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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Heart & Meaning

excerpt adapted from my journal, early December 2010

Our second journal prompt was part of the entrepreneur’s "mandala" – Heart and Meaning. We spent what felt like eternity flipping through magazines, looking for images that expressed our heart and meaning. Lisa read out prompts, but each one left me feeling a bit lacking – like I just wasn’t finding the right stuff in the magazine images.

glass-blown hearts and sunshine

I felt super anxious tearing images out of magazines, yet internally I ridiculed my own anxiety. I kept thinking "it's just collage! Chill out!"

Somehow, at the end of this arduous image collecting stretch, I had a pile next to me. Some of it was overtly negative – representing the stress I feel on a day to day basis; the burden of risk and financial responsibility of playing this role of entrepreneur. The fact that I spent more time finding images of stress than heart and meaning was telling. It's not unlike how I spend most work-at-home days.

I pushed those stress images aside for later and laid out the pieces that best represented heart and meaning. I added an extra page and made a sort of map of blue calm. On the left was Africa, with the firm grounding I found there, and the empowerment I felt and created with my work on One Mango Tree. The middle showed even more grounding – inner calm, a Hindu diety, a lone mountain gorilla contemplating the forest, two people kayaking on a calm sea, aerial views over the middle east, reminiscent of chaos and order of Pakistan. On the far right page was South America, with the taunting parrot claw pointing to Ecuador.

my heart & meaning spread

Can I take it all with me? Will Ecuador be the next part in this journey? What will it all mean?

I found so much meaning through my work in Uganda, and I found strength and calm through yoga and meditation. I found new confidence working in Pakistan. What will I find in Ecuador? How do I make this place a new part of my own story? Where does it leave the other plot lines (Uganda, Pakistan)?

We took our page spreads into the garden and took on the role of a scientist, collecting field notes about the images. Some excerpts:

1. What surprises you? blue blue blue calm instead of red red red passion

2. What's not here? text. a silent film with no words.

3. What is the mood? contemplative. neverending exploration.

4. What do you want me to know? warm, coffee-stained and aged with time. beautiful, complete calm with the journey. You found a place of meaning within - through meaningful work - it's okay to take it with you.

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