AND Play with the Metaphor

October 30th, 2016

I love seeing the orange lights, helium filled pumpkins and scary ghosts on people’s property around Halloween. Local shop owners who construct elaborate Halloween decorations for the public are greeted with delight, laughter, and appreciation from visitors. So, in the spirit of trick or treat, I invite you to play with me.

I love metaphors, patterns, and whatever goes beyond the literal, concrete occurrence of something. The expression trick or treat got me thinking about childhood experiences of choosing a costume and presenting ourselves to neighbors for something sweet. AND I wonder sometimes, in our everyday lives, if we play the same game. How often do we choose costumes to perform roles in our lives to delight bosses, family, and colleagues in the hopes of receiving something sweet—praise, laughter, a gift, recognition, or validation? How often do we choose costumes to hide behind in order to become someone else that we wish we were?

More to the point, the choice of costumes often serves as a means of creative expression and cleverness, with which we might like to be identified, as well as a fantasy part of ourselves we would like to inhabit—Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the like. The trick is whether we remember that we are playing dress up and inventing a part we would like to play or whether we are tricked by wonderful treats that hook us into believing, in some way, that the costume is who we are.

AND to carry the metaphor further, consider the original response of the houses to which we marched in anticipation of sweet treats. The signal of whether the residents of those houses were open to our parade of costumes and gleeful pranks was often whether the lights were on or not. Lights out meant no treats. Lights on meant we would likely be welcomed, celebrated and appropriately treated.

How that rings true in our everyday lives! When we turn our lights on, we bring treats to those we touch. When we are lost focusing on getting others to praise, validate, or reward us for our costumes or roles, we trick ourselves in ways that diminish our light.

Tricks AND treats seem a wonderful metaphor for staying awake in our lives AND remembering to play and have fun. Dress up is fun. Performing can bring laughter and delight. We just have to stay alert for tricks we either perpetrate on ourselves or that others perpetrate on us.

Have a BOOtiful Halloween!

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