Constant Rock Reframe Metaphor
Stress Burnout Pressure Adversity
Overcoming constant adversity
The Constant Rock metaphor reframes adversity as being what makes people stronger, that experience teaches and shapes you, and that you can choose to rejoice in your own hard earned strength and use that to renew yourself constantly.
I wrote this metaphor for two psychotherapists I know. Every week they dealt with the secrets of sexually abused clients, always maintaining a professional face but each day being hurt just a little more deeply as each new horror unfolded. By the end of the week they were drained, exhausted, ready to give up.
Many people have to endure adversity, and have to find the will to go on without the help of therapy. This metaphor visualization can be used to help everyone learn from adversity, and gain strength through adversity.
I wonder if you have had the experience of going to the seashore and seeing a rock out at sea, and watching the waves crashing against the rock? And you might wonder about the waves. Where they come from and why they appear one after the other ... endlessly. Why the rock has to put up with the waves.
Waves are the result of storms far out at sea... the storms have disappeared but the waves they caused are still crashing in... long after... and the bigger the storm, the bigger the waves that roll in.
And I remember a particular rock.... it was protecting the shore behind it .... breaking the waves, defending, deflecting, reshaping, reforming... Maybe you recall a similar rock?.....that looked as if it had been there forever .... solid and strong... and every wave that came surged against it .... broke up with a roar and then withdrew eventually...... Some waves were so large they submerged the rock .... other waves were just ripples that splashed and were gone .... again and again the rock met the wave, became one with it, taking on its shape... the wave hugs the rock and the rock moulds to the wave.... until the rock and the wave are one, understand each other, became part of each other... some waves come in with a great roar and a crash with foam flung high... other waves roll gently round the base and drain away with a gentle laughing gurgle.
But every wave ... large or small .... was absorbed and quickly the water ran off .... leaving the rock as it always had been... solid ... strong.... constant.
And many years later I went back to see that rock. The waves had sculpted it... had changed it... its shape better suited its position.... the waves made it better at protecting the coast... but still it was the same rock... in a way that rock had learned from the waves... learning to absorb sometimes and to deflect other times...
And I wonder if that rock enjoys the waves, and celebrates before every storm.... because with the storm comes that sense of mastery based on enduring long exposure.... a deep rooted confidence... that comes from knowing that whatever comes can be dealt with .... knowing it is capable of handling anything.... knowing that each wave makes it stronger... a confidence that needs to be reminded and refreshed....
Because always ... after every wave... the water drains away... and the rock remains .... serene.... unchanged.... learning from wind and water and sun and storm...
And in a way the rock is grateful... after every storm.... the waves wash away a little but deposit some things as well... and with the ebbing of every wave... the rock knows tranquility... and experiences its own strength reaching right down to the foundations. And it's good to know that each wave... no matter how fierce it seems... will retreat ....and leave nothing more than a ripple in the sands of memory...
Steady and constant, strong and sure.... the rock can carry on. Because tomorrow a new day brings warm sunshine and bright sea air... the rock is constantly renewed.... constant in an inconstant sea.