One of the things I worked on at the last Rally (Rally!) was writing an ebook.
Not as a product.
It’s called the Navigational Charts, it’s twenty seven pages long, and I wrote it for the people coming to my Week of Biggification in Asheville next week to help them get their bearings.
Part guide, part resource, part code of the seas.
And one of the topics covered was the variety of syndromes and maladies that often show up onboard the metaphorical ship.
It seemed unfair that only the people coming to Asheville should know about this stuff, so I wanted to explain a bit about Day 4 Syndrome.
Here’s how I described it:
Not fun. Usually — for most people — this happens around the midpoint, towards Day 4.
It’s okay. It’s not you. It’s part of being in a process that is also a passage.
Like seasickness. Or homesickness. It’s just part of the thing. It happens. And you’re on your way through it.
Of course, it’s not just the fourth day that causes Day 4 Syndrome.
When we’re rallying it up at the three-and-a-half-day Rally, the stuck shows up like clockwork on the afternoon of Day 2.
I’ve seen this happen when I used to teach my four month destuckification program. Every time. Middle of the third month.
When I worked at summer camp it was about ten days before the end.
And still I got thrown for a loop this year.
I’m facilitating two year long programs, both of which began in January. And mid-September there was a run of freaking out.
When I mentioned this to Hiro, she started giggling. And then saying extremely wise Hiro-things about the nature of cycles. And about the growth periods of ending.
Normalcy and completion.
Here’s how I was able to reassure myself (and then one of my groups), thanks to Hiro’s reminders.
Here is the thing. Every group goes through this stage of freakout.
This is what happens when you reach the point of being able to see the end date. Seeing the end date (even when it’s still a ways off) invokes completion. Powerful, scary stuff.
We come around the bend. We see the transition and ending out in front of us. And there’s this moment of anxiety.
It’s just part of a normal cycle that happens when you’re in a supportive structure that exists for a set period of time.
Those of you who came to do a private Extra Sparkly day of coaching with me in Portland have experienced this — it hits around 3pm. That sudden sense of uh oh about all the parts we hadn’t gotten to yet.
Totally, completely natural and to be expected.
And that’s what takes us to what is useful.
It’s really that Day 4 point that gets us to where all the interesting, kooky and magical things happen.
Like with the 3pm Extra Sparkly day anxiety. Come 4:30 we’ve collapsed all the monsters and come up with the most fabulous and ease-filled marketing plan. You can’t think of anything that worries you.
There’s nothing left to do the last hour except drink tea and be silly. It’s fun.
Same with Day 4 in the Week of Destuckification. The “I’m not ready to be done” moment. And by the end, we get what we needed to. Everything else is percolating.
When you’re in the Day-4-ness of Day 4, there’s still so much to do — you’re sure it can’t possibly fit it into the time remaining.
And then it always does. We panic. And then we use what we’ve learned to move through it. And then there’s the good stuff.
Using the usefulness.
By asking smart questions.
- What part of me is freaking out when I see the end?
- What reassurances do I need?
- What is true about this? What ELSE is true at the same time?
- What are the things that bring me back to myself?
- Is this from now? What past experiences are being stirred up?
- What part of this is my stuff? Anything in here about fear of abandonment, fear of abandoning myself, fear of isolation, fear that things can’t change, fear that things will change?
- What are the beginnings in this ending? Or: what is helpful about this ending?
Prevention and cure.
Noticing that it’s happening.
Giving yourself permission to be there for now.
Remembering that this is normal and natural, and that it is not the whole truth of your experience. It’s part of a passage.
All of this eases the pain of being in it, and gives you a little distance so that you don’t have to be in it.
Other than that? Ask someone for a hug. Do some old Turkish lady yoga. Talk to the stuck.
How else is this useful?
Really the most useful thing about Day 4 Syndrome is knowing about it and remembering that it exists.
It’s useful if you’re in a program or a course, because then you know what it is. Your anxious moments have context.
And it’s hugely useful if you’re teaching a program, because then that moment where everyone falls apart all at once makes sense.
It’s also useful when you’re thinking about the various ongoing processes you’re in: Is this a wall? Or is this a Day 4 moment?
My fuzzy monsters would have me believe that stuck is forever. But my experience tells me that the Day 4 (or whatever it ends up being) is the tunnel, and that following it is valuable.
And comment zen for the comment blanket fort.
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We let everyone else have their stuff, and we don’t give unsolicited advice.
Aside from that … play with me?
Maybe thinking of some other Day 4 moments (Days 4?) we know about through experiencing them or watching them happen to other people.
Or what you do when you hit that cyclical moment of hard.
Or anything else about what is useful, what is a helpful reminder, anything makes the whole thing more light-hearted and playful.
Kisses to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.