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The bathroom is the first left down the hall

June 06, 2011, at 07:06 AM

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When you are a guest in someone’s home often they’ll make sure that you have a few major signposts, most especially where the bathroom is. This is the bare-minimum map that decorum requires for temporary guests in your home. After this is usually introductions to others, if there are other guests.

Exercise:

We’re going to establish the absolute bare minimum map of your head at this juncture. I suggest you just start out with a document on your computer. It can be a word processor or text editor. Simply list the guests you are aware of. No digging around to look for others required, and names are not necessary. Don't forget to put yourself on the list. If there’s someone you picture in a purple hat, but you don’t have a name for them, you can list them as “the one with the purple hat.” I call this guest list a “headmap” but you can call it whatever you’d like.

One delineation you may wish to make is to separate or put an asterisk (*) next to the names of guests on the welcoming committee verses the guests-at-large who have not volunteered to be on the welcoming committee. Assume there are other guests you have yet to be able to list, so the list might grow.

If you are already aware of a good number of guests in your head, or if you have a good mental picture of the structure of your internal landscape, you might choose to make a fancier map later. I alternate between lists, diagrams, collages, artwork, twice I created a map out of cloth and embroidery floss, and once I made a really high-tech one in 3D showing my internal landscape in great detail -- but that was a huge project and I'm somewhat artistically inclined. Don’t make it too elaborate a project; just make a list or simple diagram right now. Over the years, I found one thing to be true time and time again: as soon as I worked on a headmap it was obsoleted, often before I completed it. That’s why I don’t recommend creating complicated projects from this idea. A list on a computer is easily updated. See if anyone else decides they’d like to be listed as being on the “welcoming committee” before you save the file and move on.

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