\ Walking With Metaphors | Christina Brandt

Walking With Metaphors

Leafy Lab SmallI’m drawn to labyrinths in a big way. Like, seriously big.  I’ve designed and installed three and have plans to do more.  I’ve even painted one (with the help of patient friends) on a portable canvas so I can use it indoors at workshops.  I look for them when I travel.  Someone told me it’s “a past life thing.”

Whatever the reason, a labyrinth is where I find answers, sometimes. Where I hear the voice of the divine, occasionally.  Where I find a metaphor that offers new perspective, always. Yup, when I want a surefire way to see my life and “problems” in a new way, the labyrinth metaphors can’t be beat.

Here’s what happened recently:  I learned about a new (to me) labyrinth from a friend.  I found directions on Google Maps and used my GPS, too.  I got to the church and couldn’t find a labyrinth, anywhere.  I went home, convinced something was wrong.  I figured out that the labyrinth’s a half mile down the road, behind the building that used to house the church.

I went back and found the labyrinth, covered with leaves.  I told myself stories about how the leaves kept me from taking good pictures, how I’d have to clean it up before I could make my way, and that I couldn’t clean up all those leaves without a broom.

Then, I kicked some leaves.  And I kicked a few more, and before I knew it, I was kicking up a storm like a kid, enjoying the crisp air and how much fun it is to move leaves with your feet.  And everything I was supposed to do that afternoon, and all the annoyance I’d felt moments ago, just fell away.  Step by step, the labyrinth was revealed under those playful feet.

Hmmm….can you spot the metaphors in this story?

Sometimes others’ directions steer you right past where you want to be.  My GPS got me to the very modern, newly-built church with the vast parking lot, but not the labyrinth.  I’d driven right by this lovely old clapboard church set among huge trees, and noticed it was pretty as I flew by.  Slowing down, I’d have realized that it was a perfect spot in which to site a labyrinth.  Where in your life are you relying on others’ data (instead of your own) to steer your course? What’s passing you by as a result?

Just because you can’t see a path, doesn’t mean it’s not there.The path is always there, and putting one foot in front of the other, playing as you go, will always give you more information about how to proceed.  Trust that you have enough information to get started on whatever you’d like to do, be or have.  Take a step in whatever direction feels playful and does your heart good.  Over time, you’ll be amazed where the path will take you.

Look for playful, unconventional ways to clean things up.  When I try to hard to solve a problem, frustration ensues and there’s no progress.  When I lighten up, get goofy, and engage in some play, it’s amazing what happens.  My mind wants to believe that I have to work hard, to be diligent and disciplined.  Most times, though, the opposite is what works best.  Dialing back the “inner drill sergeant” is a sure-fire way to create the needed space to find your way forward again.

Next time you’re feeling stuck, try shifting your perspective from literal to symbolic.  Seeing your situation as a giant metaphor with a story to tell can offer lots of interesting solutions.  Throw in a little listening to your inner voice, a smattering of faith that a path will be revealed, and a healthy dose of play, and you’ll be back on your way.

One Comment

  1. Johanna Manasse says:

    Love this blog post. Would that more walking folks could experience and then discern the metaphors of the experience.

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