Making Meaning: Creating a Positive Spin

by Amber Lea Starfire on June 29, 2010

AS I WAS LYING ON MY BACK this morning, groaning through one of my yoga stretches, I was thinking about the journal entry I wrote earlier. I had, in the spirit of my weekly Journaling Through Life E-zine, written an entry using one of this week’s writing prompts. The topic was Time, and the prompt was to create new metaphors for Time by finishing the sentence, “Time is …”

I wrote:
•    Time is a cloud which obscures our view.
•    Time is a road upon which we travel.
•    Time is a strict parent who enforces discipline.
•    Time is a prison within which we must live.
•    Time is an illusion of the human mind.
•    Time is a structure that enhances our creativity.
•    Time is a problem we must solve.
•    Time is a ship in which we travel through space.
•    Time is a guardian of the universe.
•    Time is a school in which we learn.

It never fails to impress me how creating impromptu metaphors reveals so much about our state of mind and how we assign meaning to things. In my case, the fact that so many of my metaphors for Time had a negative feel (a strict parent, a prison, a problem), said a lot about my sense of time as a restriction of some sort.

As I changed positions (still groaning), I wondered if, by reframing my metaphor to something more positive, I might release some of this sense of restriction. And then it came to me: Time is a treasure chest, and each moment is a jewel.

And just like that, the meaning of my yoga session changed from something I disciplined myself to do, to something I had gifted myself. The feel of the carpet under the palm of my hand became a sensory treasure, the breath in my lungs, the gift of presence. Each moment became a jewel, not something forgotten in my rush to move forward and get everything done, but something to be appreciated and treasured.

How we make meaning of life, events, relationships, and even how we view Time, is ultimately a story we tell ourselves.

As you travel through your day, or as you write about it, pick an event you perceive as negative and — just for fun — reframe it with a positive spin. How does that change the event’s meaning for you? How does that change your story? And finally, how do you want to write it into memory?

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