Here is what I came up with. It is a pyramid, hung on a piece of yarn. Every bit of the map means something and was chosen specifically to capture part of my life.
The first side is RED. Red signifies joy, love, passion, fun, and creativity. Every bit of the surface is covered with images: music, flowers, beads to signify my hobbies, sunshine, a map (travel), a dog print, and dance. When I live in red, I am enjoying the process, living life fully, feeling happy
Right next to red, however, is BLACK. Black is also just as full, but suddenly instead of feeling pleasantly busy, life feels ruled by the clock and the calendar. I’ve said, “yes” to projects I shouldn’t have. I’m feeling resentful and overwhelmed, even if I also feel successful. I am getting things done, but a lot of the joy has gone out of it. Like making a wedding dress for pay. Bleah!
Usually after I hit black in my life, I have a little meltdown. I stop taking on new projects, especially for other people. I dispense with all my responsibilities and don’t add new ones. Finally, I move to PINK. Ah, lovely, relaxing pink. The images I’ve added to the pink side are uncluttered
and simple. There is home, a martini glass, a flower, and sunshine. A dove of peace rules the top. I always want pink to be enough. Pink is sweet, simple, and happy.
In time, pink begins to feel cloistered. Somewhere pink fades and fades and finally gives way to GREY. Grey has but 3 images: a snowflake (representing that restless feeling of cabin fever), a skull (because my creativity feels shriveled up and dead), and a pocketwatch (again, grey is
ruled by the clock, but now there is too much time…). Grey is the worst place to live. Nothing to do, no ideas, boredom, ennui.
Suddenly I have a meltdown because I can’t take it anymore, and I go on a spending (stashing) spree. I get all kinds of ideas for new projects
and I start amassing the materials. Oooh I can see RED coming right around the bend! And there it goes, the pyramid goes spinning again. A few little additions determine how fast that baby spins. It all hangs on a yarn loop — hobbies or the lack thereof can make me go from grey to pink to red and back around as fast as can be! It has a kite tail of a few photos, of me well-rested, of my family, and of my child in different moods. The whole thing is capped by a medication bottle lid, because health (mine or my family’s) can also determine how fast this thing swings.
I explained this whole Life Map to a therapist once awhile back. She laid some brilliant insights on me.
1. I was raised to equate love with doing. Think about that. I keep doing, doing, doing, saying yes because I think I “should”, because I want people to like me. That’s why I like red so much, and why I keep ending up in black.
2. I should be able to choose which color I want to rule my life, not allow all the external things to swing me. Life’s harsh winds do frequently blow, do they not? But that doesn’t mean I have to let that spin ME.
3. I am the best one in the world at being me. Who cares if other people are happy in pink? Pink can be a wonderful place, and there’s no shame
in a pink-lived life. But it’s not my color. I’m RED.
So I am busy sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, reading, pulling weeds, lunching with friends, writing, and having a wonderful time. I don’t feel guilty (mostly) about spending money on stash and supplies. It’s fun, it’s cheaper than therapy, and it keeps me in glorious — necessary — red.