Learning through Life’s Metaphors

If you’ve been here reading my reflections for a while, you may have noticed how I love a good metaphor. I find them everywhere in life, especially when I am outdoors.

When I was running a whole lot, training for a marathon (a lifetime ago!), every run seemed to spark a short story in my mind. There was always some bug on the ground walking along as I ran by and I’d see a life lesson in an instant in our brief exchange.

These beetles would run straight across the path in front of me in a perfectly straight line, from right to left. It was like they were all lined up for their own 2-meter dash across the paved pathway and I was somehow the starting gun that set them off. I pondered that my every step activated something in someone (or some beetle) and if I hadn’t been out here taking these steps, what might have not happened in the world?


A couple of weekends ago, I planted 27 plants in my front yard and went on a whole Hero’s Journey!

Do you know of the arc of the Hero’s Journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell? This universal story arc comes up again and again in business and personal development worlds. You find it in so many movies (maybe all of them?) – from Star Wars to Good Will Hunting to Moana and The Sound of Music!

Briefly, it’s the process each of us journeys through many times in many realms of our lives as we move from the comfortable, status quo to following a dream or an adventure and the challenges we face, the guides we encounter, the tests we go through as we make our way to the “new world” on the other side of our growth. 

A week or so after I planted my new garden, I was on a business coaching call where we were asked to plot a hero’s journey story to our life. It was suggested we dive into a simple example – not the epic quest of our lives – so we could see how the different elements work, and my garden project fit perfectly.

We start with the Status quo – the boring grass front yard I had – nothing wrong with it, just the status quo of yards in suburbia.

The Call to Adventure came many times and was ignored, basically every spring when I would see other people’s gardens come to life around me!

Assistance came in the form of this amazing local offer by Resource Central for a “garden in a box”. A “garden in a box” offers all the plants for a native garden that work together in the conditions of your space (i.e. full sun), designing the garden layout, and packaging it up in one easy purchase.

Once I committed to embarking on this journey by taking the first step of placing my order back in March, I crossed the threshold from the Ordinary world to the Special world and made my Departure.

Trials came up pretty quickly with having to put in a written request to the HOA (begrudgingly – don’t let me get on my soap box about this!).

The Approach includes getting to work – measuring my yard and deciding exactly where I would put my garden. Starting the back breaking work of removing the existing sod. 

Quickly “Crisis” hit when the reality of removing 100+ square feet of sod was felt in my back muscles!

And behold – a Treasure! My neighbor pulled up (after we took out about 25% of the grass) with a sod cutter!! It was totally unexpected. I hardly know them because they own the house but rent it out. But they pulled up and yelled out the window of their van “We have a sod cutter!” This was quite the treasure!

The Result – three days later I had 27 new flower plants in the ground!

And as we covered the area with mulch and cleaned up the tools and moved the old sold to different areas in our yard, we made the Return

Literally New life has been planted in my yard and a new version of me – a more confident and accomplished gardener with a little more interesting of a front lawn!

The Resolution – starting a day or so later, steady rain came for the next few weeks to nourish my new plants! This felt like it completed the process and solidified the New life created.

And yesterday, I just received a new email from Resource Central with their Fall gardens coming soon! Is this the next Call to Adventure?

So yes, I love a metaphor!

They have a magical way of showing the lessons of life through stories – of beetles and flower gardens and sod cutters and visions realized!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *