Metaphorically speaking

A neat journaling exercise which works well when you think you’ve got nothing to write about is to pick a seemingly mundane object or activity and explore how it is a metaphor for your current experience.

One of my wonderful participants in this year’s Spring workshop series had a lot of fun with this, and found herself writing about her bowl-of-soup-life, her lantern-life and her smartphone-life. But the best one had to be her kazoo-life: “narrow at both ends and big in the middle, with a lot of input from the top.”


For me my own metaphorical insight happened today as I was rolling paint onto the bathroom walls. (I am purposely redecorating – this wasn’t some insane aberration, though it might be close.)

It struck me that to paint the walls is to take on new habits and new perspectives. When you reach a point in life where a new lick of paint is needed, something to freshen up tired old attitudes and beliefs, the paint roller is your friend. Although it often takes more than one coat to completely eradicate the previous colour, and you’ve got to be careful that you’ve made good the wall, so you’re not just papering over the cracks. (Oops, guilty!)

Sometimes you try a new colour and hate it. I always regret the colour I’ve chosen after I’ve covered two thirds of the wall with it. And I step back and wish I hadn’t bothered. But of course this is when the new colour is still patchy with the old colour showing through, and when the new paint hasn’t dried yet. You’ve got to give new thought patterns time to bed in, to get established – at least time for the paint to dry.

Then there are the edges. How I hate the edges. Messing around with masking tape and then using a brush that’s never the optimum size. And then realising that you hadn’t quite cleaned the wood work properly so the brush gets covered in dust and fluffy bits which you’ve got to pick off really carefully by hand before wiping your paint soaked fingers on the jogging bottoms that weren’t quite your scruffiest clothing item when you started but which definitely are now.

I guess I’m more of a broad bush, not too much attention to detail kind of person. Impatient. Wanting to roll the paint on in quick-sticks and not too fussed about neatness round the edges.

However, when it comes to peeling off the masking tape oh boy! How I love a neat edge! It’s so satisfying to see the join where the two colours meet, and realising “I did that.” Figuratively and literally.


Filed under Self-Awareness

2 responses to “Metaphorically speaking

  1. Juliet,
    I just love this idea of using objects to describe our lives in our journals; what a way to get interesting and vivid insight into who we really are. Your example was comprehensive, humorous and interesting as you describe your approach life in comparison to painting. This practice can truly give us a clearer, deeper understanding of how and why we do the things we do.

    I have chosen your post, Metaphorically Speaking, as #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 11/19/13. I will share a link on my website, in Refresh Journal and on the social networks.

    #JournalChat Live is now on Sundays, 4 EST/1 PST; our special guest is Debra DiPietro with our topic, Your Journaling: Get It Right; Sleep Tight as we touch on the changes we can make in our attitudes as we respond to life experiences, using our journals to help us keep track, and thus, enabling a better night’s sleep!

    I love your ideas; I appreciate your sharing them with journaling enthusiasts!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s