So this week is Rally (Rally!), and it’s Rally #12, and it is already the most ludicrously magical, silly and wondrous thing.

Have you ever loved something so much it makes you want to cry from happiness that it exists? That’s how I feel about Rally.

Anyway, you may have noticed how I tend to say “this week is Rally”, and not “this week I’m _________-ing Rally.”

That’s because I don’t have a verb that adequately describes my relationship to Rally.

Verbs currently applying for this position.

Except that I am not especially enamored with any of them.

Sigh.

Running.

I don’t want to say that I run the Rally. I don’t run it. I just create the culture.

Also, when I look at my personal definition of “running”, the associations I come up with are not that fun. Personal definition = this is my stuff — yours might be completely different.

For me, running =

[+exhausting] [+boring] [+stressful] [+manager] [+supervising] [+out of breath!] [+in charge of everything].

It’s being the shepherd when that’s not my role. When my role requires that I steadily, intentionally and regularly choose the option of not-shepherding.

Facilitating.

Boooooring. So boring.

Giant-robot-doing-awkward-robotic-robot-dance:

“Hell-lo. I. Am. A. Fa-Seeee-Li-Tay-Torrrrrr.”

I’m wearing pigtails, tights, a t-shirt with the goddess Kali wielding a machine gun, there are sparkly googly things on my head and I’m holding a duck. Who is wearing a beaded necklace.

Clearly I can’t be a facilitator because that — in my head — kind of sounds like something which might require temporarily acting like a grown-up.

Teaching.

I actually love teaching. It’s something I feel super comfortable with because I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.

But Rally doesn’t get taught.

It gets transmitted and absorbed and received, but I’m not the one giving Rally or instructing people in Rally or leading Rally.

You could say that I am the holder of the Rally.

But even holding is not the right verb because the Playground holds the Rally. And the culture holds itself.

I am the creator of that culture, and the person who makes sure that Rally culture is present, palpable, alive.

So I get to introduce people to the world of Rallying and everything it contains. I show them around. But Rally happens within that. I don’t make it happen.

If I metaphor it out loud for a bit…

What I’m definitely not:

Let’s see. Not a kindergarten teacher or a camp counselor.

Not a pop star. Not a guru.

Not the person who fixes things or kisses boo-boos and makes it all better.

Rally fixes things. Rally kisses boo-boos and makes it all better. The things people learn, perceive and experience while rallying turn them into the people who can meet and resolve their own challenges.

And not just resolve them, but do that in creative, playful, inspired, surprising and sometimes just brilliantly hilarious ways.

Not just by the end of Rally either. But already on the first day of projectizing.

So it might be more like this?

Like being a docent. Or a tour guide.

Or a knowledgeable, fun scholar who happens to be a friend of a friend and shows up to demonstrate how everything works and tell you about its history and origins.

If Rally were a giant secret Treasure Hunt taking place in a kooky old castle or an enchanted forest, I would be the one in the silly hat who reads the scroll of protocol and describes the traditions before we all get started.

If Rally were a gathering of friends playing a card game or a board game, I’d be a regular player but the one who runs the bank or deals the cards.

And the players would meet up in my bar. Where I set the lighting and choose the music and put out the snacks.

Let’s talk to metaphor mouse again.

If I bring in Metaphor Mouse, what are the elements of the thing that I do want?

What I want =

[+grace] [+support] [+ease] [+flow] [+sovereignty] [+freedom] [+amnesty] [+caring] [+permission] [+force fields] [+delight] [+play] [+it holds itself] [+ringing the bell] [+welcoming] [+belonging].

So I get to be the one who welcomes people into this crazy, beautiful world and shows them around, and makes sure that this world is infused with safety, comfort, love and possibility.

What Hiro would call being the angel. Angel is not so much my kind of word but I know what she means and it is really powerful stuff.

I am the sounder of Rally. The bell-ringer of Rally. The one whose job it is to invite Rally in and provide it the kind of setting where it can be its most sparkly and astonishing self.

So why do I need a verb?

Not having a word for my relationship to Rally wouldn’t really matter (I’m already the pirate queen, right?), except that part of my unlikely project for this particular Rally includes working on the Anthology for running Rally making Rally happen.

It’s a systems thing. Translation! Anthology = binder.

So I have this binder and it’s the Anthology of ________-ing Rally.

A Verb! A Verb! My kingdom for a verb!

Not really. But it would be nice to have one.

The Anthology of Calling Rally. Of Invoking Rally. Of Calling Rally Into Form. Of Welcoming Rally. Of Inviting Rally In. Of Translating Rally.

I don’t know.

The word education is such a lovely word.

Hiro reminded me of this when I first started doing Rallies, and I was trying to figure out my role of teacher-not-teacher.

Education: generally agreed to come from the Latin root ‘educo’, which means to draw out or lead out. More root word stuff: ‘educare’ = ‘to rear or bring up’, while ‘educere’ comes from ‘ducere’: to ‘draw out from within’ or ‘bring forth’.

So education is the process of uncovering from within. Of drawing out all the amazing things that are already there.

It isn’t so much about giving people a thing as it is helping them realize they already have the thing.

But doing that in a variety of subtle and playful ways. Without necessarily saying it out loud. So that everyone who encounters what you have to teach gets to experience their own knowing. And take it with them.

For me, being an educator means providing the best possible environment for that process to happen. The safest place to play.

Play with me! And comment zen for the blanket fort.

So yeah. I still don’t have a verb.

Though I think I’m going to try calling my binder the Anthology of Inviting Rally to Play. For now.

If you want to throw out some verbs in the comments (into the pot!) or make up your own words, that’s awesome.

If you want to talk about these bigger themes (this alternative and sovereign kind of leadership, metaphorizing, creating culture, making space for discovery) or anything else tangentially related, that works too!

I would love some enthusiastic waving of flags and popsicle sticks for the beautiful thing that is Rally. And some juice.

We all take responsibility for our stuff. We don’t tell each other how to think, be or feel, because that’s how we make this a safe place to play too.

Love to all the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads!

Post-scripting to say: there are two spots left for the September Rally (September 12-15) if you want to join us.