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.

I really want a sabbatical. As became clear on Official Pirate Queen Holiday last week.*

* Reassurances! Not a sabbatical from blogging! I’ll still be here, no matter what else happens. Okay?

But I have big issues with the word. So it has to be called something else.

Actually, I’ve kind of already decided that I’m going to call it my Skabbatical.

Because that’s hilarious. To me. And because it automatically comes with its own (extremely excellent) soundtrack.

Still, I could use some help rewriting my screwed-up personal associations with the word “sabbatical” — in order to discover something more appealing.

Not to mention something that might actually happen.

To the Skabbatmobile, Metaphor Mouse! And let us all sing … I am Metaphor Mouse!

Unpacking my CURRENT relationship with this.

What are the qualities, aspects and attributes of the thing that isn’t working (including what *is* working — if anything)?

[+ pipe dream]
[+ unrealistic]
[+ imaginary]
[+ never going to happen]
[+ exists only in the future and in fantasy]
[+ unfulfilling]
[+ distant]
[+ relaxing]
[+ desired]
[+ impossible]
[+ unachievable]
[+ out of reach]
[+ productive]
[+ something you have to earn]
[+ carrot and stick — except that you never reach the carrot]
[+ irony]
[+ pleasurable]
[+ happy fantasy]
[+ fun to plan]
[+ expectations]
[+ hopeful]
[+ possibly also disappointing]

Reminds me of?

Well, in a way it’s like Disneyland. Or an amusement park.

The way you build it up when you’re a kid, only to discover that it’s hot and sticky and full of annoyances.

Like summer vacation or recess.

You yearn for something but it’s the yearning that is more fulfilling than the thing.

So maybe it’s like being in prison and having elaborate fantasies about escape.

Yes, there is definitely some aspect of imprisonment to it (again, for me).

You know what? It’s like imagining winning the lottery and then not buying a ticket.

Learning more about my IDEAL metaphor (X = ?)

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

[+ achievable]
[+ do-able]
[+ structure]
[+ planning]
[+ fun]
[+ surprising]
[+ flow]
[+ results]
[+ process]
[+ transformation]
[+ expectations]
[+ hopeful and joyful]
[+ relaxing]
[+ trust]
[+ creativity]
[+ in a state of creative making-stuff-happen]
[+ yoga and Shiva Nata]
[+ play!]

Reminds me of?

It’s like planning a vacation.

But actually planning it. Not sitting around and saying, “Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to go to Turkey again” and then not doing anything about it.

Back to the lottery thing … I don’t have a lottery fantasy because I a) have a functioning, profitable business, and b) recognize the variety of different ways that financial goodness can come into my life.

In other words: there is an awareness of options. And the fact that I have them.

Which is, in a sense, exactly how I’d like to feel about time. And that’s what we’re talking about here, really. My relationship with time.

Having that sense of PLENTIFULNESS and SPACIOUSNESS in relation to time.

So it’s about Very Interior Design, related to a clearly defined project.

Huh. Is it like … adding another income stream but with time?!

No. It’s more than that. It’s like inventing a holiday. Both in the sense of vacation, and in the sense of holy day and in the sense of a big crazy party.

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

Here’s what I know about going on Skabbatical.

It’s for me! Not for anybody else.

Which means it gets to be infused with me-ness.

It has to be fun. And silly.

And have costumes, of course.

It has to have clear starting and ending dates, entry and exit points. Rituals.

It has to be an adventure. It has to have a starting here and ending there. In a way it’s a journey, though that word is also really too loaded for me.

A progression, let’s call it. A progression that’s also a pirate adventure. A sailing.

Are we comfortable with this one?

It needs work.

But you know what? I’m feeling a lot better about the “hey, this could actually maybe happen” part.

So I’m calling it good for now.

What needs to happen next?

I want possible dates. And possible plans.

With a giant permission slip to come up with whatever ideas I come up with, and not to have to trounce them.

Even if most (or all) of them turn out to be ridiculous and untenable.

I need some negotiators to show up and help me have conversations with my monsters.

And I totally need a Skabbatical t-shirt from my designer.

Would you like to play? Comment zen for today.

You are more than welcome to think out loud about stuff you’re working on, related or not related.

Or to celebrate with me and/or come up with Skabbatical lyrics (because it is also a ska band).

As always: we let people have their own experience, and we don’t give advice (unless someone specifically asks for it).

To the Skabbatmobile!

The Fluent Self