“It’s my own invention”
Invention, Relevance, Ungrounded, Resilience, Need for Mastery, Dedication, Being Seen , Protector, Chivalry
The White Knight arrives just in time to prevent Alice from being taken prisoner by The Red Knight. After a very brief and somewhat clumsy battle, The Red Knight concedes, and The White Knight generously offers to escort our protagonist to the final square of the chessboard where she will become a queen.
The White Knight, who Lewis Carroll most identified with, is quite excited to play a bit of show-and-tell with Alice as he has many inventions, all of which he is proud of, yet none of which seem to have any practical use: an upside down box for keeping the rain out, “But the things can get out,” as well, Alice observes. There are horse anklets for protecting against shark bites, a saddle-mounted mouse trap for keeping mice away, a device for keeping hair attached, and so on and so forth and it never gets any less silly.
As well as the numerous unsuccessful attempts at inventions, the pale paladin makes plentiful pursuits atop his trusty stead and plunges each time. Alice, logically concludes, “I’m afraid you’ve not had much practice,” though this comment is met with great surprise and a bit of contempt: “I’ve had plenty of practice, . . . plenty of practice!” No, The White Knight is neither incredibly adept at his endeavors, nor is he perceptive of his imperfections. Yes, he has a great imagination, and is quite entertaining, but as a Knight, well, he could use a bit more proficiency.
For better and for worse, The White Knight stands as a symbol of undying resilience, and doesn’t let his multitudinous mishaps quash his spirits. In fact, he seems to be quite proud of himself despite the frequent shortcomings of his endeavors.
Our undaunted templar is not completely incompetent, however. After all, he does manage to rescue Alice from the captivity of The Red Knight, and escorts her to the final square where she becomes a queen. Yes, he is a very powerful and kind-hearted soul, but maybe a bit too much action, and not enough forethought.
There seems to be an imbalance here. The intentions are good, and there’s undying dedication to being productive, yet it comes to little good. Maybe with a bit more contemplation and a bit less forward motion, our good Knight might find himself more frequently atop his trusty stead than beneath it.
This may be your cue to slow down, and quit trying to accomplish so much. Instead of quantity or speed, focus on quality. Balance the helpfulness of critical feedback with your undying inspirations for creation. If you can get this trick mastered, you’ve pretty much won the game.
Meditation: Try doing everything as slowly as possible. Notice if you start to get frustrated, and just take a deep breath in, and let it all out. Sit down slowly. Take your time getting comfortable, and then focus on your breath. As you do, gently start to slow down by deepening the breath. When you’ve got a full inhale, pause for just a moment to see what that’s like, and then slowly exhale, and when you’ve let all the air out, pause again for just a moment before inhaling again. Go slowly (but not enough to get light headed). Now imagine yourself just being. Not doing anything. Not accomplishing anything. Just sitting, like a flower or a tree. Notice what thoughts come up (Frustration? Annoyance? Criticism?). The more time you give yourself to slow down and just notice, the more likely you are to find that essential balance of doing and being that brings a great sense of fulfillment. You may be surprised to realize you’re even more productive and efficient when you take things at a slower pace.
You may also want to consider the possibility that, while you may have some great ideas and a fantastically creative imagination, what you are putting out into the world is not exactly landing with your audience. You may be way ahead of your time, failing to communicate your message/product/proposal in a way that matches the person/people you are sharing with, or possibly even so fabulously unique that you are in a league of your own.
If there is something you want to share with a person or community, it may be wise to consider what their needs, desires and motivations are so that when you make your offer it feels relevant to the recipient(s). In modern day terms, it’s called “market research.”
Meditation #2: Take a moment to close your eyes and see someone who personifies who you are trying to connect and communicate your idea with. See if it is possible to even step inside of their shoes for a moment. What are their likes and dislikes? What keeps them up at night? What motivates them? What brightens their day and makes them laugh? Imagine how they might want to be spoken to and engaged with. Is it different from what you have been doing? If so, imagine how you might shift your interactions so that what it is you are offering will be welcomed with open arms.
Illustration by Miguel Gonzalez - high school artist