Please find included:
A few links for mindmaps
A list of suggested supplies to bring with you (in orange)
A bit of suggested homework (in blue)
Cobbled together with some of my rambling thoughts on mindmapping. Please feel free to ignore any or all of it... or if you only wish to read a bit of it perhaps look at the links, the supplies and the suggested homework. I will also likely cross post this on the blog I am developing with some images of mindmaps. There is likely to be something there on 'creative tension' in the next few days.
I thought I might send a couple of things to the people who have expressed interest in the mindmapping on Jan 8th (11am, The Sanitarium). First, if you have not ever done any mind mapping maybe you could take a couple of moments and look at these links.
You Tube Instructions
The wiki on mind maps
Overall, mindmapping is creative process that can allow you to engage with a variety of things in a creative, playful way. It is also a way of relating to a complex information set as a system. For instance, we might typically make lists of the things we want to accomplish or manifest in life. These lists tend to lead to a linear process in which one set of activities might even compete with another. The mindmap can allow you to look across all these and find points of integration and 'leverage' that might otherwise not be apparent. A point of leverage is someplace where you might be able to work on one aspect of a project and have a beneficial effect on many other areas. The map becomes a reflective surface for one's life or endeavor.
Perhaps most important to start is looking at other mindmaps to get a feel. You may notice that a lot of them are beautiful and the authors seem to display a great deal of artistic talent. Fear not! It is not actually necessary, though for some of you the artistic endeavor will be important. What is more important is that you develop your own style such that you recognize the mindmap and it is evocative when you look at it in the future. Potentially you might be working with and reflecting on this map throughout the year. You want the experience of making it to be evocative in a way that makes the entire landscape readily available to you at a glance.
My mindmaps are typically ugly, frankenstein things that cover an entire wall. Up until about 2 years ago I would often have one wall of my living space covered with a mindmap for the next 12-36 months. When this was not practical I would have a sketch book of maps. I prefer the hand written maps to the computer generated ones, though there are many good programs available. The computer generated maps can be incredibly useful for project organization and such, but for me they lack some of the creative messiness. They are too ordered and in that ordering I sometimes miss a certain sense of discovery. From my point of view, what is important is that you create an evocative reflective surface that immediately reminds you of the whole and draws you into its depth. It is for you. No one else needs to understand it. If the iPad is a tool through which you can do this, by all means use it. I use a fair amount of detail, colors, primitive images, codes that stand for something else, etc. For myself I do not typically create the map in a highly systematic way. What is perhaps most important is the major arms you choose. I create those first and then fill them in without any particular order, moving back and forth between the arms or branches. You might find that your process is very different and that you are clear about everything that you feel you want on some particular branch in the moment you are drawing it. You must discover this for yourself.
In a map of annual planning I might have some version of the following arms:
For an annual map such as we are doing I might just put "2011" in the center with some sort of image that represents the year or a theme of the year. I might do this first, but sometimes I come back to it. You might wish to spend a bit of time looking at evocative images, perhaps from magazines or on the net and cut those out, or print them and bring them with you. Here is a list of suggested supplies for our session, but it is important to recognize that a very useful and evocative map can be made with a piece of paper and a pencil. I did one like this on my personal family history that was greatly aided by the starkness.
Here are some suggested supplies:
- Sense of humor. If you cannot find yours for any reason, consider borrowing some one else's... ;)
- Several sheets of large format paper that feels good to you. This might be a large sketch book or a roll of paper.
- Colored pencils, pens, markers, crayons, etc.
- A pen or pencil that you enjoy using (for more detailed notes, or to draft things)
- If you like to draft in pencil and then go back, bring an eraser
- A folder of images if you do not plan to illustrate your own
- A glue stick
- Various visually playful items, e.g. glitter, decals, goggly eyes, etc.
- Things of all these sorts to trade and share
Of course the most important thing is that the map is your own. This might mean breaking some of the guidelines for mindmapping. I am planning on a reversed process involving narrative. That is, I am considering asking you to start from the outside of the map. I would like to ask you to consider two things prior to arriving, and perhaps spend some time this week journaling.
- In the areas of the major arms of your map please consider the aspirational narrative of the upcoming year. Perhaps there are some things you wish to stop, or change, etc.? This narrative is a bit different than that. What are the positive expressions of your aspiration for the year? There are many ways to go about this and we will spend time together on the day working on this. One thing you might consider is giving yourself some time to reflect this week. In that reflection perhaps you could allow yourself to feel out into a more distant future, perhaps the new decade as a whole? Consider asking yourself "If my attention could be consistently given to anything over the next decade what would that be?" You may notice some tendency to think of this in terms of 'things to do or fix'. When or if that happens gently bring yourself back to the question of attention. You could also ask this as a question about service: If I could live within any context of service over the next decade, what would that be? What might I be serving into existence? What might I 'be lived by'? Allow yourself to go to the end of the decade (2020) and feel that, whatever it is, as it is. From that contemplative space, then allow yourself to consider this year of 2011. Consider the moment of this year as intimately connected to the moment of the entire decade. Considering that, what images come to you about this year? What do you notice?
- For each of the arms you might be considering for your map, spend a bit of time considering the narrative of that particular area or arm in your life, in the context of the decade, and specific to 2011. What are the aspirational images of that particular arm, when you consider it for the year, in the context of the decade?
- It is only after this that you might then wish to consider some indicators, targets, metrics that are indicative of those images and narratives. We will have time together to do this on the day. In my own maps each arm has a set of metrics and indicators associated with it answering the question "how would I know if this were happening or not?" I do not 'manage' to these. I manage my attention and these indicators are a means of seeing that.
- We will also then look at the current condition and 'changes' that might be implied.
- We may design 'experiments' or projects for some specific area.
This is a simple description of the overall process. I have not mindmapped the process itself yet, and it may change when I do so. The overall map should then serve as a holistic representation of dynamic or creative tension in your life. Please spend some time on items #1&2 this week if possible. You may not complete your entire map on the day.
I imagine that we will also spend some time in guided meditation and doing 'resource' hunts of various sorts. No materials are required for that, though you may wish to have a journal with you.
I imagine you will leave with a map that has been framed, but perhaps not exhaustively 'finished'. My hope is that you will complete the aspirational narrative, arms to different levels of detail, key 'indicators', and frame some experiment or practice with respect to what you have seen.
If you have questions, please feel free to write. I hope you all have a wonderful new year and I will see you next week. -roger