A long, long time ago, when my sons were very little, and I was married to their father, we took a summer trip to New York’s Finger Lakes.
Back then we used AAA’s Triptiks to get to our travel destinations. Today’s Triptiks are digital, of course, but in the olden days they were page-by-page paper maps with the route highlighted in yellow.
Yes, someone actually sat at their desk and with a yellow highlighter, marked the route and then mailed you the map. Finding your way to unknown destinations was so hard then that this was the main reason I belonged to AAA!
But those cheerfully marked routes weren’t always the easiest to follow. Somewhere in rural New York we missed a turn, and found ourselves on a road that looked too small and residential to be part of our route. I pulled over so we could figure out how to get back on course.
From the back seat, our oldest asked in a tone of slowly dawning horror, “Do you mean you don’t you know where we are?”
His previous unquestioning faith in us faltered in that moment. It was only partially restored when we retraced our steps and found the missed turn. All was forgiven (if not forgotten) once we reached our destination and he realized we were staying in a cabin by a lake!
Maps Serve Important Functions
Maps orient and calm our anxieties by:
- Telling us where we are, how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go.
- Keeping us from getting hopelessly lost.
- Helping us persist in the face of challenges.
- Allowing to change our route and or choose a new destination if we want or need to.
What if, as the pandemic keeps us in a place of not knowing, we made time to create a map for our lives, a map that could calm and center us by helping us see where we’ve been, where we are, and even help us begin to envision where we are going?
Diane Morrow, author of One Year of Writing and Healing, offers three prompts to help us do this.
A 3-Step Guide to Creating A Map Of Your Life
We go back into our past in order to be able to leap forward into our future
~ Ira Progoff, At a Journal Workshop
The prompts are simple. The results of following them are profound.
- Where have you been?
- Where are you now?
- Where would you like to be?
Some “How To’s”
You can draw to these prompts, or make a 3-part collage to create a visual map. Or write to them to create a narrative map. Or combine a visual and written response.
You can keep your response concise, using key moments in your life as stepping stones to explore each prompt. These stepping stones might be moments you vividly remember, perhaps times that you now see as important turning points.
These stepping stones create a path that reaches back and stretches forward.
Choose one or more stepping stone that you feel drawn to, or use these ideas for creating stepping stones of your own.
- Houses you’ve lived in
Immerse yourself in the process, letting your intuition guide you as you create your map. When you’re done, write about the experience. What have you learned? What questions came up? What discoveries have you made? How did you feel as you began? How do you feel now?
I’ll create mine, and share the experience next week. I hope you’ll get in touch to share yours with me.
Source and Credit
Morrow, D. (2016). One Year of Writing and Healing. North Carolina: Guest House Press