In our coaching sessions, we use metaphors a lot. They are useful tools for getting us out of our preconceived habitual identities such as doctor, mom or husband. They spice up our imagination and help us gain a new outlook on our current situation. A new story is born out of a metaphor, in which we are able to explore a stuck perspective or a painful emotion with fresh energy.
In those times we tap into one, nature shows up as one of the first sources of inspiration. It is admirable to see someone get into the role of an erupting volcano or a tender butterfly. The association is instant because it is so close to us. It is us.
At times we might be feeling down and isolated so a dark spider hiding in a cave might be a perfect fit. When we are full of joy and light in our eyes, becoming a bright sun might make our days. A person who is an introvert and does not enjoy talking a lot might associate themselves easily with a puffy cat minding his own business whereas another person that is very talkative might be a colorful parrot telling tales to her forest mates.
No matter where we are and who we are in life, these metaphors of nature teach us a great lesson: We are all needed by the rest in someway or another. An old and tired autumn leave needs to fall to give space to younger ones. A dark night is needed for replenishment and recharging as much as a bright sun is needed for warmth and lightning. An angry thunderstorm might be destructive at where it falls while it helps cool air to circulate and extra energy in the sky to release, which could lead to a more destructive explosion if kept there forever. A sneaky venomous snake might be scary to human but their patience and agility helps keep insect population under control, an excess of which could damage plant growth.
Nature is a wise teacher indeed. It shows us the gracious harmony between totally different contrasting elements that we would never imagine to be existing together in our society. It shows us how everyone and everything that are so unique in appearance, character and activity can coexist in peace without causing conscious harm to each other.
Most importantly, the cactus never tries to become a flower and an iceberg never yearns to turn into a sandy beach. All fulfill their role with full potential, at the right place and at the right time. On the other hand, the rigid and inflexible ice-cube will not hesitate to cool down the temperature, feed the thirst when it is melted and provide breath of life when it is evaporated. The transition is right on spot and the outcome is unquestionable.
To conclude this post, I would like to leave you with some inquiries/mental exercises to guide you in exploring your own metaphors and role in the universe. I would also love to hear about your own learning from the nature. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Whether you are a pink piglet dancing in the mud or a giant ocean wave covering the sky, thank you for reading this post. It is a pleasure completing the whole with you.
- Pick an element or life form from the nature that best describes your current state right now. It could be an animal, plant or any form of nature such as a high cliff or a horizon with a sunset. It also helps to act it out a little with your body movements. Now answer the following.
- With that metaphor in mind, what is your role in helping others? You can describe this in the context of nature or your current life situation.
- What are the qualities of your metaphor that makes you unique from others?
- What qualities of your metaphor allow you to be in harmony with others?
- How are you helped by others? What are other natural metaphors around you that support your existence?
- Repeat the above exercise not for your current emotional state but for your general characteristics and behavior. For example, if you are a tiny person who is very active and energetic, you might go for a rabbit whereas a tall person with slow motions and a silent attitude might go for a huge oak tree.