Metaphor #2 that's been on my mind lately: Freeze-Frame.
Once upon a time I was talking with a wise woman, and during our conversation I was being fairly hard on myself about the ways my life wasn't going the way I thought it should, didn't make sense, felt off-balance and awkward and confusing. She said, "stop it." And then she gave me a metaphor that has proven really useful to me, and that I've been thinking about lately.
She said, you know, if we had a video camera here in this room, filming us sitting here talking, and then say the doorbell rang, maybe the UPS guy delivering a package downstairs, and I got up to answer the door, and then we looked at the film later, we'd see something. If we went in slow motion, frame-by-frame, and looked at the images of me when I was getting up out of my seat to go answer the door, it would look so awkward and strange. We could look at those stills from that video and you'd see my face contorted, and me twisted and off balance as I'm rising up out of my seat, and if you just looked at those stills you'd think, what on earth is she doing? How can she look like that -- it looks terribly uncomfortable, and I can't understand how she's balanced there, and what a bizarre pose that is, and we could heap all kinds of criticism on the way I look in those still frames, how I am standing wrong and I am about to fall over and I can't possibly stay that way. But in the moment I just flowed through all those awkward poses and got up to answer the door and got the package and I had to move that way just to do it.
Don't look at your life in the freeze frame, she urged me. And if you do, don't get wrapped up in the myriad of inconsistencies and flaws you can find in that picture. Your life is in motion, and there's a grace to it that you can see only as it moves, not in the isolated moments.