Do you know about mind-maps?

They are a visual technique for displaying or sorting information so that you are able to see the connections that hook up related thoughts and ideas to a central theme or core idea and to each other.

Modern mind-maps were originated by the Buzan brothers — Tony and Barry — and presented in their book, THE MIND MAP BOOK:  How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential.  It is still probably the best guide to this technique.

The concept took off running and there are many examples and guidelines on the Internet that could be a source for making your own.  You might like to check out this one at http://www.mindmapping.com.

What mind-mapping does, basically, is help you open up whole new ways of thinking as you look at the connections and linkages between seemingly disparate ideas.

Merging and morphing occurs.  It is the coolest thing!


Every morning it’s one of my practices to doodle this mind-map into my journal, even before constructing my To-Do List.

The Full Cycle — from a page in Netta’s notebook

I call it my Ho’o-Cycle.  (“Ho’o”- is Hawaiian for “to do” or “to make”.)

This mind-map grew out of a 20-plus year journey that I’ve been making trying to find the meaning and mana in an ordinary life lived life-sized.  It reminds me of a way of walking that I’ve sussed out with a lot of help from wise guys, smarty-pants, masters of assorted skill-sets and other interesting sorts.

The Ho’o-Cycle has become my take on a mandala, I suppose.  It sure does work as a way to clear away the early morning groggy.

The thing was constructed out of concepts that can be used in the process of building a workable, life-sized mindset that helps you get to the life you want to live.

It shows the flow of the creative energy you can tap into using your imagination, your intention, and your passions to build your very own story – the one with meaning and mana (inherent power) for you.

Using the Ho’o-Cycle construct helps you make your life into the movie where you’re the writer, the producer and the whole production crew as well as the star and it turns out the way you want.

The little hand-made drawings are all mine.  They’re modeled after Hawaiian petroglyphs just because they’re a fun way to anchor the concepts in your mind.

What’s really weird about this Ho’o-Cycle paradigm is that it does work in sometimes strange and wondrous ways.  That’s one reason I figured it might be a good thing to share with you.


The Ho’o-Cycle starts from one premise:  THE ONLY REAL IS IMPERMANENCE.

No matter what you do or don’t do, at some point, the movie stops….


(roll the credits)

(nobody knows what happens next)

(The Big Mystery)

My theory in all of this is that the life you live (your story) is your answer to this appalling conundrum, that Impermanence (a.k.a. Change) is the only absolute.

The world where all of this story-building plays out is bounded by Life-Its-Own-Self with all the everything tossed into it – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, order and chaos.


The Ho’o-Cycle is actually a map of the World and Life as we know it.  I’ll break it down for you….

The Creative Dark

At the bottom of it all is Pō Panopano, what the Hawaiians call the “Creative Dark.”  It is the primal Abyss from which all possibilities arise.  It is raw potential.

The Long View

Above it all is ‘Ike Pāpālua, a Hawaiian term that literally means, “the long view.”

It is the result of all of the walks every human that ever was has made and all of the paths taken by the countless souls who have passed through this world of ours.  It is the realization of the inherent potential contained in the Abyss.

Heavy-duty stuff.

We call the in-between space the World. It’s all the everyday places and spaces we see and move around in.  It’s where we build our stories.

The World

At the very center of the Cycle, in the World,  is a boxed cross.

The cross shows the four directions.  It’s also an ancient symbol that signifies the center of the world as well as the cosmic axis, the point of communication between Heaven and Earth.

The box around the cross indicates that there are boundaries in this world that limit the expansion of the cross which (when unbound) can just go on outward forever.

It could be argued that the boxed cross presents a true picture of our lives on the planet.  Our possible expansion is limited by the knowledge we hold as well as by the time we are given on this earth.  The thing is a picture of the stage on which we play out our stories.

The arrows show the flow of energy in the world and in the Ho’o-Cycle….around and around and around.


In between the parameters set by Life-Its-Own-Self and doing all sorts of things in the World that is a meeting ground for Heaven and Earth, is you, the wanna-be Tao-Dancer, probably standing there flat-footed and confused trying to make sense of it all.

Wanna-Be Tao-Dancer

Every one of us humans is a wanna-be Tao-Dancer.  We move along in the World, making our own way, building our own stories.

If we put in a lot of effort and have a modicum of luck, we can use what we find in the World and in ourselves to construct a life that is joyous and rich with meaning and mana.  It’s what every dancer really wants, if all the smarty-pants who study such things are right.

What every Dancer needs is some sort of user manual or map or maybe just a finger pointing.

There are many perfectly fine ones out there.  Maybe you already have your own.  (Good on ya!)

Here’s one more….


There are four “phases” in the World of the Ho’o-Cycle paradigm, each one growing organically out of the previous one,  through which a Dancer moves in the World.  If the Dancer follows the sequence in its natural order, the story-building is likely to go more smoothly.

The Four Phases of the Ho’o-Cycle are:

[To learn more about each of the four phases in the Ho’o-Cycle, click on each of the names above.]


All of these phases of the Ho’o-Cycle are connected.

The flow naturally tends to go from visioning and prayer to building a foundation to dealing with time to walking in wisdom and then back to visioning and prayer again.

Every time you construct a story or make some other construct, it works better if you can move well and flow through each of these four phases, one after the other.

Sometimes certain projects and programs require you to go retrograde and backtrack to a previous phase.  After you have reworked that one, you can go forward again through the phases of the cycle.

At the end of some project, when you have reached your goal or when you are wanting to ascend to a new level and ramp up your game, then you’re back to being prayerful again.

Not so hard, huh?


In case you’re wondering why I insist on using Hawaiian phrases as the names of the Four Phases and for the various parts of the Ho’o-Cycle paradigm, it’s because for me the words are like super-expandable boxes that you can keep filling up with ideas.

They are not everyday words so they are not likely to be mooshed into regular, tick-tock dailynesses.

One of my favorite Hawaiian language pronunciation guides is the one by the good folks who put together the “Instant Hawaii” blog.  Check it out:  click-here

They’ll teach you how to speak Hawaiian “like a haole.”


Throughout the ages there have been other Dancers who have worked out ways to navigate through the in-between space we call the World.


Some of them found ways that worked for them and even helped other people make great stories for themselves as well.  We call these Dancers “wise,” “holy,” “saints,” “philosophers,” “great thinkers,” “smarty-pants,” and so on.

Mostly, when we try to follow in their footsteps, we fall down…a lot.


As we lie there all shredded and beating up on ourselves some more, we wonder: “What is WRONG with me?  Why can’t I do it RIGHT?”

I have been there.

I have done that.

Then, one time, before I stood back up yet again after one more face-splat, I thought on a thing some wise guy or other said:

“In this world of constant change, the only constant is the human heart.”

 And my thought was this:  the only human heart I know about is my own.

And then I thought, maybe I can find the life I want to live by learning the lessons my own heart has to show me.

Picture credit: Hearts by Thomas Hawk [CC BY-NC 2.0]
That was the seed that grew into my Ho’o-Cycle (and, later, into this blog).


My Ho’o-Cycle evolved over the course of a journey that started over 20 years ago.

“Rainy Road” by JoshBerglund19 via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
During the intervening time, I found and checked out various premises and hypotheses and tested assorted strategies, tactics, and techniques promulgated and espoused by numerous wise guys, smarty-pants and other minds I’ve encountered on the way.

Some stuff I tried worked well for me.  Others not so much.  Eventually the Ho’o-Cycle emerged.

Along the way I also found a lot of cool stories and many inspiring people with admirable ways of walking.

I also made a lot of poems, often as a way to clarify some confusing situation or other.

In this blog, LIFE-BUILT POEMS:  Living Out Loud, I share my continuing field notes, observations, snarkiness, heartful musings, and raves.  (I throw in the poems too…a bonus.)


“Achieving Balance” by James Jordan via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
The Ho’o-Cycle is just one map you can use to navigate through the world.  If you want to make your own, different version that might work better for you, I say go for it!

The Ho’o-Cycle is only a tool and all good tools can be improved, modified, or adapted.  If it works for you, that’s a good thing.  If not, please feel free to noodle with it and fool around until you get it right for you.

The blog that’s attached to the Ho’o-Cycle (LIFE-BUILT POEMS:  Living Out Loud) will not tell you what to think.  No attempt will be made to tell you who you “should” follow.

There will be no dire doom-and-gloom pronouncements about what happens if you don’t do this.  There are no glittering promises of the glorious rewards waiting for you if you hop on and try to ride this cycle.

All this blog does is show you how I’ve used the Ho’o-Cycle I built to explore the Mystery my own way.

“Pointing Fingers” by Newtown graffiti via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You might like to try it your own self to make your own trails to the story you want to be living – a story that has meaning and mana for you.

That’s as woo-woo as I’m going to get with this whole thing.

Have fun with it, guys.  (We ain’t getting out of this one alive….)

Header picture credit:  Haku Lei by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]



10 thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. Thank you for your wonderful reality check. Years ago, I was introduced to Zen and had a formal practice for many years.

    Then I lost focus and was overtaken by fear and desire. Your article about living in the in-between space and our story reminded me of things I already know. Thank you.

    1. One of the reasons I keep doodling out the Ho’o-Cycle every day is because it is so very easy to forget that in the middle of playing our Finite game, we are also playing in the Infinite one.  We all forget….

      Thanks for your return visit and sharing your thoughts, Gary.  I do appreciate it.

  2. ValerieJoy says:

    A very interesting and creative article. I must admit I’ve never seen such an artistically creative mind map. Usually mind maps are links and arrows that mean something to the designer of that particular mind map, but not always a great deal to a visitor.

    Several years ago I created a rather large mind map. It was a particular software I used and I remember adding to it regularly. Somewhere along the way I lost that mind map. It may have been when I had trouble with losing data on a computer.

    I have enjoyed the experience of reading your story about creating that mind map, and perhaps I will start another of my one sometime soon.

    Thank you.

    1. Hey Valerie Joy:

      Thanks for your visit and your story about your lost mind map.  I do hope you’ll try another.  It is so much fun! If you add pictures to the silly things they can get way out there.

      Please do come again….

  3. The most interesting and indepth about page I am sure I have ever read.

    I’m familiar with mindmapping, have half employed mindmaps for my online businesses, have always known their potential for thinking wider than normal — yet have never considered using them to connect my disjointed thoughts and life. Perhaps?

    Good on me, I have at last found my own user manual, and interestingly enough, it coincides and meshes with the four phases of the Ho’o cycle.

    In the end, after having living years of quite a disjointed life, many of those years trying to get better, be better, do better, I’ve see quite clearly now exactly how it works — Que Sera, Sera.

    I am sure that the only possible thing I can not change, yet can allow to change, is my inner self. I can prove by my own life that I can only keep what I am. I can attract much life that operates at a higher level than myself, yet I can not keep it. I always loose that, and keep what is equal to my inner self? I am so proud to know today to allow my inner most self to grow towards love and acceptance because in the end it’s all I want anyway. Sorry about writing this post, just throw some of it out.

    I shall return and read more

    1. Hey Mike:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  It truly amazes me how much each of us knows (after a certain amount of just livin’).  The perks of being chronologically advantaged, I suppose….

      Please do come again.

  4. I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’ve never heard of a mind map. I feel a little silly now! But it sounds like a wonderful concept and I certainly agree that we must know our own heart. Also living each day to the fullest, and being happy with where we are in this world and what we are doing in it can bring happiness to each of us. I will look into a mind map now, so thank you for your very interesting article!

    1. Hey walker2:

      Thanks for your visit and your comment.  I do encourage you to check out mind maps.  They are really a grand way to play.

      Please do come again….

  5. I have never heard of a mind mapping but, it seem like a good concept to explore.

    I am looking inside myself for inner guidance, understanding, and peace above all. I’m not sure if I would be interested in mind mapping, but it’s pretty deep.

    1. Thanks for checking out my about page, Dorothy. I do appreciate it. If you’re a visual sort of person, mind-mapping does help you organize your thoughts better.

      Please do come again.

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