I’ve been doing lots of champion work this week in anticipation of the new Creative Magic Workout – during which we spend a whole week summoning, channeling and seeking out champions within and without.
A key part of this work is looking at the images in our language, and finding ways to swap out harmful or mean or unhelpful images with ones that are more kind and encouraging and useful.
I call it re-metaphor-izing.
Often there is a potent image behind the meanest names we call ourselves — the ideas that sink their teeth in us and won’t let go.
And you can’t force those ideas to let go, but you can seek out new images that entice your mind to drop the old ones.
For example, did you notice that I used a metaphor just now, to describe how powerful our thoughts can be? I said they “sink their teeth in us” even though, of course, they don’t actually do that. But comparing them to a wild and dangerous animal makes my point more vividly then saying “they are very powerful.” (Suzette Elgin talks a lot about the power in metaphor and how we can use language to defend ourselves, and this is what first got me to thinking about the ways our minds use images and associations).
So, let’s say I want to make the point that ideas are powerful without summoning up feelings of dread and fear and danger.
What else is powerful and won’t let go? A tsunami, a hungry child, a great hug, the moon….
And isn’t it true that your thoughts can also roll over you like a tidal wave
Or call out with a neverending urgency
Or wrap arms of peace and security around you
Or ebb and flow like the ceaseless tide of the ocean
My point being: you can put conscious effort into the images you are summoning, and change the feeling, the vibe, the structure, the EVERYTHING around it.
Like with troll work, a lot can change just by noticing the thoughts that are running through your mind, noticing the images your mind is defaulting to – and seeing what happens when you consciously swap in a new image.
I’ll give you an example from my life – I often think to myself, “you are a hot mess,” or some variation on that theme. You are full of shit, you are batshit crazy, you have got to get your shit together.
And when I slow down and look at those images… wow. I’m comparing myself to garbage, to stinking piles of poop.
What is a different image I could use, that would still be true to the facts?
Hmmm… isn’t “a hot mess” also the conditions under which life emerges on a planet? Aren’t swamps and marshlands teeming with life and activity and balance and their own kind of order?
What if instead of you’re a hot mess, I thought: you are a hot thriving ecosystem. You are a marshland. You are ready for new primordial life.
Here are some other ones:
I am batshit crazy –> I am a night-cloaked superhero
I am flaky –> I am a wizard
I am a broke loser –> I am free as a bird
The facts don’t change. But the way you talk about the facts – the way you tell the story of your life — can change everything.
I’d love to hear some of your images and brainstorm some ways to turn them into champion metaphors! You can register for my free webinar, Champion Yourself, which is Friday May 18! We’ll work this out in real time…