Global heart map

Yesterday I read about LitWorld’s Global Heart Map Project.

I’ve created heart maps before with students, for staff development, and for workshops on teachers as writers. I have, and love, Georgia Heard’s book: Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing.

But this global project literally caught my heart.

In the words of LitWorld: “Heart Maps allow us to connect with each other by sharing the ideas and feelings that define us in the most elemental of ways —and in these uncertain times, that connection is more important than ever.

Their call is for submissions of heart maps as a means of inspiring hope and strength around the world. For me, at the moment, it’s about the collective story of humanity, uniting now in time of great need. This is something children of all ages can do to express their fears, concerns, gratitude, and love. And, with distance learning in full force by necessity, I cannot think of a better way for teachers and students to connect, combine, and contribute to the world.

The directions on the site about how to submit are simple, as is the invitation to create the heart map: “Inside the heart, draw or write about the ideas, the feelings, and the things that are most important to you at this time.”

And so I did.

Up until now, I’ve only written words on my heart maps. This global one, in these times, seemed to call for something more … so I drew what’s in my heart today.

I’ll supply you with a key, in case.

In the center of my heart: Faith. I have never been more grateful for it. This is where my map begins.

At the bottom of the map: Hope, as the rising sun; I see everything else in its light.

The rays of Hope are shining on a clouded world. If you look closely, all around the rim of the world are the words The Earth is upside down. The Earth is upside down … the compass directions of N and W are there but the map must be turned upside down to see them as they should be.

On the left, Friends, above it, Family, and between them, Books; this wasn’t intentional but it occurs to me that books ARE my friends and my family, too … there’s clearly some subconscious stuff coming to the surface here…

Beneath Books: The American flag. My country, ’tis of thee, my home sweet home … how my concern increases daily for your well-being … for our well-being … Old Glory touches Faith. Behind the flag is is a chain; on each link, a tiny letter, spelling Technology. How grateful I am to be living in a time when isolation is only physical and that technology exists to keep us connected to one another.

Looming rather large at the top through the middle: A rose. It developed of its own accord out of the swirls around Family. I found myself just drawing it out. Why should a rose appear here in my heart map? What does it mean? Maybe it’s again representing my country; the rose is the national flower of the United States. And of course a rose stands for love. I think it may be a memorial flower, for those who’ve already died in the ravage of COVID-19. Most interesting to me … the words sub rosa, “under the rose,” mean secrecy and confidentiality … if you look, you’ll see the bottom of my rose is connected to Writing. I don’t know why I connected the rose to Writing. I just knew the rose should spring from the end of the word. I don’t know the secret yet. I’ll probably have to write to find out. Even further sub rosa are tiny music notes; at the edge of the upside down world, in light of Hope, a song remains in my heart.

Beside the pencil for Writing is a teardrop for losses and sacrifices made in this pandemic, and a caduceus representing the medical profession, fighting hard on behalf of us all.

Note that entire upper right corner is cracking. My heart breaks for Italy today; their losses, the horror. It’s staggering. That’s the Italian flag there behind the praying hands, encircled with the word PRAY repeated over and over: PRAY PRAY PRAY for the tide to turn in Italy …

Oh, World.

Today you are my heart.

32 thoughts on “Global heart map

  1. Fran, this is so beautiful on so many levels. The drawing alone is amazing, but the way you explain it… as Jess says, each part is a poem unto itself. I will check out the LitWorld project. Maybe some of our teachers will share it with students, as it is such a powerful way to connect us. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Melanie. I think teachers and students would love this at present – that was one of my reasons for sharing. It is both meaningful and digital, with lots of artistic freedom. As soon as I saw it I was drawn – literally – to pour out my heart.


  2. Interesting is that I read your description while the image was loading which means that I had your words to guide my inner eye before seeing the actual heart. I think there’s meaning in that, too. I often resist drawing but you may well have inspired me to try this out, regardless of whether I share it. Thank you for your example, Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did the drawing match what you saw with your inner eye? I’d love to know! I hope you’ll try drawing – you may be surprised. Let it come as it will – your own style. I used to do it a lot more years ago. It was like returning to a dormant part of myself. Thank you for your words, Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know what, Fran, the picture filled in the details for me. My mental picture had gathered the elements but it was something entirely different to see the way those elements were connected, how the words fed into the images. That was unique and really something for the eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the colour choice of paper and pen (it’s not black is it?) that makes it look kind of other worldly and ethereal. Such deep meaning, so thanks for the explanations that broaden the depths you have written about and the delicacy of your drawings that all just bind together within your heart. That says it all!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The map is stunning. I’m glad you provided a key. I love the way the writing explicated the map. It’s a brilliant idea to have students draw a map showing the. O dot ion of their heart in this moment. I did not know the Rose is our national flower. How did I not know this? I fear we may become Italy in places. My heart breaks for that beautiful country, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I believe the heart maps could really help children process their emotions in these times – it helped me! As with writing, there was something therapeutic and very cathartic about it. The rose is a fairly recent adoption for the U.S. – apparently we didn’t have a national flower until 1986. The news says we are two weeks behind Italy … let us pray we started “withdrawing” in time to keep us us from that trajectory. Thank you, Glenda.


  5. What a wonderful post, Fran. So perfect these times. I always learn from you.. I didn’t know the expression sub rosa, but somehow it seems so right. I also love the way you described all the entries on your map, that a student might presenting. This extends the visual image and brings your reader/audience in to what you are sharing in such a personal way.
    I have done heart maps with my students, but not related to this or recently It was all at the beginning of the year to determine writing territories. What a good idea to go back to that in a new way now. I love also that you gave us a link .
    You always inspire, Fran. Your faith is clearly a big part of where you get that guiding light.
    kudos on this piece,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Colleen! “Sub rosa” has such an interesting history … I am always grateful for you and your words, You, too, are an inspiration in your writing and your faith.


  6. You are so positive in your posts; it was revealing to see that there is heartbreak there, too, alongside hope and faith. I think most of us are in the “and/but” muddled ponds of feeling right now–hopeful but feeling helpless, happy and dejected and reflective. So many shades of gray in our thoughts, feelings, our current weather, your drawings! If you haven’t already done so, take a peek at yesterday’s “CBS Sunday Morning” show. One of their reporters is currently in Italy and under the weather a bit with a positive case of COVID-19, yet finds joy in the evening rooftop and window sing-alongs. I’m glad there is a song in your heart, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is there any better illustration of the human spirit overcoming adversity than the joyous singing in Italy? They’ve touched the world with it … the news and high numbers of daily losses there, and so many being elderly and alone, mortuaries running out of room, doctors and nurses overworked and overwhelmed, some of whom have also died … those are the cracks in my heart. I appreciate our country’s effort to keep that from happening here. True about the muddled ponds of feeling … I think that’s why Hope is at the bottom of my heart map, kind of like Pandora’s box; despite all, it remains, and will be the last to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The symbol of a heart is such a needed one now. And how your drawing led you into your own heart. I love this idea of drawing on the right side of the brain where feelings lie. This touches us all. I am also happy for the technology that connects us and how we find friends in the midst of crisis, heart to heart across the waves of sky and river and sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a beautiful drawing, beautiful explanation through beautiful words. Thank you for another inspiring post after yesterday’s slice about heroes. I am inspired to read the hyperlink and make my own heart map! Thank you & sending comfort!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This part of your post resonated with me:

    “I don’t know why I connected the rose to Writing. I just knew the rose should spring from the end of the word. I don’t know the secret yet. I’ll probably have to write to find out.”

    This is so true–we write (and draw) to uncover and discover. Thank you for sharing you thinking and your process!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This work of compassion is absolutely beautiful. Each part of it is so thoughtfully considered. I found myself drawn to “the compass directions of N and W are there but the map must be turned upside down to see them as they should be.” There’s something there about a compass – our own moral compass and that of our larger culture – that speaks to me so clearly in all of the imagery you present. And the idea that it’s all turned upside down right now? I’m feeling so very much of that right now.

    Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, that focus on the compass is so compelling, Lainie – our moral compass. So fascinating, how we all can see things so differently – filtered through our own hearts. Here’s to a sense of “rightside-up” soon – and thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I would like to meet you and play scrabble. I feel like you would be a superb conversationalist with profound thoughts. Your writing consistently leaves me pondering the depth of your message. Thanks for your reflective, heart-felt slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Woowwwww, Fran…
    I’ve created and encouraged many a heart map in my day, but I’ve never seen or “heard” one quite like this. How its lyrical expressions resonate through my own heart. The depth of thought, the intricate detail, the foresight, the afterthought, even the intrigue – it sings like a symphony of sorts.

    Each element has its own sound, yet the synchronization of their parts creates both a joyful and somewhat bittersweet masterpiece. Your illustrations are beautiful. I’m so glad you included them along side your highly esteemed text. You have dramatically changed my thoughts on what a heart map can – or perhaps – was meant to be.

    Thank you for painting this beautiful picture…You have captured the heart of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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