Do you Mind Map? When I was in college I would take postcard-sized watercolor notebooks & map out my notes with Sharpies in 20 colors. The room would begin to smell really toxic, but the more color that filled the pages, the more the subject matter would come alive for me. When I ran out of room, I'd rip out a page & tape it to the side of the main one, so that my note books would always open up like little birthday packages. This would annoy & confuse any one working with me on a group project, but after declaring, "I don't get this," they always had a million questions for me ~ "How does it work?" "Why do you do that?" "How do you follow your notes?" "How are you breaking down the subjects?" I didn't know, back then. It was just intuitive for me, & really, the only way I can integrate large amounts of information.
In my facilitation work I've used this technique to brainstorm with high-caliber activists & CEOs to get them to the edge of their thinking process. It requires mapping out already-existing ideas & makes new paths obvious, where before they were hidden.
This is so useful to me as a mother, because I often feel like the errands, laundry, the kid's work, the dishes, the broken house rules, my work, my sweetheart, & oh,yeah all those friends to call back are standing on my shoulders, saying, "Excuse me! Mom! Thyme! Hey! Helloooo..." It helps me organize & prioritize in a way that goes beyond the lists I love to make. Maps remind me that I need to workout, I haven't been in the woods & really a cup of tea in the sun will make everything better, or 5 minutes talking to D on the phone is all I need. They point out what's missing, the presence of which will make all the difference in the world.
I first started officially Mind Mapping several years ago when Joetta, our brilliant Conscious Bookkeeping Coach was drawing out our Maps of Intention, which is a way of looking at your bookkeeping as a Map to bring in everything that you intend. Or more specifically, to draw abundance into your life by creating specific containers for all that abundance directly into your bookkeeping, in our case, Quicken. Yes, it's deep stuff. At first I didn't notice the oddity of all those markers she was using, since that's what I do, but then it dawned on me that she was doing something unique & affective, something that made these far-out concepts really obvious, accessible & undeniable. She also dressed really sparkly with funky shoes & cool jeans & odd layers. I asked her if she was an artist. "I'm a financial artist," she replied, totally certain this was true.
She had attended Jean Houston's Social Artistry Course, 12 days with experts in many fields, attended by folks who make a difference in this world. The idea is to become a masterful artist in one's own field, with society as your canvas. (It's on my to-do list!) They taught Mind Mapping at the start of the course, because they said it's really the only way to integrate that much information with one's own thoughts in a short amount of time. I'll share more maps here & explain how they work as we go. Luckily for me, my mother & brothers had plenty of books on the subject. Your library will have some.
This map was created last night in response to the Fall, & dear friend & fellow-unschooler Stefani's, switch to structure. She took on some of the concerns we were having in our own family & implemented some changes we've been considering. Our boys are older with different needs & I'm working more, so my availability is an issue. Also similar was her list of requirements in their day-to-day homeschooling lives. From the beginning I fell in love with her commitment to time, & the art of spending it as the plentiful, precious resource that it is.
This map starts with Home's Kool in the middle. There's four main branches: What's Needed (including what's already working & what's missing), The Curriculum (what we need to make work), The Problems (Mom working, different age needs), & The Solutions (environment, scheduling, daily mapping meetings with my "students"). The next morning I went over this with the boys & they added their own stuff, then with D, who added his own stuff. Needless to say, the problems have now transformed into a worthwhile set of actions.