Developing Your Bigger Picture

Breaking / Carousel / DIY / Perspective / SS News / October 13, 2015

Everything in life has its season and every season is apart of a cycle; I’m learning to pay closer attention to the cycles in my life.

For example, just about every year there’s a personal cycle that I experience and it usually tends to run something like this:

  • Jan-March: This is generally a pretty smooth period for me. I’ve got my game plan down and my sights are set. I’m shaking and moving baby–eyes are on the prize and I have a pretty clear sense of direction.
  • April-June: There’s an unsettling/disrupting of my life (or sense of grounding) which results in ambiguity, a lot of long blank stares and “WTF?” moments. During this period I’ve developed a need for something new, refreshing or invigorating (usually in the creative department). I never really have a clue of what the hell it is; that would be too right. This leaves me somewhere between “BLAH” and “I think I can, I think I can! Oh crap, wait can I?! I don’t knoooowwwww!”
  •  July-Sept: This is friggin’ ground zero for any and every kind of transition that could possibly happen. Family, finances, spirituality, intimate relationships–you name it, it’s likely being affected. It proves to be the transitional and formative period for a new project or aspect of myself (personality, mentality, etc.) and usually results in deep reflection and contemplation. There are a lot of exciting things happening and a lot of scary things all at once. At this point I’m usually wondering, “What the hell did I get myself into?” or “Where the hell am I?” This may result in a total embrace of an “exploration” period or my becoming extremely introverted in my personal relationships.
  • Oct-Dec: By this time the initial transformation has taken place. I’ve regained a sense of grounding, a renewed or improved vision for whatever areas were affected, and I’ve officially regained my footing. New doors are opening and seeds planted long before begin to bear fruit. There may be some pretty devastating lows during this time, but the transformation that has taken place usually allows for me to humbly see my way through them and make good use of my support system. Think along the lines of, “I know what I want and I’m going to go get it.”

Now, keep in mind that this is a very rough outline. Throughout my life cycle various seasons are taking place; for example, from July-September, my personal life may be going through a season of purging toxic relationships while my professional life calls for forging new ones. It essentially leaves me saying goodbye and hello simultaneously all within the context of a cycle that is already in motion.

It wasn’t until this year that I really felt the need to sit down and analyze my life and its cycles in a more tangible way. I started creating a life timeline, and marked critical events making a point to examine what preceded and followed them. I needed to clearly see the parts of my bigger picture that have been developed up until this point.

So why am I sharing this with you?

So often we speak of this “bigger picture” in life that exists and then attempt to process it by venting to those we trust, sharing it during a therapy session, using creative outlets, or journaling about it. All of which are beneficial and necessary (depending on your experiences of course) for positive personal development.

Sometimes it helps to physically DRAW out the “big picture” that has been created thus far by chronicling the development of it via a life timeline. Sure you could take a whole day to go through every journal you’ve ever written or revisit a conversation held with a friend or at a therapy session (at this point in my life I can’t because, well bills are due, but maybe you can, haha!), but having it all laid out for your eyes to plainly see may prove to be a little more eye-opening.

The great thing is that this doesn’t have to be done in one sitting. Different memories return to us at different moments, so you may find yourself adding things to it here and there as time goes on. The point is that you are tracing your personal history and using it as a tool to better understand yourself, the things that you can and cannot control, and the way that it all shapes YOU. Even better is the fact that you can do this on your phone’s notepad or get super creative by purchasing art supplies to really make this a D-I-Y project. Whatever floats your boat ultimately creates waves around the world so set sail, love! 

Here are a few things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself as you create your life timeline:

  • Note when you were born. (I know, “duh?” right?) Take a moment to look up what was happening in the world at that time, and in the lives of those whom you know and love. I believe everything happens for a reason; there’s a reason why you were born during the time/generation that you were. Feel free to take this as deep or as shallow as you see fit.
  • Note life-defining events (the great and the horrific). How did they change you for the better and worse? What did they teach you about yourself and life?
  • Detail when you met people  who deeply affected you and the trajectory of your life. What were the circumstances in which you met them? How long were they in your life? What kind of impact did they have on your life?
  • Track your career developments too–especially promotions or major breakthroughs. Your resume can help with this. When did they occur and are there any consistencies in the way in which your success or failures play out? How often are you switching jobs or hitting the reset button? Where was your level of creativity at with each one?
  • Experience awakenings or reality checks? Include them!
  • Compare your known patterns in life (coping mechanisms, decision-making tendencies, relationship with a higher power, etc.) Which patterns are helpful and which are harmful?
  • Have events that still bring you some kind of pain or bitterness, even when you go to write them? Note the date on which they occurred and ask yourself how much longer your going to carry them. Are there positive activities or outlets that will allow you to take the negative experience and use it for the betterment of others (maybe those who have been there too)?

Of course this may not be for everybody but for somebody, it is. And if you’re that person, know that I wrote this for you.

Now go get your life together and be great.

It’s October so you have an idea of where I’m at in life, haha! I’m going to go make the most of this season and this point in the cycle; I hope you’ll do the same.

As always don’t forget to: Empathize, Empower & Evolve!

– Sincerely Syreeta

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October 13, 2015