I personally absolutely love mind mapping and use it pretty much daily in all that I do – for personal and business coaching; for brainstorming, goal setting and problem solving; for question asking, story building and creating; for highlighting the mind body connection in illness and unease; for prayer and contemplation and a whole heap of other things. You’ll see a lot more of how I use mind mapping in upcoming blogs but for now I’d like to share a special story with you.
Last October my then 79 year old father was being operated on to remove a very large brain tumor. I sat with my mother and aunt in his hospital room for the duration of his operation. I told my mother I’d be ‘zoning out’ and connecting with ‘out there’ to focus on dad. She understood but I think my aunt thought it was a bit odd!
I put some earplugs in, sat still, closed my eyes and just focused on my father and the people in the operating room with him. I wrote ‘Dad Brain Tumor Operation’ in the middle of my notebook page and drew a circle around it, (I call it a ‘circle of blessing’). And then I waited for whatever came to me. It was surprising what did, to the extent that a few times I asked ‘really?’ But I’ve learnt over the years not to question, just write:
At a quick glance this looks like a very nice mind map, but if you’d known my father before his op you may have asked ‘really?’ too. Dad was a workaholic and a perfectionist so he always seemed to have his head down rather than up. A few months after his surgery he pointed out all the beautiful things around us – anything from a lovely view to a bird singing to the kindness of a person – things we’d overlooked, (see ‘the beauty around him’, I’d written). He used to get very anxious about the future and worried about what might happen in it, but that all stopped after the surgery. He started living very much in the moment and not worrying about the future at all. In the old days he could be very grumpy and sometimes difficult to be with, but now he’s happy, fun-loving and full of joy. He’s also become hugely affectionate with his children and grand children (love, loving, more heart). It really does seem that dad has somehow hit the ‘refresh’ button and undergone some ‘re-programming’, changing ‘old patterns’ and is now back to ‘where he’s meant to be’. On top of all that, he was recently given the all clear at the one year check up and declared ‘healthy’ and ‘healed’. Wow!
You know, I could sit here and write so many stories of how I’ve used mind mapping over the years, for myself and with others, but I thought it’d be interesting to read some other perspectives. So I asked three people I’ve had the honor to draw alongside in different ways if they wouldn’t mind sharing their view of what it was like for me to mind map with them, or for them. Here’s what they had to say:
From the get go, I loved working with and being coached by Yas. She established a strong bond straight away and was easily able to steer me in the direction I needed to go. Her questions are very specific and thought provoking and she quickly identifies the areas that are holding you back and the goals that you need to focus on. Yas introduced the mind mapping technique in our very first coaching session. Mapping out ideas together enabled us to brainstorm in a focused and concise manner. With brainstorming, as opposed to being questioned / interviewed, you feel very much a part of the process. It’s a fun and liberating creative process and that encourages exploration of a specific issue. As a visual person, I love how this technique evolves into a graphic decision-making/planning tool that you can pin up as a reminder of your goals and the direction in which you are headed.
Caroline Pulford, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Executive at La Legsie
My sessions with Yasemin have helped me weed through all the chaos of ideas and desires in my brain to show a clearer and more focused path forward. Her mind mapping technique has shown me connections and meaning where I couldn’t see any sort of cohesion. What I love about her process is that she comes alongside as a guide helping me untangle what is already in me, the things I already knew but just couldn’t quite see properly. Every time we go through one of her mind maps together I end up feeling empowered and encouraged. She’s direct and bold in her statements, but I never feel that she’s giving advice or opinions of her own, I feel that she is pointing me back to who I really am and what I really want. Somehow she is able to listen between the lines and see the things that I’m missing. I consider myself to be a pretty self aware and self analytical person, but having Yasemin along as a partner, diving into my heart and brain, has been invaluable. My direction as an artist and small business developer, and as a person who is wanting to craft an uncommon life, has been honed and focused through our sessions. I’m left with a sense of peace and positive energy where I only saw a knotted nest of tasks and interests. I’m so grateful to add her as a tool in my resource box!
Phaedra Taylor, Encaustic Artist
Going into surgery is a scary thing. Hearing someone is praying for you is comforting. One always wonders, however, whether or not the prayers really happened, and if so, what they were!! Receiving a prayer map from Yasemin was unlike any other gift I have ever received. It was tangible evidence that a real, flesh and blood person cares about me. The prayers were specific, accurately imploring God on my behalf, both for things I perceived I needed, and for things she perceived I needed by listening to me and the Holy Spirit. Seeing this beautiful gift made me want to do it for someone else!
Araceli Jonsson, Language Teacher
I’m so grateful for those three people writing from their viewpoint. There really is power in mind mapping like this. I’d love to know what you think and if you’ve used mind mapping in this way yourself. And please do share with your friends. There may just be one who’d love someone to draw alongside them and map something out with them in this way. You never know!
Wishing you the very best
Until next time…