Today I am convening an Enthusiastic. Yay!
And YOU get to be a part of the Enthusiastic. And take part in it. Should you choose to. Yay!
This is all very exciting. And meta.
Because it is going to be an Enthusiastic on the subject of Enthusiastics. Yay!
What’s an Enthusiastic?
It’s like a board. A meeting of the board.
But not bored. Not bored at all.
Because you’re enthusiastic! See? It’s FUN.
And instead of having a meeting of the bored where everyone is bored, we have an Enthusiastic where we get to enthuse.
It is quite jolly, as Barrington might say.
Plus there are really good snacks. And possibly confetti. Yay!
What happens at an Enthusiastic?
For one thing, we are enthusiastic! Very much so.
Also there is SHOW & TELL.
Show & Tell is kind of similar to the thing that grownups call a “presentation”. But there’s no powerpoint and no judgment.
And it’s not stressful to be the person doing it. Because it’s kind of like this…
Me: You guys! Look at my puppy! PUPPY! So soft!
You: Ohboyohboyohboyohboy! It’s a puppy! Yay!
Except not a puppy. But like a puppy. It’s something you’re excited about and hopeful for.
What is the purpose of an Enthusiastic?
An Enthusiastic exists as a safe and cozy way to:
- tell certain people about something you care about, knowing that it won’t be poked at or picked apart.
- practice thinking about the thing you want.
- think out loud and generate more ideas.
- have a welcoming for your idea.
- experience what it’s like having a fairy godmother collective.
- practice giving and receiving firgun.*
* Firgun = Hebrew slang. In this case: Being joyfully, whole-heartedly and demonstrably happy and appreciative about someone’s good news or good fortune.
Yay, an Enthusiastic! So how does it work?
Like this! There are three parts.
1) The establishing of wants.
The person convening the Enthusiastic tells the members of the Enthusiastic how she or he needs them to be enthusiastic today. It’s basically a request for the type of enthusing desired.
Of course, the members of the Enthusiastic are sovereign beings, so they can consciously interact with this request in their own way, and choose a version of responding that suits them.
I’ll give some examples of how this works in the next section.
2) The Show & Tell.
When it is my Enthusiastic, I like to imagine that all the things I want to say are inside of a magical treasure chest. Or inside of a Mary Poppins bag that can hold anything — look, a hatstand!
And then I pull things out of the bag and everyone goes oooooooh and aaaaaaaaaaaah and wow!
But sometimes I feel like playing dress-up, and then I have a flip chart and a clipboard and I wear an outrageous wig, and we all giggle hysterically.
3) The Reacting with Enthusiasm.
This part is mostly determined by the requests set forth by the Convener.
At Crossing the Line (password: haulaway), we spend an entire day doing Enthusiastics for everyone there, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life.
One person wanted us to be enthusiastic by tossing things in the air. Someone else wanted us to run around the room being spies. Some people wanted only very subdued responses, and not to be looked at.
All of these are equally good things to want. And they were all fun things to give. Yay!
Something important I have to say about that.
You might think (I did!) that it could be frustrating to not react in the way that first occurs to you.
But actually there’s something incredibly reassuring about knowing the kind of response someone wants. It is so easy to give someone what they want, and so useful to know what that is.
And if, for whatever reason, you can’t give them what they want in the way that they want it, you give it in the form you can. For example…
Say they want everyone to jump up and down and yell WOOOO!
But maybe you have a headache, or you just can’t jump up and down right now.
So maybe you just WOOOO from your seat. Stand your WOOOO instead of jumping it. Write it on a giant sheet of paper and lift it.
You participate in the essence of the wanting, without making yourself unduly uncomfortable. You take care of yourself. Yay!
Related to that!
It might happen, while in someone’s Enthusiastic, that your stuff comes up.
Maybe some monsters. Or some jealousy. You might find that it’s hard to be fully happy for the person doing Show & Tell because of your own stuff.
Understandable! This is a sign of appreciation-depletion on your part. It means you’ll need to give yourself the experience of safety, permission, amnesty and receiving. And to convene your own Enthusiastic.
For the moment though, if you’ve committed to an Enthusiastic, it’s important that you be present for the experience.
It’s great if you’re noticing your stuff. That’s information you can use later. It doesn’t make you a bad person! Scribble some notes about it.
And then interact with it later on your own time. Because we don’t let our stuff take the stage at someone else’s Enthusiastic. We’re here to give.
Your Enthusiastic exists to give you what you need.
In the way that you can receive it right now.
You don’t have to want questions.
Or you don’t have to answer questions if you do want questions.
You can change what you want at any point, and let people know (“I thought I wanted YAYs but actually I would just like happy appreciative murmuring!”).
You can run the whole thing from another room, or by having a small bunny interview you or while hiding behind a potted plant. Safety first!
It’s a practice. We practice.
Enthusiastic celebration! And the commenting blanket fort.
Today you get to be my Enthusiastic. If you feel like it.
You can do it silently by yourself or here in the comments. Whatever feels right.
Here is how I would like to receive enthusiasm today:
- Loving hand-on-heart sighs.
- Saying YAY for the existence of the Enthusiastic and YAY for any aspect of it.
- Appreciation for my Show & Tell (which was on the subject of what an Enthusiastic is, because I am sneaky!).
- If you have participated in an Enthusiastic with me before and have stories about how awesome it is to be a member of an Enthusiastic, that would be great!
p.s. I am running lots of Enthusiastics right now because I need all the enthusiasm I can get to support Shivanauticon. If you come to a Rally (Rally!) this year, you could be in an Enthusiastic with me! But only if you want to. :)