Artists, storytellers, engineers, and teachers of all kinds use metaphor and symbol to convey their point for your understanding. In fact, we learn better through these symbols and stories because most people will remember the story before the material being taught.
The story then points to the memory of the facts…or not. Sometimes we simply remember the story, and that is enough!
A painting or a story stick in your memory in part because of the feeling it gave you. It evoked something in you. It moved you. Moved you from your head into your body, or into your heart, into a feeling where you could experience it rather than simply think it.
It is similar to the way body language tells us much more than what a person is saying with words. Like Maya Angelou reminded us, people will remember how you made them feel.
Life is constantly speaking to you in symbol to take you into the experience, the deeper, broader, richer meaning; To expand you, to guide, to join, to celebrate, to love you. Words can be too limiting to communicate with your unlimited nature. But a feeling, an experience, something that drops into your intuition and knowing, will make an impression. In fact, it’s more like, Life is a symbol that we live inside of, learning to read, experience, create and lead it.
“A symbol, by definition, is a conjoining of two factors or two levels of reality that are normally conceived of as being opposites…a symbol ‘always expresses the one through the other; it comprises both without being either.’” Carl Jung
Like Jung is stating in the quote above, symbols synthesize. They synthesize our tangible and intangible worlds. Learning to understand them is not only fun, sometimes it’s mind-blowing the way everything works together (as if it was ever separate!).
Symbolism is there to inspire you. It will drop you to your knees in gratitude and awe. It will hold you and lift you high. Symbols may reflect the way that things are, to help you see what you’re not seeing and que into what else is possible. They may show you what is possible so you can change the way you’re being. They confirm your flow or funk.
From the grittiest man’s man, to the wooest of the woo, people have confirmed that they pay attention to what shows up. We are naturally drawn to metaphor and symbolism because life is pattern. It is symbol. What is in the macro is in the micro. Patterns we see in nature exist in us and teach us.
For example, a metaphor I’ve used many times, that the internal patterns we dissolve and the experiences we have, become like compost nourishing the rest of our lives. All that pain and joy becomes to our lives, if we are intentional about it, what weeds and leftovers are to gardeners and sustainable farmers – black gold.
The realization and learning of symbolic site is often a turning point in one’s life, an awakening of sorts. A skill of listening and deciphering, not reading into.
“Historically, in the evolution of our species as well as in an individual’s life, recognizing the symbolic dimension of life is a momentous event—a literal expansion of consciousness—that changes everything.” ~ Paul Levy, The Quantum Revelation
I discovered symbolic site was a thing the first time I read Carolyn Myss’ book, Anatomy of the Spirit a couple decades ago. I lived by symbolism already, to some degree, as many people naturally do. At that point I began to learn and apply it deliberately and it was life altering, like looking through a completely new lens.
Why is this important? Because life is speaking to you constantly. To receive it, since we are all living antennas, means to develop your sight in such a way that you see the physical reality and the intangible, ephemeral reality at the same time. Animals, movies, an event, numbers, something a stranger says, the way everything chaotic and peaceful in your life is working together.
I say “sight,” but it’s really as much feeling and knowing as anything. It is living life from and on the inner landscape and watching your physical reality match it. Then life’s signs don’t look so “woo.”
It’s more like you finally took your earplugs out and your eye patch off and are tuning in with all of you to the treasure map of your own reality. Every shift you make, changes the symbols that show up for you. Life’s accurate symbols should ground you, develop your wisdom and stability, rather than feeling ungrounding, so that executives and children alike may garner their wisdom.
Symbolic sight is a big subject. I’m barely touching on it, yet bringing it to your awareness as part of being an unlimited version of yourself. To not only not miss this great resource, but to actively engage it for your inspired, unlimited, fulfilling, connected-with-yourself life.
Through the deepest sorrow and the highest bliss, through the mundane and awe, Life speaks. Life speaks to you, and is eager for you to come out and play!
Ways to engage, to grow, to begin your symbolic site:
- Simply open your eyes to everything that is going on. The birds and animals. World events. Personal events. The movie you watched. The quote on Instagram. The new friend. Numbers. What is it all saying to you? Can you feel or discern a pattern(s)?
- Learn to see as if through a telescope rather than a microscope. It can be easy to get lost in the microscope, the detail of things like he said, she said. But like an argument is never about what’s being said in the room at that moment, life is saying much more, there is a larger pattern than just the detail of your life. In that larger pattern is so much information and meaning.
- Know that you are not only worthy, you are designed for this direct connection.
- Ground yourself. Symbolism can get to be brain candy really quick and then takes on the bad reputation for people who get blown and tossed with every nuance of symbol. Get your barefeet on the earth.
- Remember that everything comes from one energy. We really are all in this together. So naturally, everything can speak to you!
- Use tools like books and online references that talk about the symbolism in different cultures. Look up the symbolic meaning of the hawk that keeps flying in front of you on your run. Skim it and pay attention to what resonates. Release the rest.
- Most of all, develop your confidence in what it means to you, your own language.
Here’s to more of You in this world,
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