On Exercises and Tension
Every One Derful thing that appears here has a couple of built in things about them. First of all, failure is built into the exercise. Every task here has a trap, an impossibility and an opportunity for embarrassment.
This built in feature, this component of the exercises has a simple point: They are created to create tension in your life. Now before you throw your espresso, or green tea at me (depending on the story in your head) and shout I HAVE ENOUGH TENSION IN MY LIFE! I would like you to please take your hand off the megaphone and put down your script to Hey hey, ho ho…
This is not pointless tension. This is non serious tension. This non serious tension has a point. The goal here is to provide low risk ways to experience the tension of failure, embarrassment, committing social transgressions and just generally being an incomplete human in a world that demands more.
By attempting these experiments we have an opportunity to watch a lot of different aspects of our lived experience. We can observe what happens to our nervous system as we get excited to engage or withdraw. We can observe how we self sooth. We can observe how our nervous system regulates itself.
After that? There are opportunities to recognize how we engage emotionally with failure, frustration, embarrassment and coming up short. The goal here is to take these seemingly ‘negative ‘ emotions and add a layer of fun to them. In doing so we have a new relationship with ourselves. Things we thought we didn’t want to endure become things we can go through in order to be more fee.
I say seemingly negative because they aren’t. They are necessary. The emotions you don’t like you might try to avoid and eventually, they return. Emotions are inevitable. Like death. Prince Albert’s recent passing was neither good nor bad. It was necessary. He’s done with being human. Now on to the next phase. The same could be said for feeling happy. Or enjoying your Autumn Sweater. Eventually winter shows up.
It’s quite a remarkably foolish thing, but by doing things that really ‘aren’t me’ I’ve eventually felt more at home in my own skin. By extending beyond myself, I now feel more myself. In a previous life, I spent a lot of time teaching young people to imagine and enact new ways of being in the world by wearing masks to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Students reported feeling more free to play and be themselves by pretending to be someone else.
They also found a great deal of power in doing this with other people. So? When you invite people to engage in these One Derful Things, you’re emboldening both of you to stretch and grow.
Finally, what story in your head do you tell yourself about all of this stuff? When does it show up for you? What do you experience first the tension or activation of your nervous system? Your emotions? The story? What are you telling yourself about what can be done or what should be done?
Put these things together and One Derful Thing after another adds up to
The essential basis and components for the Fantastic Spaces Workshop
A fun way to expose yourself to novelty and change without consequences such that when things go sideways, you’re more elastic, prepared and resilient.
So, that’s the project. Soon? Online and in person workshops. Though much of the world is in a third wave of ‘rona, I’m foolishly optimistic for the Autumn. I’m bullish about the winter of 2022. I want to come and visit you in your town. I’ll bring some quirky fun for us to have together. We can eat punch an pie.
Look out for upcoming online Fantastic Spaces experiences.
And until then?
Weekly Playlist. Juicy and Fun
This one is filled with foolish music. Some beautiful, some playful, I hope the sounds here add a bounce to your step for even a second this weekend. If one of you, get one second of enjoyment from this, let me know by replying to this email.
Oddball Video of the week,
featuring me, telling a bad joke.
One Derful Thing
Do the joke from the video.
Find excuses to use the American sign language words of ‘weird underwear’ whenever you can.
This is now the unofficial salute of the Remarkable Fools Society:
Perhaps a motto for the week:
The weird underwear wearer in me acknowledges and respects the weird underwear wearer in you.
Try to work this into your weekend somehow - Say that out loud. Wherever you can.
I’ll write again as it’s not only a tongue twister, it’s a bit of a mind chuck to type:
The weird underwear wearer in my acknowledges and respects the weird underwear wearer in you.
Make this all the more animated by signing out ‘weird underwear’ every time you get to that part.
Remember, we here at the Foolsletter are involved in upending society’s fundamental bias towards the notion that life is something to be taken seriously.
See if you can find others to do the same.
Bonus points: Find the ASL for Wonderful. Add that to the sentence.
Let me know how it goes.