A Map of Your Life

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Each of us must figure out for ourselves who we think we are, what is worth pursuing, what we offer and what we need, what brings us to life and what saps the life out of us. With or without knowing it, each of us has constructed a story we tell ourselves, a story we use to make sense of our world, define our identity, lay out our life goals, and measure our success. We inherit some of this story from the culture and times we live in, the family we are born into, the faith we subscribe to, but finally, we are our own authors.

Our stories are maps of our lives. They grow out of the unique experiences each of us have had along the way, and the meaning we choose to make of it all. The Map of Your Life is an invitation to depict this story in images: an overland map, with peaks and valleys, battles and crossroads you’ve encountered; a golf course depicting the sand traps and lost balls, the birdies and bogeys of your life; a board game, an amusement park, a patchwork quilt, a musical score—ou choose the kind of map that best expresses what your life has felt like to you. Oh yes—The Map of Your Life invites you to draw your entire life path, from birth to death, so how you view your future is an integral part of the experience.

What The Map of Your Life captures is your character (the word “character” comes from a Greek root that means, “to etch”: your character comes from the experiences that have etched you. Constructing your map will be an occasion for you to remember how you have become the person you are. When such creative depictions are shared, we are able to appreciate both the private paths we each have taken, and the common ground we share.

The Map of Your Life has been a wonderful activity in leadership development programs, family gatherings and reunions, and any occasions where community building is a priority. Life mapping is especially powerful in times of transition: adolescent rites of passage,
marriages, divorces, the birth of children, the eve of retirement. It also makes a perfect gift!

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