Metaphors - Creating, Developing, & Delivering Metaphor - NLP Chat

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IRC Chat Log, May 14, 1998

Jonathan Hi folks -- welcome to the chat -- looks like we have about 10-15 active participants this time... and that's a good number! Isn't it?
tranzpupy, PhilAlex, peanut, kamilian, K_O y
Jonathan Because its not how many people show, its how we work together!
Jonathan Won't we?
tranzpupy didn't we?
Jonathan This reminds me of one of the other chats I did.
tranzpupy ?
peanut could we
Jonathan I started up, and I began to talk, and after a few lines... I asked a question....
K_O how?
Jonathan and no one answered. It was like, they were all... somewhere else...
tranzpupy where?
Jonathan And I don't know if it was the content of the chat, because I was talking about Milton Erickson.
tranzpupy zzzz
K_O Hey isn't that what hypnosis is all about? being somewhere else?
tranzpupy at the same time we're hear
Jonathan You see, Erickson liked to give his clients tasks to complete. Now, none of you are actually here, so I can't suggest you work in my garden... but Milton used to suggest people go work in his garden, sometimes until their unconscious would allow them to make changes that were of importance to them... and sometimes he'd talk about his tomato plant. Now, as you think about how Milton would give people seemingly irrelevant tasks, and get them to DO something other than what they were used to doing... and ... eventually, they'd start to really really get it -- whatever it was.
K_O so he got free gardening work while helping his clients? that's pretty damned cool!
tranzpupy and it was their it. Not his they got.
Jonathan But he was often very successful. People would bind the results of them completing their gardening task to the results they wanted in their own minds. Sure! Its the best thing about Hypnosis... no one needs to really know your content. You get to keep it to yourself. Now, I think its pretty cool, they got to make changes, and he got free gardening work!
Klorm Its all process, right?
K_O So you mean success in the garden=success in real life?
tranzpupy which is sometimes a very good idea.. (keeping it to yourself)
Jonathan So what I want you to think about is how when you take trips in life, lets say on an airplane... sometimes they go up 5000 feet for short flights... sometimes 10000 feet.... sometimes 20000.... and occasionally they take you up to 35000. And the interesting thing about compressed air tubes with wings is that when you drink a beer, or a glass of wine... there's a little less oxygen up there... so it's like its too strong. It's TOO strong. I mean, its really TWO strong, isn't it?
tranzpupy one.
Jonathan Like, you could drink 2 glasses of wine at Sea level, but if you go up in a place, 2 glasses of wine, and you're flying!!!
kamilian man, i want a drink
Jonathan See I was recently coming back from California, and I had some dental work done so I was on Vicodin.
kamilian ;)
Jonathan Good stuff, Vicodin. Its like TWO-strong codeine.
K_O sounds cheaper than drinking at sea level!
Jonathan Now, I had taken my Vicodin, and the plane was cruising at 35000 feet -- I was cruising at 70,000 feet!
tranzpupy kewl
Jonathan I thought -- WOW -- now that's a major birds' eye view! I could see 4 times as much! Neat! But then time was moving much more quickly for me -- I got there in what seemed like a lot less time. And so I guess I saw less detail. I didn't get hung up in it.
K_O Jon-was that a good thing or a bad thing?
MarkM what I always wonder about metaphors is, what happens if you know a person is using one?
Jonathan So what you can see, now, is that the above story is just a story. It doesn't have to mean anything. It could mean a lot, couldn't it?
tranzpupy yes
K_O sure??
Jonathan I mean, I didn't tell you that the flight attendant saw me smiling and I told her "I loooove flying..." ;) And that may or may not mean anything of importance to you... But as you cycle through rep systems understanding what I'm saying... see here, now... I could mean any number of things, could I not>
tranzpupy well, what you see at sea level is different, right?
Jonathan Because whether or not I mean a lot of little things... as you listen to the story/stories... you may shift into or through certain states as I do so.
K_O Jon-yeah.. you could.. which is kinda confusing..
Jonathan So whether I mean things at the detail level or at the state level is really... well... its up to your unconscious, right? And I did change states during that flight, let me tell you!
tranzpupy and my unconscious is not a see level..
Bohunkas so the metaphor is just a delivery system for processes.
Jonathan I love the word "just" ;)
Bohunkas :)
Jonathan May I quote Bandler?
tranzpupy quote away
Jonathan "When people use 'Just' it means that they're right up at the edge of their internal model... face pressed up against the glass... And that's the glass wall you want to throw the brick through..."
tranzpupy ouch
K_O OUCH! Wouldn't hat kinda hurt?
Jonathan I can quote Bandler. I mean, I guess I just did, so that must mean I can! ;)
tranzpupy don't be mean about it, though
Jonathan The brick -- is a metaphor... if it weren't obvious... for NLPers ability to expand people's awareness for... what it is that they don't yet accept as a wider set of options and skills and knowledge of what is possible in the world. So yes! Bohunkas! It is a delivery system for processes. And it is much much more!
Bohunkas gotcha
Jonathan What kinds of things can we use metaphor FOR?
K_O IT still sounds like it'd hurt.. couldn't you just remove the glass or um.. cut it away or something??
Jonathan (sorry to repeat myself!)
Bohunkas why would it hurt?
Jonathan K_O -- sure. But it doesn't hurt to learn that you're capable of more.
Bohunkas maybe you'd rather use the door....
Jonathan That your belief systems can expand. That your knowledge can grow and your skills will multiply.
K_O Hey you imagine you are sitting with your face up against some glass and some weirdo throws a brick at the window! I think it'd hurt!
Jonathan OK... K_O... would it help to know that guess what: The brick needs to be thrown from the inside out! You have to get inside their model... and open it wide up!
K_O Oh Ok.. that's better!
Jonathan If you throw the metaphorical brick from outside... sometimes they get defensive and put up a brick wall!
tranzpupy and throw bricks back.
Jonathan But if you enter their world completely... so that YOU can see the limitations of their model... you can help them expand it to allow for new & better things!
K_O Yeah that's what I'd do! Protect myself from the attack!
Jonathan So! What kinds of things can we use metaphor FOR?
peanut changing beliefs
tranzpupy conveying information... creating trance...
Jonathan changing beliefs... ooooh good one -- how might you do that, peanut?
peanut experiencing new perspectives, adjusting beliefs
Bohunkas persuasion
K_O coercion!
Jonathan Persuasion... Coercion, yes, all that applies.
Kupal Have you heard of my Entering Worlds algorithm ? Where I play from the inside rather than from the outside ?
peanut presenting a story using their rep system and then change it.
Jonathan What about... HEALING others? (assuming you're a licensed mental health practitioner in your state or country ;)
tranzpupy oxygen molecules!!!
Jonathan Sure!
peanut by telling myself a metaphor?
tranzpupy What! you can't heal without a license???
Bohunkas by experiencing one
Jonathan Absolutely, peanut. There's a lot of belief that if you visualize something, that you can make it real/true. Some people believe they have healed themselves of cancer while in trance states.
K_O tranz you can, but you could get sued for it!
alchemyst mind is the builder.. and the power of the spoken word
peanut sure in a trance state
Jonathan I don't suggest that as an "alternative" to traditional medicine. I do suggest you explore anything that makes you feel better, and learn whatever you want to learn. Caveat Emptor. So there's all kinds of things that metaphor can do for us. Now there are quick metaphors, and long metaphors. and the purposes can be the same or different. Some are stories of situations people have gotten into, some are stories of tribes and countries or animals, etc. When you tell stories of situations with other people... you have the opportunity to modify the stories ON the fly -- to accommodate the shifting responses of your audience... by inserting quotes of things people said... or 'may have' said... you can change the tonality to suit the state you want to elicit in people! I looove quotes... And in the study of NLP we find out about Homomorphic and Isomorphic metaphors... Who knows the definition of the two above terms?
alchemyst how about the imagining pac-man eating up the bad cancer cells.. "in black" this was used once and when the person couldn't see anymore black enemies the cancer was gone?
K_O Hey old spiritual lesson type storys are great to quote!
Jonathan sure! One could meditate on that!
Kupal No such thing as Heteromorphic Metaphor ? :)
peanut isomorphic is like a parallel; homomorphic isn't
Jonathan I think I'd say Homomorphic is more like a parallel but tell me what you mean by that -- we might mean the same things! words (like parallel) mean different things to different people!
peanut characters are similar to the person involved
Jonathan Lets hear more definitions -- as people presently understand them...
peanut equivalent=isomorphism
Jonathan no one else? OK -- we're on the same wavelength --
peanut the fundamental characteristic of a therapeutic metaphor is that the characters and events which occur in the story are equivalent-
Stefan Not that I know any Latin, but homomorphic sounds like "of the same form", whereas iso means different form of the same?
peanut isomorphic- with those individuals and events which characterize the clients situation or problem.
Jonathan homomorphic is more like -- equivalent results with different structure!
peanut quote from David Gordon
Jonathan Isomorphic is 1-to-1.... Right, peanut -- from Therapeutic Metaphors
peanut si, although I haven't covered homomorphic yet
Jonathan So... sometimes hypnotists or hypnotherapists will use the closest 1-to-1 mapping that they can find, i.e., isomorphic...
tranzpupy examples, please, Jonathan?
peanut yes
Jonathan and they'll spend lots of time exploring the source of the problem, then lots of time on trance induction and get someone into a deep state... then deliver 1 or more isomorphic metaphors for post-hypnotic suggestions... and sometimes you can do it with a story that doesn't appear to be related at all.
tranzpupy homomorphic?
peanut yup
Jonathan But while the content may differ greatly from the issue at hand... in a homomorphic metaphorical story... you have the opportunity to use quotes to embed commands... to induce the desired state which is useful for the problem -- without it being overtly related to the problem at all!
tranzpupy kewl.
Jonathan Now! Once you have the state you want... if it happens to be the state you'd want to help solve a problem...
Stefan Like adding pepper to a hamburger?
Jonathan ANCHOR it!!! Make sure you have a really easy way to get back to that state VERY easily and quickly and powerfully! Now there's a lot more about metaphors here that you can talk about in terms of how NLP Trainer make for very effective learning. Things like nested loops and all that -- but that's outside of the scope of these chats. At least.... to cover how they relate to metaphors.
tranzpupy examples of iso- and homo- ?
Jonathan But lets go through examples!
tranzpupy thank you;)
Jonathan ;) Go back to the beginning of this chat. What stories was I telling?
tranzpupy you were at 70000 feet.
peanut flying
tranzpupy and working in the garden. grounded.
Jonathan what were those metaphors about?
tranzpupy the flying one was about seeing more... perceiving more, i think..
Jonathan or differently, perhaps...
tranzpupy and the garden about using your subconscious to solve a problem...
Jonathan right... and there's a BIG difference between being still on the ground... working in a very small area...
peanut I thought the flight was an induction
tranzpupy chunk size...
Jonathan and flying at 70,000 feet up... moving 600 miles an hour and experiencing time differently..
tranzpupy it induced me!
Jonathan ;)
peanut I'm still groggy
Jonathan What happens when you exemplify such major differences? You know the word, tranzpupy ;)
Pelone You go into a trance.
peanut peace
tranzpupy ooops, now, which word... trance or... that other word...
Jonathan starts with an "f" ;)
Pelone fractionate
tranzpupy frag men ta tion
Jonathan bingo 2 points for Pelone. Fractionation, fragmentation, etc. Sure.
Pelone I love this stuff.
tranzpupy 1 pint?
Jonathan So... two metaphors were useful by themselves but together became a highly powerful combination. Now, individual sentences there might have been useful too. I have NO idea. I can't tell through the chat channel. And even in person not all of it may match your internal models.
tranzpupy hmmm... and when we fractionate, we come back together at a different level
K_O Hey is it true that if a person hears something in three different ways they'll accept it? Like three examples?
Jonathan Well, sometimes people come back together differently. I like to think of that as ecology or responsible use.
Klorm yes yes yes. :)
tranzpupy If you think of your brain as an eggshell and you fractionate it
Jonathan Whomsoever uses metaphors should keep tabs on what states or loops are open, of course, and make sure that people are comfortable to move forward after hearing the metaphors, etc.
tranzpupy and make it BIGGER, then there's all those spaces within the cracks before they solidify and that moment of expansion, of seeing through the cracks is the part
Jonathan Granted, in normal conversation -- this happens all the time, often less than effectively but if any of you are considering the therapeutic use of metaphors... keep ecology in mind, get training in order to be competent in safely reversing fractionated states, etc.
tranzpupy that is really mind-boggling....
Jonathan I agree, tranzpupy! Its great!
tranzpupy spirit is in the CRACKS
Jonathan Now a lot of times, trainers may leave certain loops or metaphors open... allowing the listener to close them on their own in real life.
tranzpupy please, example...
peanut yes, confusing your students
Jonathan So who would like to share a metaphor with the group?
tranzpupy give us an example of a loop left open
Jonathan As you're thinking of some... I'll just explain my previous comment further -- Lets say I open 3-4 stories, and I close them up in reverse order... and I don't close the last one.
tranzpupy which was the one you started first?
Jonathan It's like an incomplete package... and since nature abhors a vacuum... it fills in the gaps itself. Ergo human "distortion"
tranzpupy how does it know what to fill in?
Jonathan And when you're in a more open searching state of mind... with a wider model -- a wider set of options... anything it fills in is likely to be an expanded set of options than what it had previously. Therefore since its YOU deciding somehow how to proceed... it must be right for you!
tranzpupy oh. Okay.
Jonathan Trust YOU'RE unCONSCIOUS now, Kay!
tranzpupy I'm in trance, but I'm totally Conscious!!
Jonathan OK -- who has a metaphor to share -- we can spend a little time OPTIMIZING it for the purpose you have in mind... Now that we've explored how they work for the last hour...
tranzpupy ok.
Jonathan (I have tons of em -- that gets boring -- lets be interactive)
tranzpupy I have one.
Jonathan ok
sabren i have one :)
Jonathan (keep in mind, brief metaphors, people!)
tranzpupy You're waiting for *something*. Getting impatient. And you keep looking to see if it is on the way yet.
sabren hurry UP, tranzpupy :)
tranzpupy And the metaphor is "digging up the seed to see if it sprouted." ok, sabren :)
Jonathan Ahhh
sabren i was waiting for *something* and getting impatient :)
Jonathan that's a nice one -- suggesting that the more impatient you get... if you act too soon on something... you'll be shooting yourself in the foot!
dbarron I have a metaphor... about facing the edge of a cliff ready to jump!
Jonathan Its funny. When I imagine myself or Bandler or another trainer telling the metaphor...
tranzpupy the seed one?
Jonathan I hear myself saying the words... and I wonder what I'd say before and after it to help LOCK in the message. Like after saying... "you know... its like... digging up the seed to see if it sprouted..." I imagine myself making a face and saying "And you find out that it HAD!"
sabren i like the metaphor of the two little pigs that wanted to build a house like their brother's.. one pig kept buying bigger and better tools. the other built his house. :)
Jonathan i.e., amplify the message! It's just like saying "and Double that feeling!"
tranzpupy but now you've killed that pore little sprout...
Jonathan Oh and definitely the pig with the tools WINS!
peanut absolutely
Jonathan Ever been to Home Depot? They have my picture on the platinum customer wall.
sabren the pig with the tools has a nice toolbox :) the other pig has his house :)
Jonathan And nothing to fix it with. ;) Plus he's saddled with a mortgage.
tranzpupy the pig with the tools can come over to my place...
sabren haha
peanut tools will last longer
Jonathan I'm kidding... just by turning an ISOmorphic metaphor into a HOMOmorphic metaphor.
tranzpupy I'll pay the mortgage, he can use his tools...
Jonathan It still has its impact, that's the NICE thing!
sabren ...I saw the other pig chasing after the big bad wolf with a screwdriver :)
Jonathan hehheh
peanut lol
Jonathan You're getting to the point where you can begin to see what kinds of metaphors lend themselves to pithy sound bytes.
tranzpupy so is the seed story iso or homo?
peanut homo ?
Jonathan The seed story is ISO.
peanut oops
tranzpupy because it isn't about a people?
Jonathan Because everything in the story is a 1-to-1 mapping with whatever it represents. There's no structural difference.
tranzpupy oh.
Jonathan The moment you add in potentially irrelevant material... ...lots of extraneous information which CAN be used successfully to match a wider variety of circumstances -- i.e., we're not exactly sure WHAT its a metaphor for anymore but it sure sounds like a nice learning model!
tranzpupy like planting the seed in Ericksons garden.
Jonathan The HOMOmorphic ones are the ones I find are or can be designed to induce major physiological responses! YES!
tranzpupy example of a homomorphic one... please
Jonathan The airplane ride.
tranzpupy another, please...
Jonathan I tell a story about the J. Paul Getty Museum -- designed by Richard Meier.
Jonathan About how in order to take the commission he had to agree not to build an only-white building.
tranzpupy oh, yeah. ok... my uncon-subconscious knows,,, it'll tell me later.
Jonathan After YEARS of building only white buildings. There's a long lead in to the story which allows me to embellish with enough detail to capture a wide array of comparable experiences and states... based on the group's responses AT that moment.
tranzpupy I remember
Jonathan It can lead to a shift in people's perceptions at one decisive moment. But people experience all kinds of shifts when that happens, and its all by their choice, because its all ABOUT education and greater choice. I think people also ought to be able to tell when a teaching metaphor is beyond likely reality. People can appreciate and learn from exaggerations, without having to suspend disbelief.
tranzpupy so if you tell a isomorphic metaphor, the listener may know just what you are metaphoring about. But if you tell a homomorphic one, the listener may not *directly* identify it...
Jonathan yes, typically.
peanut question about a metaphor you told us years ago
Jonathan So... I think it opens up a whole new world of possibilities when we recognize that the stories that describe our more dramatic experiences in life become our own teaching metaphors... you may discover that we often change the way we remember and tell stories to other people.
peanut the story about the sick guy driving to the store. was that an isomorphic???
Jonathan Sometimes we fit the story to the moment... either as a metaphor... or to share common experiences to the degree our stories match other stories that other people have told us! That was more an experiment in shifting perceptions and attitudes. Because it kept changing on you, peanut. So you had to change to incorporate the dramatic new information you kept getting!
peanut uhh. oh. eye see
Jonathan So I'd say it was HOMOmorphic... because if you get anything out of the story -- and it sounds like you did because you remember it! -- then... it means you can find times in your life when you may have overreacted with insufficient information yourself!
peanut that's a possibility
Jonathan The situations you pick(ed) don't have to match the timeframe or circumstances described.... only the mental shifts that occurred in the sick driver. Does that make sense?
peanut yup! I'll have to reread the homo iso thing though, every time I think I have it, I don't
Jonathan Good, peanut! You know we love uncertainty where knowledge is concerned... If you think you're certain, be certain you've prematurely closed your mind to other extensions to the information ;) Its our brains' natural "generalization" & "distortion" processes at work!
tranzpupy and deletion
Jonathan that too, tranzpupy, deletion implied by the "Premature Encapsulation." ;)
tranzpupy huh? premature encapsulation....? distortion?
Jonathan Deciding you "know it completely!" OK, lets wrap it up here!
timshel come on, not yet.
tranzpupy Jonathan needs his beauty sleep.
Jonathan Who's still here & actively monitoring? (y) roll call...
tranzpupy, PhilAlex, timshel, Stefan y
Jonathan We've had fun discussing certain types of metaphors and what they can do... and how you can embellish them towards certain aims. I encourage everyone to begin to recognize that every experience... every moment... is a metaphor for that experience -- isomorphically! And homomorphically for something else entirely!
tranzpupy oh, that's too deep. Way below see level
Jonathan Its often easier to metaphorically illustrate something than to describe it directly! And influencing others through metaphors is OFTEN the easiest way to go -- since their CONSCIOUS minds aren't as defensive to learning.
timshel people I've come in contact with like stories tooooooo! can we talk freely now?
Jonathan Yes! The story-tellers of our lives are often the people we remember most vividly! The story-tellers are the people that enrich our lives with moving descriptions of times in our past... of community experiences... of common ground. Now that flight attendant was pretty hot, but then, I think she was trying to steal my attention away from my wife, who's pregnant. Ahhhh {sigh} jealousy makes a person less interesting. So I stopped smiling at the flight attendant, and went back into a dream state... because after all I was flying pretty high! Now, eventually I got back to Florida and I could look back at the whole thing... and say, Vicodin is Way TWO strong for flights.
timshel what time tomorrow ho
Jonathan And I guess it doesn't matter quite what altitude you get up to, now, as long as you experience some REAL natural highs in life.
timshel that was supposed to be Jonathan
Jonathan Because in a way, I'm glad you came to play in my Garden tonight... and I wonder what you'll be doing differently tomorrow... Now....
tranzpupy Didn't we?
RoyKirk Whoa! Lots of people on tonight! Damn me, I forgot the seminar! Is it still going on or is this general chat?
Jonathan I'll say on official goodnight and thanks to everyone for coming!


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