Almost twenty years ago, I completed a grueling PhD dissertation at that University of Chicago and my left-brain was completely fried. I'd entered the PhD program yearning to know how we learn in life (my doctorate is in Adult Learning), and I left mentally exhausted. The sight of words anywhere, even on the back of a cereal box, made me nauseous. The only things I could do successfully involved "dropping down" into another place inside myself where I could tap into metaphoric images. I gave friends and family intuitive metaphorical readings and hungrily pursued the creative arts. A few years later I interviewed for a teaching position and found myself blurting out that I wanted to teach metaphor. Something was speaking through me.
The earliest humans did not have verbal language, they learned and communicated metaphorically, through listening to the deep language of water, fire, earth and clouds. Metaphor is an ancient language that bypasses the thinking mind; its innate wisdom is held in our bodies. When you step into a metaphor, you can feel it. You can BE the bowl of soup that's ready to "serve," or a deep tree root solidly buried in nurturing soil, or a twig casually floating down a river. When you tap into this innate inner guidance, the confusion clears, you feel stronger and more confident, and your next steps are obvious. Metaphoric wisdom is simple, profound, intelligent, and kind.
Change happens in our lives when we see something differently or in a new way. A friend of mine has an elderly mother who has needed a lot of help in the last couple years. My friend could look at caring for her mother as a burden, or she could see it as something that helps her be centered and grounded. Being centered and grounded is a metaphorical image. When we sweep the floor, we could view it as a task we need to do so we can get on to the next thing, or we could sweep the floor and imagine that we’re sweeping away all the dust in every corner of our life. Metaphorical images gives us a way to look. When we choose a different lens to look through, life changes.
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