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Springing forward…

It’s March 1st, and at least in Vancouver, March brings with it intimations of spring – YAY! I’ve always felt a bit of a Bad Canadian in my dislike of winter. Our literature, our icons, supposedly our very identity, are bound up with cold and snow and ice…. But I grew up in Vancouver, which is more about chilly and rain, and…more rain. And early springs that start in February and stretch gloriously through to June. So today I was walking along in the rain, and was pleased to note lovely clumps of crocuses, snowdrops and purple heather, and despite the rain I realized spring is just around the corner. And I say again: YAY!

And on that note, I’m going to spring into action by updating my blog with a few images I should have posted a long time ago.

Here is one I did some time ago for a session for the Burnaby Understanding the Early Years Project. The team members were invited to celebrate their accomplishments, and this is what they looked like (click on images to see larger):


I like the way the words and images flow in this chart. It feels celebratory to me even when the words are too small to read!

Fast forward several months, and I’m co-facilitating a session with a group of youth workers who were charting the journey they had taken as individuals and as a team. To help me choose a resonant image for their map, I asked them to think about what the journey looked like to them. A river? A winding road? Climbing a mountain? They thought for a few minutes and then one of them said, “To me it looks like…a rainforest!” And he proceeded to explain exactly why. And everyone on the team agreed that yes, a rainforest was the very image to describe their journey!

Well, who knew? Of all the images I might have come up with myself, a rainforest would not have been among them! Which just goes to show the value of asking people what things look like to them. Here is their rainforest journey:


(The blue-rimmed boxes contained names, which I removed for confidentiality’s sake.)

What especially delighted me was that once they had chosen the visual metaphor themselves, they really owned it. They used the imagery in talking about their journey, and situated their accomplishments and challenges within the framework of the rainforest. And it was on the group’s instruction that I included the giraffe in the corner!

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