Academy of the Sacred Fool


Day 4 >> Sacred Buddies >> User manual

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Writing your user manual

Did you ever wonder what it’d be like if you knew the best ways to work with you and that you could tell people? Y’know, like to tell them what happens to you in the face of conflict. Do you come alive, or shut down and run away? Or even the best way to tell you something difficult?

Figuring out how to write your own user manual is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. It’s a document you can start to work on over time, building up all the weird idiosyncrasies you have around dialoguing, connection and communicating through your most uncomfortable places. 

We’ll be giving you the opportunity to write your own user manual. Now, remember, this is a living breathing document and it’s something you’ll be coming back to ever now and then to update. Some of the call topics you take part in might show you a different side to yourself that you don’t normally see and you’ll go back to your document and write “Turns out when I am challenged on something, I attempt to subtly turn it around make you the problem - and will avoid any attempt to see your point”.

For now though, give some thought to the things you can let your buddy know when you’re in a situation where you know you’re potentially getting triggered. The aim here is not to avoid those places, but to look for the places where you lose awareness of yourself and may react in an unconscious way so that you can begin to free them up to respond rather than react.

We suggest this structure with the following sections and headings, based on a piece in Jamie’s book.

1) Warnings: Things to Be Careful of
No one knows your triggers and danger spots better than your- self. What are the things that tend to set you off? What situations would you be well advised to avoid? What kinds of people generally wind you up? Which people already in your life are a drag and need to have their air time with you limited? (And yes, this can, and often should, include your immediate family.) 

2) Safeguard Strategies
What are the most dependable tactics to help you get out of a pickle or, even better, to prevent you getting into one in the first place? What helps? What comforts and soothes? What calms you down? What are the kinds of needs and boundaries you need to express when you are about to begin a job, partnership or endeavour? What are the essentials you need to pack in your travel bag? Who are your go-to people in times of crisis? 

3) Special Needs to Thrive Best
Where is the best kind of place for you to live? Country? City? What kind of diet suits you? Is there any equipment you need? (I believe every human deserves to have at least a great pair of speakers or headphones. Everyone needs at least one place in their life where they can listen to great sound quality. Music is far too important to scrimp on.) What other entertainments are essential for you? 4) Opportunities for Healing
Wounds and current symptoms/burdens. What is being triggered right now? What are the recent episodes that have hurt or been sticky? What keeps repeating? What are the early patterns that have never quite shifted? 

5) Schedule of Care and Programme Activities
What kinds of activities need to be included? What forms of exercise? What fun? Who do you want to hang out with more? How social do you really want to be? Large groups? Small groups? One on one? How do you thrive? What is ‘balance’ for you? What kinds of days do you feel really great at the end of? 

6) Nurse’s Skills and Qualities Needed
You are going to be the appointed carer, so what kinds of skills and qualities are you going to need to draw upon? What outside support do you need to bring in? Body workers? Complementary therapies? Treats? 

When you have done your first draft, send it to your buddy. You can also discuss it on your first call.

As you go through it point by point and share your care document with your buddy, let them interview you for the job of looking after you. Yes, that’s right. You need to be interviewed for the job of being your own care worker. Are you up to it? Do you really want to do it? Is there resistance? I suggest the following. 

Go through all the major headings and points and ask the following questions: 

  • 1)  What would you do and how would you do it? (A plan to deal with each item.)

  • 2)  What will the main challenges be that you will have to meet for each item?

  • 3)  Where in the body does it live?

  • 4)  What are the most important ways to inject space in dealing with this item?

  • 5)  What support do you need?

Our role is not to add anything but to provide the most likely environment for our buddy to discover their own truth and for us to discover ours!