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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

 

The Convening of the Enthusiastic

My darlings!

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.

A gwish, a dream, a hope-filled semi-plan, an aspect of a tiny sweet thing. Yay!

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!

Yay!

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. :)

23 Responses to The Convening of the Enthusiastic

  1. Risa
    Twitter: lichtstrom_
    says:

    Big arms-wide YAY for the invention of the Enthusiastic! And extra squee-ie YAY for establishing wants and permissions to ask for wants! And heartfelt *sigh* YAY for consideration for changing minds once the convener gets what they want!

  2. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks
    says:

    An Enthusiastic is my new favorite thing ever, and ever since Rally, I’ve been practicing mini-Enthusiastics with my spouse-person. I used to think he never cared in the right ways, but it just turns out he needed to learn how an Enthusiastic works!

    Sparkle-points for both of us! Sparkle-points for Havi! Who really needs to please stop being such a mad genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Christyna
    Twitter: ChristynaLewis
    says:

    YAY! I love the way you dress up things that are needed to happen in so much fun and disguise, without taking away from the essence of the intended action. Delightful context, truely bring out a sigh:

    {hand on heart} AAAAAhhhhhh

  4. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat
    says:

    Oh, Havi! *hand on heart* Mmmmmmmmm.

    I love the Enthusiastic. YAY for safe spaces to speak our dreams and know they will be welcomed.

  5. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels
    says:

    Mmmmmmmm! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Yes. A very heartfelt and luxurious hand-on-heart sigh of appreciation.

    And thanks for the offering of different ways to join in.

  6. Beadle
    Twitter: amybmorris
    says:

    YAY!! For the creation of safe spaces that are *gasp* joyful and sparkly and (wait for it) enthusiastic!

  7. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahemily
    says:

    YAY for enthusiastics! And YAY for being able to let people know how you would like them to respond!! I am Yaying for your enthusiastic and thanking you for sharing it. YAY!

    *hand on heart* Ahhhhh….

  8. Briana
    Twitter: brianaaldrich
    says:

    YAY! Times a billion trillion. Yayyyyy!

    Loving hand-on-heart sigh while beaming at you and your Show & Tell while wiggling in my seat with gleeful joy + anticipation + appreciation. Love!

    The day of Enthusiastics at Crossing the Line was one of the most amazing, powerful, glorious experiences of my entire life. I’m pretty sure I’ve never ever felt so intensely alive and awake and present and connected to anything ever.

    That night I wrote in my notebook: “Now I know that the energy of my mission is reverent and radiant and vital and sweet and earnest and brave.” I couldn’t have learned that without being part of our Enthusiastic. I could feel it in my body and my space and the room.

    So yeah, it changed everything. Best thing ever. I learned that I could spend the rest of my life being Enthusiastic, giving and receiving and being part of the Enthusiastic-at-large.

    Thank you & Love Love Love! xoxo

  9. Darcy
    Twitter: darxyanne
    says:

    Hand on heart sigh and an enthusiastic YAY for your sneaky sneaky genius.

  10. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak
    says:

    So much appreciation for your Show & Tell! This whole thing is brilliant, and I loved learning about it. I also loved that so many sections of your post ended with “Yay!” because that’s exactly what I felt like saying at all those points: yay! Yay! And YAY!

  11. Åsa Plesner
    Twitter: asaplesner
    says:

    Hand on heart, and a sigh that goes oooooh! and aaaaaaaaaaah! and mmmmmmmmm!

  12. Jill Harrell
    Twitter: scabbyrobot
    says:

    YAY – hooray! LOVE the Enthusiastic. It’s like a positive spin on art school “critiques” – maybe we could rename those to “praises” instead!

    YAY for show and tells too – these make my day:) Grateful for your sneaky genius.

  13. Eleanor
    Twitter: chaoslaughs
    says:

    loving hand-on-heart sigh…
    I love the enthusiastic! So much delight and wonder — I’m imagining us all stargazing at the playground, and suddenly something amazing flies across and we all point and smile with bright eyes! excitement! Yay!

    looking forward to enthusing with you in February!

  14. judy says:

    Enthusiasms for Enthusiastics!

    What a great idea.

    Love the grown up Show and Tell and the beauty of asking and interacting .

    “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.”

    Hand on heart for the sovereignty and simplicity of that. Sigh.

  15. Carol says:

    Yay yay yay!
    Yay for the Enthusiastic!
    Yay for the show and tell!
    Yay for safety first!
    Yay for the practice!
    Yay yay yay!

  16. VickiB says:

    Yay for the Enthusiastic! Yay for the concept! Yay for its existence!
    Loving sighs, hand-on-heart.

    And longing for a chance to Cross the Line with you guys.

  17. Sue T says:

    Hhhmmmmmmmmm! (hand on heart)

    and

    –>****

    (Glitter from fingers, for this wonderful Show and Tell!) (Thanks, Kylie)

    UP!
    Jumping and while shouting YAY!
    DOWN!

  18. Sue T says:

    (Oops!)

    Jumping UP and DOWN while shouting YAY!

  19. Martina says:

    YAY!!!

    YAY Enthustiastic!!!

    And loving hand-on-heart sigh. <3

  20. Pauline Esson
    Twitter: paulineesson
    says:

    Hand on heart sigh mmmmmmmmmmm
    Love the enthusiatic
    Love the sneaky
    Mmmmmmmmmmm

  21. Esme
    Twitter: TheRealSqualor
    says:

    Yay!

  22. […] borrowing a concept from Ms. Havi Brooks today and using this blog post to convene an “Enthusiastic.” An Enthusiastic is like “show and tell” but for grown ups and it is super duper […]

  23. Puck says:

    Yesssssss an enthusiastic is my new favourite thing ever! Thank you for sharing it Havi! :))))

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