A lifeline is one of the most important tools to be used in your quest for self-discovery. It is by learning what the patterns of your life have been that you will know how to make sense of why you have done things this or that way and how relevant these events have been.
A simple definition of lifeline is a horizontal line in which you will put dates of the most important events that occurred throughout your life up until now. Of course, in most cases, the older you are, the longer will your lifeline be and the younger you are, the shorter it will be. This does not necessarily mean that your life has not been presented with crucial events that have promoted a big change in your life, that haven’t veered your direction this or that way. In a lifeline, everything is important.
Since you know your life better than anyone else, you can figure out what is really important. However, do not discard other things as silly and unimportant. One never knows. For example: you moved from one city to another. This is not too memorable perhaps, until you see that there have been many such moves and hence, a pattern was formed.
To prepare, make sure you have a huge piece of paper for that, or get several sheets and taped them together. Draw a line in the middle of the paper. You will want to write both above and below the line. Hang the paper on an empty wall. Markers, not pens or pencils, are better for this project.
Next, on a separate piece of paper, make a list of the events in your life. Here are some examples:
- 1. Start with your birth date, the birth dates of your siblings, if you have.
- 2. Add the death of members of your family and pets or anyone else that you cared about.
- 3. Write down your health issues and “challenges” as in your childhood diseases, your surgeries, onsets of major illnesses.
- 4. Add the dates of your physical sexual development, for example, the first time you got your period or your first ejaculation, the first sign of pubic or face hair, breasts, etc.
- 5. Add the dates of your first sexual experiences.
- 6. Write the name of your boyfriends/girlfriends, lovers; beginning and ending of relationships.
- 7. Add your wedding/divorce dates (those are major beginnings and ends of relationships).
- 8. Add the birth of your children.
- 9. Add your schooling and graduations.
- 10. Add the date when your children left home.
- 11. Add the jobs you have had, etc.
The list can go on and on depending on what is important to you.
When you are done making a list, categorize and color code your list: for instance, all the births are red; all the relationships are blue; all health challenges are green; all the jobs are turquoise (don’t use yellow as it is not quite so visible); etc. Remember to leave black for the line itself.
Now, you can divide your lifeline in chunks of 7 or 9 years, so that you have a nice, regular spread of years. The reason for 7 or 9 years, instead of the common 10 years is explained by some metaphysicists as the dates in which significant life changes occur. You will notice this pattern and decide which to use.
Finally, draw your piece of art, writing the events perpendicularly to the lifeline.
When you are done, observe the patterns of your life; your ups, your downs, your challenges, your grief, your surprises, etc. Finally, analyse what it all means and where the major shifts have been. Mark them in the lifeline. This will help you determine how to go about the next phase of your life and will also help you understand yourself better. You are done for now.