I seem to be going through a lot of reflection of the past lately. Not to rehash it or condemn myself or others but simply to view where I had traveled from and how far I have journeyed. Like most people it was the challenging times in my life that provided the motivation for my greatest growth. One of the most difficult and painful times was when I separated from my first husband, for the second time, yes second. If it wasn’t bad enough to have to go through the process once, I went back and then chose to do it all again. And of course that also meant putting my two beautiful babies through it again also. How was I to tell them? How was I to explain to them why? How was I to stop the sadness in their eyes?
Well the sadness couldn’t be stopped and there were tears all round. But to try and explain what was happening I wrote and read them a little story. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was using metaphor to help express a difficult concept. (As an NLP practitioner and life coach I now know how potent metaphor can be in assisting people to see the world from a different perspective.) We used the story a lot over the ensuing months to help them make sense of the changes. We tried to emulate the vision of the story that was planted early in the break up, sometimes successfully, sometimes not but I am delighted to say that my children did flourish, grow and blossom into gorgeous young adults.. My counsellor at the time has also used this story with other families too.
Here is what I wrote. I hope that you find meaning and hope in it too and if you are in a difficult situation then maybe tap into a little metaphor magic to guide you as well.
Once there were two plants planted in a garden. One was a cactus seed the other a palm seed. At first they didn’t look much different, even as they grew a little bigger. They grew in the garden side by side quite nicely. They even shared pollen and produced two beautiful flowers that grew along with them. Slowly though the first two plants didn’t grow so well. One plant needed things a certain way and the other plant needed it a different way. One plant needed shade and lots of water and the other needed sunshine and not so much water. The palm and the cactus tried very hard to adapt to each other’s environment, first one way and then the other, but one would always feel unhealthy and not quite right. The two flowers however grew beautifully because they were loved and sheltered by the first two plants. Eventually the cactus and palm grew tired. They both wanted to be able to grow into fabulous plants but being together in the same soil just wasn’t working at all. Finally they realized that they could still live in the same garden as each other, they could still love their flowers and be around them, they could still watch each other grow and blossom, but they would just have to live in a separate part of the garden to each other. They knew that no one was wrong, they were just different. One plant moved to a shady spot, the other moved to the sun. Although they were a little sad that they couldn’t live together, they knew that by giving each other space, they would be happier in the long run. Now they all live in the garden and share in its beauty and in each other, and all the plants are healthy and growing in their own unique way.