Posts Tagged ‘metaphors’

It’s that time of year.  The end of one and the beginning of a new one.  The time when many people size up where they are and think about where they want to be.  I wrote last year about how I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  Or, at least, that they aren’t for me.  They seem to set people up for failure and that’s not a good way to start a new year…or a good feeling to have at the end of January when you realize you’ve not followed through with your resolution/s.  Then you have 11 months to bemoan that and feel bad.

This year I am thinking about the new year in a different way.  I’m looking ahead at the year to come in a broader way and trying to come up with a metaphor or vision for how I want my year to be or how I want to be as a person.  2011 was all about resettling in San Francisco and getting my older son set up in high school.  We’re resettled and he’s settled.

As I sit here in a funny massage chair in a cottage in Maui’s upcountry, I’m trying to imagine where I want to be (mostly mentally) at this time next year.  Later today we’ll go to the top of Haleakala, the volcano on Maui.  I think I’ll find inspiration up there.  Maybe next year will be about climbing peaks…physical and metaphorical.  Maybe 2011 was the year of the burrowing rabbit and 2012 will be the year of the mountain goat or the bald eagle.  I’m not sure, but I like the idea of looking at it in this broad sense.  Then I can ask myself during the year whether I am staying true to that vision.  Even if I don’t get to the top of many peaks…am I trying?  Am I moving forward?

What is your vision for 2012?

May 2012 be all that you want it to be.

As I contemplated the idea of the sand mandala that Tibetan monks made at my kids’ school and then swept away (see my earlier post), I kept getting an image of how we all sort of make these “mind” mandalas that we build on and build on, but don’t sweep away.

Okay, here’s what I mean.  We all have recurring thoughts that run through our heads.  Sometimes they’re negative…something that nags and makes you feel bad.  Other times they’re good…maybe something you’re looking forward to or makes you feel happy.  I would argue, based on nothing but my intuition, that humans go back to the negative feelings more often than the positive ones.  We obsess about the things that bother us.  And so I imagine that every time we go back to one of those thoughts, it’s like we’re putting another grain of sand in the mandala to that particular thing.

Let’s say you have a boss you don’t like.  In your head, you revisit this subject often, putting in all the reasons you don’t like this person…one grain at a time.  If you say that each different point you make is a different color, I would bet there are a lot of repeat colors because our minds go over the same thing again and again.  To what end?  We create this elaborate mandala, beautiful in a way, to something that upsets us.  And we just take for granted that it’s there and permanent in some way.

Why not sweep it away?  Why keep feeding it?  It’s okay to feel angry or hurt or not heard, but as long as you hold on to that mandala, nothing will change.  What about creating one quickly…putting together every element you can come up with.  Pouring your energy into this thing and then simply sweep it away, and not accept this status quo mandala you’re holding onto in your head.