Sunday, May 18, 2014
Mapping, part 2
I'd be percolating on this since Wednesday, not thinking about it very hard, but letting myself absorb that I wanted to devote it some attention.
Is it bad to confess I was a bit afraid of this? I have a friend who did an intensive yoga retreat in Vietnam last year. Even listening to her talk about it Freaked Me Out. I don't want to explore the depths of my soul. Or reach the boundaries of my consciousness. That's releasing control over your boundaries and I like my boundaries.
I still have recurring dreams of being driven somewhere - often in a school bus - and very suddenly going over an edge and down a deep incline. Though the bus remains on the road, I am unanchored and lift up, plucked from my seat by forces beyond me. I typically wake, frantically looking around and ahead, seeking something to which I can cling or hoping the road levels so I can find a seat to support me again.
Point is why would I want to delve deeper into a brain so scary? I'm good with superficial knowledge, thanks.
Anyway. Back to mapping!
I had three columns - (1) Month, Year (2) Feelings on an arbitrary scale from -10 to 10, (3) Notes. I added the colors later - ignore those if you're following along on your own journey map. (In Excel. Because you're super-cool like that too!)
I quickly found that I could best assess my past if I looked at May as that's when the academic year typically ended for me. I added extra time points as they struck me as important but I set my minimum sampling at May. I finished with May, 2014, so I have a current state. There's no particular reason I started in 7th grade - it felt like my first "professional" accomplishment and gave me upwards of 20 years to consider patterns.
I may have scrunched up my face in thought to get a Feelings Number but I tried not to think about it too much. I made it a 'your first answer is probably the right answer' exercise so I worked pretty quickly, going back and inserting rows if I realized I'd forgotten something I wanted to capture or adjusting values if I found my scale was a bit off.
Also recall that I did this at night. I'm sharp in the mornings - my brain is nimble and fast. Like a ninja. Or an otter. An otter ninja! At night, my brain more resembles a befuddled yet emotional elephant - the edges of thoughts blur, I'm much more likely to get upset - angry, sad, anxious - depends on the day. So I tapped into the emotions that tend to linger closer to the surface at night for me.
I was oddly disappointed when I inserted myself a line graph and did not find my squiggly line profoundly informative. I poked the screen of my laptop with my finger, befuddled-elephant-brain wanting it to tell me something. Upon admitting it was going to remain a squiggle and smiling over how I could see some Ms - "M is my middle initial!" I giggled - I closed the laptop and went to bed.
When I realized the ends of those Ms looked remarkably like my dreams. Sharp, surprising declines that leave me floating frighteningly above the ground, grasping for help that won't come fast enough.
Closing the laptop quickly, I calmed myself and climbed the stairs to snuggle in bed and sleep. I'd think about the rest later.