Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit of Life: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Spirituality

Alternate Activity 2: Spiritual Journey Map

Part of Spirit of Life

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Unlined paper, standard 8 1/2" x 11" size or larger, for all participants
  • Handout 4, My Spiritual Journey
  • Drawing and writing implements, such as pencils, color pencils, markers, crayons
  • Pairs of scissors (including left-handed scissors) for participants to share
  • Rolls of clear tape for participants to share
  • Bell
  • Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds

Preparation for Activity

  • Review and photocopy Handout 4. Make more copies than you have participants, to ensure enough puzzle pieces.
  • Make sure all participants have a place to sit at a table or desk where they can create their maps.
  • If your group has not done Activity 7, Sharing in Groups of Three, read the description of that activity so you will be prepared to explain the roles of speaker, listener, and holder of the space. If you decide to incorporate some of Activity 7, Sharing in Groups of Three into this activity, print out the activity description and mark the parts you want to use.
  • Optional: You may prefer to cut out puzzle pieces from Handout 4 in advance, rather than have participants spend time cutting them out during the workshop. If so, cut out the puzzle pieces from some or all of the photocopies of Handout 4. Store the cut-out puzzle pieces in a plastic bag.
  • Optional: After you review the description of this activity, create a map of your own spiritual journey to show participants as an example.

Description of Activity

Tell the group that each of us is on a spiritual journey. You may use these words, or your own:

Along the journey from birth to death, each of us learns and grows and experiences many things. All of this learning, growing, and experiencing affects our relationship with the Spirit of Life, our relationship with the ground of our being. These things affect our spirituality.

Tell the group that they will now have an opportunity to create individual maps of their own journeys of spirituality. Ask participants to consider how these questions pertain to their lives as lived thus far:

  • What have been some of the peaks and valleys? The rough seas?
  • When have been times of wandering about? Times of spinning in circles?
  • What have been the most spiritually challenging times, and the most spiritually straightforward times?
  • How and where have they found pathways out of spiritually difficult times, or pathways into better times?

Tell participants that their maps can include markers for their changes in religious identity and spiritual practices as well as major events in their lives that affected their spiritual development. Offer these examples, as well as others you may think of:

  • Making a friend
  • Getting through a loved one's illness
  • Learning to be yourself
  • Dealing with addiction
  • Seeing the world as more varied than you once thought it was
  • Trusting yourself to make an important decision
  • Accepting a physical feature of yours that you once disliked.

Explain that participants will have ten to fifteen minutes to create maps of their spiritual journeys. Encourage them to concentrate on the important points along the way, rather than the details, because the time they have to complete their maps is short.

If you have prepared your own map as an example, show it now. Then distribute sheets of unlined paper, handouts and/or puzzle pieces, scissors, drawing and writing implements, and rolls of tape. If you are distributing cut-outs rather than entire handouts, make sure you give each participant a variety of puzzle pieces. Tell participants they can trade with one another for more of certain pieces.

Demonstrate that the puzzle pieces will fit together in any sequence. Explain that participants may write on and decorate the pieces they want to include. They may tape the pieces together or onto a sheet of unlined paper to form a basic map of their spiritual journey. Let participants know they are welcome to color outside the lines or to draw a map on a piece of unlined paper if they'd rather not use the puzzle pieces. Ring the bell when time is up.

Ask participants to bring their maps and move back into the triad or pair they shared with during Activity 7, Sharing in Groups of Three. If your group has not done that activity, form triads or pairs now.

Invite participants to share their maps, allotting each speaker two minutes. Instruct each triad to rotate the three roles of speaker, listener, and holder of the space. Tell the group that along with sharing their maps, triads can discuss these questions:

  • How did it feel to look at your life as a spiritual journey?
  • Where does Unitarian Universalism fit into your journey?

Remind the group that one's spiritual journey is a deeply personal subject. All are welcome to show or not show their maps, and to reveal to their triad as much or as little personal information as they wish.

Ring the bell to begin the discussion time. Ring it again at two, four, and six minutes to signal that triad members should switch roles.

Gather everyone into the large group and ask for a few responses to the same two questions:

  • How did it feel to look at your life as a spiritual journey?
  • Where does Unitarian Universalism fit into your journey?

Affirm the good work of the group.

Including All Participants

If you notice participants struggling to hear one another in their small groups, invite some groups to leave the room and find a quieter space.