Metaphors We Live By

There is a famous cognitive linguistics book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson called Metaphors We Live By. It is both amazingly useful and also amazingly difficult to actually read. I managed to get through it twice over the years and it began to make a whole lot more sense the second time.

To summarize very simply, we understand the world in terms of metaphor. Of course, I recommend you to read at least a short summary or if you are into torturing yourself with academic prose (as I perversely am a lot of the time), go and get the original at Amazon.

And so, back to the song which was obviously inspired by the book, although it is far more poetic and sounds much better than it 😉

Here is the chorus:

Metaphors we live by
The stories of our lives
All the dreams we’re sharing
And so much more inside
The pictures and the feelings
The soundtrack that we play
The words we say inside us
We make it up each day

The verses that are sung here are improvised archtypical stories (random non-serious example: girl meets prince, prince meets dragon, dragon meets nasty sharp sword …!)

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the stories just poured out of me while I was singing/chanting. Obviously all the hypnosis work I have done over the years with clients and myself has paid off creatively, too!

I have also performed the song live quite a bit. I generally invite several members of the audience up to tell a story each. I keep the music going and after their (hopefully shortish and in-rhythm) story finishes, we all go into the chorus. It works beautifully and we all have fun. Everyone gets the song stuck in their heads for months afterwards which I think is marvellous 😉

The song is clearly very NLP-influenced as well as the original influence of the book. And yes, I do believe that “we make it up each day.” We create the stories and metaphors that bring meaning to our own lives. Let’s make them good stories!

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