Healing Metaphorically

When I teach workshops like “Move Through Emotional Blocks” I focus on connections between metaphors and the unconscious mind. This excerpt from my forthcoming e-book You, Resourceful: Book One of the Creative Rewiring Series conveys the basic idea:

You know about “breaking habits” and have probably heard that it takes 66 days for most people to be convinced that a habit is gone for good. Traumas get “released” and when we can’t “stand” it any longer, we work to “get over” people.

The words we use to describe these aspirations to “break,” “release,” and “get over” are themselves clues to how to do it. Melissa Tiers (The Anti-anxiety Toolkit) describes it as a two-step process: first transform the issue into a visual image; then use your creative mind to elaborate on the story.

For example, if you are trying to “move through a block” imagine the block as an actual object. Then figure out what you need to do to.

I see a wall and I’m breaking through it with a hammer; the pieces fly all over the place like confetti.

And what happens next?

The confetti turns into a light snow and covers the entire landscape.

And as you imangine that the rock has transformed into snow, what do you notice about the issue you were trying to “break through”?

Well, walking through a light snow is certainly easier than running into walls.

How about giving it a try? Think about about something that you would like to “get over.”

Get over, like what? Make it into an image.

Now imagine that wall, river, ocean, canyon (whatever it is) and think about what you will need to “get over” it. A rope to cross the river, a magical power to part the ocean, a hang-glider to make it across the canyon.

Then imagine yourself doing just that and notice how you can begin to get some perspective on the issue.

Butterflies in your stomach? Jello in your legs? Cotton in your mouth?

Lingering, hovering, hanging out, causing you to feel a certain way. And when you imagine those butterflies flying in formation or that jello turning into something solid, you can begin to feel better. Or at least be in a better position to channel insight and inner resources to solve an issue or glean some insight.

So, what’s happening as you take a moment to check in with your metaphors and transform them?

Like Wallace Stevens does all the time:

You like it under the trees in autumn,
Because everything is half dead.
The wind moves like a cripple among the leaves
And repeats words without meaning.

In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon—

– from “The Motive For Metaphor

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