Our Scholars community is having such fun with metaphors. We are also finding that they are great tools in order to keep our mental attitude in a great place. As we’ve been stuyding ancient MesoAmerica, our thoughts have been on the Incas and Machu Picchu. A metaphor emerged almost on its own. These are descriptions of this metaphor from several members of our Scholars community members.
T: We have been studying about Machu Picchu in Peru, watching movies about it so that we can see what it really looks like. It is a beautiful mountain with an ancient Inca ruin on top, the center of the present-day settlement there. The area all around the mountain is lush, green, jungle. There are terraced steps covered wth the green shoots of planted corn, potatoes and squash. When you get to the top you see this incredible stone work that the ancients fit together like a jigsaw puzzle without any metal tools. How did they do it?
But even more incredible is the view from up there. It is amazing! As one looks around the 360 degree view, everything is in view. The beauty is so strong and touching. The air is clean and fresh. The people walking nearby are dressed in bright, colorful clothes they made themselves…the color of their cheery attitudes. Their work is hard, but they have chosen to live there atop this gorgeous mountain, where every morning they have this incredible view. I imagine what it would feel like to wake up there every morning surrounded in beauty and possibility. No wonder the ancient (and present) Incas were so creative, using their mental capacities to the fullest!
We can have a Machu Picchu view, too…if we choose to. We can decide to climb up our mental landscape, even during the tough times to have a beautiful view or attitude. When one is on top of a mountain it is necessary to breathe differently than when one is down below, because of the altitude. The air is thinner so slower, deeper breathes are necessary. Just like when we are in a low mood, angry, sad, or frustrated, those same deeper breaths will help us to. They help us to come back to the now and the fact that we HAVE a CHOICE. We have a choice as to what we will think about, what attitude we will carry with us. Our thoughts, our mental clothes, can be bright and cheery or can be dull and dark. Our view can be of the whole, clear picture from up above like on the Machu Picchu mountaintop, or it can be caught and stuck in the dense, dark jungle down below. Which do you choose? I choose to have a Machu Picchu view…and mountaintop view day.
Noah: We have been studying a place that was once an unknown city on a mountain in a jungle of Peru. It’s called Machu Picchu and it is a beautiful place to go. Imagine that you have heard about this place and that you are dreaming that you are walking through it. You see houses, walls and buildings that are perfectly cut out of stone. You decide to make the long climb up there to see it for yourself. You are climbing the zigzag walkway to get to the top of the mountain. You want to get up there so much that you will NOT stop climbing. It’s a very, very hard climb. You just keep going and going and going. Once you get to the top though, you can see a GREAT view of everything. Everyone is so happy and bright and smiling. They know that where they live is unbelievably beautiful.
Just like in real life, getting to a beautiful place in our minds requires work. We have to stop thinking about the negative things and see the best in everything — just like the beautiful gardens and custom-made waterfalls along the path to Machu Picchu. We make the choice to be in the dark as much as we make the choice to find a beautiful view. So why not choose to see beauty?
Josh: Imagine traveling to Peru, South America. You hear about Machu Picchu, a very tall mountain. It would take a long time to reach the top. Something inside makes you want to go to the top. As you begin to climb it you are frustrated. It is a HARD climb. But you keep hiking up the mountain. You start to notice the other beautiful things along the way, the jungle, the terraced crops, and you also keep your eyes on your goal — getting to the top. When you finally reach the top you see the beautiful view of Machu Picchu right in front of you. You can see the stone structures and how each stone was cut and placed perfectly. It is quite a sight, one worth the climb.
Think about it: if you are angry or are becoming aggravated because of work you need to do that is hard, you could just think about the pleasant sight of Machu Picchu. You can imagine that you are on the peak of the mountain and can see everything, or even how smooth the texture of the stone-cut walls are. It’s a positive view and makes you feel good inside. It can give you a mental picture that you can apply to your present situation. You keep working and then you feel a sense of accomplishment. In your mind you knew that hiking up the mountain (or up the assignment) would be difficult but you did it anyway and you got to see the flip side of climbing it.
If you are down or angry, just think of the wonderful sight of Machu Picchu to help clear your mind of negativity. Just think of how nice the sight is and that you are, basically, on top of the world. The negative feelings are below you. The positive feelings are above you, but reachable. Think of reaching for, or hiking up the last zigzag up the mountain (up the tough job or experience) to have an invigorating feeling inside….and to have completed the job.
Eren: Let’s imagine that we’re climbing the zigzag path to Machu Picchu. The climb is VERY hard and challenging and it feels like it could take three weeks to get there. Along the way, we see the jungle and a lot of green, and it’s very pretty. Noticing these things along the way helps us to keep going. Sometimes we want to turn around and quit because it is hard. But we just keep going. When we finally get to the top we can hear a waterfall sound and birds singing. Then we go to look for the temple of the sun. We find it and see that everything in Machu Picchu is amazing.
In our lives, we all have things that are hard or challenging, just like the Machu Picchu climb. For me, writing is hard. When I wrote about this metaphor today, it was really hard! As I was writing it though, I began to have positive thoughts. I wanted to keep on writing until it was done. I wrote an entire page! And it felt really good. If I had said, ”I can’t do this, I’m not good at writing,” I would have felt sad and disappointed. But now I feel happy. I made the climb and I got to the top. I am going to keep thinking about Machu Picchu when things are hard, and also remember that I can do it.
Jay: Last week, in the middle of prolonged, paralyzing back pain, I came to realize that the more I thought about, and was aware of, the pain, the worse it felt. So I tried to do the opposite; that is, I chose to think about something else, something pleasant and beautiful to see if I could ignore, and thus lessen, the pain.
I began thinking about the people of Machu Picchu, and the spectacular location where they chose to live. Being near the equator, they experienced moderate temperatures year round. Being at high altitude, they escaped the stifling heat and humidity found at sea level. Being entirely isolated from the rest of the world, with all its turmoil and worries, they must have been naturally happy and content.
They must have begun every day by noticing the beautiful view around them everywhere they looked. The mountains and valleys that surrounded them must have looked like an unspoiled rolling green carpet of jungle, from which the distant sounds of birds and breeze came to them.
As I thought about how these people lived, how, and why, they purposely made colorful and joyous looking clothes, I felt they must have been experiencing their unique form of heaven in their lives.
My time spent thinking about Machu Picchu, dwelling on the beauty of both people and surroundings, was time not spent focusing on my back pain. In fact, for the amount of time I spent “in Machu Picchu” I was completely unaware of my back’s condition.
The whole exercise was a powerful reminder that we can choose what we want to think about, what we wish to dwell on.
For me, it brings up the question, In the short amount of time we have on this earth, what will we choose to think about?
Dave: Image you decide to make the hard climb to the top of Machu Picchu. That is a long way up and it takes a long time and lots of hard work to get up there. Once you get there, you’re in a city where people are happy and dressed in bright colors. There are huge rock walls and temples. The people are able to work and grow crops in terraces on the side of the mountain, even in the high altitude. The view from up there is so beautiful that you do not want to come down, especially after that hard climb. You just feel so happy up there! You can see that it was a good idea, even with the hard work, to get yourself up there.
That same feeling comes when you have something that is really hard to do at first. It could be math, or speaking up for yourself, getting along with your brother, or anythig that seems hard to do. If you keep doing it, and don’t give up, you will find and have something beautiful in the end.
When you feel down, the choice to think happy thoughts is not always easy. If you can see yourself climibing through the jungle and up the mountain, with all the vines and waterfalls, you will find something beautiful in your mind. Even though the climb is hard, you will end up at the top. Don’t give up. Keep trying until you get there.
Ari: We have been studying the Incas, Peru, The Andes Mountains, and the 10,000 foot high mountain where Machu Picchu is located. Imagine that you’re climbing that mountain. It is NOT easy. You have to keep climbing, climbing, and climbing to get to the top. Can you give up if you want to get there? NO!
Finally you’re at the top and you’re seeing these beautiful ruins where the ancient Incas lived. It is wonderful to be up high and see this beautiful site. Now you are really glad you took the time and put out the effort to get there. Maybe many people, even you, didn’t think you could do it. But you did it! It feels great!
That can be just like the times we make a choice about ourselves and what we are doing. Would you rather be up at the top to see the beautiful view and get the feeling that comes when you have finished? Or would you rather be low on the ground and stay sad about giving up? Which one do you want?
WE make our own choices, not our friends, family, or relatives. You can see what is good in you and have a great view, or can be down in the dumps, staying sad and getting angry. The best way to see the beautiful site is to take care of the anger, to find a way to get happy again. And that is not always easy, but it is BETTER. It is much better to stay positive and make good choices. Think about good choices that you going to make. If you make a mistake, think about the sites that we are seeing and the things we can reach, NOT about the mistake. Our reward is we won’t concentrate on the mistake, but on where we went and what we learned. This is a good metaphor.
Guppy: Imagine you’re climbing up the mountain to try to get to the top of Machu Picchu. It is a difficult climb. But even though it’s hard, there are beautiful jungle trees everywhere and tons of rocks. It is amazing! Then you are at the top with many happy people. They have brightly colored woven clothes they have made themselves. They have brightly colored attitudes, too. They made those themselves, too. And they have many crops, even though it’s way up at the top of the mountain. Their work is hard, but their views are beautiful.
Well that’s just like us how we have a choice to go up into our happy selves. It’s not always easy to stay in a happy place. Sometimes it feels just like climbing to the top of Machu Picchu to find happiness. All the work to get there is worth it! It is so much better to feel happy like the people at Machu Picchu than to suffer and never even try to climb the mountain.
Leyla: We watched a movie about the Inca people. They lived in Machu Picchu. It was a beautiful sight with stone walls, temples, stone houses and more. They lived on a tall mountain in Peru about 10,000 feet high! And they all lived peacefully. They still live there peacefully.
Imagine that you are an Inca living up there. You wake up every morning leaving your stone home and meeting the view of living on a mountain, seeing everything from up top. Even though your work is hard, you wear colorful happy clothes with designs on them and keep your attitude happy.
We make a Machu Picchu choice no matter where we live. We just need to make a choice. Look in the mirror; what do you see? I see myself. Now what is your face’s expression? My face’s expression is joy. You can either be in a good mood or a bad mood. What mood would you be in?
Shut your eyes and imagine you are climbing a steep mountain. You hear birds singing and the wind blowing through your hair. Once you get to the top you see this old village made of stone. You slowly walk through it and all of the sudden these people show up and the ruins look like they are new again. While you are walking you notice they are wearing colorful clothes. You then realize they are Inca people! You turn your head and see farmers picking and planting crops in terraces that look like steps. After exploring the village for a while, feeling happy, everything starts to become a blur. Then you see everything is back to normal. They became ruins again. You sit on a stone and think. Wow! I just saw what it was like back then, 500 years ago.
Life is a mystery. Even an old key has an interesting past to it, like what did it open? Who used it? What time period did it come from? That is just like the old Inca village. Who lived there? What did it look like long ago? Some things we will never know about the Incas. Like, how did the stones in their walls fit so perfectly together in their houses and villages? But one thing we know for sure is that Incas were incredible people. They worked hard, kept their attitudes happy, and made a decision to live way up high where their views of life were big, wide, and beautiful every day.