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AMB Life Coaching- July 2019

A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.
~ Alfred Korzybski

Crossing a Creek or
the Map is not the Territory

I was vividly reminded of this famous phrase the map is not the territory by Alfred Korzybski while hiking the other day: diligently following a printed map and with a GPS app in hand, I found myself having to cross a creek at thigh height. This was not anticipated. Had I taken the time to read the sign posted at the beginning of the path, I would have noticed that it indicated a “wet crossing”. Before proceeding, I would have known that there was no bridge, seasonal or not, to cross that river.

Similarly, in April, when scouting the Kumano Kodo for my pilgrimage offering in the Fall, it was obvious that the descriptions and maps I had been provided were not telling half of the story: yes there were distance and elevation charts, average temperature and rain fall graphs, trail photos and stories from other hikers but .. looking at an elevation chart in your living room or on a phone screen is not the same as looking up the mountain top from the bottom of the trail, with your backpack on, after a sleepless night and an ache in your knee.

In the world of coaching, the map is not the territory means is that our perception of reality is not reality itself but our own version of it, or our "map".

We each build our own map based on personal experience, beliefs and context. We each have a different map: our perception of reality is different and individual to us. So, in a similar way that the map is only a representation of the territory, each person’s perspective is only that, their view of reality.

So, if you find yourself at a “wet crossing” when you actually thought you were safely going to be walking on a bridge without having to touch the water, not understanding how you got there and not knowing how to make it to the other side, you may want to work with a coach who can help you see how your reality map is not the territory. If somebody had pointed to me the sign indicating “wet crossing”, I would have had a chance to evaluate my options. The panel “wet crossing” was information I did not have because it was not on my map, I did not read the sign as I walked past, and there was nobody else to point it out to me.

And then, if and when you do decide to cross the creek, additional support and encouragement can be helpful: I had my poles and a hiking partner with me. Crossing the creek turned out to be refreshing, exhilarating, as well as a source of inspiration for this newsletter.

In her poem “Crossing a Creek”, Martha Courtot writes:

crossing a creek
requires 3 things:

a certain serenity of mind
bare feet,
and a sure trust
that the snake we know
slides silently
just beyond our vision
will choose to ignore
the flesh
that cuts through
its territory
and we will pass through

some people think crossing a creek
is easy,
but I say this—
all crossings are hard,
whether creeks, mountains,
or into other lives

and we must always believe
in the snakes at our feet
just out of our vision
and we must practice believing
we will come through.

So, for the Women’s Pilgrimage in Japan that I’ll be leading in the Fall, in addition to the amazingly detailed Japanese maps, there will be a local mountain guide who will show us the signs we will tend to ignore and will take us through the unexpected creek crossings and detours. And as your life coach, I will be there to help you navigate and expand your reality map as well as support your life crossing.

AND we will practice believing we will come through.



Join me!
Women’s Pilgrimage in Japan


Applications are being accepted throughout the summer.

Feel free to schedule a call with me at any time to discuss this offering.

(Wise Women) Walk of August 17

The next (Wise Women) Walk is scheduled for August 17. We will be hiking the hills of Portola Valley. Come and enjoy a guided meditation, silent walking followed by a group circle and a hike. On this walk we will explore how “The Map is not the Territory”. Registration for this free event with the button below.

Nature as Medicine:
A Prescription Drug Commercial and Recommended Doses