The Power of Mind Mapping

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:

Business Coaching

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

Personal Coaching/Mentoring

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

Prayer Mapping

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…


Who Pushes Your Buttons?

Hi there!

I hope this finds you healthy and well my friend.

We’ve just celebrated our first American Thanksgiving with our very kind and hospitable neighbours and I have to say I loved it! It’s just like a British Christmas really, turkey ‘n all, but no presents. NO PRESENTS! Bliss! Just focusing on what we’re grateful for. The day after, however, brought ‘Black Friday’, where the malls are stuffed full of people buying, buying, buying. Consumerism at its worst/best! What a complete contrast to the day before (and my idea of hell!)  So, needless to say, I went nowhere near the malls, opting instead to stay at home to paint and draw (now to be known as ‘Black Ink Friday’ in my book!)

Anyway, there’s something that’s been brewing on my mind for a few weeks, so I thought I’d share it with you: it’s all about the people who push our buttons!

I don’t know how you view your public self but I think mine’s quite a happy, patient and (mostly) mature one yet my buttons still get pushed when I’m out there! In fact some people in life seem to be master button-pushers! They know exactly what to say (or not to say), do (or not to do) to transform us from calm, happy people into intolerant, impatient and, quite frankly, horrid ones!


We know that the best button-pushers are usually the people closest to us…..our other halves, our kids, family, close friends, work colleagues…..people we see all the time (or have grown up with). But every now and then a complete stranger or someone we don’t know that well manages to push our buttons too (especially if they work for BT)!

So why is that? What are these so called bloomin’ buttons anyway? And why do they trigger such negative emotions?

I’ve been pondering on this lately because I recently had one of those nasty eruptions with someone I didn’t know that well, which really upset me. It upset me on a few levels: firstly, that I publicly lost my cool and I wasn’t able to control it. Secondly, my preference was normally NOT to react there and then but to take a deep breath, disengage and work through it in my journal at a later stage. That way I get to look at the bigger picture, prevent myself from upsetting anyone and avoid the inevitable counter-attack! And lastly, I’d really rather not be revealing that real and vulnerable side of me, at least without some prior notice, for all and sundry to see!

So what did I do? I went to my room, put a metaphorical spotlight on the whole episode and worked through it. I wanted to know what the story behind it was. Why? Because I know that if this kind of thing stays inside us, it does far more damage in the long run.

Mark Twain Quote

So it needs to be addressed. Whenever it comes up, for whatever reason, it really needs to be interrogated there and then. If we don’t work through it, ‘it’ would just ‘go back down’ and that would be like continually brushing dirt under the carpet. Eventually there’d be such a large accumulation to inevitably trip up over that we’d probably hurt ourselves! So we have a choice: either let it stay put knowing that it would keep rearing it’s ugly head at unwelcome times and potentially manifest into some sort of dis-ease, or work through it. The former is certainly the easiest route, but I prefer the latter!

If you don’t heed the messages from your body the first time they’re delivered, you’ll get hit with a bigger hammer the next time.  A delay or denial requires your body to speak louder and louder to get your attention. The purpose of emotions, regardless of what they are, is to help you feel and participate fully in your own life. Stop and experience them! Then change your behavior accordingly.

Dr Christiane Northrup

I personally believe, through my own experiences, that our bodies are so much more amazing than we believe they are. And when ‘something comes up’, whether it dulls us, drains us, makes us react unfavorably or ails us, then we really should listen! Our body is trying to tell us something. And we must have the curiosity to find out what!

Aristotle believed that everything happens for a reason, always. And that every experience in our lives was designed to shape us and reform us into the ultimate and greatest version of ourselves that we could ever imagine.

I’ve been working on this for most of my complicated, beautiful life…..and it’s still very much a work in progress…..but I do love it! Love it? Yup, love it! Don’t get me wrong – the process can be hard. Sometimes very hard. It takes courage. But the things that are released, recovered from and restored to make it so worth it in the end.

Having said all that, the most rewarding thing about all this for me started the moment I turned from looking inwards to looking outwards. I began wondering what other peoples’ stories were and how they got to the point they were at. Better still, in the midst of my curiosity, I discovered I was actually able to help people work through their own ‘stuff’ too.

Now this might sound strange but we should actually be grateful for all those button-pushers of ours out there! If it weren’t for them we may not be ‘challenged’ to work through our issues and we certainly wouldn’t be able to help others either. So let’s consider button-pushers as some of our greatest teachers!


That’s it for now my friend. Do let me know if you there’s someone you think might be ‘stuck’ with any feeling, thought pattern or dis-ease in anyway! I’d love to help them work through it, wherever they are in the world! And if there’s anyone you think would like to read this blog…..please go ahead and pass it on:

Bye for now! Until next time…..