Sherlock Holmes, X-Ray Specs and Borneo

Mr. Holmes!

So apparently I like mysteries.

Solving curious bits.
Filling in the blanks.
Piecing things together.
Doing much deducing.

Which is weird.

Because mysteries have never really been my thing.

Unless you count Choose Your Own Adventure books.

But who doesn’t love those?

And for somebody who doesn’t dig this stuff, I’ve been knee deep in it lately.

I feel like Sherlock Effing Holmes.

Gross. Grab-ey. Exploit-ey.

See, there’s this situation.

Involving two family members.

One who always falls into the role of playing caretaker for everyone.

And one who’s all kinds of grab-ey. Lots of taketaketake. Not a lot of giving back.

The grab-ey person is piling a ton of can-you-do-this-for-me? stuff on the caretake-ey person.

And kind of using the fact that the caretake-ey person pretty much never says no to anyone.

The grab-ey person just keeps piling. And piling. And piling.

And the caretake-ey person is totally wiped out.

It all just feels gross and exploit-ey.

And really, really hard.

Tangled. Ack. Help.

The situation has me all kinds of tangled up.


That’s not true.

My relationship to the situation is what’s causing the tangle.

I mean, sure. I love the caretake-ey person a ton. And I feel really protective of them.

But the way I’ve been interacting with this is the real problem.

Because it’s totally not working.

I’ve got this great big narrative thing going on in my head.

About how the grab-ey person is always grab-ey.

And how they’re just using this caretake-ey person because they know they can.

And, really, they’re so quick to take advantage of pretty much anyone. Which is why I keep my distance.


Uh, no.

See how busy I’ve been solving this crap?

I’ve figured out eggsactly what’s happening. And eggsactly why it’s happening. And eggsactly what it all means.

Except I haven’t.

Because I don’t actually know anything.

Yeah, I filled in a bunch of blanks based on a bunch of assumptions.

And I pieced things together based on how it looks to me.

And then I came to a conclusion about what’s really going on based on all this baseless stuff.

But I don’t really have any facts here.

It’s all just stuff I’m more or less making up.

X-ray specs (No, not the band)

The truth is I don’t have any idea what’s shakin’ in this situation.

Because I don’t know what’s happening inside the grab-ey person. Or the caretake-ey person.

I don’t know why they’re both doing what they’re doing.

I don’t know their motivations. And I don’t know their stories.

I can’t know any of this stuff.

It’s not like I’ve got a pair of x-ray specs that give me a sneak peek at their inner bits.

So, really, I’m just making up stories about their stories.


No wonder this whole thing has been so tangle-ey for me.

Give the dog a bone

This solving mysteries thing sucks hard.

So much energy gets dumped into something that’s totally unhelpful.

And now that I’m hip to what’s going down, I see how much I do this.

All. The. Time.

And it’s not just with personal stuff either.

It happens with project stuff. And planning stuff. And business stuff. And life stuff.

And… And… And…

My inner Sherlock chases mysteries like a dog chases a bone.

Sniffing around in every nook and cranny.
Hunting for gaps.
Making up stuff to fill them.



And did I already say hard?

Oh, crap. This again?

And I get it.

My Sherlock is like the old guy who wrings his hands.

He’s trying to protect me.

Filling in gaps as fast as he can. Because gaps can be scary.
And being plopped in the middle of a mystery can be seriously angst-ey.
And maybe if he solves the mystery fast enough, nothing bad will happen.

I get why Sherlock is rocking this so hard.

But, really.

This totally isn’t working.

Because the exhausting and the tangle-ey and the crazy-making.

So I’m sending him on vacation.

To Barbados. Or Borneo. Or maybe Botswana.

Mr. Holmes, it’s time for a holiday.

Clear edges FTW!

No more solving mysteries for moi.

No more filling in the blanks.
And piecing things together.
And deducing myself silly.

I’m practicing the power of I don’t know.

And guess what?

The mojo of this mantra creates these fabulously clear edges.

Between what I know. And what I don’t. And what’s none of my business in the first place.

Including why someone’s doing what they’re doing and what it all means.

So there’s this awesome clarity.

And freedom.

And a total absence of tangle-ey stuff.


Now with 30% more vroominess!

And you know all the energy that gets wasted trying to fill in those blanks and piece those pieces together?

I don’t know frees that up. And brings it all back home.

Which means I’m feeling extra vroom-ey.

Bonus: I get to use all of that energy for other things.

Gorgeous things. Hawt things. Delicious things.

So I don’t know = more deliciousness.


I’m down with that.

So bon voyage, Mr. Holmes.

Send me a postcard from Borneo.

Do you have an inner Sherlock? What makes him do his thing?

Are gaps ack-ey for you? How do you deal?

Flickr credit – Scott Monty

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12 Responses to Sherlock Holmes, X-Ray Specs and Borneo
  1. Julia
    November 11, 2010 | 1:01 pm

    Thank you for this! I went to a concert last week – yes, THAT concert. And I have gaps. And confusion. And also the knowledge that this is not my stuff and not my problem to solve. Can my Sherlock go on vacation with your Sherlock?

  2. Bridget
    November 11, 2010 | 1:13 pm

    I’m so happy that you wrote about this! Yesterday, my students and I did a meditation where we allowed emotions to come forward, and dropped the stories associated with them. Stories keep us from feeling all of the feelings associated with it. And unfelt feelings get bottled up in us! Yucky!

    This universe is a place where things don’t stay out of balance for long. At some point, if there is an imbalance to that give and take, it’s going to get resolved without you worrying about it.


    My brother has a cat named Sherlock, and he’s always getting into trouble. Kinda looks like Sid.
    .-= Bridget´s last blog ..Loving It =-.

  3. Joely Black
    November 11, 2010 | 1:31 pm

    This is a fantastic illustration of how stories work. It amazes me how quickly we get wrapped up in our stories about how things are, and never take the time to step back and think.

    I used to have a sign on my desk that said “All of that is just in your head.” Reality is much kinder.
    .-= Joely Black´s last blog ..Off-Topic- twitterjoketrial Not So Funny =-.

  4. Kylie
    November 11, 2010 | 2:49 pm

    I really love this. It’s a good reminder. Because yeah, I know I don’t need the stories. And I’ve rediscovered that 10 times already. But every time, I forget again. Personally, when I start trying to let the stories go, what remains are my needs. And once I can see my needs, it’s easier for me to meet them. And meet myself. And just be a whole, functional, discrete person.

  5. Sue
    November 11, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    I always thought that Watson would be much more fun to play with. Holmes just always seemed so stuffy. Letting go of the story and operating from who we are is so much more powerful. Like how I feel when I bang the drum. Or dance to Lady Gaga on my iPod while walking down the street. Just being RAWKS. Those other folks can figure it out or not. Observing is so much softer. Ya you.
    I think I’m sending my inner Holmes to Timbuktu. I hear it’s lovely there this time of year 🙂
    .-= Sue´s last blog ..AEDM11 Power Within Mandala =-.

  6. Catherine Caine
    November 11, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    Oh baby yes yes YES.

    I’m letting go of the part of myself that’s gotta know the Right Answer, and think there’s a Right Answer to everything, including people.

    It feels good to be mystified.
    .-= Catherine Caine´s last blog ..Meditations on awkwardness =-.

  7. Char Brooks
    November 11, 2010 | 7:13 pm

    you’re a brilliant writer, you know that?? i love this. as i was reading i was thinking you should put it to music.

    especially this part –

    I’m practicing the power of I don’t know.

    And guess what?

    The mojo of this mantra creates these fabulously clear edges.

    well done!

  8. Sophie Ncholls
    November 11, 2010 | 7:15 pm

    Just love this ‘inner Sherlock’ metaphor. Power to your vroom!
    .-= Sophie Ncholls´s last blog ..Thank you I’m so grateful =-.

  9. Jesse
    November 12, 2010 | 9:10 am

    Can’t afford to send Sherlock to Borneo. I’ve opted for hiding the magnifying glass.

    This is great!

  10. Renee
    November 12, 2010 | 12:17 pm

    Oh, boy, can I relate to this, lol. I’ve been working a very similar problem over and over in my head so much lately, it’s making me ill. I am working very hard at sending Sherlock on vacation, with some degree of success so far. This is no mean feat, workaholic that Sherlock is, but his hiney will be out the door on vacation very soon now. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to the same outcome of being lighter and having more energy for other things!

  11. chris zydel
    November 13, 2010 | 9:10 am

    This post made me laugh out loud today!! I am ALWAYS playing detective with people in my life, although I notice that I’m much more likely to succumb to the desire to make up stories about what’s going on with other people in my personal life than I am with my clients and students.

    I’m somewhat saner at work, which is probably a GOOD thing.

    Now if only I could transfer that willingness to be curious and detached with my friends and family…

    Hmmmm… thanks for the food for thought.I’ll have to get back to you on this one (-:
    .-= chris zydel´s last blog ..Art Every Day 13- I Don’t Have To Like It I Just Have To Paint It =-.

  12. Fabeku
    December 9, 2010 | 11:13 am

    @Julia – Gaps + confusion. Gah. So hard. And, yeah, your Sherlock can totally tag along with mine. I’m sure he’d dig the company. More mysteries to solve!

    @Bridget – Good point about stories. And, sometimes, the stories will do the exact opposite. They’ll amp up the feelings. And make them even bigger. So we feel them x 1000. Which creates another kind of stuck. p.s. Sherlock (of the cat variety) sounds cute!

    @Joely – Yeah, stories can get ridiculously sticky. They’re tied to so much hard.

    And this: Reality is much kinder.

    I love that. A lot. I kind of want to tattoo that on my forearm.

    @Kylie – I so get the forgetting thing. There’s some kind of make-us-forget tied up in stories. It’s like they pull the old, These are not the droids you are looking for and *poof* we forget that we’re dealing with a story.

    You also touched on a huge thing about stories: They are always connected to needs. Always always always. And when we get that, it makes it a little easier to put the story aside for a sec + figure out what the need is. It gives us a new angle on the story. Glad you mentioned that!

    @Sue – Gaga! Gaga! Gaga! And what you said about observing? Right on. *waves buhbye to your Sherlock as he heads to Timbuktu*

    @Catherine – Oooh! The right answer story! I know that one. So well! And it sucks.

    And another nugget of I-should-tattoo-this-on-my-body smartness: It feels good to be mystified.


    @Char – Thanks you. That’s a really sweet thing to say.

    @Sophie – Thanks! And p.s. since I’ve read this, I’ve been running around saying, Power to your vroom! Usually at the most inappropriate time.

    @Jesse – Smart! Vewwy vewwy smart! That will pretty much guarantee Sherlock has to find a new hobby. You outsmarted Sherlock. Suhweet!

    @Renee – Bye bye Sherlock Hiney! *waves wildly* I hope things have gotten lighter + easier on your end. Good thoughts!

    @Chris – Isn’t that weird how it works? I do the same thing. I guess the personal stuff is so much sticker. Easier for poor Sherlock to get tangled. Poor, tangle-ey Sherlock.

    Big thanks to all of you for the smartness + nuggets of wow here.

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