Follow the rabbit holes.
As many as you like.
They are like the fractal flowers: everything is connected underground.
Following something that appears to be a distraction is not a waste of time, if — and it’s a big all-caps IF — you can do it consciously.
Here is what happens down the rabbit holes.
You find that one small seemingly unrelated thing plants seeds for the next piece.
The piece you’ve been looking for. Or the piece you didn’t even know you needed.
You connect the dots.
You find the treasures.
You discover that all roads lead to the thing you’re trying to get to anyway.
You realize that you are not avoiding your project. You are investigating an aspect of it. Or learning something that will help you with it.
At Rally (Rally!), we delight in rabbit holes. We have permission slips written on popsicle sticks to remind us the rabbit-hole-following is useful.
And still we doubt.
But it works. Like this:
You’re working on an outline for something you’re projectizing.
Your post-Shiva-Nata brain is firing like mad.
You make your way to the Galley to get a cup of tea, and out of the corner of your eye you notice a book about labyrinths. It speaks to you.
You see there’s a section that will teach you how to draw one yourself, and then you say, “Oh no! This is a distraction! This isn’t what I’m here to do!”
But you have committed to being receptive to the rabbit holes.
You remember that there are many ways to get to the thing you want.
And now you have two possible rabbit holes, if not more.
You could choose to sit and talk to the well-meaning fear-and-guilt monsters who won’t stop yelling. You can bring curiosity and play to deciphering your internal rules that say no, working on a project has to be X and can never be Y.
That would be an excellent rabbit hole to dive into.
Because you know what? These patterns will show up in other aspects of your project and other parts of your life.
It is a worthy mission to collect information about this stuff so it can’t hold you back from your power in other, really vital situations.
Another worthy rabbit hole: you could just decide that something about labyrinthing is going to help your project.
You can actively choose this rabbit hole of learning about the labyrinth as a clear and intentional expression of choice, curiosity, receptivity, sovereignty and play.
Or follow both.
Either way, you will get what you need.
If you take fifteen minutes to draw labyrinths…
You might get the deep-in-your-body realization that your outline doesn’t actually need to be so linear.
Or that you need to work backwards — reverse engineering! Or that there are shortcuts that you couldn’t see before.
If you talk to the guilt machine….
You might get more information about how to sneak past some of the tough parts of your internal video game.
Maybe you have a new ally.
Maybe you have also resolved another fear that would have totally sabotaged this project six months from now.
But you will get something. And it will be good.
If that book winks at you and you want to follow it, follow.
Just decide that you are going to find out what is in there and how it is going to help you. Experiment. Give it ten minutes. Follow it.
And not just following, but knowing that you are going to actively engage with the rabbit hole. You are going to interact with the guilt and the fear by being inquisitive, gentle, open to being wrong about what their purpose is.
The rabbit holes take you to where you need to go. Especially when you aren’t fighting with yourself the entire way. When you’re paying attention and staying receptive to the notion that something is here for you.
The rabbit holes make the connections for you. And they do it under the surface.
One of the hardest parts of this kind of intentional projectizing that we do at Rally is trusting and just going with it.
The important part is that it’s intentional and active.
Not subconscious and passive.
Follow and ask questions. Follow and take notes. Follow and engage with what is happening.
The outside culture says yell at yourself for following the urge to fold laundry instead of writing that proposal.
I say: find out what is waiting for you in the laundry.
Because you can decide that there is something for you to learn, meet or discover in the folding.
Is it a quality (like peacefulness or order) that you need to fill up on? Is it the taking time out? Is it a rhythm? Is it the spaciousness that happens when you clear this pile out of the way?
There could be all sorts of things there. And so much power comes from that moment when you give yourself permission to be playful and find out.
Exceptions, caveats, play and comment zen for today.
- This practice of actively following rabbit holes is totally an advanced practice. Permission to not have to try this yet. To let it percolate and settle over time.
- This practice is also way easier at Rally because no internet! Online rabbit holes are considerably harder. Interacting consciously with internet distractions can take years of practice.
- Much of this may feel untrue. This post will probably trigger a lot of resistance. That’s because this concept is crazy counter-intuitive. We live in a culture that is all about forcing. And fighting.
- Often we don’t trust ourselves because of past experience. Interacting with those parts of us who are afraid we will get lost in depression is another useful rabbit hole to spend some time with.
- There are a lot of biggified experts out there saying that the way to get something done is to put your ass in the chair and shout ass-in-chair at yourself, to struggle. The ass-in-chair people reflect our internal monsters. They mean well. They just don’t know how to do change without self-inflicted violence.
- Find your own way. Do what works. Ignore the rest.
- Remember that people vary. And that non-violence trumps the people-vary rule. So we don’t get to use the people-vary rule as an excuse for self-abuse.
- There’s time. Even for this. So it doesn’t have to make sense right now. The rabbit holes will be there for you whenever you are ready for them.
As always, we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process. We let other people have their stuff, and we don’t give unsolicited advice.
We try things. We flail around. We laugh when we can and it’s okay when we can’t.
I would love to hear about some of your rabbit holes.