When I’m visiting the underworld and the way seems long and dark, I need a new metaphor.
The wisdom of Parker Palmer often helps me.
As I struggled with mountains of memorabilia in the cellar last week,
searching for inspiration while mildew and mold wafted in the air,
I was thinking of Persephone, Demeter, Orpheus, and Dante.
Descending into the underworld is a classic mythological theme.
Those heroic images didn’t seem quite right for this task, however.
That’s when I remembered Parker Palmer’s phrase
“the work before the work.”
I went back to the poem itself, and found the woodcarver’s explanation
for how he created a beautiful bell tower:
My own collected thoughts
Encountered the hidden potential in the wood:
From this live encounter came the work
I am holding this thought, and collecting other thoughts, as I
enjoy a summer of travel, renewing relationships,
and returning to the box(es) in the basement.
I will travel to The Home Place of my memoir,
Like the wood carver, I will look at each tree in that special place
looking for hidden potential
asking for a live encounter.
Has a new metaphor transformed any of your tasks? How do you return from the underworld? I want to collect as many thoughts as possible!