Know Your Metaphor

Canopy by David Robinson

Canopy by David Robinson

Metaphors matter far more than we know. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that we build our realities on the metaphors we entertain. The stories we tell about ourselves and are lives are built upon metaphor. For instance, is your god a hairy old thunder hurler, a pervasive energy, a spirit with intention, an abstract concept, science, or a force of nature? How you build your reality will have much to do with the metaphor you choose. Do you step into the future or does the future step toward you? Are you part of nature or the steward of it? Metaphors are not just for literature!

For instance: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. It’s a well-worn metaphor warning us to keep our options open. When Kerri and I first met she asked me to never forget that she’d placed all of her eggs in my basket. “Organic, free-range,” she said in response to my laughter at her reference. “I won’t forget,” I replied. Putting all of the eggs in a single basket is a great statement of commitment yet it’s not the best metaphor to build a relationship upon. Eggs are, after all, fragile. They break. While the metaphor for our relationship was eggs in a basket we necessarily treaded lightly. We’ve been much happier and healthier since we populated our basket with twelve organic free-range rocks.

The Holy Grail is a metaphor. When Arthur’s knights roamed the realm seeking the grail, they were establishing a lovely metaphor for personal fulfillment. The knight who finds the grail is the knight who finds the middle way between the armor of social obligation (self sacrifice) and the nakedness of an uncontrollable wild-child (self indulgence). Parcival must fail to find himself. And, isn’t that a lovely metaphor for living and learning? It is impossible to find the middle way until you’ve cracked some eggs or shifted your metaphor to something unbreakable and capable of sitting in the fire.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.



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