‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’ Most of us are so caught up in daily tasks lists and deadlines that we lose sight of the big picture. We know how to get things done, but we don’t know why we’re doing it. And then we realize, too late, that we’ve spent most of our lives chasing goals that aren’t important to us—and leaving behind everything that makes us feel happy, whole, and alive.
One way to get in tune with your heart’s desire and purpose is to make a life map. Here are some ways to get started.
Collect pictures and phrases
Raid old catalogues and magazines and look for any words or pictures that seem to call out to you. Be aware of any stirrings or emotional reactions. Some will be good, but pay attention to those that evoke a sense of dread, too. They may be telling you something, too. Cut these out.
Stick the pictures
Use a large board or sketchpad, or start a dedicated art journal. Arrange photos and images in whatever way you like, without questioning yourself. It should feel right to you, not follow some rule of ‘what’s pretty.’ The location and juxtapostion of images also tell a story.
Analyze your life map
Check for any patterns, like recurring images or words. Ask yourself what they mean to you. You can try doing word association: pick a word and then for one minute jot down anything that comes to mind.
Check if there’s any image that surprises you. I was amazed, for example, that I had picked several photos of baking and cooking when I never really considered myself a homebody. I had to journal that and realized that I wasn’t after the food, per se, but the images brought back memories of my mother and grandmother. Part of me was longing to reconnect to my family and my past.
Consider the intentions in this life map, and what you would feel if they all came to pass. Are there conflicting dreams? Or dreams you are running away from? Ask yourself what you need to do to make those dreams come true and make an action plan.