The Power of a Metaphor

A mentor once told me he can tell who the leaders are because of the arrows in their back. It’s a grizzly metaphor to visualize.

I practice metaphorical learning. Take a catcher at a baseball game. My discernment is like a catcher. I choose what to accept or deny by gesturing with signals understood by the pitcher. Then I wonder who the pitcher is. I guess the pitcher is life with its various fast balls, curve balls and the like.

When my daughter was born so terribly ill back in the 80’s, I had been living a typical life for a young heterosexual, white privileged couple raising a family. We had friends and acquaintances with a busy social life. Our world cracked and collapsed disintegrating into pieces. Our so-called friends sifted down to one couple strong enough to handle our devastating news. The rest was sorted like deadwood.

When I came out as a lesbian 20 plus years later, I felt like a peeled banana revealing my authenticity. I was finally ripe and ready to discover my true self. This awareness changed my life.

When my children went off to college, I experienced an empty nest and felt adrift. This painful emptiness warranted me filling it with beings I could care for. My remedy was poodles -- three colorful poodles, cream, red and black. I called them my Neapolitan Pod of Poodles. They became my vanilla, chocolate and strawberry family.

As I embark out into the pandemic world, I see myself masked and prepared to complete the needed tasks and beamed back into my sanctuary of safety.

As I age, I want to stay present to the aging process and enjoy the fruits of my wisdom. I want to laugh along with my body’s changes and gentle myself through the surprises.

Metaphors help me understand life’s painful lessons and blessings. In my opinion, emotion is the key ingredient to the power of prayer. If I connect at a deep level and feel an emotion, what I express in prayer seems to travel faster to my source than using mere words. Using metaphor deepens the meaning of my words to help define my emotion.


By Shirley Riga 2000 (see Apr 29 blog for earlier version)

My strength I carry in my tall

Thick walls of stone.

I weather the hottest heat and chilliest cold.

I stand as witness to the lives of people,

animals, energies that pass by me,

over me and on me.

I reach high to heaven and am made

Up of the very essence of mother earth.

I am majestically beautiful and

Starkly abundant in my stature.

I carry within me memories of days

Long passed and futures to come,

Yet represent the presence of what is.

Participants Reflections:

  • Thank you for the reading. The part that really spoke to me was the metaphor of the catcher. I’ve always loved baseball. I grew up with it. The catcher was my favorite. I imagined myself as the catcher. And when I did that this morning in the meditation, I immediately felt like a juggler, like I wasn’t catching the balls. I had a difficult morning. I was out twice dealing with balls that fell the first time. On the way, I lost my phone, lost my purse, found them both. I was overwhelmed with balls this morning. It all worked out. Just focusing on the catcher really helped ground me. Not only catching the balls, catchers have a certain power asking for certain pitches. That was empowering to realize