No matter how many changes you go through in your jobs, homes, or relationships, one thread that remains constant in your life is your spiritual journey. By exploring and recording your unique spiritual life, you can become more aware of the people and places that have influenced you and understand your life’s purpose. In his book The Story of Your Life, Dan Wakefield describes various drawing and writing exercises to stimulate memories and help you connect your past to your present.
Draw a picture of your favorite room in a home that you grew up in. It doesn’t have to be a good picture; it’s just for your pleasure. Recall where certain items were located, what the view from the window was like, the type of music you might have listened to there, what activities you participated in, and so on. When you are finished, write about a childhood spiritual experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an experience that happened in a church or temple; it can be any moment when you felt connected to a higher power or one with the universe. Or it could be an early time of spiritual crisis and doubt.
Draw a picture of yourself as a teenager, or draw a picture of how you viewed God when you were a teenager. It’s common for adolescents to begin questioning their religious upbringing and experimenting with alternative belief systems. Write about a spiritual experience from that time of your life. If it affected your direction in life as an adult, describe the ways it influenced you. Explore what parts of your teenage self are still a part of you, and what parts you have left behind.
Draw a picture of a friend, mentor, or other guide who helped you through a troubled time in your life or otherwise assisted you on your spiritual journey. Then write a description of this person as if you were introducing her or him to a friend. How might your life be different if you had never met this person?
Sketch a roadmap of your spiritual journey, beginning with the year you were born (or sooner if you have prebirth memories) and then following through all of the significant events, such as celebrations, physical relocations, traumatic experiences, decisions, beginnings and endings. If you’ve experienced intense moments of spiritual highs or lows, create specific road signs symbolizing them. Be creative! Don’t worry if your roadmap ends up looking more like a maze than a map. Most of us face many forks in the road of life. Remember to include detours on your roadmap; sometimes we discover more when we stray from our planned route. When you have finished sketching, try writing a travel piece about your spiritual journey as if you were reporting it for a documentary about adventure excursions.
Pulling It Together
After you have completed these or similar exercises, collate them in a binder, scrapbook, or journal and write about your reflections on the process of creating your spiritual autobiography. Describe the aspects in your life that have remained constant and those that have changed. Connect your past with your present and muse about your future. Your spiritual autobiography can be as short as a few pages or can develop into a book-length memoir. The extent of the project is up to you. Choose to keep it to yourself or share it. Then enjoy reading other peoples’ spiritual autobiographies, such as Dan Wakefield’s Returning or Paul Rademacher’s A Spiritual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.