4. Building your Bento

Building your Bento This section guides you through creating your Bento. This requires two pieces of paper, a writing implement, and fifteen minutes of your time. By the end you’ll have a personal roadmap to self-coherence.
On both of these pages, draw a Bento and label each box, like this. If your prefer, you can instead download and print two copies of this pre-made Bento page.
You should now have two pieces of paper, each with a Bento. We’ll use one to start. Set aside the other for a little bit later.
This is your first Bento (congrats!). We’re now going to fill it with your values, goals, and desires. In the following steps, you’ll be given a series of simple prompts to be answered in each space of the Bento. Take about 90 seconds to write down everything that comes to mind in each one.
We’ll start with Now Me. This is the most “selfish” part of you. The part that craves safety, pleasure, and autonomy.
What does Now Me want and need? What do you need to feel secure? How do you provide for yourself? See some example answers to the left. Take 90 seconds to write your answers in the Now Me box of your Bento.
Next is Future Me. Future Me is the older, wiser version of yourself that lived up to their commitments and made all the right decisions. What do they say matters most in life for you?
What does Future Me want and need? What must always be true of you? What would your obituary say about you? What drives you? Take 90 seconds to write your answers in the Future Me box.
Next is Now Us. Now Us are the people we rely on and who rely on us. Our families, neighbors, coworkers, people of the same faith, ethnicity, nationality, and so on.
What does Now Us need? Picture your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and community. What do you give in your relationships with them? What do they give to you? What's at the heart of your relationships? Take 90 seconds to write your answers in the Now Us box of your Bento.
Last is Future Us. Future Us is the next generation. Our children and everybody else’s children too.
What does the next generation need? What do your children (literal or figurative) need? What did previous generations leave for you? What should you leave for the next? Take 90 seconds to write your answers in the Future Us box.
Your Bento should now look something like this.
The next step is to look for similarities and themes in each space. Circle, underline, and highlight whatever stands out. What underlying themes emerge? Take 90 seconds.
Finally, take out your second Bento (or download and print this one).
Sum up the themes that emerged in each part of your Bento in a simple phrase. Four words or less is ideal. Once you have it, write it on the blank Bento.
This is your Bento. Your personal roadmap for self-coherence. Feel free to revise it as you see fit. But let’s get some practice using it first.