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FFTs/TFTs & The FFT I'm Working On Right Now

A handheld 3-circuit Classical labyrinth made of snaps on a piece of plastic on top of burlap, on top of wood
My first attempt at creating a tactile labyrinth, at a workshop with Maia Scott at the 2023 TLS Annual Gathering in October. Kinda wonky, right?

Listen, friends, it's January 4, so some of us are four days into whatever NEW YEAR NEW YOU! practice/membership/schedule/routine/plan we made for ourselves near the end of 2023. And for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it's cold, dark, and winter, which is when our more-than-human kin know it's time to rest. As somebody who is constantly navigating change, and often companioning others as they navigate change, I've learned some stuff that is supportive, in the midst of it.


It should come as no surprise to the five avid readers of this blog that I learned about the FFT ("F*cking First Time") or TFT ("Terrible First Time") from Dr. Brené Brown on the first episode of her Unlocking Us podcast, which published on March 20, 2020. On that episode, Brené explained that after noting and naming that you're in a FFT, there are three steps to working with it:

  1. Normalize it

  2. Put it in perspective

  3. Reality check expectations

At Thought Kitchen and DiversiFind, we're constantly in the midst of some kind of FFT, so much so that FFT has become part of our cultural vernacular. After all, each of us made significant shifts, mid-career, to do the work that we're doing now, in two start-ups. We're constantly trying something new, and by its very nature, new often means awkward and/or imperfect and/or uncomfortable.

As a parent, I often find myself, especially when Pat was younger, encouraging him to try something new, usually along with a "You don't know until you try!" or "Try it-- you might like it!". Even now, each time he's home on leave from the Army, it's a new experience because he's a little older, has been away a little longer, and Mark and I have established different empty nester routines. Over the holidays, we had a really interesting talk about where is home now, with me reflecting on my young adult years of undergrad and cooperative education and how weird it all can feel sometimes. Our consensus-- it's still weird for all of us, and also, we named it, normalized it, put it in perspective, and reality checked expectations.

The FFT I'm Working On Right Now

About two years ago, Loretta saw Charlotte Wyncoop's story on social media entitled Shattered Dreams, which led to the FFT of trying to paint and kintsugi a labyrinth, which led to us offering programming, and me presenting about it at the 2023 TLS Annual Gathering in October.

A broken Classical labyrinth painted sparkling white
Some FFTs are delightful! This is the first labyrinth I've painted with Unicorn Spit Sparkling Iced Egret, and it is GORGEOUS. #SharedDelightsGrow

The feedback has been positive, and I learned several things from the participants in the workshop, including that not only is the kintsugi labyrinth practice supportive for grief, loss, and change, but I think it's ripe for working with perfection and boundary work, too. What to do? Let's put together kintsugi labyrinth + Dr. Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection! Great! Awesome! First, we've gotta get people mending labyrinths.

My original idea was to put together an online program, an on-demand version of the synchronous offering Loretta and I facilitated in 2022. I think there's still room for that eventually, but there's an even lower-barrier entry to getting people kintsugi-ing labyrinths, in the form of downloadable content, which some of us know as e-book. Great! Awesome! And also, FFT because I've never created an e-book before, and we've never sold a commodity through our website.

And also-- it's OK! I've named the FFT, normalized it, put it in perspective, and reality checked it. In addition, I have a community around me to support me in standing up this offering-- Lesley, Loretta, Megan, and Melissa, who supports our web design, not to mention friends in the labyrinth community, and a few people who are already signed up on the post-it next to my work chair for kintsugi labyrinth + Gifts.

Put another way, friends-- I find that the FFT protocol is fantastic, and it's even better when I use it with a trusted friend or community. If you're feeling like you'd like some support around FFTs or other changes you'd like to make, I hope you know that there's a supportive community here at Thought Kitchen. The only thing missing is you.

31 views2 comments


That Sparkling Iced Egret labyrinth IS beautiful!!!!! I think you're going to have Charlotte breaking ALL her labyrinths pretty soon just to keep up with the demand for kintsugi labyrinths. Great work Jill and Loretta!!

Jill Carnell
Jill Carnell
Jan 09
Replying to

Thanks, Karen! I appreciate your mentorship and support. ❤️

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