Saturday, February 8, 2014

Week 6 ~ A Snowball To The Face Is Surely The Perfect Beginning To A Lasting Friendship

I found this phrase standing alone, outside the context of the book, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, from which it is taken.  "A Snowball To The Face Is Surely The Perfect Beginning To A Lasting Friendship" is a very funny and evocative sentence. When we normally think about approaching someone in a friendly  way, especially with the intent to start up a friendship, we don't normally think of doing it by throwing a snowball at that person's face. That twist in "logic" is what makes this so funny and it illustrates what would be called a "pattern interrupt." 

A "pattern interrupt" is a way to change a person's state or behavior using unexpected actions or words. It actually can be used to interrupt anything; for example, did you ever ask someone a question when they were in the middle of a story and they can't remember where they left off? Or you start to do something and after being interrupted, can't remember what it was? These are all pattern interrupts and can cause momentary confusion, but can also create an open state in which the shift in your attention can interrupt your own or someone else's non-resourceful state, whether we are caught in a negative spiral of thought or, perhaps, if we are stuck in habitual behavior that we'd like to change.

Examples of "pattern interrupts" are:
~ Humor, such as the example in this week's hand-lettered project
~ Clapping your hands in the middle of an argument, to allow people some time to take a deep breath or take a walk to let off steam.
~ Taking a different route to work or school
~ Stepping away from a creative problem that may be frustrating you, by taking a walk or doing the dishes

This phrase about snowballs seems to address a particular type of stuckness to me. It says to me, first and foremost, that it is OKAY to let yourself want something, even if you have a habit of telling yourself "no" about it. And, then, whether it is a person you want to approach, or a dream you want to go after, give yourself a PATTERN INTERRUPT. There may be confusion or discomfort that come with trying a new approach, perhaps with even THINKING about it. Be with those feelings. Use this phrase to keep a positive slant on the discomfort. And when you are ready to put those fears aside, even for a minute or two at a time, then, know that, eventually, you too will be able to throw a snowball right at that dream's face and make friends with it.

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