I’m a map girl. I love geography; I find it relaxing. I remember a friend of mine in grad school said there was nothing more relaxing for her than to pay bills each day as they arrived in the mail. Well, that is how I feel about maps. (Not bills!)
I have a very good sense of direction, often establishing North, South, East, and West in any given building. Which is fairly easy in California, given I live close to the Pacific Ocean, a great marker for West. I “see” the highways, roads, ocean, and hills in my head as a map and relax.
There’s something about getting to know the topography, roads, rivers, small and large towns of a place that captures my imagination. Perhaps it is the small town girl inside of me that can imagine what dreams are born each day in these places all over the world. Everyday people get up, go out into their streets to work, shop, take children to school and celebrate with one another.
Like the obsessive reader who finds cereal boxes entertaining, I find maps of any location riveting. It wakes up the travel bug inside of me. My heart tingles with possibility. I am endlessly curious about people that live there, wondering about their lives. (This quality really aids me in my lifestyle as a psychotherapist and coach!)
Maps say, “Here I am.” The solidness of the map pointing out where my physical body is at this point in time. And I will have the opportunity to move my body to a new and perhaps exotic location on the map. My hobby of geography is a good coping skill for not feeling claustrophobic with the day to day routine.
It is both an appreciation and an escape.
Internal geography is how I know where I am at any given time and space. How I feel and locate myself, my SELF. Coming to presence, being in the NOW moment, in my body. Locating myself. The external map I ponder helps me locate the internal feelings of organization and predictability. Feelings navigation made explicit in geography.
For someone like me, moody, spontaneous, creative, and right-brained, a good map stabilizes me, roots me, settles my knowing of myself, and offers safety. Like the bill-paying friend, maps spell out the possibilities and exert a little control over a widely uncontrollable world.
Before I traveled abroad this past year, I spread out several maps of Crete, Greece, on my bed and enjoyed locating the guidebook entries to the tiny red dots symbolizing towns. I felt a sense of adventure and calm, knowing I would soon be exploring those tiny, twisty roads connecting the ancient Venetian town of Chana to Goddess sites to Libyan Sea to Byzantine monasteries. And in each of those towns, people like us make their lives, dream their possibilities and want to connect.
How do you find yourself? How do you know you are real in this world? How do you quell that desire to bolt from difficult situations and the boredom of everyday life? What makes you feel alive, connected and embodied? How do you track yourself in time, with your evolution and growth? How do you feel yourself as One with the greater cosmos? What feeds your existence?