This week’s Better Endings Life Mapping activity (#3) is to describe a human life according to a key metaphor or image. Is life like a Journey, a Cycle of Seasons, a Mountain or River? Or, to you lately, is Life more like a Roller Coaster Ride? If you haven’t already done this exercise of the week, take a moment to write down an image of what, to you, a human lifetime is like. And, how/ why? Briefly explain how life fits your current image of it.
[Please complete the above activity before continuing.]
Okay then. Now, ask yourself, “Does this image mirror any pattern in my own life?” I am going to wager that it does. So, if you like, please take another moment to describe in what ways your life fits the image you just described.
[Pause; you are writing again.]
Very good! So, what’s this all about? I call the the sort of image you have just described a Life Metaphor. You might provide a different image depending on what is current in your life in terms of basic patterns, such as how much your life is feeling stable, dynamic, or in chaos. Today’s image of yours is what I will call an “initial” Life Metaphor; before completing a full Life Mapping process. I expect it will shift for you if you keep up with applying these weekly Life Mapping techniques over the course of this year’s blog. So I encourage you to keep a Life Mapping journal that will develop these ideas over time.
One of my own favorite Life Metaphors, and the reason for my use of Anne Wipf’s wonderful painting that I am using as the header image for this site, is: Life is a Carousel or Merry-Go-Round. Round and round I go with the cycles of time–days, weeks, months, years, decades–Up and Down with the flow of events in my life. And as I cycle along with this merry-go-round adventure, I always seem to be reaching out and striving to catch that elusive “Brass Ring,” every time I come around to it again.
How wonderful that Anne Wipf’s great piece of art that is the focal image for this blog, “Carousel,” shows the horses leaping off from their base platform to freedom! It must get pretty boring, after all, for a carousel pony. It must feel like a cage, or like the mountain that the mythic Sisyphus is bound to, rolling a boulder eternally up, and then back down, over and over again as his punishment from the gods.
I imagine these Anne Wipf “Carousel” horses leaping off from their wooden platforms every night when the amusement parks are closed, teaming off together to some rarified, special place known only to themselves. Then, in my imagining, they willingly hop back onto their platform by morning, humble vehicles of divine love that they are, to bring pleasure to the children and adult children who delight in the brief, musical turn of the ride. Where do they go, do YOU imagine?
There is such serendipity and sychronicity I am discovering while producing this site that develops our year long theme of Better Endings. Last week I watched Mary Poppins and I was taken aback to see Mary Poppins and Burt (Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke) hopping merrily OFF from a carousel on horses that leap joyfully through a technicolor valley. Then on Christmas day I went with a friend to see Saving Mr. Banks and learned, to my delight, that the entire story of Mary Poppins is about creating Better Endings that have the creative power to transform bittersweet memories from childhood. (Go see it!) And there was the carousel, in both P. L. Travers‘ and Walt Disney’s biographical lives as well, and their combined creative genius of allowing the horses to leap out from their ‘cage’ in the film, to transport their riders through a magical kingdom where wrongs are righted and sadness gives way to merriment.
Would you alter your current Life Metaphor at all, if you could? Or, would you rather like it to stay just as it is? I would love to share your insights and Comments. And, of course, if you enjoy this, please Like it and Share it with your friends. To receive Better Endings daily by email, simply enter your email address in the Follow box.
Thanks for being out there, and please do share with your Comments and Better Endings Stories!
- “Saving Mr. Banks” is Really About Healing the Wounded Heart (getreal.typepad.com)
- City Park’s Carousel is a Treasure (neworleanscitypark.wordpress.com)
- Saving Mr. Banks: Disney at It’s Finest (brickmoviereviews.wordpress.com)
- Grabbing the brass ring (smallpondscience.com)
- Being Human: On the Metaphorizing Instinct (thepoetsglass.com)
- Rat Trying to Get Off Escalator Is Perfect Metaphor For Life (jezebel.com)