Friday, January 8, 2010


Warning: major parenthetical alert!

I was laying in bed in the early morning hours, having been woken up by a pee incident lol, and my mind started to wander down all sorts of extended metaphor pathways.... A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about trying to turn over several new leaves. Well, I have been thinking of it as a slow, sliding in process (but no, this isn't about slide metaphors). I don't think a single leaf has truly been turned over in the way I had hoped. Such is the reason for not making New Years Resolutions (and why I didn't use that term). I know many people who are against them. It isn't really human nature to make major changes all in one day, and we often set ourselves up for failure by putting such high expectations on ourselves.

So I started wondering about the phrase. (For those of you way ahead of me who know where it comes from, bear with me, it took my brain awhile to get there at 5am.) Turning over leaves... seeing what is on the other side... two sides of the same leaf? The yin and the yang? Easily turned back the other way... susceptible to wind.

But my leaves haven't been budging much at all. Suddenly a vision came to mind of those leaves that fall on the patio and get rained on. Before you know it, they are flattened and stuck to the cement so much they might as well be decoupaged on there. The broom ain't gonna work (no clean sweep metaphors here either). Oh hey, Jessica suggested a spatula. She was really onto something. Sometimes our friends know us better than we know ourselves. It usually ends up being a pressure washer around here.

Alas, maybe this is the answer. My leaves need total obliteration. Well, that is a harsh word. But the idea is there.... Maybe old and unuseful patterns could be seen as being totally dismantled to make way for something new. Hmmm, going to have to put some more thought into this....

Next my mind went to wondering why "new leaf". Yes, it sounds great for resolutions, but you don't usually turn over new leaves; they are usually still on the tree.... Oh! Duh! I bet it is talking about pages! And sure enough the Interweb confirmed that. That really does sound more like a resolution, and very final. It isn't every often we get those epiphanies that result in instant and long lasting transformation. Well, at least *I* don't have them. Sure, there have been moments where I knew a chapter ended, and a new one began, or sometimes it felt like a whole book, but those were usually things that were out of my hands, surely uninvited and usually unwanted at the time.

(On a funny side note, I found this story several places online, though never with the original source: Oscar Wilde was urged by a friend to mend his ways, to turn over a new leaf. Wilde agreed. But a few days later, the friend returned to his hotel suite, which he was sharing with Wilde, and found Wilde apparently doing the thing which has no name with the bellboy. Shocked, the friend remonstrated: "But Oscar, you said you would turn over a new leaf." To which Wilde replied, "Yes, but I haven't yet gotten to the bottom of the page.")

Anyway, as much as I love books, I think I like the other metaphor better. It occurred to me all those leaves I was talking about obliterating could have been put in the composter. Or left in the yard to decay naturally. Either way, they are being transformed into something else. Something rich and nourishing and useful. So yeah, it is OK that change is a slow process! It is OK to trust some things will happen naturally if you stop stressing about them, but give them the right conditions - some time to sit quietly, some time to move around, a little air, a little water, and lots and lots of warmth (read understanding).

OK, so my final vision doesn't go very well with the original saying, but I can live with that. It was a useful starting place. :)

So what are your leaves?
The yin and the yang
In need of total dissolution?
Pages? Chapters? Whole books?
Happy to go into the compost pile?
Maybe already in the process of transforming?
Maybe just few deserving of being pressed and preserved? Hey, that could involve leaves AND books!

And what about the new leaves in my preferred natural metaphor? They are coming soon after all. Lots and lots and lots of them. Ah, the beauty of Abundance Thinking and surrendering to the cycles. Just more proof that the natural process is happening all around us with no help needed. Fresh soil and new growth are right around the corner. What will you do with them?


Shady Lady said...

Wow...this is really beautiful. I don't know that I think of my life that way, though. I tried to think of where I am and where I'm going and relate it to said leaves or books. I just can't. Each day is a wonder and there are such amazing things.

Faedemere said...

Oh how I love extended metaphorical mind wanderings!
The lead to fantastic blog posts, and even better ah-ha! moments!
I have another thought for you, perhaps the turning of a new leaf could mean that instead of doing things the same and getting the same unsatisfactory results, we try a new approach with hopefully different, better, results?
That's at least what the phrase means to me.
But I LOVE your thoughts on old leaves being glued down by the rain of our lives. Actually makes a ton of sense to me.