43 ideas brainstormed in 15 minutes—hot, efficient comets coming at you from the workshop circle. Inspiring quotes and anecdotes. Lists and lists of things to hope for, things to imagine, and things to do. Twenty times twenty times a hundred twenty questions, to unmask the truths we’ve hidden with the utmost care, the strategies we use to smother our dreams in their cradle, the tales we tell ourselves to make it seem alright. More lists: resources to draw upon, goals that scale from tiny to audacious, ways to know the path you’re on is true.
You leave with pages of wild notebook scribbles, some items underlined for emphasis, some adorned with stars or question marks, some with straight or wavy arrows connecting one idea to another to another. On another page, a list of books promised to yield still more enlightenment. Your head is full, and your heart awakened, with hope and joy and quickened energy. Things can be different, changes can be made, and you can make them.
Somewhere on your journey home, the rich nitrogen dissolved in your blood during this deep dive begins to bubble, insidious and irrepressible, seeking weak spots in your circulation. There it looks to lodge, cutting off the flow of oxygen and stifling your fresh enthusiasm. Gradual ascent, not bolting to the surface, is the only way to foil it and keep your delicate new fire undampened.
The workshop high–like the ascent of a difficult and deadly mountain–can be ecstatic, bracing, and revealing. It’s right to cherish and enjoy it, to celebrate the insight and achievement you’ve extracted from the challenge, but take care not to break an ankle on the way down. Give yourself some space, and a little grace, before you re-emerge into reality. The laundry will still be there, waiting.