Human beings are storytellers. It’s how we frame experience. We use metaphor to sort the world in our heads.
We also use these tales to describe the physical sensations, the feelings we have in any given instance.
Which one fits the moment you are in?
Here are some examples of how you can put words on your inner life:
I am safe, because I feel like I am being rocked like a baby in my mother’s arms. Then, I am on a ship going through a storm. I am frightened. It’s okay to live in that second story in your head. It is the reality you are going through. Put the words on the feelings. Live out the moment in a tale.
Now, be a tree gathering snowflakes. You are a part of nature. Be the bear looking for berries in the soft summer rain. You are looking for sustenance. A balloon, now, sailing up to the sky. You are light and carefree.
Now, though, you become a puzzle piece without edges and grooves. You don’t fit in. A whirling saucer at the amusement park. You are out of control; yet you embrace that feeling of being out of control. Now, you stare at a math problem for weeks with no solution in sight. You pull your hair out. As confused as could be.
Now you are walking through the woods, happily lost. At night, in your bed, you toss and turn, sleep far away. You are lonely and cut off.
Now, you are sitting with a friend on the pier. The sun is going down. His smile and words open up the sea, and you. You are not alone. The next day, you open your mouth to shout, but no sounds leave you. You feel powerless. Now, an engine in overdrive. You come close to danger. On a highwire, the world way down below. You are unafraid.
You are flipping through the channels taking stock of the messages about our world. You are overwhelmed. You are a hammer hammering a nail. You are strong. Then you are the bent nail. Crushed and beaten. You watch the children playing gleefully in the park. Hope is restored.
An honest metaphor, a little marker, can help us understand the specific moment we are experiencing.
But, now, think about altering the story. The storm you are in on that ship may be a metaphor for another kind of storm you are feeling right now. It’s possible to say this line: I am in the storm right now, but I am strong, and after a while I will be back on that pier with my friend watching the sun going down.
I am that bent nail. But, in a few moments that bent nail will begin to straighten and I will be standing tall again.
Av: Rob Crane