This I seemed to have adopted into my lifestyle: a daily walk lasting about an hour, usually at the beach and a goal to capture an image for a daily Instagram post. As I wrote in a recent blog, this started out as a way to express gratitude. It sort of merged into metaphor captures as well. That is, most of the time, the grateful image is ALSO a metaphor for, I call it, a message from the Universe.
I wrote a poem about this, which is on my Poetry page, when I was trying to decide whether or not I should "move" to Guam. (It's since become a song as well). I haven't actually "moved" but I do have an apartment and a car here. I look at it as bi-island, like some people live bi-coastally. In Hawaii, we have snowbirds, who come from colder areas to live in Hawaii until the weather gets warmer. But I had to decide on signing a lease on my apartment, which represents a commitment, to some degree. I would journal, talk to friends, and also go on long walks, and look for messages from the "Universe." (or God, or whoever or whatever it is that represents a Higher Power). I did the same thing when I decided to retire.
This butterfly image was taken at the height of my process. I had never seen a butterfly like this, with the bluish coloring on the wings. I was amazed by it, and just started click, following it with my camera phone and hope that I got a good picture. When I saw that I had, I was doubly amazed. I really felt blessed and this made me feel like it was a message from the Universe So, I came to the conclusion, that the Universe wants me here. At least for now.
So as I go about my walks, looking for unique images to express a consciousness of gratitude that I am trying to cultivate, it seems to have morphed into a consciousness of trying to understand what the Universe is telling me. One day last week, it was overcast, and I was feeling blue. (Oh, about the usual bluesy things - love desired, lost, and hoped for.) I passed by this flower on the ground, then something compelled me to go back. Later, I went to a gathering of friends at the beach to toast the sunset with a shot of tequila. This collage represented my journey that day, but also the message: Feeling the blues, seeing dying flowers and gray skies, means your life is full and wonderful, so celebrate it all.
Sometimes, the messages are obvious, sometimes not so. When I know I did get a message that is represented through this image, I hashtag it #metaphor. There's something about this process that reminds me of the William Blake quote, "to see the Universe in a grain of sand." I see the Universe in my metaphors and hear the Universe in what the images say to me.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.