Life is a metaphor. A day to day interaction between things, events, and people; all presented to you as a living lesson. Pay attention and you will see that you are surrounded by messages right there just waiting for you to listen to them.
Years ago, I was drawn to metaphors to help me guide a school staff through changing times. The symbolism worked as a way to visualize the journey and organize the path. Over the past years, I have been reflecting on my life. I found writing as a way to pour my thoughts out and then later go back and edit. Was this what I really wanted to say? Did I really feel that way? Do I want to sound like this? It was a great exercise but now I have so many documents partially finished and basically abandoned because I would get to a spot where my brain would simply say, “This is just your ego talking. No one else wants to hear about your woes. Everyone has their own bag of shit. What makes you think your’s was fuller than anyone else’s. In fact, many might say that I have lived a blessed life, compared to their’s.
Still, at one point, I looked lovingly at those themes that I used with my staff and felt that perhaps there was something there that was worthy of sharing. Perhaps another principal, somewhere, would find the idea of the use of metaphors to be engaging and would profit from the ones that I had so carefully crafted. Again, after working to pull the collection together, I would look at them and think “Why? Why would someone care about a system that worked for me, especially when I knew that very system had become a source of humor after my departure. So, I packed that away as another failed flight.
Then, just recently, I started writing again, inspired by emotional events in my life along with the messages that spoke to me at the time. Those writings turned into a series of blog posts that aired my pain during a stressful journey to the mountains in Sedona and then a series of photo books from my journey into my soul after my second divorce. While the writings were seen by some, they were not necessarily publicized because they were so deeply personal. I, on the other hand, grew tremendously just from the act of writing them.
And so I come to this point. Recently, I shared a video entitled “Ira Glass On Storytelling” (Shiyang Lia, D.). The message was to believe in your creativity. I posted a note, along with the video, that said that I often feel as though I fall short of true creativity but was inspired by the video. One person responded immediately to my post saying that my comment surprised her as she had always seen me as highly creative. While I have heard this before, I have tossed it aside thinking that my spontaneous little ditties were not of the truly creative caliber of a real artist.
Then, a few days later, I receive a large envelop in the mail from a Facebook friend who had recently written and published a children’s book. I was one of the first to buy a copy; so pleased to know this person; so proud of his accomplishment. I assumed that perhaps he had written another one and was gifting me with a copy. Instead, it was a book entitled “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron (2002). Inside was a note from him that echoed what the other person had said, that he felt the Ira Glass video was wonderful and timely for him but that he, too, had always seen the creative spirit in me and was surprised to think that I did not. He wanted me to read this book. He said, “When I bought this book for myself, I bought a couple of extra copies that I could ‘pay forward’ if I ran into someone I thought might enjoy them. After reading that you feel like you fall short of creativity, I felt inspired to send you a copy.”
I started reading the book, which begins by assigning the task of writing three pages a day. They are called “Morning Pages” (p. 9-12). I was also to write out creative affirmations (p.36-37) for myself; over and over and over again until I could start to believe them. It was here, in the middle of this writing and reaffirmation spirit building, the metaphors resurfaced. This time, I wrote down the themes, that I remembered and started thinking about them from a life angle. But this time, I was believing in one of the first affirmations that I had been writing. It goes like this: “I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.” This simple sentence is freeing my soul. I can let go of the feeling that I am being selfish in thinking that my words have value. I am now holding the belief that God is working through me and my words will have value.
So, the journey begins one more time and with God’s help, my hope is that you find that your life, as well, is a series of beautiful, teaching metaphors. Listen to them, learn from them. Know that it’s God’s way of guiding your journey. He has been there all along to guide mine.
This is the beginning of a series of posts. Some are direct links to specific metaphors that I used with my school staff in the past, some are new based on my life happenings today. Know that I share because I think there might be a benefit to others. It’s my way of to “Pay It Forward”.