Life Mapping Your FRIENDSHIP Theme

 

After assembling a list of Shaping Events, situations or events that have “shaped the person you have become,” a life mapper looks at how these events group into kinds of events, or Life Themes. Then the mapper charts these events, color coded according to the Life Themes they have identified, plotting them as points on a graph to indicate the relative positive and/or negative impact each of these events has had upon their life overall. This life mapping process, presented fully equipped with tools for you in my new book, Your Life Path, reveals the PATTERNS by which your Life Themes have interwoven to create the very fabric and texture of your life experience.

images are from pixabay.com

FRIENDSHIP is a very common Life Theme people identify in their Life Maps. To create a thematic mapping of just this one Theme, you can simply make a list of Shaping Events or situations you associate with Friends or Friendship in your life history. Next to each event include the age you were at when the Shaping Event occurred, and rate the event +5 to -5 in terms of its retrospective impact on “the person you have become.”  Then you can use a Life Map Chart as shown below to plot the relative impact scores of your Friendship Theme using the Age Line as a timeline for the events. Where adjacent events feel connected subjectively (e.g. a -2 event of a loss of a friend followed by a +4 event of regaining that friendship), you can draw a line on the chart connecting those event points.  The resulting chart will reveal patterns in your Friendship Theme. You could also subdivide your events by individual friendships or by types of friendships, then use color coding for the events and for the lines connecting these sub-theme events to reveal deeper subtleties in the patterning of your Friendship Theme over time.

Friendship has been bedrock in my own life story, right up there with Family and Pets. My Friendship Theme has been an uplifting factor overall, with primarily strong positive impacts throughout my life, though there have been troughs (sharp dips) due to loss either from moving away from a friend or needing to separate from a friend either temporarily or permanently due to a personality clash.

So, have at! I welcome YOUR Comments or Story!

 

Family–Where Our Lives Begin

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For May, our Life Theme topic is Family. In the over 550 life maps I have helped people create, I would estimate over 95% contain Family or an aspect of that (e.g. Parents, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparents, etc.) as a primary theme that has been a fundamental ‘shaping’ factor in their lives.

Of course, for most Westerners at least, Family is most often the dominant Life Theme in one’s early, formative years, then after a person ‘leaves the nest’ for school or a job or marriage, the original family may be less of a direct, daily influence. Yet because it was THE primary influence throughout childhood, our family is with us ALWAYS, unconsciously if not physically.

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pictures are from pixabay.com

So, reflect about how influential your family has been in shaping the person you have become. For this opening week I invite you simply to journal or tell a story about the role your Family has had in your life. I may add my example next time.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Your Archetype Allies

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The Wheel above depicts twelve primordial, universal persona Archetypes developed by Dr. Charles and Nin Beabeau and Debra Breazzano MA, LPT, as they have taught about at the erst Avalon Archetype Institute, Boulder, CO. I am honored to be able to represent and utilize this pantheon of archetypes in my new book, Your Life Path (YLP; also see right panel).

In YLP, I invite the reader/ life mapper to associate several of these universal archetype characters with the reader’s own Life Themes, which are those recurring situations or types of events in their lives in which they have developed distinctive ROLE IDENTITIES.

As this month here we are exploring your Life Theme of Work or Career, I invite you, first, to consider which one or more of the archetypes in the wheel above you might associate with your Work related role identity. Circle those in the wheel, and you might wish to journal about how these archetypes are active in your work persona.

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Next, in the center of the circle state a situation you have been ‘mulling over’ lately. Perhaps it is a decision you are needing to make, a choice of some sort, or just a general topic you have been wanting to take some action on but have been feeling ‘divided’ or ‘torn’ about.

Look through the rest of the Archetype character modes on the Wheel to consider if some of these other facets of your Total Self System might also be appropriate to include in considering this central situation or decision. Circle or underline those as well on the Wheel.

In the blank spaces of the spokes (feel free to print out this blog and enlarge the wheel on a copy machine), ASK each of these archetype sub-identities that you have marked on the Wheel what is their individual viewpoint pertaining to the situation you are contemplating.  You can write in bullet points or actual dialogue statements about the situation from the distinct, differing POINTS OF VIEW of each of these role-Archetype perspectives. Also, ask each of them (and note their responses on the Wheel) what they recommend as a solution to the decision you face.

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pixabay.com

Does this help to throw some light on your issues pertaining to the situation you are considering? What solutions or compromises might this suggest? Remember, your Archetypal sub-identities are your Allies. Combining them rather than acting on the basis of only one of these role personas or guises at a time can be an integrative process that allows you to go forth with greater holism and internal harmony.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

Your History of Work

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Life Mapping allows us to retrace our meaningful life events and glean lessons from key moments and trends from our life experience. Life Path Mapping (see my new book, Your Life Path; info on right panel or click to order) asks you to identify significant kinds of recurring events or situations in your life as Life Themes. Certainly one of the most common Life Themes life mappers identify is WORK (or CAREER, or some particular work-related activity).

Every distinctive Life Theme may be mapped, and in that sense every Life Theme can be “mined” to discover its importance over time in your cumulative life history that comprises—when you reflect upon its meaningful qualities—your Life Story. So this week let’s explore your History of Work, your Work Story.

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Life Mapping of itself is quite easy and natural. The chart below is a plotting flowchart. Make a list for yourself of a representative sample of Work and/or Career related meaningful events from your life. Next to each event, you can record the age or age span you associate with the event and write a brief narrative record of what happened with that event (so you can easily recall it when you read back through the list later).

Next to each event record, take a moment to reflect about the relative positive and/or negative IMPACT of that event on “shaping the person you have become.” That means, from a retrospective perspective, reflecting back on the influence of that event or situation, was it mainly positive, mainly negative, or both?

(You may print out this post and enlarge the Life Map Chart, below, to use as a worksheet, or create your own.):

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On the life map chart, first list your events chronologically along the central/ neutral Age Line. You can place the ages when your events occurred below the Age Line to create a timeline. Then use a pencil at first anyway to place a dot or an X above and/or below the age marker for each event, charting by how positive and/or negative that event was to you. If an event feels to have been simultaneously positive and negative, you can rate it as such; for example: +5/-5, or +2/-4. If you rate an event as having been both positive and negative at the same time, also write in a vertical dotted line connecting the positive and negative polar points on your chart to represent this as what we can call a “binary” event. If you are representing a series or phase of events, you can mark the rating for the beginning point and the ending point relative to the timeline and put the ages for these below the Age line, then below the age markers you can draw horizontal vertical braces to show the span of that situation or phase in your life.

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images are from pixabay.com

Now then, looking at your chart of Work/Career related events and their relative positive and/or negative impacts as Shaping Events in your life, you can also connect the dots: draw lines on your Map connecting event points IF they feel to be related in a patterned way to one another.  For instance, if you had a negative early Work activity or event followed shortly after that by a more positive event, then if that feels like it was a meaningful transition in your History of Work, go ahead and draw an upward trending line connecting those two points on your Map. You can also color code your event points to group them in a meaningful way; such as using a different color for each different job or to show a career shift.

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Have at! Once you have completed your History of Work life map, reflect on your Work Story: what story does this Map tell? What meaningful periods (or chapters or stages, so to speak) have you engaged with in your Work Story? What meaningful Life Lessons have you gleaned from the phases of your Work/Career process over time? What TRENDS do you observe? I invite you to contemplate, journal about, and share about your Work Story with a loved one.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

A Te Sante: Running with Sophie

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Happy New Year to all!  This post begins a new year of Better Endings. This year we will be focussing on Life Themes: those recurring kinds of situations in our lives that form the core substance and weave the patterned fiber of our/your Life Stories. Each month we will focus on one of twelve Life Theme topics that are commonly identified in Life Path Mapping (also see menu tab: Monthly Topics):

January –   Health

February – Romance/ Relationships

March –     Vocation

April –        Work

May –         Family

June –         Adventure/ Travel

July –          Friends

August –     Relocation/ Moves   

September–  Education

October –     Spirituality

November – Pets

December – Life Lessons

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To begin this New Year of Better Endings, for this month of January we will focus on the Life Theme of HEALTH. This is particularly appropriate for me at this time, as I am in a process of adjusting to and learning about my dog Sophie’s condition of diabetes. What a daunting diagnosis this is, knowing all the possible complications and wanting to improve her condition in every way possible. (BTW, your helpful suggestions are quite welcome! Please Comment if you have positive suggestions!)

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My Dear Companion, Sophie

Sophie is more than a Friend; she is my Soul companion. We have adventured on six cross-country trips from Colorado to New York already, and she is six and a half years old. We have another BIG move to look forward to this August, after I retire and we and our two beloved cats Loki and Emily relocate to New York state for good.  I discovered around a month ago that my girl Sophie has a diabetic condition. I now am cooking for her and providing supplements, exercise, insulin, and lots of gratitude and love.

Today I will just post about a typical morning walk’s meandering thoughts, from this morning:

I love you so dearly, my Friend. I worry as much about my own attitudes or worries as I do about the therapeutic measures themselves. I do not want to overreact or do things that may harm more than help. Let’s do our best and keep things simple. If cataracts develop, we can remove those. For the liver, kidneys and pancreas, we must be observant and do our preventative best. Most information affirms that as long as we change the diet properly and have the right amounts of protein, fiber, low glycemic veggies and complex carbs and the proper amount of exercise, this can be managed and complications improved.

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This dog looks so much like Sophie in her new coat!

Running With Sophie has become itself a Theme in my current life activity. We have been exercising three times a day, after meals and the mid-afternoon dried liver or small veggie and meat snack. She runs a good 1/4 or so of her walk time, which I am grateful for. It helps her lower the sugar content in her system and gives us both a healthful Time Out.

This theme of Running with Sophie also pertains to an earlier theme seven years ago of “the Running Dog.” This was about my previous dog Ellie, whom I lost and tried to find in greenways of Denver for six or seven months unsuccessfully. People would notify me on Craigs List that they thought they had seen her, often running. So I would go up there to where she was “spotted,” rain or shine, looking for and calling for her, but to no avail. I can only hope someone did take her in, as she did not get picked up at any of the pound or lost dog facilities as far as I could tell. Anyway, that is seven years ago. I wanted then to write a story about “The Running Dog;” now I would add to that story, “Running with Sophie.”

As Soul Companions, Sophie and I (and our additional, feline family members Loki And Emily) mean more to me and each other than can possibly be expressed in words. Love is Love. This morning the thought came to me (while on our morning walk) that :

Since God is (in) Everything

And God is All Good

Then Everything is God;

Life is Good.

I do believe this (above).  Everything is God, so Everything is Good.  Live or die, succeed or not so much, EVERY condition, every thought, word and deed, every life experience is an experience in Living, and everything is Divine. We can learn from any experience; experiences do not DEFINE us but they can help us grow spiritually and in wisdom, courage and compassion. Another thought from Running with Sophie this morning:

Gratitude and Love

Go Hand in Glove;

And:

True Love is Reciprocal,

All Ways.

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images (except mine of Sophie above) are from pixabay.com

So “A Te Sante!” To your great Wellness and Good Health in 2018 and forever on YOUR Soul Journey.

Better Endings to You Always!,

Linda

 

 

The Elder Leader Archetype

 

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Archetypes are both in the world around you and within the structure of your own Psyche. On one level you recognize archetypal images in the forms of roles and “typical” experiences and relationships. At the same time, you have unconsciously internalized these same archetypal formations in the process of being socialized and becoming who you are; developing your complex identity. While this may sound like a different understanding of archetypes than you are familiar with from Jung or Hillman or from more recent, popular authors, as a cultural and psychological anthropologist I see the connection between our role based social identities and the unconscious makeup of human consciousness that embodies at least The Twelve primordial Persona Archetype forms which Dr. Charles Bebeau associated with Sumerian astrological gods and goddesses and that pertain very directly with Jung and Hillman’s archetypal theories and practical therapeutic methods.

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The Elder Leader is an excellent example of how an archetypal form is both externally constructed or projected onto others as well as existing internally as a ‘Persona,’ a facet of a person’s character or–as I see it–a member of a person’s internal ensemble cast of archetype character modes. They may be experienced as ‘inner voices’–like the angel on one shoulder versus the Devil on the other–, and they often appear in our dreams as well as in our basic expression of Self in various distinctive situations.

When our various situational persona archetypes, from deeply unconscious to more consciously felt and expressed, combine with one another to contribute in our life pursuits, we draw upon and hopefully learn to integrate these facets of our Self identity as Strengths. In Shadow mode, however, persona archetype traits can also complicate or harm our sense of who we are and they might inhibit our actions and restrict our dreams.

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Strengths of an Elder Leader persona can help you to achieve your goals and function effectively in any situation, but internal or external Shadow Elder Leader traits and attitudes can also block your progress or limit your enthusiasm and self-confidence. If you grew up with a punitive father figure, for instance, you may have internalized “Shadow Elder Leader” statements that your father  conditioned you to which dog your footsteps, e.g.: “You are not college material!” or “Do something productive with your life, not art (or music, etc.).”  To this day when I am writing, if I start to become didactic in what I am saying, I hear “Heil Hitler!” in my head; then I know to stop writing, loosen up, and be less rigid with what I am trying to say, because my Shadow Elder Leader has been dominating the work.

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The opening paragraph above is more analytical than I usually aim to be with these posts, but if you are reading BETTER ENDINGS FOR YOUR LIFE PATH (this blog), then I do want you to have a clear understanding of how I see Archetypal Psychology uniquely as a cultural anthropologist and how this approach can help you to manifest and Live Your Dream, Now! Basically what I am sharing is that as we  go through life from our earliest conditioning or socialization, we take on roles that help us develop our identity through repeating kinds of situations in our lives (our own recurring Life Themes). Each of these Themes, like Family, Romance, Education, and Work allow us to develop the relevant role aspects of our Self expression as, e.g. a Parent (Elder Leader and/or Nourisher), Lover, Teacher or Learner, and other archetypal persona character modes. Since each of our Life Stories emphasizes a unique blend of Life Themes, Life Mapping can help you uncover which archetypal modes and traits have been most helpful (and, hindering) as you have developed through your life experiences across your distinctive Life Chapters. All this will be in part the substance of the Life Maps Process  tools I will introduce you to with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH. (My agent will finally begin circulating the book to prospective editors this next month.)street-artists-117290__340

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

 

For Your Journaling or Contemplation Practice:

What are some of your own Elder Leader traits in both Strength and Shadow modes?

 

How do you construct the very notion of an Elder Leader based on your own life experience?

 

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I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Inside Out? Explore Your Islands

 

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Have you been to the new Disney movie Inside Out yet? I recommend it as a story of self-discovery and inner psychological exploration.  The aspect I like best about the concept of revealing what “goes on” emotionally in an 11 year old girl’s head is how some experiences form not only long-term but “core” memories, and these core memories can grow into “Islands.”

The Islands are what I would call your Life Themes: repeating, primary kinds of situations that interweave through your life like uniquely colored threads in the overall weave of your Life Path. FAMILY, for instance, or EDUCATION, or TRAVEL might be central Islands that occupy much of a person’s thoughts and focus much of their interests and goals.

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Each of us develops several LIFE THEME Islands as we grow up. Some of these are happy places, others maybe not so happy, depending on the nature of the Core Memories around which they have formed.

As this month’s Life Metaphor is of life as A Mountain with Vistas, I invite you to explore your own core memory Islands this week. It is very easy to identfy these Islands. List 10-20 key memories from your life. Just identify these as events or situations that have been influential in shaping “the person you have become.”  after you have created this list of some of your Significant Life Events, next then simply SORT THESE experiences from your life into KINDS of situations or experiences. For example, some of these events may have to do with FAMILY, others with FRIENDS or ROMANCE or WORK or TRAVEL.  Simply make a new list now of the kinds of events you have referred to with your first list of memories. This set of kinds of events in your life are some of your dominant LIFE THEMES. These are your Islands.

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Now then I invte you to EXPLORE your own Islands. Visualize and actively contempate one LIFE THEME at a time. You can take several days to do this. What is the nature of each of your LIFE THEME Islands? Are you happy there? Does it lift you or hold you “down”? Write about these in your journal; discuss them with a loved one. Consider how each of these Islands affects your life.

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I welcome your insights and stories!

Wending Your Way

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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?

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I always welcome YOUR insights and stories!

Stay tuned Sunday for next week’s topic: Your Turning Points!

Who Are You Now? (and a poem, “Miraculous Surrender” by iithinks)

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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!

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I would also like to share with you a beautiful poem today by the brilliant blogger/ poet iithinks, called

MIRACULOUS SURRENDER

Surrender
In patient faith
Let yourself be guided
To miracles dwelling within

Surrender
Wave the white flag
Turn yourself to nothing
Become what lies beyond your dreams

What Are Your Life Themes?

 

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Each of our lives might be described as an orchestral symphony or a stellar constellation in the sense that it is a pattern of elements–harmonizing, overlapping, and sometimes in counterpoint or opposition–that creates a unique composition of our psychic/spiritual as well as our physical makeup.

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And as we each compose our unique constellations of life experience, certain recurring kinds of events develop into patterns of meaningful texture and form that together weave the unique character of the life we live.   You could call these interweaving ‘movements’ or elements of your unique life experience your LIFE THEMES. Family, Education, Romance, Travel, Work, Spirituality, Hobbies, Health, and other such Themes are the threads that form the variegated colors and shapes in the meaningful fabric of our lives.

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 So what are your Life Themes?  Last week I invited you to create a list of the Shaping Moments or significant events of your life; those main situations and events that have ‘shaped the person you have become.’ (If you are just joining us or haven’t yet made your list, I encourage you to do so, now.)

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I invite you to read over your list of shaping events from last week or now, asking yourself, for each of these significant events, ‘What KIND of event was this in my life?’ Some events might have been “Family” events, or “Work” events, for example. It is important for you to name what Kinds of events these were according to your own understanding.

Make a list of these CATEGORIES or Kinds of life events, and write down next to each category name a set of numbers representing events you identified last week. That is, number among your set of Shaping Events and sort these into categories of Kinds of events they represent to you. These Categories or kinds of life events are your recurring LIFE THEMES.

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It is enough for this week simply to identify your Life Themes and to sort your Shaping Events into these categories. Check back Tuesday for a discussion about how you can reflect on your Life Themes as a method of Life Mapping.

PLease feel free to share your questions or stories!