series of steps that will allow you to sample the Life Maps Process. This Process allows you to review and reflect on your recurring Life Themes, to see your Life Story as composed of meaningful Life Chapters, and to Meet & Greet your own “mythic archetypal cast” of unconscious “Archeme Allies”.

So, WELCOME to Better Endings for LIFE PATHS; especially, your own!

The format for our weekly blog (see Weekly Topics menu) will from here forth include a presentation of concepts and principles for the Weekly Topic on Sundays, then a Life Mapping activity on Tuesdays offered for you to practice, and discussion of feedback from you and my sharing of case stories and other considerations around the weekly topic on Fridays.

I certainly invite you to practice any or all of the life mapping opportunities that will be presented here. Although this may involve a very personal process of self-discovery, I welcome your insights, questions and feedback, either publicly as Comments and Stories of your own (which I will share), or privately (see Contact menu).

This morning Synchronicity presented herself in the form of a relevant image and quote from Confucius, by Theresa of Soulgatherings (link below):

Re-blogged with permission from Theresa

(Soulgatherings.wordpress.com)

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To put the world right in order,
we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order,
we must first put the family in order;
to put the family in order,
we must first cultivate our personal life;
to cultivate our personal life,
we must first set our hearts right.

Confucius ~

Better Endings to Your Life Path!!! – Linda

The ‘Innocent’ of Childhood

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The Innocent. As a character type—what Jung or Hillman call an Archetype—the Innocent is most often a child. Since we have all experienced, to a greater or lesser extent, the innocence of being a child, then we each carry this Archetype of the Innocent Child within us.

In Life Mapping I coach people to identify and name their Life Chapters leading up to the Present.  Almost always, people name their earliest Life Chapter as something on the order of “Innocence”: a time of relative calm and joy preceding the Storms of life.

By a random review of a set of 9 Life Maps, 7 of their first Life Chapter titles reflect an innocence theme: “Innocence”(2); “Childhood & Youth” (2); “”Well Loved/ Happy”; “Pure Joy”; and “Oblivion”. The other two, I should note, refer to situations involving childhood trauma or abuse.

What was your earliest Life Chapter? To identify it, first think about your earliest major, pivotal life event, before and after which you feel that you were “not the same person”. Then think about the time of your life BEFORE that, between your birth and that first major turning point. As the author of your own Life Story, what title would you use to describe your early childhood?

If your first Life Chapter was not so bright and Innocent, how did that eventually get resolved, if it has been? Is there an Innocent you that was suppressed then?

If your early childhood was a time of relative Innocence (or if you can identify within yourself that archetype-Child who was suppressed), can you feel that Child archetype within you Now? What is she or he like? What does s/he–that part of you–love? How do you like to play, as your Innocent Child? Who is/was your BFF?

How can you best listen to, hear, and nurture your Innocent Child archetype today? Let him or her be a part of your conscious persona, because s/he is there regardless.

To be in better contact with your Innocent Child part-of-self, you might try DOING something you enjoyed most as that Child. Climb a tree? Go to a petting zoo? Sing a lullaby that your Mom or Grandmother once sang to you?

You can even write a dialogue in your journal—or have an active imagination encounter—between your Adult self today and your Innocent Child within you. I invite you to open your Heart to this inner part of yourself. You might be amazed—and even amused—by all s/he can show you!

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I invite you–as Innocent Child or adult!–to share your insights or story.

And always, Better Endings to You!