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June 10, 2022

The Passengers And Planes: Metaphors For Life

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.

I use metaphors in my work as a writer and as a therapist. They are tools to help humans grasp some difficult concepts which allow us to learn and grow. I am always creating and in search of new ones to use and yet there are some golden old ones that I love to return to.

Stephen Hayes PHD and author of Acceptance and Commitment  Therapy ( ACT) has some excellent metaphors. His passengers on a bus metaphor is a popular one. As a writer I can use this one myself imagining in exquisite detail and I bet you can too!

My bus is a double decker and it has many passengers and many are frequent riders. You might have similar. The bus represents our ” internal landscape which make up our thoughts and feelings and the road is the external world in which we navigate through our life.

I alone drive my double decker bus. Of course the passengers can be a rowdy bunch and they all like to chime in and give advice and recommendations. As the driver I am in control of the navigation. I do hear the passengers on the bus and I can listen to what they have to say yet at the end of the day I need to make the decisions and ” choose” where and how to drive my awesome double decker. Even though the passengers are a rowdy bunch at times they are also silent passengers from time to time. Often they don’t get along and each and everyone thinks they know the best course. They always pipe up when something new is going on in life because this is when ” old patterns and negative beliefs resurface. The best thing about this metaphor is that it teaches us that us that as humans we all have these passengers and we are all drivers.  We can make decisions by listening to each passenger and making the best decision in our life. We are in control not our emotions.

Another metaphor that I like is the plane in the sky. You are are the pilot navigating blue skies and turbulent airways. Life is like this. We can fly our plane during these moments and safely land our plane grounding. We can use some oxygen if needed if there is distress. There are people we can call on if we need a little help and guidance landing our plane. The importance here is ” mayday” calling for help. We all need help now and then and it is more than ok to have a crew or tribe to connect and call on when life is challenging. In this metaphor you are the captain, pilot and expert navigator of your own plane. You know how and where you need to go. You know that life is full of ups and downs literally and it is ok to be grounded to prepare and get ready for those ” big flights”.

This pilot metaphor is my very own. Can you think of one that would be helpful? We humans are creative and inventive. We are constantly growing and learning. This happens on and off the therapy couch and always between the pages.

Happy reading and learning friends and happy driving. Remember you are in control and you can drive the bus, plane or even a submarine. Life is fabulous journey.

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