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Excerpt from "The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life"

by Colette Baron-Reid

The following excerpt is taken from the book The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life by Colette Baron-Reid. It is published by Hay House (January 2011) and is available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.

Your Enchanted Map

Where are you right now? Close your eyes and describe where you feel you are. Are you in a Field of Dreams, where you’re planting the seeds of your intention and are eager to see the results? Are you lost in a dry desert, where abundance eludes you? Are you wandering through the Valley of Loss?

This inner landscape may bear no resemblance to where you actually are located in time and space. You could be sitting in a sunny room, looking out at a beautiful harbor, but feel stuck in an unforgiving and harsh land that exists inside you. What you believe has a great influence on where you find yourself when you look within.

Do you believe that there could be more to life than you’ve come to expect, or are you filled with doubt because you don’t know how to begin creating something better? Perhaps you think you’re doing everything you can, but the results aren’t what you hoped for; or you look around at the problems you see others facing and feel helpless to make their lives less stressful or painful.

Do you long for fulfillment, meaning—even magic?

My guess is that you’re willing to work hard and do all the right things to get where you’d like to go: that glittering spot on the map that beckons with promises of sanctuary, abundance, harmony, and serenity. However, a quick look at the path that brought you to this point will remind you that the journey is never as predictable or controllable as you’d like it to be. We could all use a little magic, couldn’t we?

When I speak of magic in these pages, I don’t mean the stuff of trickery, illusion, or manipulation that you see in a “magic show.” The kind I’m referring to is the living evidence of the intelligent and dynamic mysterious essence from which all substance is created, shaped, and created again. The magic in this book is revealed to you through your very own capacity to perceive it and by your willingness to work with your imagination and with Spirit.

This magical energy has always been, is now, and forever will be. You can’t understand it intellectually or analyze it logically, yet you can know it deeply at the level of heart and soul, through your intuition. This magic is creative and life bearing. It isn’t something you can control, yet you can align with it and even swim beside it the way dolphins will mimic your movements as they follow alongside you in the ocean. If you’re willing to enter into a partnership with Spirit and allow your imagination to be ignited and inspired, you’ll be amazed by the results. You’ll find your own personal connection to magic by stepping out of linear, left-brain thought, and entering the creative domain of intuition and imagination.

Why a metaphorical “map”? Symbolic language allows you to access the layers of experience that are stored in your subconscious mind and are often hidden from your everyday awareness. These are the beliefs and thoughts that determine what you’re attracted to and what you manifest in your life. You decipher metaphors through your intuition, for it’s the soul and not the mind that can comprehend their more accurate multilayered meaning. Metaphoric language allows you to move beyond the surface of things and enter a deeper reality.

Inside all of us are psychological landscapes created by our feelings and thoughts—the Storm Fields we inhabit when we feel like we’re under attack, or the Sticky Swamp we become mired in when we’re overwhelmed by our obligations.

If I ask, “Where are you?” you might instinctively respond, “Lost!” or “Trapped at the bottom of a deep pit,” “Stuck in the mud, and overwhelmed in quicksand,” or “Wandering through a barren no-man’s-land.” These images are far more powerful in describing the intensity and profundity of your experience than a mere list of your life’s circumstances.

Once awakened to your inner landscape, you’ll be able to consciously shape your world by altering that landscape within, rather than focusing on your external reality. Having caused the dark clouds within to depart, you’ll discover that your inner sense of safety and calm are now mirrored in your outer circumstances. You also start to see the events in your life as part of a larger picture. This is when you find the real magic and meaning in the story of your life—and the bravery, strength, and wisdom to make empowered choices.

You Have a Map, and It Is Magical

Imagine for a moment that you were born with a Map to guide you on your journey from your first breath all the way to when it’s time to drop your body and return into Spirit. On this map are all the places you’re likely to experience. You can use it to orient yourself, find your way when you’re lost, chart a course to a chosen destination, or point the way home. The map depicts battlefields, resting spots, mountains to climb, oceans to cross, quicksand to carefully emerge from, and new territories to discover. It shows possible destinations and probable events.

This map is unlike any you’ve ever seen. Most maps are two-dimensional and made of paper. They lie flat and are covered in drawings representing the lay of the land. They don’t change when you look at them. When you discover new territory, you have to redraw a map and add new features and previously unknown places. You can hold it in your hand, but you can’t jump into it. . . . Well, you could, but you’d end up with a big hole in the paper and a bump on your head!

The Map is very different. It’s a multidimensional map made of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, memories, and intentions. It’s made of the soul’s essence of creativity and imagination.

Step into this map and it suddenly transports you into the land you’ve chosen to explore. Wondering where you are? Shazam! You’re in a landscape, discovering things about your circumstances that were impossible to see when you were completely engulfed by your emotional experiences, unable to view them with objectivity.

And there’s something else to note: The Map automatically changes when you do. A fresh perspective and a shift in perception can alter it. Its history can be rewritten, and you can create new pathways and new territories as it unfurls into your future.

You are constantly moving on the Map, able to leave your confines and check out another place whenever you choose. Once you know a place, it becomes part of your experience, and therefore, part of the Map. You have some familiarity with the terrain so that when you revisit it, you don’t feel quite so lost and disoriented. You quickly remember you’ve got that compass to help you, and allies who will appear for you.

Your internal landscape may shift when you least expect it, but if you try to stay in rhythm with your surroundings, you can develop the ability to sense when the ground beneath your feet is about to transform. Then you can instinctively move before you have to fall into a crevice or slip off a mountain pass and roll down a rock-filled gulley.

When you walk blindly, the map unfolds differently than it does when you’re awake and aware. So when something someone says triggers you and you can’t immediately “figure it out,” you can take time out, describe the landscape with metaphor and symbol, find the wisdom, and return without reacting. Always be aware of your ability to interact with the map. Remind yourself, “Today, I am not in the land of disaster. I don’t have to remain in this state of thought, feeling, and belief. I will find the oracle, and it will show me the way out.”

Your map is unique, and no one but you will ever have it, because it tells your own personal story. No two souls’ maps are the same even if the territories and landscapes are, because no one experiences events in exactly the same way. Two people can be sitting next to each other, and one will be wandering forlorn and parched in a desert while the other is relaxing happily in a beautiful meadow.

Even so, all who have visited the Valley of Loss know what it’s like to be at the bottom, looking up at hills that seem far too steep to climb, wondering how to escape to higher ground. We’ve all stood at the base of the Immovable Mountain, facing an obstacle that seems to block our way.

Everything that you are, have been, and ever could be is illustrated on this map. You just need to know how to use it to guide you along the twists and turns of the adventure of your life’s one-of-a-kind journey.

The Map becomes visible to you when you make a conscious choice to be awake, aware of something greater than yourself, and to embrace the possibility of a pattern created by Spirit that you can’t always make out from where you stand. You must be willing to see the Spirit within all things, to accept that there are millions of invisible connections behind all the events in your life. They are constantly moving, set in motion by an intelligence that you will never fully understand but must trust anyway.

As you surrender to Spirit and ask for illumination, your Map reveals itself in all its glory, and you realize that in your pocket is a compass that always points to true north: to Spirit, whose guidance will never fail you and whose efforts on your behalf never cease, whether you realize it or not.

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