Many years ago I starting giving intuitive readings to my friends and family. My readings were not prediction or fortune telling–they were deeper than that. I read the metaphors–the images–that I saw ‘under the surface’ of whatever situation they were dealing with. Although people loved my readings and were always asking me for them, I didn’t feel comfortable with the word ‘psychic’ and reading metaphoric images did not seem to fit with academia, so I pushed it under the rug. Wouldn’t you know, at my first academic job interview when I was asked what I wanted to teach, I found myself blurting out “metaphor.” Some part of me knew that metaphor was the basis for how we learn in life and how we see the world. It turns out, metaphor is the basis of all creative change.
The field of depth psychology provided me with the foundation to understand this metaphoric level that I could see so easily. Thirty-five years of outstanding research by George Lakoff and others has demonstrated how metaphors form the basis of our cognition, shaping how we think, speak and act in everyday life. Whether conscious or unconscious, we do not think or speak without using metaphor. According to Lakoff and Johnson in their book Metaphors We Live By, metaphorical thought is “unavoidable, ubiquitous, and mostly unconscious.” No matter what the situation, there is an underlying metaphor that is providing a perspective or frame. This is obviously important for understanding how we navigate through life, because how we frame a problem determines how the problem will be solved and the next steps we will take.
William Blake said, “In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” Metaphor is the doorway, it’s the way in to other realms, other ways of knowing. Metaphor is an amazing, ancient intelligence that we all possess. Whether we are conscious of it or not, our guidance and clarity always comes to us first as a metaphor. Metaphor lies at the center of all forms of art and creative process, including the creative process of our own life. When we honor and acknowledge the metaphoric images that lie under the surface of our consciousness, we open up new creative channels.