21st January 2015 Up, up and away by Ruth Adams

Last November, I was fascinated by Grayson Perry’s series,’ Who Are You?’ on Channel 4 and was moved and intrigued by his ability to create a meaningful portrait symbol of each of the individuals and different groups he met.

It reminded me of a course I was on a few years ago where all of us had to think of an symbol which we felt represented a visual illustration of ourselves and then, drawing this in the centre of a large sheet of paper, we created a mind map of the future we wanted.

Immediately, I thought of a hot air balloon and subsequently this is the illustration I chose for one of my website designs and to illustrate my blog here on t+afa.

Later I did some research into Hot Air Balloons as I had no idea why I’d chosen that particular icon!
You’ll see from the t+afa website that we’re very much into the elements of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water to depict the 4 different personality types, and I found it interesting that Hot Air Balloons are powered by Fire & Wind – my two dominant elements. Then there are other phrases that describe hot air balloons –
– see the world from new perspectives
– when fired up can soar above the earth and see the big picture
– they carry others with them
– can appear serene when floating but
– it’s never a level flight, so never boring (Yes!!)
– the pilot is in control of taking it up and down (Yes!!)
– are capable of going to new heights
– from the ground they sees what everyone else does but once airborne has a new and different view
– are a mechanism that brings fulfilment & celebration
There’s a tradition amongst serious balloonists of a Champagne Toast on landing followed by The Balloonists Blessing –
‘The winds have welcomed you with softness
The sun has blessed you with warm hands
You have flown so high and so free that God has joined you in your laughter
And set you gently back in the loving arms of mother earth’ (Just til the next flight!)
So, champagne in hand, I’m celebrating who I am and fired up and ready to go on the next exciting part of the journey.

How about you?
What would you choose to symbolise who you are? What immediately comes to mind? Why do you think you’ve chosen this particular icon?
Now think about the children and young people you live or work with. Could you ask them this question? Perhaps give them some paper and pens and get them to be creative, drawing whatever symbol they think of. You may be surprised and intrigued by what they come up with and it may shed some light on some of their challenges.

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