If that metaphor had been a snake, it would have bit me!

If you don’t remember from high school English what a metaphor is, it is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase ordinarily used to designate one thing is used to designate something else.

Examples: Time is money. Life is a journey. She’s dancing toward happiness. When I reach the top of that mountain, then I’ll be free. I’ve got a knot in my stomach. He’s a real pain in the ass. Let me get something off my chest. Give me a hand. I’m looking for the right path. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If the shoe fits, wear it. The map is not the territory. Life is like a box of chocolates. It’s like pulling teeth. It’s like herding cats. The poem points a finger at the moon. Before/after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

In each of these examples, the metaphor uses a word or phrase that has a literal, embodied meaning (people do reach the tops of mountains, journeys exist, lights at the ends of tunnels exist) to symbolize an experience.

I’ve been paying attention to metaphors in conversation and writing, and it’s almost unbelievable how pervasive they are. Metaphors are everywhere! I can’t turn around without bumping into a metaphor! If that metaphor had been a snake, it would have bit me!

I’m writing about metaphors because I just spent some time learning the basics of and practicing Symbolic Modelling, aka Clean Language, an approach to changework, which is another hat I wear. (See?)

The workshop and retreat were led by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins. Their book is Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling, and their website is The Clean Collection.

I’m going to be writing more about this, but for now, let me offer some prompts to discover your own personal metaphors.

Fill in the rest of the sentence:

Life is [like] ….

Time is ….

Money is …..

Love is ….

Work is ….

See you back here soon with more on this topic!

Manual for climbing mountains — Paulo Coelho’s Blog

1 min reading: Manual for climbing mountains — Paulo Coelho’s Blog.

What a great metaphor for living an adventurous, rewarding life! Start with the first step:

A] Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.

Continue until you get to the last step:

L] Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.

I’m so looking forward to finally reading Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist over my holiday break.

Lovely sweet rain, a morning meditation, and MONEY!

I am adoring my experience of a lengthy, soaking RAIN here in drought-stricken Austin, Texas — off and on yesterday, seemingly all night, and most of this Sunday morning. I’m guessing maybe two inches of precious rain has fallen. Feels like such a blessing.

We (people, air, plants, wildlife, soil, streams, lakes, roads) need this so badly. There are cracks an inch wide in the soil under my trailer and under the dead grass. The only green grass around is under trees that got watered in an effort to keep them alive, and around the new trees I planted starting in late August. They’re drinking it up.

I love being inside my trailer in the rain. The sound of rain on the roof is divine.

And it’s Sunday. Sleeping in (well, to 8 am) to the sound of rain feels wonderfully precious. I’m undecided whether to go out to ecstatic dance, the farmer’s market, the Austin Yoga Festival, or to stay blissfully inside on this wet fall day — I have reading to catch up on, videos to watch, a cat to play with, food to cook, or maybe I’ll mix it up spontaneously.


I just did a 35-minute meditation session. When my attention was focused, it went to body awareness and to hearing. My body awareness has deepened since I started massage school in June, of course. Understanding my hands as antennas, feeling layers of tissues down to the bone, and experiencing others touching me with various levels of connection, compassion, and presence have been quite an education.

Hearing while on the cushion a mockingbird and other birds, rain noises, traffic on wet pavement, my cat rustling in a cabinet, I notice I’m accustomed to picking out single sounds. It’s a nice stretch to take it all in, and like a symphony, to go back and forth between individual sounds and the whole cacophony, like zooming in and out with a camera, only with my sense of hearing. That reminds me, I’m leading my adventurous Fourth Way book group through the 12 states of attention on Tuesday.


Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a workshop, Metaphors of Money, taught by Charles Faulkner, an NLP trainer, trader, writer, and researcher. Given that metaphors, conscious and unconscious, underlie our experience (the map is not the territory; a map is a metaphor for metaphors), we examined our metaphors around money.

I personify money. I like it, and I want it to like me. I know money likes me when people write checks out to me and give/mail them to me or hand me cash! Also, when I look at my bank balance and it feels good, I know money likes me. When it doesn’t feel good, I feel pressed, and I take steps to bring more in.

I noticed that as the workshop progressed, every time I heard the word “money,” its visual representation in my mind (cash, dollar sign, checks, bank balance) looked brighter and more vivid. By the end, “money” was glowing with white light!

If this workshop is offered again, you can find out by subscribing to NLP Resources Austin‘s email list. (You don’t have to be trained in NLP to participate.) They have a lot of other cool stuff coming up too.