A Healing Journey Through the Dream-Logical World of Inner Metaphors
Book Cover & Preview Text
Discovering what you don’t know you know can change everything.
What if you were to find out that you can have a calm sea to surround your heart and gently lull it with lapping waves when it gets agitated? What if there was a fountain in your gut that sprays the Water of Life, connecting you always with the energy of Source? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a switch just behind your right ear that you could flip to keep the knowing of your head, heart, and gut flowing, so that all three would contribute to your decision making?
Hidden below your conscious awareness are metaphors like these, metaphors that influence how you experience the world and handle what life brings. Your feelings, your thoughts, your actions, your responses to what happens each day are influenced by these metaphors. And you created them. Unconsciously, when you encountered something challenging in the past, you selected a metaphor that captured what the experience was like. Based on the logic of how these symbols function (how waves lap, fountains spray, and switches turn things on and off), you filed away some lessons as to how to respond the next time you face some similar situation.
It doesn’t matter if you are aware of your internal metaphors or not. They silently direct what you do. They determine the patterns your mind/body system follows.
And this can be a good thing. If you chose an appropriate metaphor based on an accurate reading of the situation and came up with a successful strategy to handle it, the metaphor would support you well. A calming sea or a handy switch could be just the ticket.
But sometimes the metaphors you chose to guide your reactions and choices were based on a misunderstanding or incomplete information. Perhaps you were young and what seemed like a good solution for coping has turned out not to be so good after all. For example, you may have had to “hide inside a suit of armor” at one time in your life. But your circumstances are different now, and you no longer do. Yet here you are, subconsciously closing yourself off from the people around you. It may be time to update your metaphor by taking off the armor.
You may not know about your internal metaphors, but what you will discover in this book is that you can get to know them. And once you do, you can change them if they need to be changed. You can create new metaphors to refashion the mistaken ones and further strengthen or improve the helpful ones. These new metaphors will become the ones that guide you going forward. They will be the ones influencing your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
If you change your metaphors, you can transform your self…
As a counselor and life coach, I help people discover and explore their metaphors. The questions I ask and the strategies I use to determine what to direct clients to find out more about are from a counseling and coaching process called Clean Language. The method was first developed by counseling psychologist David Grove in the 1980s as he explored ways to work with trauma survivors. He questioned the standard treatments of the time that often re-traumatized clients by asking them to revisit the very events that had undone them in the first place. He wondered, is there a gentler and more effective way to help people heal? Ultimately, he concluded that the key to change lies in internalized metaphors…
Clean Language questions enable our conscious and subconscious parts to communicate with each other in their mutual language— metaphor. The parts can then use their combined wisdom to get greater clarity about who we are, what we deeply want and need, and how to get our mind/body systems in balance.
While a Clean Language session cannot rewrite our histories or change any reality over which we have no control, our internal metaphors can make a profound difference to our sense of well-being, resiliency, and wholeness. With the right internalized metaphors, we can meet the challenges of our lives with greater confidence and ease because the metaphors affect the way we interpret and respond to our experiences. They can help us adapt our strategies for living with the past, for managing in the moment, and for determining our futures to best support happy, healthy, and meaningful lives…
If you are curious about the possibility of deep change, this book gives you a front-row seat as Julia discovers her internalized metaphors and what needs to change for her mind/body system to regain its equilibrium…Like a narrator in a series of short stories, Julia takes us along as she takes a step forward in one session, a step back in the next, or to the side to some other mysterious place. Where is she going? Guided by some intuitive knowing, she is taking care of all the parts of her inner self as it rebalances after a huge shock sent her reeling. Her stories offer a window into a world of metaphors like the ones we all have below our conscious awareness. I suspect it is quite unlike what you might expect…
Discover Yourself with Clean Language
You may wonder if you could have experiences like Julia’s. Do you, too, have hidden metaphors that support and possibly thwart you? Having facilitated hundreds and hundreds of Clean Language sessions, I am confident in saying that you do; we all do. And you will get a chance to discover some of your metaphors as we go along.
At the end of each chapter is a suggested activity. If you are seeking to know yourself at a deeper level, give the exercises a go.
You don’t have to be particularly creative or artistic or good at visualization to experience the sorts of things Julia does in her sessions. When you ask yourself Clean Language questions, the answers you get do not feel like you are making them up as they might if you were doing some creative writing. Rather, it feels like you are discovering what is already there. You witness and experience events as they unfold, like in a dream, but you also have a conscious role to play: you tune into your mind and body to recognize what is happening. If you don’t like what you find, you decide what you want to happen instead and make choices and changes to further those aims…
Sample chapter excerpt. We join mid-session:
Chapter Two: Trapped Between Self and Black
Everyday reality intrudes into this idyllic scene. I acknowledge it, but rather than dwell on it, I redirect Julia back to what she wants instead.
“And when you’re surrounded by endings rather than fresh starts,
what would you like to have happen?”
“I want to see forward movement in my life! I’m surrounded by black, by caskets, by sickness.”
Here is one of those moments when I sense a metaphor poised to reveal itself. The words “surrounded by endings” and “surrounded by black” catch my attention.
“And when you’re surrounded by endings, by sickness, by caskets, by black,
what’s between you and black?”
“There’s some space, not a whole lot. It’s hard to breathe. It’s a dank gray. It’s not pleasant! I’m trapped in a place between self and black.” Julia drops her head. “I feel like an old gray dishrag that needs to be thrown away. There’s a sense the dishrag is worn out, used up.” She picks up her head. “Part of me wants to break out.”
“And some space,
and dank gray.
And part of you wants to break out. And when break out,
that’s break out... like... what?”
“It feels like I’m in a well. It’s black and has a thick wall.”
“And when you’re in a well,
and it’s black,
with a thick wall,
and part of you wants to break out,
what kind of break out is that break out?”
“I’d like to disappear and shoot up.”
“And disappear and shoot up.
And when shoot up,
where would you like to shoot up to?”
“I see the sky. I see the sun.”
Julia received the call every parent dreads: her daughter Barbara has been killed in a car accident. Still reeling from her loss months later, Julia embarks on a fascinating journey into her inner world of metaphors, uncovering wounds both new and old that she must heal before she can embrace living again.
Read the actual transcripts of Julia's twelve sessions with her counselor Gina Campbell, whose comments from the facilitator's chair reveal how uncovering the metaphors that deepen Julia's self-exploration open her to new possibilities and healing. Campbell uses Clean Language, a questioning method developed by innovative coach and counselor David Grove, that gives voice to the subconscious mind's healing wisdom. A deep respect for Julia's self-directed journey shines through Campbell's patient questions that lead to surprisingly profound discoveries.
Each chapter of Hope in a Corner of My Heart includes an activity with the same Clean Language questions used to guide Julia so you can take your own journey to get to better know your best self.
About the Author
After many years of teaching both children and adults, Gina Campbell switched gears to pursue a Master’s degree in School Counseling. Though she completed her mental health degree, she never became a school counselor because she was bitten by the Clean Language bug. A devotee ever since, she applies her decades of teaching and developmental counseling experience to impart the basic skills and the nuances of Clean Language to intrigued helping and healing professionals through her writing and trainings. A Certified Clean Language Practitioner (CCP), as well as a Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator (CAPF) through the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, she is an expert in the use of metaphor to help clients grow and change. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland (USA).