The plot(s) thicken(s)

I have been too chicken to join an online dating service (so far) but here is one of the things that would be included in my list of relationship criteria:

  • Must be okay with, or (ideally) supportive of hare-brained schemes.

And if I’m really honest…

  • My ideal romantic partner should occasionally have fits of creativity that lead to hare-brained schemes that are then acted upon in some measure.

This is not a post about dating, but it is a post about scheming.

Last weekend I was honored to co-facilitate a weekend intensive about Persephone and her ascent from the Underworld, one of my all-time favorite Greek myths. While we focused on the story quite a bit, the real root of the weekend’s work was around this particular quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. (My facilitation team and I are not afraid to mix spiritual systems in order to make a good point.)

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

Powerful stuff. And a philosophy that I can get behind. Although, embedded within this concept (and one key point of discussion over the weekend) is the idea that, “Yes, you have something to bring forth, and yes, you could miss your window of opportunity to do just that.”

No pressure.

What I found most terrifying about that statement is not that I could miss my window (although that is unnerving), but rather that I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to bring forth. If I don’t figure it out, then I’ll be destroyed by my own ignorance. This sent me into a downward spiral even before the event began, feeling disconnected from my personal work, my purpose, my calling, what-have-you. It wasn’t the best place to be right before I was supposed to step in and facilitate a workshop about this very topic. But I am blessed with an incredibly supportive, wise and talented team. They helped me figure out an approach, and we went with it.

There were some fabulous discussions and insights from the group this weekend, and I felt doors opening all over the place. Maybe it wasn’t about knowing exactly what my work is well enough to give a Powerpoint presentation about it … but maybe it’s all about moving towards the things that feel like they are in alignment with who I am. I know what that feels like – I’ve touched that before. There is a cellular memory at play here, something I’ve worked hard to cultivate and recognize through my spiritual practice. Maybe, for me, it’s all about doing before knowing — at least consciously. Perhaps a better way of putting it is “doing my soul’s work even if my head hasn’t caught up yet.”

That final act of trust must have been just the push I needed, because when I got home, a very large door opened for me. Now… I have had some very poignant spiritual moments, a few of which were in settings straight out of a novel or a movie where the main character should have a poignant spiritual moment. I have been in altered and ecstatic states where I felt supremely connected to what I would call the Divine.

The moment I am about to describe was not one of those moments.

I wasn’t in an idyllic woodland setting by firelight — I was pressing the elevator button to go up to my office on the 4th floor of a professional building in the suburbs. But I still heard myself say out loud… “Your work is to create experiences.” Really. I said it out loud for no apparent reason. Thank the gods no one else was in the hallway as I stood there slack-jawed. I knew exactly what was happening. Could this great and powerful thing that I was to bring forth in order to be my own salvation really be something so freakin’ simple?

Yeah. It really could. Because nothing else has come close to feeling this right. Which brings me back to hare-brained schemes.

I have known for a long time that creative endeavors involving large groups of people bring me joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. I have never felt more alive than when I was writing murder mystery parties for 20 of my closest friends, or when my best friend and I were creating puzzle hunts to go with weeklong personal growth intensives, or my writing-partner-in-crime and I wrote 11 episodes of a narrative urban fantasy podcast that ended up having over 40 characters all voiced by our friends, or…

I love hare-brained schemes. I love experiences that involve other people. I love collaboration. I love creative pursuits that bring connection into the world in unexpected ways. Why shouldn’t my work be connected to what I love? A better question … why wouldn’t it?

My dear friend J (see the aforementioned writing-partner-in-crime) was one of my co-facilitators for the workshop last weekend. When I shared my elevator button experience with him, he immediately jumped into action.

“Tell me three ways you can provide experiences for people. Go.” So I did. It was amazing how quickly they came up and how plausible they all sounded. But he didn’t end there.

“Okay. So for each one of those, tell me about one person you already know who either has a contact who could get you started, knows a group you could join to learn more, or who could give you advice about doing that sort of an event.” Again, I was able to answer right away.

“Now come up with a second person for each item on your list.” This was a little tougher, but I managed. This is going great!

“When will you reach out to each of those people?” I set a deadline. I am all OVER this.

“Last question… why bother?”

*blink*

I paused on this question, but once I started to answer, it rolled right out. Here’s my response:

“Why bother? Because just brainstorming and talking about doing this is lifting my mood. I am at my best when I am engaging a room full of people about something that I am excited about. I feel like the world could use a little more joy, and if this is one way that I can provide an opportunity for people to not only have a little fun, but collaborate and meet other interesting folks while doing it…? Seems like a no-brainer to me. If I can make it happen, I should.”

Then J took a bow and said, “My work here is done.” (This was an online conversation, so I have no way of knowing if he actually took a bow, but I think he should have. He’s rather good at this sort of thing.)

Not all of my schemes are hare-brained, nor are all of them about having fun at a party. But they all have one thing in common … making space for collaboration, inclusion and connection … and gods, does that feel right. I am at the beginning of a journey. Or perhaps in the middle of one. Who knows? All I know is that I am not at the end. Not even remotely. I intend to make the most of it. Delight, here I come.

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