When I get stalled and stuckified — which happens all the time — I have this game I play.

You stop whatever you’re doing. You look around and find five objects.

Objects isn’t really a big enough category. Five somethings. Could also be things like colors, words or sensations.

And then you pretend that each one is a symbol. More than a symbol. A clue.

You decide that each of these somethings has some information for you. It holds some piece that you need for finding your way through the hard.

Like this.

When I go through my project notebooks or the writings from Rally (Rally!), this exercise shows up every few pages. I do it kind of a lot.

And it’s insanely helpful, both at the time I’m doing it (because it turns the stuck into play and conscious interaction), and after the fact.

It’s also fairly entertaining to peek at my notes and see what the five things are. If they’re crazy, then I was at the Playground. If they’re standard things like furniture or a window, I was in my office.

Note to self: office needs to get way more fun…

Five clues to help me make changes in a program that I teach.

  1. The word PUZZLE
  2. This fuzzy orange pipe cleaner
  3. “Watching the big ships”
  4. Wearable wings
  5. Pink fairy door with potted plants

And what do they want to tell me about making these changes?

Puzzle says:

Intrigue people. Make them think and make them work for it. If not by applications then maybe by doing some sort of exercise before they come. Leave clues for them.

Fuzzy orange pipe cleaner says:

The new website changes will help. Put up lots of pictures. Mention me. Describe the experiences. Make it all about play.

The idea of watching the big ships says:

Watch the ships. ORDER and PROCESS. Each piece has its place. What looks like slow progress is actually the timing of things.

The wings say:

Trust. You are doing what is needed. Stick with it.

The pink fairy door with the plants says:

There are many ways this could happen. Commit to being surprised. Run with it.

Five clues to help me know what to do next.

  1. Rex the pig, sprawled on his chair.
  2. Dick Tracy lunchbox.
  3. Pink stencils.
  4. Pirate monkey meditation cushion.
  5. The word SHARPIE (because I’m holding a sharpie!).

What do they know about whatever needs to happen next?

Rex the pig: Do more child’s pose!

Dick Tracy lunchbox: Carry things with you and create designated spaces.

Pink stencils:
There is a shape and form for everything — just use it.

Pirate monkey cushion: Sit and be playful, because it always helps.

SHARPIE: Cut through the unknown by deciding that you’re going to play.

Five clues to help me write a blog post.

  1. Red lamp.
  2. Pink wig.
  3. Blooming lilacs out the window.
  4. Stack of coasters.
  5. Billy Joel.

What do they know about writing blog posts?

Red lamp: You never know who the light is going to impact, you just keep radiating.

Pink wig: Put me on and become another aspect of yourself.

Blooming lilacs: Walk outside and breathe — you’ll feel so much better.

Stack of coasters: Everything is interchangeable.

Billy Joel: *hums* Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone….


Play with me? Caveats, ideas, comment zen…

If you can’t find five things near you, wander around until they show up. Conscious and intentional wandering around is a good way to destuckify anyway.

If you don’t like the advice they give, ask again. Or reframe the question. Or check to see that it’s not actually your fuzzball monsters trying to sabotage the game.

If the monsters say this is stupid, agree with them. And then suggest they go along with it anyway as an experiment to prove them right.

If they say it’s a waste of time, agree with them. And point out that since you’re already stuck and nothing is working, you might as well try it.

Sometimes, even when you know from experience how useful this game is, it’s still hard to remember to use it. I keep a reminder in the oh-no-everything-sucks section of the Book of Me.

Also! Reading my notes later is like running a Revue. I can see how I got out of the hard and then try to replicate it! Yay.

The usual reminder.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process. We create safety for other people to share the stuff they’re working on by not giving them unsolicited advice.

If you’d like to play the Finding Five Clews thing with me, that would be lovely. And you can use this for absolutely anything, so if you want to invent other uses and experiments, that could be fun too.

The Fluent Self