Often in my work, as many therapists do, I use metaphor to help clients access and articulate emotions that otherwise they could not express. Today I came across one that I found moving – it was the metaphor of a sandbox, and how a partner, the boy, could not get in to the same sandbox with the girl – who was sadly, instead, throwing stones and keeping him and others out. I found that powerful. It spoke to me of child-like longing for connection, it spoke to me of loneliness – I saw this boy wanting to play, wanting to join her in the sandbox – but being prevented from doing so out of a need to protect himself. I saw a sad little boy. Conversely it was easy to imagine the sad little girl in the sandbox, so afraid is she that she needs to keep everyone out. Yet that loneliness that she experiences just exacerbates her pain, her mistrust of the world so she throws those stones with a passion that would knock Goliath out.
Who do you allow into your sandbox? Who do you allow to see your playful side? Your fearful side? Who would you throw a stone at? Who might you lay them down for? How might you reach across the sand to someone to quell their fear long enough that they might hear you say hello, it’s me, it’s ok? How do you trust that another stone won’t come hurtling toward you?
When I think about my own experience I recognize my own stone throwing going on when I worry I won’t be taken care of. So I see now that when I am vulnerable, and while it totally defeats the purpose, that is when I decide it’s time to pick up my stones and prepare to throw … just when I should be saying please come in and join me.
We are curious creatures are we not?