The Work of Biography: The First Two Seven Year Cycles

I talked a little about my experience with doing biographical work at my Foundation Studies course in this post:  . If you have not done the preliminary work outlined in that post, you may want to start that first and then return here to deepen your work.

Based upon some of the ideas in my course regarding each seven year cycle, I have formulated some open-ended questions for you to answer in order to take a closer look at your own journey.

The Early Years – birth through seven – a focus of being grounded in the body

  • Do you think your birth or early feeding experiences affected you at all?
  • How did you gain movement — rolling, crawling, standing up, walking, running?  Do you look back and perceive yourself as being comfortable in your body and  connected to nature, or do you look back and perceive that you were awkward or behind in developmental milestones?  Was your speech development normal or delayed in some way?
  • How did you establish trust with adults and other children in your community?  Did you have a community?  Did you feel like you belong?  This is an important task of the Early Years.
  • What was your first memory?
  • What did you play?  Do you remember having a good imagination?  Do you still?
  • Do you remember your early childhood as one of unhurried time where a whole day of play awaited or as something structured and bustling?
  • Did you feel  physically and emotionally safe in early childhood?
  • Did you feel loved and wanted? Did you feel secure or did you feel you were playing a part of helping an adult who wasn’t handling things?
  • What were you doing the year you were six turning seven?
  • How did you interact with nature?
  • Was reverence a big part of your life?  Was religion or spirituality?  How did that shape you?
  • Do you remember imitating the adults around you?  Whom did you love and feel most comfortable with?

How do you feel these early years affected your ability to create and play as an adult?

As an adult do you function in community, do you feel safe and trusting in community?

Do you feel balanced in life between work and play, being an individual and being in  community?

The Years 7-14 – main focus of learning, and of learning to be an individual

  • How do you remember school?  What relationship did you have to learning in the years 7-14?  What sparked your curiosity during these years?
  • How do deal with conflict?
  • How do you see yourself during these ages as an individual?  How did you function  in a group?
  • What were the rules that you learned during this age, at school or from your family?  What rules were unspoken and how did that affect you later on in life?  Did you follow the rules, rebel against the rules, or did it affect you later in adulthood?
  • What kind of rhythm was there to your life?  Was it set by school or by your home life?
  • What role did religion play?
    What role did sports play?
  • Did you spend time out in nature?
  • Did you have time to dream, play, explore?
  • What do you remember about being age 9 or age 10?  Do you remember feeling differently about life?  What grade were you in?
  • What do remember about entering into puberty from this stage?


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