Alternate title: “I hesitate to call this the strangest blog post I’ve written so far because I’ve written a lot of really bizarre posts but this one might just take the cake.”

So yes. I’m a big fan of talking to blocks and interacting with stucknesses but I also think it’s useful to have someone around to negotiate for you. Because talking to the stuck is hard.

And uncomfortable.

Like when I had Cobalt mediate my conversation with my arms when my arms were on strike.

Or when I got together with the negotiator, the monster and the scribe.

Long story short? I went to have a conversation with a stuck today. And my stuck refused to talk to me. So I brought in a mediator.

It only gets more weird from there, so I guess that’s all the introduction I can give.

For some reason I’m on a stage, sitting in a tall wooden chair. The mediator enters stage right.

The mediator: So … what’s going on here?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
The mediator (after a pause): Sounds like you’re feeling kind of frustrated… is that right?
Me: Uh huh.
The mediator: Okay.
Me: Sigh.
The mediator (looking around the empty stage): Where’s your stuck? I don’t see anything…
Me: I don’t know.
The mediator: Tell me a bit more about what’s going on.
Me: I don’t know!
The mediator: Alright. We can do this without the stuck too. Why don’t you just tell me what you do know.

Me: I feel so confused.
The mediator: Do you know what the stuck is about?
Me: That’s the problem. So I have this thing. And it’s a thing I want to do. And I’m not doing it. And I don’t know if the stuck is the thing or the not wanting to do it or the resistance or the resentment or all those things together and …
The mediator: I know you’ll probably smack me if I tell you to take a deep breath …
Me: Don’t say it.
The mediator: Okay.
Me: breathes

The mediator: You know, I don’t think it matters right now — for our purposes — what the source of the stuck is. This is more about your relationship with the stuck than the stuck itself.
Me: Alright.
The mediator: What do you need from the stuck?
Me: To show up so I know what it is. To stop hiding from me! To say something so I can refute it and tell it why it’s wrong.
The mediator: Ah. Okay. That might be why it’s not showing up.

Me: Oh. I see. My stuck is afraid that if it comes out of hiding I’ll try to convince it to stop being stuck?
The mediator: Or to stop being afraid … or to stop worrying about you.
Me: My stuck likes to worry about me.
The mediator: You got it.

Me (shouting offstage): Come out, stuck! I’m not going to try to talk you out of being stuck!
The mediator (raising eyebrow): Really?
Me: Whose side are you on, anyway?
The mediator: Um, I’m a mediator. That’s why you called me.
Me: Oooooof.
The mediator: You don’t have to make promises you can’t or won’t keep. You can just agree to meet with the stuck and find out what’s going on.
Me (sticking tongue out): Fine. I agree to meet with the stuck.
The mediator: Let’s do this thing.

The stuck comes shambling out and sits down in a metal folding chair that has appeared out of nowhere. There is a spotlight just in front of the chair, so the stuck seems to be even more in shadow than it already is.

The stuck is wrapped in layers of dark cloth, it could be sheets or a shroud. The shape of a person, with no body parts visible, not even a face.

The mediator: Alright. Progress. I appreciate that you’ve come out here to sit with us.
Me: Come on.
The mediator: What?
Me: Is this going to be one of those stupid Jungian things where we unveil the stuck and it turns out to be me underneath? Because that’s lame.
The mediator: No. No, it’s not you under there.
Me: It’s not?
The mediator: No.
Me: ?!?!

The mediator: There isn’t anything under there.
Me: ?!?!
The mediator: (shrugs)

Me: So … what are we doing here then?
The mediator: This isn’t really stuck. It’s just the shell of a stuck. It’s the reminder of a stuck. It’s old, old, old, residual frameworks that used to surround a stuck. But there’s nothing inside.
Me: How do you even know this stuff?
The mediator: A mediator knows many things.
Me: About Floyd Merkle’s death?
The mediator: Why would a mediator know that?
Me: (giggles)
The mediator: Sooooo … as much fun as it is quoting obscure Neil Simon movies, maybe we should get back to the stuck.
Me: You said it’s not a stuck.
The mediator: The shadow of the stuck.
Me: I told you. None of this Jungian stuff. I’m not in the mood for it.

Me: This is what I want to know. What does this stuck need from me in order to be able to heal or be transformed or whatever hippie-ass stuff happens to stuck?
The mediator: Exactly.
Me: What?
The mediator: What does this stuck — this shadow of stuck — need from you?
Me: To acknowledge that it isn’t real? But that it’s still here? And that I need it to remember that it’s just a shadow of what was?
The mediator: Bingo. I don’t know why you even need me around.
Me: Who else do I get to quote obscure Neil Simon movies with?
The mediator: I could answer that, but you won’t like the answer.

Me: So what happens now?
The mediator: Your stuck is from then. It doesn’t know that it’s now. That now you have other things to deal with. It’s not that you won’t have stuck anymore. It’s just that this particular version of stuck isn’t a part of your life anymore.
Me: But it doesn’t seem to know that.
The mediator: Yeah, it needs to come into present time. Into right now.
Me: What does that even mean? And why are you speaking in this spooky voice?
The mediator: I was kind of hoping that something would happen …

A trapeze bar descends from the ceiling. A young woman dressed in a hot pink ’80s prom dress holding a glitter-decorated scepter is sitting on it, swinging her legs. There might also be confetti.

Me: Give me a break. A freaking deus ex machina?
The mediator: It’s hard to find a way to actually show the quality of present time. We’re doing what we can here.
Me: shakes head
The mediator: Can we bring this stuck into right now? Into your current state where this stuck doesn’t live anymore?
Me: If the stuck is willing, I guess I am.
The mediator: Whose side are you on, anyway?

Me: Well, it is MY stuck.
The mediator: Your stuck that you’re not going to identify with anymore.
Me: No, I do identify with it.
The mediator: Okay. What do you need, then?
Me: For you to know that it’s hard for me to process all this stuff. It’s hard for me to recognize where I am, and what’s still my stuck and what’s my old stuck.
The mediator: Oh, sweetie. You’re feeling frustrated because you need us to acknowledge how painful this is for you.
Me: We?

The stuck is next to me now, patting my hand.

Me: Oh, stuck. The mediator is right. I’m having as much trouble letting you go as I was dealing with you when you were really there.
The mediator: Oh, it’s okay. There will be new stuck.
Me: Thanks. That’s really helpful. What’s wrong with you?
The mediator (laughs): I think we’re done for now. Is it okay if I take the stuck shadow with me?
Me: See you next time. I think I’m going to practice my lindy hop with the princess here.

Me and Present Time dance around the stage.


Comment zen for today:

I don’t even know what to put here.

The Fluent Self