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You Too, Can Make Metaphor Magic

Surprise Inside
Creative Commons License photo credit: hermanturnip
Send us some metaphors for your life, your trials and tribulations, your joys and your passions.

In my last post I shared a reader’s description of grief over significant personal losses:

Think of my grief as a wave and I’m on a surfboard. I must watch that I don’t lose my balance and become engulfed by the water. Water has power and can drown me. But I don’t want to drown, so I will stay on top of the wave of grief and let it carry me to the shore where I will be safe and feel stable. This wave will crash and I will have survived.  I will be stronger for having made it to shore unharmed. But I will never forget the ride.

Besides touching my heart, our reader demonstrated how potent Metaphor can be as a tool for understanding and working through our personal challenges.  Jose Ortega y Gasset, a prolific Spanish philosopher says this about metaphor: “[It] is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its [power] verges on magic… a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of his creatures when he made him.”

In fact, Metaphorology.com tells us that metaphors serve us well:

The study and conscious use of metaphors [is] a “thinking technology,” as well as a kind of “science of personal transformation.” You can consciously change the way you think, the way you experience life, and the way you respond to life by using different metaphors.

Crafting a Metaphor Is Easy!

  1. “Name” a problem or a joy:
    • Enjoying home-cooked meals in someone else’s kitchen!
  2. Brainstorm a list of things that could be equated with the named joy or problem.
    • Crackerjack prize
    • Jewel
    • Spring rain
    • Shooting star
    • Real maple syrup
  3. Pick one from your brainstorm list, whichever one appeals to you most, pair it with the named joy or problem and then add some commentary that connects the two.
    • Enjoying home-cooked meals in someone else’s kitchen is the crackerjack prize, a happy surprise inside an enjoyable visit.
    • Enjoying home-cooked meals in someone else’s kitchen is a precious jewel gracing an evening visit with friends or family.

Do Over – With a “Problem” This Time

  • My paperwork is a swarm of bees attacking, stinging, no honey given.
  • My paperwork is a crazy circus setting up messy camp on my desk.
  • My paperwork is a Friday night drive-time traffic jam snarled across my desk.
  • My paperwork is a firestorm capriciously burning through my energy and my capital.

How Was That Helpful – What Can We Learn?

I’ll take the firestorm metaphor and play with it:

After the forest fires in our area, I attended a community program called “Stand and Defend” in which they taught us how to prepare our homes and property against fire, what to do when a fire was coming and how to know when to ask for help.  And, after going to those meetings I felt more confident about what to do in the case of forest fires.

Hmmm, I can use those same ideas to improve my attitude and experience of paperwork – I can ask other people how they organize their paperwork and use what works for me.  I can prepare my office to streamline the paperwork organization. Perhaps then I will feel some mastery over this disaster!

Or, playing with the crackerjack prize metaphor:

Being invited to stay and enjoy a home-cooked meal in someone else’s kitchen is the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box – a treasured bonus to a special treat!  Spending time with family and friends is an ephemeral experience that often happens on the fly.  Slow down and make the time to enjoy family and friends.  These are opportunities that are easy to miss in the hurry and rush of doing, doing, doing.  Don’t sail past these treasured moments.

Your Turn

Give it a whirl, pick a problem or joy and craft up a metaphor or two. Then see how your metaphors help you change the way you think, the way you experience your life and perhaps most importantly, the way you respond to life.

Send us some metaphors for your life, your trials and tribulations, your joys and your passions.

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“It is not enough to reach for the brass ring. You must also enjoy the merry go round.”

Julie Andrews

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