In which I turn the tables on my inner critic by playing the villain myself only to plug up every hole in the boat I find.

The subconscious is continuously on the lookout for patterns to assure itself that we’re safe, and “exceptions” to perceived “rules” in order to make ourselves safe once more. The subconscious doesn’t like change, even if that change is ultimately good for us. So we have to go looking for patterns among what it is that we want and what we intend to do in order to assure our subconscious of some semblance of safety/constancy to the path we have chosen.

This part of the journey gets four journaling activities.

Tune Your Compass

Here we review our Baggage Claim and Wish List in order to give ourselves two desired feelings for use in course correcting as we quest along. I want to feel playful about my questing in general; and, I want to feel grounded about pursuing my MFA in particular.

So if anything feels like drudgery, I must figure out why and either make it fun or find a way to get it the hell off my plate. If anything feels out-of-control or chaotic or unfocused, I must figure out why and either realign my approach to that thing with my primary/immediate goal or find a way to get it the hell off my plate.

Make Your Map

Here we review reasons Why Not to go on the current quest. And every reason gets rewritten as a specific challenge/task that will help me to rein in/focus whatever I have too much of, or nurture whatever I don’t have enough of.

So I’ve got tasks specific to focusing in on making sure I apply to graduate school (comparative research of the programs, their faculties, their funding, etc., and squaring away each bit of the application puzzle). I’ve got tasks to pull myself back and connect back to the bigger picture of my questing and make sure I don’t get lost in the woods of it all. I’ve put my three favorite mudras down as repeatable tasks to keep me grounded and open and cheerful.

Make Your Mark

After the list of tasks just made, all the Possible Winnings discussed yesterday should be in sight. If any seem to have missed the list of tasks being made so far, create some tasks to help increase the probability of the possibilities we’re liking right now.

For my part, I’ve decided to write two little guidebooks for myself (which I am likely to share since sharing what I learn was actually on the previous list I made). The first book will be a guide to workshop etiquette, both as an attendee and as an instructor. The second book will expand on the first by being how to MFA Fairy Godmother-style, because that’s how I do.

Q U E S T

This may be my favorite part about my guided journeying. This is where you get introduced to Bingo-style Questing board that you fill with all the tasks you’ve listed. Write a task, do the task, mark the task done.

If a task can/should be repeated, write it again and do it again, and mark it done again. I’ve marked four tasks off already (because I journaled ahead of the blog, #sorrynotsorry) and am in the midst of a lengthy task that I have just now — as I’m writing this — decided to break it down into smaller tasks with more squares for me to mark.

I do love marking off tasks on a quest board. It’s pretty sweet.

It’s 100% on point with my wanting to feel playful in my questing.


Also published on Medium.


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