THE AREA PATHS
(“Where have I been in specific areas of my life”)
The first exercise (“My Life Space”) enabled you to take a snapshot of your life as a whole and to reflect on the areas of your life that trouble you the most. In the previous exercise you looked at the general path you have taken in life from birth to the present. In this exercise, you will look at the “paths” you have taken in specific areas of your life and consider some of the “troubling times” in these areas as you did in the “My Life Path” exercise.
Go back to the “troubling areas” in the first exercise (“My Life Space”) and begin with the area that troubles you the most. Each of these areas has beginnings, middles and ends, as does your life as a whole. Within these areas you have gone through “times”, periods and chapters as you have done with your larger life context. As you did in the “My Life Path” exercise reflect on the broad periods or times that mark off the course of events that have occurred in this area. You are limiting yourself to no more than 6 broad periods and the number may be fewer, perhaps only one or two. Write a sentence or two that describes each of these broad times and include the range of dates, or ages, that mark off these periods. As you did in the “My Life Path” exercise begin with the present, where things are now, and work backwards.
As you continue to work with this process, you can begin to see that you are differentiating your life into “times” and “spaces”. Your life has a form to it. There is no other life like yours. It is being shaped and molded as you grow. It is as if your life has a momentum and a will all its own.
Now close your eyes and reflect on the process or sequence of periods that have occurred in this area of your life. What events mark off these periods? Where and when did this process begin? Reflect on some of the major events that have occurred and how you felt during these times as you go back in time… A good opening to help you describe each period is to use the words, “The period of…” and complete it with your description.
When you have completed your description of the broad periods, choose one period that stands out for you as the most difficult or troubling. Go to the larger circle on the following page and, as you did in the “My Life Path” exercise, allow yourself to recall specific memories and emotions and write them down as they come to you. You don’t need to worry about sequence or judge any incident as “significant” or not; just freely recall whatever memories bubble up into your awareness and write a sentence describing these specific events. A good phrase to help you describe these events is, “The time when.” and complete it with your description.
Do the same process with any other areas or times of your life that appear unfinished or seem to have potential for expansion and growth.
Go to the next journaling exercise: Memories and Emotions
Click here to download the pdf version.
*Journaling exercises written by Cort Curtis, Ph.D, used with permission.