By Christine Carron
A few years ago, I was at a workshop where the facilitator led us into a meditative state. During the meditation, I had a waking dream where I was floating deep in the ocean and jellyfish were all around me. It was an extraordinarily beautiful and soothing experience.
It was also unusual imagery for me. I grew up in landlocked Missouri. Ocean is not my natural water vibe. I’m more of a lake, river, stream, bubbling brook kind of girl. None of which are jellyfish habitats.
Before that dream, my main association with jellyfish was that they can sting, perhaps so badly they can kill you. (Yikes!) Yet there I was in dreamy communion with them. Profound dreamy communion.
Weeks passed. Months passed. The dream stayed with me. It eventually sent me on a learning mission, and when I landed on the research about how jellyfish move, I was gobsmacked.
For the longest time, the general opinion of jellyfish was that they were drifters. Slackers. Riding the tides, cruising the currents, hitchhiking the oceanic highways. Then scientists discovered that, in actuality, jellyfish are the most energy-efficient swimmers in the sea. For every swimming move they make, they get an extra 80% of forward momentum for free.
The propulsion freebie is due to the way they move. Most animals, humans included, move forward by pushing back against something. Jellyfish move forward by creating space (in the form of lower water pressure) in front of them. They shift the water out of the way, and the pressure differential sucks them forward.
This is where my eyes started to cross with excitement.
When I manage a project in the corporate world, a key part of my job is to remove any blocks that slow down the team. It doesn’t matter if the block is a goofy process, an irate client, or unreasonable deadlines, my job is to handle the situation, i.e., remove the extra pressure.
When I do my part, the team moves forward naturally as they remain focused on their specific creative artistry—design, development, quality assurance, etc.
Which all means . . . I function like the team’s personal jellyfish propulsion!
I’m having a serious jellyfish metaphor nirvana moment here. Not just for me. For you, too.
Goodjelly is all about encouragement and uplift. We are also about dealing with reality. And the reality is that the writerly adventure can be hard sometimes. A slog. Outright destabilizing. It is easy in those moments to fall into (and possibly get stuck in) a pattern of pushing, struggling and efforting. Or worse, getting down on ourselves.
What if we tried something different? Meaning when the adventure gets into those gnarly bits, instead of going to strain and strife, we go full jellyfish. Calm. Serene. Remove the block, flow. Remove the next block, flow. Again. Again. Again.
To pull off this jellyfish switch-up effectively, it will require you to call forth the right part of you at the right time. For the moving (i.e., removing the blocks), call upon your inner project manager.
Your inner pm may only be a junior project manager at this point, but trust that they are there, ready to work and ready to take charge. Also, if you rarely call upon your inner project manager, be prepared for them to be a little giddy the first few times you ask for their help. They’ll calm down after a few assignments.
Once the block is gone, thank your inner pm for their effort, and let them recede.
Let your inner writer step forward into the newly created spaciousness to ride the flow. To enjoy the easeful, effortless forward momentum. Yes!
Channeling this level of energetic precision is a skill that will grow over time. It is a worthwhile practice. When we can smartly and strategically call upon various energies, potentialities, and selves inside of us, we will naturally experience more ease and flow on the writerly adventure.
Walt Whitman called it when he said that we contain multitudes. The trick is making sure our multitudes are in the right place and at the right time.
When they are, we are jellyfishing the adventure, for sure!
The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week