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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.


Woman in search of a verb.

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.



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.


Boooooring. So boring.


“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.


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.

89 Responses to Woman in search of a verb.

  1. Martin says:

    Are you “dancing” the rally? I like “inviting.” And “swashbuckling.”

  2. solid gold creativity
    Twitter: solidgold99

    Causing? Bringing into being?

  3. Sandra
    Twitter: sandrajapandra

    Hosting is what came to mind for me, too, though the host I was picturing was a party host mixed in with the host of the musical Cabaret – maybe it’s the singing and dancing and German association? I can kind of picture the rally kicking off with a top hat and spangly (US version) suspenders.
    Sandra recently posted… Catastrophic molting

  4. Paula Grant-LeClaire says:

    Maybe you’re transmittifying Rally — you know, transmitting your knowledge but in a stupifying way …

  5. Delphine says:

    In your post you mention “educate = bring forth”. I like this idea of “bringing forth a Rally”. How it shows you give it birth but let it take its own shape.
    Or hosting a rally ?
    “channeling” a rally might be a bit too esoteric, though…

  6. Mary Jane
    Twitter: Mararose10

    What came immediately to mind–Wizardry. Gandolph & his magical horse, Shadowfax.
    Elves & Faeries & the Magic of Middle Earth. Rivendel….

    From a Lord of the Rings geek :-)
    Mary Jane recently posted… Uncertainty–New Book by Jonathan Fields

  7. Mary Jane
    Twitter: Mararose10

    PS: They are some of my Superpowers :-).
    Mary Jane recently posted… Uncertainty–New Book by Jonathan Fields

  8. Sunday says:


  9. kat says:

    My first thought, too, was “rallying”. As in, “This week, I am/we are Rallying.”

    Then, I thought of the almost party like atmosphere that permeates your descriptions of Rally.

    So – “This week I’m partying at Rally.”

    Or – “This week I’m catering Rally.”

    Your image of the one in the silly hat who reads the protocol invoked an image of myself in reader’s theatre. I was the narrator.

    How about – “This week I’m narrating Rally.”?

    The narrator lets the audience know how the play is developing, but doesn’t tell them how to interpret or react to the characters the actors are portraying. She gives a little bit of guidance and sometimes a road map so they don’t get lost in the story.

  10. tereza
    Twitter: terezabrown

    love the garden metaphor, so tending was my first thought.

    calling makes me think of a square dance caller, which i love and think is aww-some but it might not work for you.

    hostessing makes me think of cocktails and 60s-style dresses (and cupcakes!), so again, awesome, love it, but maybe not really very havi-ish.

    anchoring fits the theme and is cool… maybe needs more movement in it: a-weighing rally? away-ing? like we’re at rally so we are being in a different place now? hee hee, i like that one.

    celebrating rally certainly fits how you write about rally. i have been in love with rally for ages (and am thrilled to be coming in sept, yay!) because of how excited you seem to be when you’re writing about it.

    those are my pennies. good luck finding the verb!

  11. Paula says:

    Becoming Rally?

  12. KathleenMc
    Twitter: kathleen.mcgloingmail.com

    I thought “engage”, like Leela a few posts above.

    Engage-ifying Rally.
    Engage-ifying Rallification.

    Oh! also – “orchestrating.” (that can go SO many different directions – and, *music*!)

  13. Sara V says:

    I thought “enabling” but its too corporate-y Then I thought “infusing”.You said it. It has a bit of doing in it but elements of waiting and brewing and allowing characteristics that are there to show themselves.

  14. Mel says:


  15. Ilana says:

    From what you’ve written about Rally, it seems like Rally is already every part of speech and the construction “is Rally” just works.

    (*Anthology of Rally*)

    But if you really want a verb then, by golly, you should have one!

    I love so many of the suggestions above (you are so lucky to have such a creative commenter crew!).

    My votes are for narrating or emceeing. That way you can guide the show, but also be part of it. (You could theoretically also ‘provide the voice-over’, but you don’t strike me as the deeply into movie jargon type…but what do I know? I’m a commenter mouse!)

  16. Sweetness & Light says:

    Rocking the Rally. a juicy bit of alliteration with nice connotations of movement, a bit of gentleness, rocking someone to sleep as an act of comfort and nurture as well as the more attitude rock and roll rocking out feeling of it all.

  17. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    I wish there was a verb for what midwives do.

    “Midwifing” the Rally.

    Helping to set and hold the space and culture that the experience will happen within.

    Bringing it forth through what can be either a sublime or terrifying process from idea to form.

    And letting it take it’s own course, creating safety for the people involved to find their own way.

    And releasing the people involved back into their world, but fundamentally changed.

    (I heart midwives. And birth stories!! Hahahaha)

  18. Mary says:

    Opening up?

  19. Helen (a different one!)
    Twitter: creaky_girl

    As a complete aside, did you know that the word Rally comes from the french word “rallier” which is sort roughly (re)unite. Mass rallies in French are meeting monstre, which also makes me smile, given the context!

    I quite like supporting, but I have to say I initally thought that rallying rally was what you did… Like Terza I like the garden/growing metaphor – cultivating? Fostering?

  20. Judy - the other one says:

    Hi other Judy….

    from a Rally gwisher:

    Smudging: clearing the space, making ready for it to be what it needs to be, it brings in ritual, culture and includes, tending, conjuring, calling, bring the healing in, holding the space.

    I also like:


  21. Casey
    Twitter: 74rally

    Having been to … six (?!) Rallies at the Playground, I’m not convinced a verb is what you seek. “This week is Rally” and “I’m Rallying this week” totally work for what you’re doing and “Anthology of Rally” is short and to the point for the cover of your binder. (You could get All Formal and call it “The Destuckification Playground™ Rally Anthology”).

    It actually seems as though you’re looking for two different things: 1) a title for your role at Rally and 2) a title for your binder. But, really, do either need any (new/improved/different) title(s)? I’m going to have to shake my bunny-ear-wearing head, “no”.

    The BEST things in this world elude traditional conventions and existing words (otherwise, your blog wouldn’t need a glossary, no?). That’s one of the reasons Rally is nearly impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t been. There’s no translation to the “muggle” world; no definable way to explain why what we do there works in crazy, unpredictable ways.

    Well, I need to pack the laptops, my fluffy crown, a book of knitting patterns, and a bunch of spreadsheets because I’m off to the last day of the August Rally. Luckily my big bag of sharpies, stickies, journals, and stickers are already at the Playground. Rally!

  22. Yael Saar
    Twitter: Yaelsaar

    I tend to agree with Casey (yet again!? So grateful I met you at Rally in the first place, Case).

    but again, if you must have you a verb,

    How about, wait for it…


    Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. It kind of fits here, what with the Fest already built into it. And I think of Rally as the best sort of festival minus the crowds. Too bad the word is so tainted.
    Yael Saar recently posted… Of Course I am Anxious (part 2) + Wound-Licking Time Out

  23. Yael Saar
    Twitter: Yaelsaar

    And once again you touch on a subject I’m dealing with. I’ve been struggling with what to call what you do. Both in my individual work with struggling mothers: I don’t know why the word coaching makes me cringe, but it does, and in the postpartum depression and anxiety support groups that I lead/host/facilitate (yawn…) So I love seeing all of these suggestions by the fab crew of commenter mice.

    My favorites for Rally are
    Unleashing Rally
    Heralding Rally
    and of course Rocking the Rally really rocks my socks.

    I love tending and fostering too, yet they don’t quite pack a punch, and Rally packs a punch, in the most comforting sort of way. It is just so potent.

    And you certainly invoke and uphold. Gosh you do so much, and yet let it all unfold in its own right. Oh, how about Unfolding Rally? Maybe someone else suggested this one already?

    Anyway, I LOVE this inquiry. And if anybody has a suggestion to replace coaching I’d love to hear it. I’ve been using tour-guide for describing my roll in the UnGuilt Trip class I teach, but it doesn’t quite work for one-one-one sessions. So if you have ideas, anybody, I’m all ears.
    Yael Saar recently posted… Discomfort, Disappointments, Anger, and Love (part 2)

  24. Susan M
    Twitter: SusPup

    Not reading the comments on purpose because I will be Sad Mouse if someone else suggested it already. But here are the words that I came up with:

    Hosting Rally

    Invoking Rally


  25. judy says:


  26. Eve
    Twitter: evejacques

    My thought was ‘throwing’ as in ‘throwing a party’, but I like several people’s idea of ‘holding’ as in ‘holding a party’ better. Or just Rallying the Rally, but that one seems so obvious I’m wondering if you’ve already thought of it and decided against it.

  27. VickiB says:

    How about Con-ducking the Rally? It sounds like conduct, and it mentions Selma!

  28. Eve
    Twitter: evejacques

    @Yael I would so be tempted to say ‘bussing’ as a synonym for coaching, but if you read Shakespeare, that actually means ‘kissing’. So maybe not.

  29. chacha1 says:

    I like “conducting” and I like “anchoring” but my suggestion is …

    chacha1 recently posted… link of the week: the happiness project

  30. Taylor
    Twitter: goodinkinc

    I was going to put forth heralding because it means to build it up, call it forth, explain its greatness, psych people up about it, invite others to participate in it, etc. I’m thinking specifically of Paul Bettany’s herald in (of all things) A Knight’s Tale, which looks like this:


    and is pretty excellent. Not to say sexy.

  31. Jennifer
    Twitter: unchartedworlds

    I think if it was me, I might want a word for what it really is, and also a sort of more neutral code word for using when you don’t wanna get into it with the person who’s asking.

    I think “holding” and “convening” might both be useful as the codes: they’re not lies in terms of what you do, but they’re relatively ordinary words which also get used as the verb for more ordinary/conventional types of meeting.

    But when you’re talking here you could call it all the other things, like narrating, invoking, anchoring or whatever fits from all those other rich metaphors. And indeed rallying :-)
    Jennifer recently posted… Kay Dekker

  32. Marcy says:

    I heard April Cole say that her projects invite her out to play. So, maybe it could be The Anthology of Accepting Rally’s Invitation to Play. Kind of long but maybe there is an acronym in there.

  33. Sweetness & Light says:

    Yael Saar – to expand on your tour guide idea, navigator, and other things like it, cartographer (nice and map-ish), docent, projector (illumination etc..) and also conduit

  34. Qrystal
    Twitter: Qrystal


    You’re sparking a Rally, because you’re the one providing the spark of inspiration, and then letting rally go forth and be whatever comes out of that spark, whatever the spark sparked the Rally to be! :) But then, this might really only apply to the start of the Rally… maybe, throughout Rally, you are continuing to apply sparkles: BESPARKLING a Rally! :P

    I also like invoking or evoking or conjuring, all of which were mentioned above. I like magical-sounding things like this. :)

    Or inducing, which wasn’t mentioned, and I almost didn’t mention it because it sounds overly techie to me, but then I wikipedia’d it and found a bevy of meanings that might be intriguing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction

    I also did kinda like “holding”, because of the closeness it implies too. Yes, it holds itself after a certain point, but there is surely some closeness between the invoker of the Rally and the Rally that is invoked, and there is some kind of embracing — though saying you embrace Rally for the week, is that too cheesy? Or just cheesy enough?

    Or maybe the exact opposite: releasing was proposed above, but that sounds almost like launching(ew!) and I think that would be confusing. But I think unleashing doesn’t have that same confusion, does it?

    Heralding is nice too… so many good ideas up there! I wonder if any are ringing true for Metaphor Mouse yet? (I haven’t caught up in posts in awhile, here…)

  35. Emily VA says:

    I vote hosting or invoking.

  36. Caroline says:

    I like ‘rallying rally’ because you sort of get it going, gather stuff together, but then the rally takes on a life of its own and determines its own course.

    Then the word ‘course’ as in a ship’s route made me wonder if there was anything in sailing terminology that would apply so I had a quick look at this.


    Only a very quick look, mind you! My brain saw how many words there were and started rolling on its back with its paws in the air.

    Two terms stood out:

    Going about – I like the dual nature of how anyone can ‘go about’ a thing and that means doing something. In sailing it means shifting course, checking against the wind. Maybe in rally there is something of doing things differently, altering course?

    Boatswain (or bosun) – not sure if it can be verbified! The wiki speaks about a non-commissioned officer, responsible for the material bits and pieces and wholeness of the boat, who passes on orders. Though since you are already a Pirate Queen, that may not quite fit. Captaining a rally? Navigating a rally?

  37. Esteban
    Twitter: Estebban

    What about ‘cooking’ a Rally?? Or ‘cooking up’ Rally?? Cooking is a lot about lovingly preparing something you will share later with nice people :)

    And then ‘sharing’ Rally would refer to ‘while Rally happens’.

    It’s like you ‘cook’ it and then you ‘share’ it :)

  38. […] the perfect container in which to Rally — an activity or an event that is very difficult to verb-ify, but the kind of place where you can bring your fondest, most outrageous dreams or your biggest […]

  39. pat says:

    I misread this:

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

    as “Felicitator.”

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