Towards relational mapping.

Faced with a blank page and two worthwhile directions to go.

1) The process of detaching. This post has been stirring in me for quite some time particularly as a number of friends are in the process of changing careers and residency. It would follow in the wake of the post called “What are we maintaining?” Which is essentially about exploring all the things we do with our time and thinking consciously about how we might shift our activities so that we do things that are more aligned with the vision we hold of our ideal selves. It made sense I as began to think through detachment, that we first consider an inventory of sorts.

2) Meanwhile, as I was writing that piece on maintaining, I began to think about whether place and space and our relationship to them have a stronger influence on our identities than do our activities.

Today I thought it might we worthwhile to just write in a free flow form and see if anything useful arises. I’m on a bit of a writing retreat with two days remaining before I return home to the thunder of everyday commitments. As we ramp up into the summer and all of its busy-ness I’m nearly exhausted just thinking about the number of changes that are yet to be done to put our businesses back on solid financial footing. I suppose this is one reason that both maintaining and place are forefront in my mind.

I undertook a dramatic shift by relocating our store and in the process I realised that I was maintaining so much more than the store itself in the location it was. I was holding on to old retail ideas in a time where the internet and the sharing economy have transformed retail shopping habits. In the possess of moving, I began to notice that in detaching from the old location I was helped to be open to what is possible in the new location. Partly the process was to get past the hurdle of wanting to hang on to what was, and to be willing to let it be history.

As I detached I began to also understand the incredible influence of place itself. This as led me to consider a question of strength or intensity of relational influence.

Does the relational connection we have with a place or space or the physical generally have a stronger influence on us than our relationships with people? How might we surface or highlight the influence place has on us? Is there a way to compare the strength of influence that relationships have, particularly as it comes to place. Are there some indicators that could help us understand relational influence, and navigate change?

I raise this here because if the conjecture that place could have a greater influence on us than relationships with people (note: I’m aware of ideologies and their influence and will come back to that in later writing) it behoves us to consider why it does, and how we might use this knowledge to better serve ourselves and those around us.

It might help inform where we should live, how we should design our spaces, how the physical could be constructed in ways that create room for healthier living. And in this age where world governance is uncertain, are there things that, on a macro scale, we could build that would serve to transform our communities, not just now but into the future?

On a micro scale, how would this knowledge inform our own living. What might we do with our own living spaces, working spaces, and what lies in between them as we travel from space to space?

Those are all big questions. It’s perhaps the quality of the questions that guides our direction, not how well we answer the questions.

Let’s return to the the idea of indicators that might help us determine the strength that particular relationships have over our identity, whether those relationships be with ideas, people, place, or activities.

What are the questions we could ask about their influence? What are the questions that we could ask to assess the quality of those relationship, ie: do they take you in the direction you would like to go, or away from it? Are there questions we could ask about how easy or difficult it might be to change the influence of a relationship?

For now let’s consider questions in general. In future writing I think we can further categorize our questions into two groups: 1) the influence relationship have on our identity, and 2) how easy or difficult that influence might be to alter.


Consider various relationships in your life and how they influence your identity and ability to move toward your ideal self. I’m posing some questions here but you may well design many of your own.

  1. Can you identity relationships you have with:
    • people
    • spaces, places and things
    • ideas
    • activities?
  2. Can you notice now, or might you consider, how strong or weak the influence of any particular relationship has on your identity?
  3. When a particular relationship is active, are you compelled to participate more or less?
  4. Do you feel forced to participate, or are you a willing participant?
  5. Does the relationship exert influence on you as well as others?
  6. Is the relationship of your own creation, whether that be positive or negative?
  7. Is the relationship one that sustains you in tough times?
  8. Is the relationship one that depresses you?
  9. Is the relationship one that brings you joy, or does it cause you anxiety?
  10. If the relationship were to end tomorrow, would that be a good thing for you?
  11. How much do you want to attach to, or detach from, this relationship?
  12. How much control do you have to attach to, or detach from, this relationship?
  13. Are you able to look at this relationship from multiple perspectives and consider its influence on you?
  14. Does this relationship alter you physically?
  15. Can you see this relationship’s influence on others?
  16. Can you see how this relationship is influencing you or others?

Develop some of your own windows to look into your relationships. Here are a few examples to get you started. These might help you create a map of your relationships and their identical influence.

  • weak influence ——-> strong influence
  • subtle ——–> obvious
  • influences just you ——–> influences everyone
  • easy to change ———-> difficult to change

In my next post I’ll explore some ideas about relational influence, and the ease of difficulty they are to change. Then, I think it will be time to navigate the waters of detachment.

Until next time, I wish you much peace, thoughtful pondering, and strength in being your own best guide. As always people, do comment below, share this post or others with anyone whom you might think it could be of interest.

If you haven’t already become a subscriber, please join by clicking on the button below. You’ll receive an occasional email when I post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.