What we do here:

Work on our stuff. Dissolve stuck. Play. Experiment. Rewrite patterns. We take sometimes-heavy things* and we make them more fun, playful, manageable.

I also write about my conversations with walls and monsters, and what it's like to work on a pirate ship. Good times.

* Sometimes-heavy things include: mindfulness and presence, pain and trauma, business-growing, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity)

 

Search Results for: metaphor mouse

Metaphor Mouse helps me vacate my quarters.

There are several people I know who are extraordinarily wise about time.

And about how there is always more of it.

One of these people is my marvelous uncle Svevo. One is my dear friend Hiro. One is Douglas Buchanan. One is Janet Bailey. One is Waverly Fitzgerald. And another is Cairene, one of my partners-in-crime.

Janet, Waverly and Cairene have all come to play with me at Rally (Rally!). Come to Rally. You will seriously meet the most amazing people.

Anyway, yesterday Cairene and I were talking about how we want to interact with the coming year as a year.

We were peeking at my Almanac, which is a version of the Book of You that has to do with your relationship with time. A collection of what you know about how you are at different times of the year.

But then we got stuck when it came to the quarters.

Metaphor Mouse Dividing the year into quarters, that is.

It wasn’t the division part of it that was problematic though. And it wasn’t the four part of it either.

I definitely like 4s.

They’re all over the place in Shiva Nata.

And four is the seasons.

Four is the right size (for me, yes?) for allowing the year to fall into segments that I can visit and explore in depth.

But something about thinking about the year in terms of quarters was a sticking point.

So I sent up the not-a-bat signal, and called on metaphor mouse to help untangle the stuck. Here’s what happened.

What’s not working?

A reminder: We know from the “People Vary” principle that words can have intensely personal definitions. My definitions will probably differ from yours.

Any negative associations with quarter?

Let’s see. YES.

Like these:

[+fiscal] [+boring] [+forced planning] [+not creative or innovative]
[+board meetings] [+arbitrary] [+divisive]
[+incongruent] [+inorganic] [+separate from the world] [+calculated]
[+irrelevant] [+externally imposed] [+not fun!]

Reminds me of?

Having an executive calendar. Things straight people do. Things adults do.

Sitting in a leather swivel chair in uncomfortable chairs having an excruciatingly dull powerpoint presentation inflicted on me about Fiscal Reports and Annual blah blah earnings ohmygod get me out of here.

Edit! I said chairs twice! The second one was meant to be clothes but I’m keeping it as chairs because it made me laugh.

It’s definitely indoors. Fluorescent lights. Uncomfortably low ceilings. Coffee breath. Everyone is bored stiff.

I’m not sure where I have this image from because, gott sei dank, I have never been in a place like this.

On second thought, it looks like the office meeting room from Arrested Development. Got it.

What do I want?

Words and qualities that are important:

[+intuitive] [+organic] [+seasonal] [+cyclical]
[+movement] [+wholeness] [+permission] [+spaciousness]
[+belonging] [+containers/homes for things to happen in]
[+fractal flowers] [+fun!] [+anticipation]

Reminds me of?

Hmmm.

I’m out in the world. In nature. But not exposed. My senses are engaged. I’m actively present in this space.

I’m in a garden. Whoah, garden beds? There could be four of those…

No, it’s not just about the garden. There’s definitely indoor space that exists outdoors. It’s all very cozy.

So this is an estate. What does an estate have? It’s not a wing or a suite. It’s a cottage! Or a place on the estate that has both land/garden and a place to hide in.

Cairene: Yes! Because time is a dimension, not a force! You can shape it.
Me: Yeah! Exactly. You are THE BEST. Thank you for saying that in the exact right way for me.

What do I know about this new space?

Okay. There are four parts. Four places I can go on this estate. Which is mine, because it’s part of my kingdom.

And each of these spaces is connected to a season.

Each has both elements of nature and of shelter. Outdoors and indoors.

  1. There is a winter cabin. Is it a lodge? I’m calling it a cabin.
  2. The spring cottage.
  3. The summer gazebo.
  4. The fall treehouse.

These seasons do not line up with the fiscal quarters. They have their own rhythms and they echo the outdoors.

What else do I know?

I do not live in any of these places. That’s what the Humming Castle is for (sorry, I haven’t written about that yet but just assume that it is AWESOME).

But each of these spaces is the home for my plans, hopes, gwishes and mysterious projects for that particular season.

I can move about from place to place throughout the course of the year.

And get this! These … spaces have essentially become the living quarters for what I want to do in that thing that used to be called a quarter.

So I’ve gotten rid of quarters and replaced them with quarters.

(Then I had to collapse in giggles for about ten minutes.)

The useful questions.

Cairene got me thinking about useful things to ask.

Like what tools and furnishings live in each one.

What is ready and waiting for me there?

How do I mark the transition times? Are there customs that will help me exit the summer gazebo and ready myself for the fall treehouse?

And I always like to ask what would make this experience pleasurable. For me.

Because if I want a warm, peaceful relationship with time, and if I want each of the quarters to be a home for the adventures we’ll have in them, then I can’t allow that process to turn into stressful, horrible work. That would kind of defeat the purpose.

And in the meantime, I’m in the cabin. Playing. Getting to know what it’s like. So far I can tell you that it smells like pine, and there are shelves in all the right places.

Play with me! The commenting blanket fort.

Metaphor Mouse reported that he’s happy to stick around, so you’re more than welcome to use his superpowers to unpack, translate or rewrite any words you like.

We’re all working on our stuff. We make room for people to have their own experience, and we don’t tell each other how to be or what to feel.

If you would like to be on my Enthusiastic and say HOORAY for how happy I am right now about my new metaphor, that is very welcome. Or you can share a deep exhale, which is what I did when I discovered that even something as impersonal as quarters could have its own home.

Love, as always, to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.

p.s. Metaphor mousing is another way to get to the practice of conscious entry. So if messing about with words appeals to you, give it a try. Or come to a Rally (Rally!), because people tend to accidentally become friends with metaphor mouse there, and it happens really easily and unexpectedly. Yay!

Metaphor Mouse carries a valise and twirls his moustaches!

Metaphor MouseBackground: the metaphor technique is something I’ve adapted from Suzette Haden Elgin‘s teachings. It’s an amazing tool for destuckifying.

It’s also how I discovered that I work on a pirate ship and defeated the hackers. And cured my fear of being beautiful.

More recently we turned my dreaded Tickler file into an Iguana Watcher’s Guide And doing taxes happens in a Secret Money Cave where I visit my treasures and make Tribute to the lands that allow me access to their fair harbours.

Metaphor Mouse to the rescue!

Unpacking the metaphor. Here’s the situation.

It started when I couldn’t decide which was more depressing — the fact that I have a Travel Shopping List, or the fact that I can’t look at it without wanting to throw myself off of a cliff.

Really, it is ludicrous that I have a travel shopping list because Travel, Shopping and List are pretty much my three least favorite words.

Actually, travel doesn’t seem nearly as as stressful as “shopping” or “list” — I do it all the time and really do adore most of it. But when I looked at travel more closely, it became apparent that actually travel in general, as a concept, isn’t that fun for me. Hmmm.

Clearly a job for … Metaphor Mouse!

* As always, this is is just me yelling I AM METAPHOR MOUSE to the song I am Iron Man. Yes. Still.

Unpacking my current relationship with this. (TRAVEL = ?)

What are the qualities, aspects, associations, attributes of the problem word (including what *is* working — if anything)?

[+ stressful]
[+ headache]
[+ worry]
[+ unmanageable]
[+ anticipation]
[+ I have to do everything myself]
[+ transition]
[+ dread]
[+ juggling]
[+ tiring]
[+ freedom]
[+ fun]
[+ hilarity]
[+ adventure]
[+ something I’m good at]
[+ transitions]
[+ switching gear]
[+ movement]

Reminds me of?

Being the director of an off-Broadway show.

Having to do so many things and keep track of so many things just to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Plus dealing with the damn actors. It’s like herding cats! But in a theater! Entertaining, sure … but not really all that pleasurable.

Learning more about my IDEAL metaphor (Travel = ?)

What sort of qualities, aspects and feelings does the thing I want contain?

[+ freedom]
[+ sovereignty]
[+ relaxing]
[+ ease]
[+ supported]
[+ prepared]
[+ playful]
[+ carefree]
[+ fun]
[+ anticipation]
[+ clear boundaries]
[+ cared for]
[+ simplicity]
[+ spaciousness]
[+ movement]
[+ adventure]

Reminds me of?

Well, it’s showing up for something that has already been prepared, instead of doing the preparing.

Like being an audience member? Like being taken to your special box at the opera house before Groucho Marx causes chaos and pandemonium? Oh my lord. Do I need a lorgnette?

Or maybe it’s getting to be the diva super star … red carpets and the like.

No. That’s no fun. For me, at least. But I wouldn’t object to being an early ’30s film star traveling on a ship.

With my traveling secretary.

Or at least some companion to carry the hat boxes and find my cabin and fetch my drinks and fend off my admirers with a parasol.

Yes, a lovely Atlantic crossing in good weather with plenty of time on my hands. That sounds like the way to travel.

Adventuring! But in style.

What needs to happen next?

More words!

Words for a film star on holiday!

Because this means I don’t have to pack “toiletries” anymore. They can be “essential supplies”. Or my powder box? Someone tell me what this is called!

And my much abused and dreaded Travel Shopping List can be simply: trinkets and baubles for the crossing.

Instead of packing, I can make arrangements. Or select my gowns.

Much brainstorming is needed.

And how do we make it more fun?

Obviously a lorgnette is necessary.

And possibly a cigarette holder.

Maybe I could bring a magic wand and pretend it’s a cigarette holder.

Glamour is clearly called for. In spades.

And there has to be a fun, lighthearted, playful way about it. I could raid the Costume room at the Playground. Or buy something appropriately outrageous to wear.

The main thing is that it’s an adventure. And a ridiculous one. One that allows me to dress with panache. And one that exists to support me.

I don’t know what else is missing, but that’s where I’m going to start.**

** And since I am currently being a Rally-er at the Rally (Rally!), that can be one of the things that I play with this week, while I unabashedly metaphor-mouse everything in sight.

Would you like to play? Hooray! Also: comment zen for today.

You are more than welcome to practice your own Metaphor Mousing on something you’re working on.

Or to mess around with words and wordishness related to a stuckness. Or get brainstorming help from other commenter mice.

Or to be happy for me and my new baby metaphor and to suggest fabulous things to wear.

As always: we let people have their own experience, and we don’t tell them what to do (unless someone specifically asks for help).

Metaphor Mouse and some post-imperialist destuckifying

Metaphor MouseBackground: the metaphor technique is something I’ve adapted from Suzette Haden Elgin‘s teachings. It’s an amazing tool for destuckifying.

It’s also how I discovered that I work on a pirate ship and defeated the hackers. And cured my fear of being beautiful.

More recently we turned my dreaded Tickler file into an Iguana Watcher’s Guide And doing taxes happens in a Secret Money Cave where I visit my treasures and make Tribute to the lands that allow me access to their fair harbours.

Metaphor Mouse to the rescue!

The situation.

So. I was talking shop with a [very nice, very successful, male, significantly older than me] colleague, and we ended up in one of those clashes of opinion whose entanglements are primarily semantic.

He was using phrases like “taking over the world” and “world domination” and “full growth potential” and “building your empire”. And “taking it to the next level”.

And while I’m into biggification that happens in a mindful, conscious way, all this talk of dominating hugeness is sooooo not my cup of grown-in-my-backyard tea.

So he was thinking I was hitting some personal walls of my own fears of biggification, which okay, yeah, I have some.

But as we talked it out* it became clear that this was really more about vocabulary.

* NVC FTW! It is still astonishing to me how many disagreements turn out not to be disagreements as soon as I remember to apply Non Violent Communication.

Wait! A really important thing that needs to be said before I continue with the post!

Words are individual. Definitions and associations: even more so.

So if you like having an empire or dominating things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. And it doesn’t mean that your way is wrong, or that we can’t be each others’ right people.

It just means that each of us gets to work on our own stuff in our own way. This is me figuring out things for me. And I sincerely hope that me-working-on-my-stuff and processing out loud doesn’t step on your stuff, because that’s not my intention at all. Okay?

Okay. Back to the stuck.

He really couldn’t understand why I didn’t want an empire. And I couldn’t understand why wanting one was so important.

It took us a while to figure out that we actually both want similar things in our businesses. We just have really different ways of talking about them.

As it turned out, it wasn’t my biggification monsters showing up. It’s a much more basic discomfort (and personal associations) with this vocabulary of dominance and dominating and kicking-of-ass.

Which is not a culture I feel at home in.

[NOTE: I don’t at all need things to be huggy and lovey. There can totally be Bruce Lee moves and jedi stuff. I just don’t want to dominate anything. Not my style.]

So it was clear that — whether I want to biggify more or just be able to talk about what I’m already doing — it’s time to find a vocabulary that does describe what I want.

And who better for that job than … Metaphor Mouse!

All together now! To the tune of I am Iron Man. Yes. Still.

I am Metaphor Mouse … doo da doo doo doo doo doo!

Unpacking my current relationship with this.

What are the qualities, aspects, associations, attributes of my PERSONAL DEFINITION of the problem word (including what *is* working — if anything)?

(EMPIRE = ?)

[+ crushing opponents]
[+ unkind]
[+ sprawling]
[+ conflict]
[+ governed through strength]
[+ rapacious]
[+ unclear boundaries]
[+ constant growth]
[+ hard to get a handle on]
[+ requires forceful maintenance]
[+ can’t afford to be compassionate]
[+ dominance]
[+ masculine]
[+ imperialism]
[+ mainstream]
[+ influence]
[+ power]
[+ ability to get stuff done]
[+ respected]
[+ thriving]
[+ could be awesome]
[+ Death Star]
[+ storm troopers]

Reminds me of? Makes me think of?

Alright. I know I was going all Star Wars there, but when I asked this question the first thing that popped into my mind was: Napoleon.

So Napoleon it is.

Learning more about my IDEAL metaphor (X = ?)

What sort of qualities, aspects and feelings does the thing I want contain?

[+ power]
[+ sovereignty]
[+ thriving]
[+ clear boundaries]
[+ I get to be Pirate Queen]
[+ nonviolent]
[+ well-defined]
[+ contained]
[+ silly]
[+ playful]
[+ sustainable]
[+ good relations]
[+ independence]
[+ margins]
[+ support]
[+ community]
[+ queer-friendly]
[+ grounded]
[+ strong]
[+ fierce]
[+ creative]
[+ using powers for good]
[+ healthy growth]
[+ respected]
[+ flexible]
[+ freedom]

Reminds me of? Makes me think of?

Mmmmm.

Safe harbour for my pirate ship and my people. Something with both isolation and connection. An island kingdom? Treasure island? An enchanted island? A hidden island?

It’s definitely an island. But not some little island with a lone palm tree sticking out of it.

It’s substantial. And also protected from other people’s imperial enterprises.

It’s more like … Vancouver Island. Size-wise, I mean.

If Vancouver Island was home to the Emerald City. And belonged to me. And had a lagoon that was named after my duck.

It’s like … Sovereignty Island.

What do you think, Metaphor Mouse? Are we at metaphor?

Uh, no. But this is a really bizarre (and therefore excellent) direction.

What needs to happen next?

My designer needs to produce a map. A gorgeous, gorgeous map.

Also, at least one city needs to be called Selmopolis. Okay, maybe that’s going a little too far.

But definitely a lagoon. We need a lagoon.

And how do we make it more fun?

We’ll start with the maps and go from there. But I have some ideas …

Anything else?

You know, it’s so hard to know where word-resistance and/or personal definitions come from.

In the case of me and my friend, we’re both successful entrepreneurs. There isn’t a class gap, but there are gender and generation gaps.

And it can be so difficult to tell how much of our talking past each other is due to that, and how much is more about our personal values and associations related to different words and concepts.

For me, the take-away is: it’s useful to take time to unpack the words I use, so that I can either rewrite my own personal definition of them or find a new word.

Because if my resistance to something buried in that word is keeping me from moving forward, that isn’t good for anyone involved.

Again, words are individual.

You can absolutely have an empire if you want one. I will still like you.

This process isn’t about deciding which words are good. It’s about figuring out what stuff trips us up so that we can rewrite it.

And often as not, a word or an association or a metaphor that works wonders for one person is meaningless for someone else.

Here’s what I don’t care about: what you end up calling something. Here’s what I do care about — a lot: the freedom and play that come with consciously interacting with words and with everything else in your life.

Play with me! And comment zen for today.

Anyway. You are more than welcome to practice your own Metaphor Mouse-ing in the comments — anything you’re working on is fine.

Or to think out loud about stuff that’s troubling you. Mess around with words and wordishness! Or get brainstorming help from other commenter mice.

Maybe you just want to be happy for me and my new baby metaphor. Always appreciated!

As always: we let people have their own experience, and we don’t tell them what to do (unless someone specifically asks for help).

Come play. It will be fun!