• Ryan Cooney

The Mapmaker

Updated: Nov 12, 2019



Life is a journey and in it we create our own maps.


We learn our maps very well for this journey. We want to make sure we are safe, that we can find help, and we can find connection. When these basic needs are met and we're able to take in the nourishment they offer, our lives are able to thrive.


Each life is the biography of a hidden conversation between consciousness, experience and memory. In and through all that happens, each life strives to become present to itself. -John O'Donohue


Words are too simple to capture what it is like to experience wholeness, but we can imagine the feel of it, and we long for it. We long to be whole, to feel at ease, accepted, and free. At some point in each life we get to a point when we realize, in some way, that it's not ok to be who we are. It seems that from a young age this is what is taught to us and what we teach ourselves.


There's not one human being on the planet Earth who has never felt, at some point, unaccepted. At some point in out lives, we feel like we're not good enough, but we have to step back and realize that we are.

-Jussie Smollett


In our childhood we see our parents as our source of Love, connection, safety. As we grow we begin to see outside of our parents, and it becomes more and more complicated. We begin to experience pain in different ways and joy in different ways. Without realizing it we end up creating a map to navigate us through life in hopes of experiencing pleasure and avoiding pain.


We take in our world and create our map of how to get love, life, and connection, and how to avoid pain, fear, and death. Our bodies, our behaviors, our perceptions are reflections of the map we have created. Every person is a work of art, formed by the life they have lived, so incredibly complex and beautiful. Underneath every map is a place I will call home. A place from where it all started.


To return home is to return to ourselves and our feelings in the present. As we grow the map has been looked at so many times, and fine tuned so much, that we lose connection with what is beyond the map. We lose connection with the real world around us, of our the part of ourselves that had the freedom and courage to make the map, and of the joy we once had exploring this world and life for the treasure it holds. Some of us believe this separation is part of growing up, and some of us found too much hurt and fear in the search that they had to disconnect.


This home is never too far away though. All we need is the space and time to quiet our thoughts, to feel safe and supported, and to let go of our map that we cover life with.

When we come home to safety and real presence we can find that lost part of our self that is able to create our map again. That ability is always there, waiting for safety, peace, and curiosity.


When you find the space, when you open up to curiosity and possibilities, you will find freedom to open the old map and explore the details of it. Freedom to change the landscape of life itself; to open worlds of possibility and experiences that could not have ever been even thought of before.


You have done such an incredible job to get where you are in life. You have found ways to protect yourself and to push yourself to succeed. Maybe you are at a point where the old map is creating problems. Maybe it has for years. It's up to you to find the courage to seek the answers and a way to get back that ability to change. If that's the case, I hope you have found this helpful and I encourage you to continue exploring and staying curious.