Landscape Your Life in 2019

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Ripple effect

I'm preparing for a 1.4 mile swim in September from South to North Queensferry along side the iconic UNESCO World heritage site the Forth Rail Bridge here in Scotland.
I was doing sprints to increase my stamina and noticed that, as I pushed forward with my breaststroke, I sent out waves ahead of me. Waves that felt like they were forging the way ahead - clearing a path.
The stronger and more vigorous my actions the more impact I had on the water in-front of me.

It stopped me in my tracks as I reflected that I'd never quite understood the ripple effect in this way.

In my mind the ripples we send out into the world are more like this image:
or perhaps even this image taken at the beach not long after the swim when the much needed rain set it.
Small gentle ripples an unintended consequence of our actions on others.

What was happening as I swam was not gentle, nor unintended and was positively impacting me and not other people.

As I shared this insight on Facebook I was reminded of the power of metaphor, and more specifically the power of metaphor when applied to situations in our lives.

Landscaping Your Life uses landscapes as a metaphors for our lives. Instead of trying to solve a  problem logically we allow our more creative mind to find patterns in nature. Patterns that provide a clue to where the solution might lie.

For example:
  • A corner turned in the landscape might allow us to understand the need to turn a corner in real life, and understand we can leave the past behind. 
  • A light at the end of the tunnel might remind us to stay optimistic.
  • The roots of a tree invite us to get more grounded    

We will however each look at the metaphor from our own perspective, based on what's going on for us at that point in time. Someone else might therefore interpret the above examples differently
  • The corner may remind them of what they don't want to leave behind 
  • The length of the tunnel may be where the answer lies, or  
  • The strong branches provide solace and insight
That is, even if a picture paints a thousand words and therefore a metaphor paints a thousand pictures, we'll each relate to the metaphor or landscape differently. Also differently each time we revisit it, based on life at that moment in time. 

Which means others will experience the above ripples differently, and may explore the landscape from the perspective of :
  • The impact of the ripples - negative or positive
  • The initial perception of the ripples vs end result
  • Strength needed to make an impact
  • Not trying or trying to make an impact
  • Unexpected ripples from others/life
  • Stopping or even trying a different stroke  
  • Ripples on a clear day vs a windy/dull day
  • and so on.
Whilst I was swimming I knew the noticing of the ripples/ waves was a profound moment, the meaning however had yet to make itself clear to me.

I could feel as I swam that there was something for me in the power with which I was taking action. This was no easy effortless glide through the waves - no meandering, no floating and allowing the water to determine my path.

It was only when I read Louise Hay later that evening that I was reminded of the power of intention.

I already knew and accepted that setting goals make them more likely to happen. I also knew that visions and action plans also had their place. What I think this noticing was asking me to do was realise that belief sends out waves into the future, into my future.

Powerful waves. 

I therefore have a choice of whether those beliefs are positive or negative.

Which reminds me of Hamlet's "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"

Conviction in the belief sends those waves racing ahead - in every moment we have a choice whether those waves will make life easier or harder for us.

Do get in touch if the ripples in your life are over powering you, or you feel like you're drowning. I promise the solution won't include me inviting you to swim with me, but it might include a walk in the park or, if you're up for it, a paddle in the sea! +44(0)7770 538159

Alison Smith 
Landscaping Your Life 
Using patterns in nature to solve unhelpful patterns in your life 

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