So I went to my friend Carolyn the other day (remember she helped me with my pirate hacker infestation?) to talk out this whole me having huge resistance to being a grown-up thing.

Because I’m having this extremely metaphorical baby, and it’s bringing up my stuff. And I thought I’d let you be a fly on the wall.

Background: the situation.

What I’m trying to do.

Create a Playground.

What I want.

Ease, effortlessness and Helper Mice. So there.

Where I get stuck.

My stuckified fear is basically that I’ll become — the horror — a grownup and immediately lose the fun and the sparkle and the awesome. Old stuff.

Logically, of course, I understand that if I have a space of my own, I will have the solid foundation that will allow me to be even more silly and playful.

In fact, being all grown-up is exactly the thing that puts me in the position to open this fabulously kooky place of play and wonder.

“Reframing” is not going to help — I already get it. So this is us being curious about the stuck and what lives there.

Destroying the fun.

Carolyn: What happens if you become the grown-up?
Me: If I become the grown-up, the grown-up will destroy the fun.

Carolyn: Destroyed! So the fear is … losing the fun?
Me: Yes.
Carolyn: What happens when you lose the fun?
Me: Losing the fun leads directly to not getting out of bed. Losing the fun means that the Cranky wins.
Carolyn: And what could cause you to lose the fun?
Me: Oh, seeing myself as a (non-fun) grown-up with all this responsibility.
Carolyn: With all this responsibility.
Me: Yup. Sigh.

We both have a fit of giggles, and then continue.

Carolyn: Okay. So. What does a grown-up see?
Me: Liability. It’s like you see all the liabilities and none of the assets.
Carolyn: And what’s the thing that’s worst about being a grown-up?
Me: It means I’ll try to hold it all myself. I’ll get overwhelmed.

The Playground.

Carolyn: Tell me about the Playground. What’s it like?
Me: Oh … It’s about the freedom of being childlike. It’s about experiencing that state of wonder, curiosity and fearlessness.

Carolyn: What do you need in order for the Playground to actually happen?
Me: I did a meditation on that yesterday, and what I got was this:


Carolyn: The likelihood of you becoming a grown-up and destroying the fun?
Me: Zero. I couldn’t be the boring adult even if I wanted to. I mean, for one thing, I’m starting a playground. It has play right in the name. Well, that and ground.
Carolyn: So really, if it weren’t for the responsibility thing — the holding it all by yourself and getting overwhelmed — this would work.
Me: Yes.
Carolyn: So. Is there a way we can get RESPONSIBILITY aligned with FUN? Or: what is the opposite of responsibility?
Me: Ooh, this sounds like a job for Metaphor Mouse!

In which we call on Metaphor Mouse.

You can sing with me … I am Metaphor Mouse!

My current personal definition of “responsibility” = ????

The qualities, aspects and attributes of the thing that isn’t working:

[+ heavy]
[+ boring]
[+ tiresome]
[+ turns you into a painfully dull human being]
[+ sucks away all the fun]

And learning more about my IDEAL definition (X = ?)

What sort of qualities, aspects and feelings does my new version of this contain?
[+ trust]
[+ letting myself be cared for]
[+ not alone]
[+ Helper Mice]
[+ Fairy Godmothers]
[+ I don’t have to hold everything]
[+ strong structures to contain flow]

Looking at opposites.

Carolyn: Let’s start with heavy. What is the opposite of heavy?
Me: Well, it would be light. But even an ideal version of Responsibility doesn’t feel light. I’m not there yet. But you know … it does look like light. It has the qualities of light, the kind of light that comes through a window.

Carolyn: So if this is lightness, then the original “heavy” was … dark and weighty?
Me: Not really. It was heavy as a burden but I’m just not feeling the lightness.
Carolyn: Okay. So visual lightness. What is the opposite of boring?
Me: Involving. Something I can be passionate about.

Carolyn: What is the opposite of tiresome?
Me: Energizing.

Carolyn: What about “turns you into a painfully dull human being“?
Me: Being the only grown-up with a Playground says something, I guess.
Carolyn: And the opposite of sucks away all the fun?
Me: Something that allows you to have more fun. You know, better toys. And an actual room to keep them in.

Do we have metaphor?

Me: Well, the first version is laborious. It’s like cleaning when you don’t feel like cleaning.

It’s scrubbing away at things you don’t even care about just because people think you should.

And the second version … with the Fairy godmothers and the mice … oh, of course. It’s Cinderella again.*

* I say “again” but I haven’t posted about rewriting my metaphor for “filing” yet — which also totally went all Disney on me. Just assume that this makes sense.

It’s playful. I get to clean up with helper mice and it all goes smoothly. It’s being in the zone. And there are definitely sparkles. But it’s not annoying-sparkly. It’s fun.

Carolyn: Who are your fairy godmothers for this playground?
Me: Oh, Hiro and Pam and all the Group Leaders at the Kitchen Table.
Carolyn: Ooh, and I have great repair people. So I will be the Master Fairy Godmother of that.
Me: This is the best day ever!

And back to the holding.

Carolyn: Let’s talk about the holding. What’s going on with that?
Me: There is something about “responsible” that implies that I have to hold everything…
Carolyn: And what would it be like if I didn’t have to hold everything?
Me: Well my mind is pretty clear that it would actually be better that way. But there is still a very insistent voice that says that everything would fall apart.

Carolyn: What is your job? I mean, really. What is your job?
Me: ???
Carolyn: Isn’t your job to be smart and silly and sparkly and glittery and refreshing and energizing and different and you?
Me: Oh, right. That job. Yes. That is my job.
Carolyn: And?
Me: And I still think I have to hold it all together. Even though holding it is stopping me. What I really need is the structure to hold it.

Carolyn: Tell me about the structure.
Me: I need the structure to hold it for me, and I need the trust to believe that it will support me.
Carolyn: You need a structure that holds all of it, so you can have the sparkle.
Me: Yes.

“What is the structure?”

Carolyn: What is the structure? Is it the pumpkin coach? The ball? The castle? The town?

Me: Oh.

The structure is dancing.

And I am the dance.

And as long as I dance, I won’t become a grown-up. At least, not that kind of grown-up. Because the Dance is magical.

So the Dance is the support and the structure. And the structure holds itself.

And when I do the dance it will bring in stuff like guidance, trust, vision and flow.

It will hold everything up. And allow the childlike wonder to be there.

And it’s extra-awesome because it’s the dance of form. Of bringing form in from chaos. Of bringing ideas into form. Mythical structure.

What is trust?

Carolyn: So what is trust?
Me: Funny. I just wrote about that — one of the permutations of trust is to expect. As in, I trust that you will get back to me on this tomorrow.
Carolyn: So to trust is to expect. Not to hold.
Me: So if I trust the structure of the dance, then I don’t need to hold anything?

Comment zen for today.

As always this is a “no advice” zone. But you’re more than welcome to share stuff you’re working on or thoughts that have come up. Or anything you need, fairy godmothers included. Mwah!

The Fluent Self