Maps are useful tools for navigating our way through unfamiliar or difficult terrain. When we know where we are it is easy. But when we are unsure then a map reminds us that someone has been along that path before us and has taken notes and drawn a diagram to show us the way. It might be easy terrain and we can just glance at the map occasionally or it might be really tricky terrain with lots of paths so we need guidance to help us get to where we want to go. It could also be easy terrain in a challenging environment, like dense fog where you can't see two steps in front of you...
I feel like I need a map right now. I feel like I am navigating easy, familiar land but the environment isn't what I'm used to, it's misty like I'm in a cloud.
I remember when I lived in the Hebrides there was a summer where a mist descended on the Island for a week and everywhere you looked was white, the whole world was drained of colour. When it finally lifted, the whole place felt spacious and light - I hadn't noticed how claustrophobic the mist made me feel until it went.
I feel a bit like I'm in that mist right now. It feels like it will never lift although I know one day it will. The familiar territory is having a baby. I know this, I've got this down. But without Mum? When I am so lost and adrift without the anchor that she planted so firmly in my life? When I'm running on empty? And with two other small children who need my attention and love too? Sheesh. I can't even see the very next step some days! I have to try hard NOT to think about the fact that Mum isn't there to ask for help. That that is the reason for this fog. It is easy to forget sometimes.
A few years ago I did an art journaling course with Brene Brown. It was incredible and I learnt a lot. One of the activities was to create our own individual map to help us get back to our calm, centred selves when we have lost our way. I've been thinking a lot about this activity recently. I think I need to revisit it, to make another map to remind me how to get through the hard days. It needs to guide me in little steps for individual hard moments like:
*drink a glass of water*
These are better options for me than my default setting of
^scream and shout^
^stuff chocolate into your face^
Not such helpful routes to take. In fact it seems the further down these paths I go the more lost I become.
And I need to draw a map for my long term sanity too. One that looks at the bigger picture and includes daily steps like:
*make time for myself*
*facilitate my own healthy food choices*
*take plenty of exercise*
*get enough sleep*
Yes, I need reminding to make those basic choices. When I follow that route on the map I shine. And that is where I'd like to be this year, it's my word of the year. I still don't feel like I'm there yet although I am starting to understand that showing up here in raw honesty is a way of shining. Like a beacon in the dark saying "hey, I'm here, it's hard, it sucks, I can find a way through this, you can find a way through this (whatever THIS is for you), it will be ok".
And so I think I will get out that map I drew. I created that map before I knew I could be this lost. It might need tweaking to fit the terrain and environment I'm in now but, regardless, I reckon it will help a lot.