Sometimes I have a thing I have to do and I very much do not want to do it.

Then there is a huge monster rebellion, and I end up hiding in bed watching some show on Hulu, and the monsters are also up in arms about that, even though I basically got there due to Overwhelmed By Too Many Monsters.

Anyway, we know from experience that guilt —> stuck. And we also know that permission to be where you are, dealing with what you’re dealing with, leads to changing patterns. This is what we want.

So the goal is, as always: practice legitimacy, notice needs, recognize guilt, lovingly mess with the pattern.

Something I have been experimenting with over the past year that helps with all of these is playing Find The Clues.

I do this when I am already at the point where, yes, I am absolutely overwhelmed and I need a pause, and hey, this is the pause that I am giving myself even though maybe it is not my ideal pause.

So I pretend that this pause is the mission.

I’m in bed watching a show? Great, that is apparently part of my mission.

So I watch the episode on High Alert, because I am a spy. With a notebook. I jot down everything that might be a clue. I am attentive and watchful, and I breathe.

I remind myself: This is the mission. This is my fractal flower.

Watching this (both the show and the pattern) is going to turn out to be useful, as is giving myself permission to be right here. And I am going to collect as much intel as I can.

Clues from last week’s episode.

Ha, episode. Mine and the show.

  • “Granted early release.” Grant. Release can be granted. A grant is a form of release. It can also happen earlier than expected.
  • “The working theory stands.” In the world of television crime-solving procedurals, the working theory is always wrong. However, someone invariably says this. A good reminder about not making assumptions. Monster theories about how I am a terrible and lazy person certainly sound true. And yet monster theories always turn out to be full of distortions. The working theory is not going to make it to the end of the episode.
  • Observation: things in life do not have to stay the same. Reality can change quickly. Often within two episodes something that seemed like an impossible dream is now possible. I have experienced this in real life and yet I persist in believing in the power of walls and obstacles to maintain their current shape and form FOREVER.
  • “Bonsoir!” This always sounds so cheery. I need to give this an extra code meaning!
  • “If you can’t think straight, think circular.” Go with what is.

Clues from my episode.

I got what I needed: rest, breathing, stretching. A world where things are beautifully designed and imagined.

I worked on the project during commercial breaks and kind of chipped away at it, making more progress than I thought I would.

There was a dream that night about everything changing, in a good way.

Monsters were wrong. It was not the end of the world.

I think I am getting better at thinking circular. And: I think I am getting better at letting myself need what I need, want what I want, be stuck when I’m stuck.

There are clues everywhere. Might as well find them.

And once I am in clue-searching mode, I’m using the pattern that I’m in, which is already changing the pattern, opening new pathways for next time. I’m a scientist, a detective, a spy.

I am paying attention.

And nothing was wrong.

The thing that seemed like it was derailing the mission became part of the mission, and then I was able to return to the “actual” mission. Or to what the monsters think is the actual mission.

Since the bigger mission is learning how to meet my stuff with kindness and compassion, and the bigger mission than that is being patient with myself even when I can’t do that, I am never off the mission. It is all learning.

Sometimes I take the clues and try to figure out what they can tell me about the thing that I am temporarily avoiding.

(Avoiding for valid reasons of my own, because avoidance always makes sense, even when we don’t know why).

Sometimes I talk to the clues, like I did with this Dick Tracy lunchbox.

Other times, it is enough that I collected clues. The process of clue-collecting is enough to alter my mood. I feel more alert, more present, more capable of taking a next step.

Sometimes the next indicated step is actually some intentional not-doing. If I’m paying attention, I am better at recognizing this and not letting the well-meaning monsterlets convince me that I am a terrible person for pausing.

Something else to play with, whenever you want.

Another tool for the collection.

Though actually, there are all kinds of tools in here so this one is kind of a swiss army knife.

Things we can do today:

Find clues. Decide we are going to find clues. In our work/projects, and also in the things we do to avoid them, and also in whatever we happen to be doing, because clues are everywhere. That is one of the great joys of having a brain. Brains like to find connections. Connections are clues.

So let’s play. Deposit clues here if you like. See what happens.

I am leaving an extra clue for you right now, the clue for this week is CINNAMON.

Reminder that we are all in a process, and this is safe space, so we commit to no advice-giving and no care-taking. 🙂

And much love, as always, to everyone who reads.

The Fluent Self