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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.


Item! Special Metaphor Mouse edition!

Fluent Self Item!A somewhat goofy mini-collection of stuff I’ve been reading, stuff I’ve been thinking about and oh, some completely random crap.

Basically the stuff that never gets mentioned here because I’m not the kind of person who can just make some teeny little point. Not into the whole brevity thing, as the Dude would say.

Actually, I’m under the strict compulsion to write ten pages about anything on my mind. So this is me. Practicing brevity.

This is extremely exciting to announce:

I’m on my Extremely Intentional For Once Not An Emergency Having A Breakdown Vacation.

Starting oh, right about now. Well, in a couple of hours. It’s lovely. Thank you.

So I thought for this week’s Item!-izing, we’d look at some useful posts where people use my Metaphor Mouse magic to work on destuckifying things.

Metaphor Mouse power ACTIVATE!

Or something.

Item! Post No. 57 in a sometimes weekly series that has probably outworn its welcome but I really like saying Item!

Item! Metaphor Mouse turns to-dos into Missions!

Our brilliant Lucy has found a way to get stuff done by becoming a grand adventurer.

It’s especially inspiring because this one small change-of-word has allowed her to, as she put it, cast herself as the hero of her own story.

This is a sweet, thoughtful post that manages, between the lines, to say a lot of useful things about mindfulness, self-care and having a non-cheesy conscious relationship with yourself.

“I don’t get along with to-do lists, so instead of to-do lists, I’m giving myself missions.

To give you an idea of how thrilling the missions are, Mission One was to get dressed, eat breakfast, and decide what Mission Two would be.

They’re not designed to be big, overwhelming missions. They’re designed to be little, doable missions.

I’m on Mission Six now, and this part of the mission says “eat lunch and write a blog post”. I’m allowing myself an hour to write the blog post, and then I’m going to put it up, even if it’s crap.”

I love this!

Lucy is @lucyviret on Twitter.

Item! Metaphor Mouse turns writing into baking!

Tara uses my Metaphor Mouse formula to take on the dreaded Writing of Sales Pages.

And transforms the stuck into something she loves.

This post made me want to dance around the kitchen!

“What happens when there aren’t any expectations of what I *should* be doing? What does that look like?

That feels like I’m dancing around in my kitchen, as an adult (ie, not a kid doing homework), putting my favorite ingredients together, confident in my skill.


When sales page = homework:
I feel:
like a kid
worried of getting in trouble
trying to please…the big kids? the experts?

When sales page = my baking:
I feel:
like an adult
responsible to myself
I want to share all the tasty goodness!”


She’s @blondechicken on Twitter.

Item! Metaphor Mouse turns “coaching” into something way better.

Emily, who clearly has some of the same issues with the word “coaching” as I do, despite um, being one but calling it something else.

She wrote a lovely — and very funny — post called Find your inner what? Who wants to remind themselves of a smelly gym?

Notice how she uses both the epiphany-generating magic of Shiva Nata, the power of journaling and the metaphor technique all together.

And notice how she’s able to completely detach from the “coach as sweaty guy with whistle” programming and to substitute something smart and magical instead.

“The inner curator knows about all my various collections: my thoughts, my ambitions, my secret dreams, my feelings.

And more than this, she understands the environment. If she notices some dry rot creeping into the textiles, she knows she needs to adjust the controls.

She can guide me to the parts of myself I need to be focusing on, and when I see a collection that I want to delve into in a deeper way, she can take me to the collections that are not on public display.

She also knows what might be missing from the collection…those things we should work to acquire to make our collection more complete. She knows our strengths and our weaknesses.”

Oh, and then read her next post to see how having that Inner Curator frees up her creativity all week. Wow.

She’s @emilyroots on Twitter.

Item! Comments! Here’s what I want this time:

  • Things you’re thinking about.
  • Things you think you’d like to metaphor-ize but haven’t gotten around to playing with yet.

That is all.

Happy reading.

And happy Blustery Windsday. But a balmy one for Claire!

14 Responses to Item! Special Metaphor Mouse edition!

  1. Sarah Beth
    Twitter: sarahmarmoset

    Metaphor Mouse totally saved the day for me this morning – I was having a whole panic thingy about how I can’t even look at the math I’m supposed to be working through right now, because it is too hard! And the answer is supposed to just somehow appear! Out of my brain! IMPOSSIBLE. Panic! Fantasize about dropping out of graduate school! Panic some more!

    But somehow through the haze of ohmygodgoingtodie, Metaphor Mouse came to the rescue, and five minutes later I had discovered that math is actually paleontology! And that it’s not about having some magical perfect thing just appear in your head, it’s about digging around and finding the little parts and giving them nice little labels, and then once you think you might have enough, trying to put them together in a way that seems logical and at least vaguely resembles a dinosaur. (Dinosaur!) You still need tons imagination and creativity to make the connections and fill in the gaps, but that part is fun, and not overwhelming like trying to just dream up the answer.

    Yay for Metaphor Mouse!

  2. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    Genius stuff all around!
    I love Lucy’s doable missions! Baking is one of my favorite thing to do and I often get stuck with my writing, so I have a feeling that Tara’s post will be helpful… as will Emily’s metaphor: I can see her inner curator in my mind, and she’s pure magic – unless it’s my own inner curator that I’m seeing already? Oh, that’d be awesome! :)

    @Sarah Beth: math as paleontology – that’s fabulous! And I love that it helped you change the way you perceive not only the object of the metaphor, but also the processes associated to that thing. That was a great reminder of the power of the metaphors!
    .-= Josiane´s last post … Shifts and transitions =-.

  3. Timm Christophel
    Twitter: timmchris

    Hi this is my first post here. Hello, I’m Timm. :o) I am starting to get into Metaphor Mouse. I want to metaphor-ize starting your own business and the guy helping you do that (I already love pirate ship!). Something new for Coach is a GREAT idea. I need to find something that fits for me and I need it all in German. ;-) Also how about metaphors for potential development and the person helping you re-access yours? I’ve been thinking about metaphors all day. Yay!

  4. Tori Deaux
    Twitter: ToriDeaux

    I love love LOVE everyone’s metaphors. And I want to explore all of them in depth. And I will. But I have exciting news!

    Metaphor Mouse finally paid me a visit! ME! So now I have my very own metaphor for my Thing, and I’d tell you more but I have to go pack my bags RIGHT NOW.

    See, I’m running off to join the circus and traveling show.

    I have to get moving quickly or they’ll leave me behind. I’ll send you all a postcard soon, telling you all about it!
    .-= Tori Deaux´s last post … Change. Coming Soon To A Tweaks Near You. =-.

  5. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    @Tori – you had a visit from Metaphor Mouse! You had a visit from Metaphor Mouse! *dances around*

    That’s awesome. And running off to join the circus sounds like an excellent plan (and FUN). Looking forward to the postcards. :)

    @Timm – hi Timm! A metaphor for personal potential and development would be really great. I can’t wait to see what comes up from this. Very exciting.

    @Josiane – me too, I’m so worked up about everyone’s metaphors. It’s as though each person’s weird breakthrough plants seeds for more of mine.

    @Sarah Beth – ohmygosh. The paleontology thing is BRILLIANT. It was so clear and obvious (yes, this is right!) once you explained it, and so completely perfect too. I love it.


  6. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Three cheers for Metaphor Mouse! Or should that be three cheeses? Cheeeeeese!

    I’m still letting yesterday’s metaphor settle in, spending some time imagining myself as a surfer on the sea of finance. Apparently, my Inner Surfer has tattoos. I’m not sure why, but I don’t feel the need to analyze it right now. Surf’s up!
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … An open letter, from me to me =-.

  7. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    60, sunny, clear blue skies: damn well near enough to balmy for me! And thank you for your balmy wishes as today in particular I needed a reminder that not all requests go horribly wrong.

    Sarah Beth’s math as paleontology made me realize I’ve been doing a subtle version of the metaphor thing for a long time. 1 of my degrees is in math but since frosh year of college, I always viewed it as another foreign language, something that often takes time to sink in & if you’re doing cool math, let’s you draw pictures instead of writing stuff out. Also, Greek letters!

    I could use a metaphor for cleaning but I dislike it enough I haven’t found the headspace time to sort one out yet. Networking and varieties of sociability would also be good contenders.

    Hope you’re having a fab vacation!
    .-= claire´s last post … Sketchbook, page 13 =-.

  8. jessie
    Twitter: roomtosmile

    i want to MM grading. grading is the thing that turns something i love–teaching–into something horrible and sloggy and miserable. getting a good metaphor going would be so helpful.

    and also, meeting new people! that totally needs metaphor mouse-ing for me.

  9. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @jessie – mmm, grading. Will have to think about that one. How do you feel when you have to do grading? If you were in a place in nature or a building, what would it look/feel like?

    I will toss it around for a while and see what comes up for me.

    @claire – yes, I use the foreign language metaphor for a lot of things. Of course it helps that I enjoy learning languages. If I didn’t, I’d need a metaphor for THAT. :)

    @Kathleen – I adore your badass zen surfer metaphor. It’s brilliant. And yes, definitely tattoos!

  10. Denise
    Twitter: dcanello

    Dear Havi,
    Thank you for sharing Metaphor Mouse with us. Here I Come to Save the Day! Mighty Mouse theme music always plays in my head when I read your MM posts.

    I stole your metaphor about decorating, and now housecleaning is really Decorating for a Party. I put on a fancy apron and music and it goes faster and better. When the house is clean a party is always possible.

    The stuck place is dealing with money. I haven’t been able to get a metaphor to stick. How to you develop a metaphor for something scary? I think I’ll need one with a good costume (at least a hat)…
    .-= Denise´s last post … Lazy Sauce =-.

  11. jessie
    Twitter: roomtosmile

    grading: it’s basically like i’m sort of at what could be a really great party, but nope, first i have to get all this horrible paper work out of the way, so i can’t play. and it’s boring and repetitive–75 7th grade exams? yikes! i feel like i have to sit over at the picnic benches while everyone else gets to play on the swings!

    if it’s a building, it is definitely a federal office building. it reminds me of standing in lines at the misrad hapanim, too: all the time invested, and then it so often feels like i’m not even close to the end….

  12. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @jessie – ugh misrad hapnim, don’t even remind me of the horrors. feh. :)

    Okay, so the grading thing:

    If you’re on the picnic benches and the fun is getting to play on the swings … what needs to happen to get you closer to the swings?

    Is there a game that gets played? A slide you can sit on?

    Where is the anticipation?

    What do you want to feel while you’re in the process of grading papers?

    Just a start …

  13. Melissa
    Twitter: tandemteaching


    Grading was my least favorite part about teaching until I
    started channeling Nancy Drew, who I always wanted to be as a kid. Then, I started scouring over those papers, looking for clues that would show me what my kiddos need, to help me become a better teacher! It totally changed how I look at grading. Now I can’t wait to “get to the bottom of things!”

    I just launched a teaching website, and I was having a really hard time finding my voice. I started talking about how I see challenges in the classroom as cases, and channel my inner detective. Being able to write from that point of view gave me the courage to start writing. Frankly, I’m excited for the series to wrap up, because Metaphor Mouse has given me the courage to start using my own voice, and I’m really excited about it. So . . . thanks Havi!
    .-= Melissa ´s last post … Wednesday Wisdom =-.

  14. […] Metaphor Mouse magic: Turn boring to-dos into exciting missions! […]

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