Five steps

  1. Engaged reading: Most often, we disengage while reading, fearing what we would learn about ourselves through honestly identifying with the characters. This step teaches us why we disengage and how to employ practices like annotation to help keep ourselves engaged in those moments. 
  2. Character identification: Through engaged reading, we become able to identify with characters as aspects of ourselves, and this step is where we bring that intention home. We experience characters as a living complex of trials, successes, limitations, and possibilities. 
  3. Psychic mapping:Hamlet psychic map
    Knowing the characters as aspects of ourselves, we become able to convert their successes and failures into a map of wisdom which applies to us as well, a charting of our emotional selves. This chart is objective in that it can be applied to any situation, not just the work of literature in which it arose.
  4. Executive summary: Following the conclusion of the previous step, this step sees us applying the learnings of the psychic map to our own lives, seeing how our lives will improve through our internalization of wisdom. More of a celebration of what we’ve learned than a commitment to ourselves, this step sees us envisioning new possibilities. 
  5. Community mapping: As beings who have sedimented wisdom in the context of our lives, this step sees us converting our wisdom into action in the world, becoming teachers and healers to those around us. This is an exciting, extroverted process that inevitably inspires new challenges which provoke further reading. 

Through all these steps, there is a sixth step, called the High horse, which helps us to gauge whether we are doing things right and to buoy ourselves up when we feel vulnerable. This technique is the process’s method of assessment, but it’s really a means of staying in touch with ourselves.