though your sorrows not…
“and rejoicing in
you gave to me
the sour taste of grief
though it is not mine”
I call to the mountain
“you have left me more
in fear than ever found another,
though it is not mine”
at that flawed and fading
massif built in hurt
“one earth-bound life from
many lifetimes, you might
take from me” loudly
calls my (though it claims it as its
and “it is not mine”
though your sorrows not
E. E. CUMMINGS
Looking at what it isn’t
Sometimes the best way to understand something is to explore what it isn’t.
When you want to know what you want, most people find it easier to say ‘What I don’t want is…’
When I ask you what something is like, you are quite likely to answer, ‘Well it isn’t like…’
If I invite you to envisage the future of your choice, you might reply, ‘All I can see is how it is now!’
This list of what you don’t want, what it isn’t like, or all you can see now, is the perfect place to start because it is literally where you are now. How could you possibly start anywhere else?
Once you have described where you are now in terms of what you see, hear and feel, maybe even how it tastes and smells, you can begin to ask the next question.
If not this… then what?
Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite.
It is a favourite for me because it works equally well with both poetry and coaching.
By looking at every word and finding its opposite, you discover far more about the meaning encompassed in a word. Your every word can tell you something about yourself when you learn how to listen effectively. And it’s not just the words themselves; in the way you phrase your language, in your pauses, your emphasis, your laughter or tears, there is meaning.
Like the layers of an onion, you can keep peeling away your language and discovering more about yourself. This is where the Linguistic appears in Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP] and it is also where we find the stories so important in Narrative Practice.
And, of course, in poetry, take a short poem and rewrite it replacing each word with a word that means the opposite and, like those old magic painting books, something that was once invisible will reveal itself.