Last Sunday I posted an excerpt from the book The Map, by Colette Baron Reid. As I was replying to comments on the post all the while thinking…*what* am I going to post for Wednesday…my mind seeming really quite determined to take some time off from 30 days of November madness…I was struck by inspiration!
Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life…that’s the sub title for Colette Baron-Reid’s book, The Map. I wouldn’t have bought it if I hadn’t been invited to join a class of lovely ladies going through this journey. In fact, I would not have made the friends I have today without being invited to join that class!
As Linda from litebeingchronicles so aptly said in her comment to the post, it brings together the psycho-spiritual together. And that’s about sums up what the book helps you do. However, the interesting thing is the way suggested. There isn’t much psycho babble in it, no words that needed me to roll my eyes and look up it’s meaning. Simple language, a plus from me for that. Add in the opportunity of reliving your childhood fairy tales and imagination and it makes this a pretty awesome type of read!
Close your eyes for a few minutes and focus on a point at the centre of your chest. FEEL what you are feeling. Don’t think about what you should be feeling. Just feel. Then translate that into a vision of a place…a landscape. That is where you are at this very moment.
We’ve all done this at some time or another. We say or come across someone who says, “I feel so lost”, “I feel like I’m stuck in a rut”, “I feel like I’m walking in a fog bumping into things”, ” I feel like a raging river / volcano waiting to explode”….those are the landscapes that we find ourselves in at different moments in our lives.
Colette expands on this idea. She introduces you to look at yourself and your life journey as a literal journey. You have a map and it’s a magical map. It takes you from one landscape to another, all reflecting your thoughts and emotions at different times. Even within a day you may travel from a dry dessert wandering lost, looking for something to being in a small boat being buoyed by the waves of the ocean, to coming across the Field of Poppies which lull you to sleep…as you close your eyes and enter oblivion, that blissful state of not being conscious of where you are or what you are doing…a deep sleep that can be a place of rest but dangerous because you may not want to wake up and leave it. There are also the Ghostlands where we are lost either in regret or wishful thinking…lost between the past and the future.
You are introduced to the different beings of these landscapes. The beings who become your allies and challengers, each representing a different aspect of your psyche. There is the Goblin, sometimes large and scary, sometimes small and ugly, sometimes a raging creature…all representing your wounded ego. There is the Bone Collector, who helps you find the parts of you which you have lost – your voice, your passions, your confidence, self worth…and helps you to claim it, the Gentle Gardener who helps you plant your seeds in the beautiful garden, your Field of Dreams. She teaches you patience, how to nurture your dreams, take care of them and see them grow. There is the Spirit of the Place who will show you the secrets and treasures that any landscape holds for you. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, ugly, scary or wonderful the landscape you are in is to you, each and every one of them has something to offer.
Unless we learn by exploring these landscape, communing with the Spirit of the Place and the other beings we will keep getting snapped back into it again and again. The idea is not to escape these places but to take the time to gain insights and assimilate what each place needs to show us at various points in our lives. It is to learn the dynamics of experiences within our lives so that we may recognise them the next time it plays out…with different actors and scenes; and therefore know what to do to travel away to different landscapes, calmly.
As she introduces the idea of viewing your life journey as a literal one and the multiple beings, she tells you about your compass. Each of us has one. It is that part of us which aligns to Spirit / God / Universe / Source or however you may want to call it. It is the compass that points to the True North…the truth of us, our higher selves, the divine within. She asks you to first enter a landscape and look for it and when you find it, it’s yours. There will be times when you misplace that compass, but never fear. All it takes is for you to go back into yourself, into that intuitive part of you, the part which talks in symbols…go looking for it, sometimes needing to ask for help from the Spirit of the Place to find it again, to find that feeling of rightness within you, that alignment to your true north.
This is a book filled with symbols, but it is not a complex thing…symbols, I don’t think. This is your journey, and as you allow the book to act as a tour guide, explaining certain things and concepts to you, you are still free to interpret the symbols as how you see it. And I feel that is important because this is all about you and your journey. It’s about what your psyche is communicating to you and therefore the interpretation of these symbols may be different compared to what others see.
Now, the way the book is supposed to work is as a workbook with journalling as it’s tool. So, there is a lot of thoughts to sift through, revelations to come by and writing does help. In a way as you write you will find that there will be point when things just start to flow…so let it! It’s again a process of emptying. As you keep discovering, you keep emptying it our through the writing giving more room for more information to come through. At the end of each chapter there are Traveller’s Notes, just as was posted last Sunday – like a summary of the whole chapter.
If you feel you need more help then the deck which carries the same name as the book may help you. The reason is sometimes we need a little something-something to trigger certain thoughts or emotions, sort of like kick starting an engine. I feel that any deck of cards you may have, tarot or oracle cards will do. The difference is only that The Enchanted Map deck corresponds to the places and beings from the book, so it will be just a little easier to relate to what you’ve been reading. There are 52 cards in the deck and it does come with a little guide book too. The cards can be read either upright or reversed, but we didn’t do it like that in the class. We just read everything upright. Again it all depends on how you feel you want to work with them.
To be really honest…I was surprised that I didn’t really resonate with what was going on. I mean, I enjoyed the class…I learned quite a bit but for someone who loves to imagine scenarios and all, I just had trouble trying to do so! (And I have an idea why it may have been so) However, the rest of the ladies had a wonderful time and really resonated well with it.
Rating and recommendations:
For this book to work, you need to do the work, which means you need to be prepared to let your imagination work with you, you will learn how to trust what comes to you, you may need to dig deep and may not like what some of your allies (who are parts of you) say to you! It’s not a magic pill sort of book…it’s not going to give you the magic formula to get it right (well no book does, but you know..just thought I’d put it out there).