GISH is Magic and Magic is GISH

GISH is Magic and Magic is GISH. Do something insane to learn how to persevere in the deep end.

Last week was GISH week.

It just so happens to also be the one week of the year that my family doesn’t even ask “why?” anymore…

Because for an entire week – 8 whole days – I am expected to go all out, dream big, and hit 0 to 60 the moment the mystery list drops and crashes the site.

I just completed my 2nd full week of GISH (6th GISH event overall – 4 minis) and I am already planning for my 3rd.

I don’t know how how explain it…but basically…at this point….a life without GISH – is a life without all the full rainbow spectrum.

Did you know that original Skittles does not have blue skittles and therefore – you cannot  actually taste the full rainbow?


Yeah….my husband’s heart broke too…

While I have incorporated a little bit of the GISH ethos into my every day life – for one full week – I get to immerse myself in a world of impossibilities and what if’s. 

A week that I detox from social media and take a break from the doom and gloom of the world burning around me.

8 Days Fully Immersed

For 8 days – I get to eat, sleep, live – hyper-focused on making my world a more magical place. A full 360* experience that could only be made better if an Adult Summer Camp was involved.

This last week – I made a giant portrait of Tom Hiddleston out of Skittles & M&Ms without gorilla-gluing a finger to my eyebrow. It was close…

This last week – I made a giant portrait of Tom Hiddleston out of Skittles & M&Ms without gorilla-gluing a finger to my eyebrow. It was close…

I bribed the 9yr old to put on a salon style cape so I could pretend to cut her hair underwater.

I allowed my husband to attach my precious GoPro on to his RC Car and watched him turn in to an instant kid when we got to watch the footage of his car (and my GoPro) – barrel flying through the air.

I relearned how to watercolor to make a beautiful message in support of releasing Tokitae – a majestic Killer Whale who was ripped from her family 51 years ago at the age of 4 and stuffed into a too small tank at Miami Seaquarium.

Family. Belongs. Together. (Haiku by Me)
Hearts apart…too long
A missing piece – hurts deeply
Souls: ready to heal

A Different Type of Community – Weird in all the right ways

Being apart of GISH – is to be apart of a community who loves and supports one another. Unconditionally. In Fact – the GISH community was the only reason I got through the hardest months of my life after my best friend died. No one knows it. But they did.

We yell at the glue gun gods and continuously question our sanity. Just kidding – we all know we are insane. We just question if our tactics are insane enough.

But being apart of GISH – is more than the camaderie that is built and the friendships made.

When we aren’t sharing our real-time experiences without showing anyone our final creation – we are a community dedicated to helping impoverished communities around the globe.

From supporting India’s fight against COVID to providing meals to kids impacted by COVID related economic hardships, to fighting for racial justice and equality. The list goes on and on. Check it out for yourself.

I intended for this story to be about the art of perseverance – and how I am finally at this point in my life that I am doing much better at balancing some aspects of my life than I have ever been.

(side note: how positive are we that perseverance doesn’t have an extra ‘r’ like -perserverance?)

GISH is the perfect playground to test my balance. I am known for going all in. I built a 64″ D120 out of cardboard in 18 hours.

I am also known for losing my shit on Plan Y when Plans A-X don’t go according to plan and I only have Plan Z to pull it off.

So this year – my family reminded me, begged me really – to go slow. To take 1 task at a time. They wanted me to focus on proverbially not biting off more than I can chew because I can get nasty.

And they aren’t wrong.

Jokes on them because this time – that was my plan all along. I quit my stable paycheck so I could follow my dreams. It just so happens that GISH plays a huge part in my dreams.

Forever and always. GISH week and I will never stray far from eachother.

Besides….when else could I experience the 9yr old realize they can make jewelry (or chewlry) out of lucky charms in the morning and fall asleep on the couch next to me that night as I squeeze all the productivity out of a single 24hr period before I – myself – ultimately pass out from exhaustion….?

Besides….when else could I experience the 9yr old realize they can make jewelry (or chewlry) out of lucky charms in the morning and fall asleep on the couch next to me that night as I squeeze all the productivity out of a single 24hr period before I – myself – ultimately pass out from exhaustion….?

OR watch our 11 year old learn to love brainstorming for her own GISH item (Bobbin’ for Balls – a new pet-friendly Fall Carnival attraction)…?

GISH week this week was different. Probably because I could focus 100%.  I mean…..I forgot all about household chores and the chores that would help me make my first dollar.

But I will never trade the memories we created and the skills we learned during GISH week – for anything.

Like learning our colors….

Not even all the times my husband told me a task wouldn’t work out how I was envisioning it. 9 times out of 10 – he was right but shhhhh don’t tell him that…..

Gish for my friends and family – a “Damnit, Misha” moment. Yes, its a thing. And if you don’t have a single “Damnit, Misha” moment during a hunt – are you even participating in GISH?

As I read the possible tasks out loud – their eye rolls can be felt a mile away. Like polishing a coconut or using a pineapple in a brand new way.

I do wish that I pushed through and decorated my car as the “jewel thief” they were suspected to be….

Most tasks are open for interpretation. So while I tried super hard to make my coconut super shiny – shiny polish was not how this task was completed.

And I don’t regret making the Executive GISH Decision to transform my coconut into a dapper nut ready for the masquerade ball.

Because why not?

GISH is what you make it.

Gish can be a noun, a verb, an adjective. It is irony. It can be whatever you want it to be or need to it to be.

Gish for me is magic.

For one week – I am free. I am free to go big.

For one week – I feel at home. I feel apart of something bigger than myself. The things I experience – feels normal.

For once. I wholeheartedly feel like I am right where I belong.

If I had given up because some things were harder than I thought – I wouldn’t have ever felt the peace that comes when mentally, physically, and spiritually – everything is in alignment with who I am and where I want to go.

Oh look….this is about perseverance…

I also wouldn’t have some spectacular fails or a 15ish minute video of me singing “Imagine” by John Lennon in English and Latin and Finnish and Spanish and then google translated back to English that I will bury in the desert far far away…

I do have the final back-to-English translated version on YouTube and no I am not going to link it.

If you want it – go find it.

And then subscribe to our youtube channel so I feel less embarrased about how terribly I sing. Which begs the question – why did my mother let me do voice lessons?!?!? And why did she pay for it?!?!??! I can’t imagine I JUST became tone deaf….

Moving on.

Transformation is coming whether you are ready or not….

Doing what I did last week – being a part of what I was last week – was transformative.

Each hunt is.

Each hunt I push myself to do something different, or attempt it a different way, or expand how I look at problems.

Each hunt – I cross the finish line feeling completely satisfied with how much I expanded my comfort zone. And basking in the afterglow of the GISH hangover as a semi-perma smile graces my face.

GISH is ASMR if it were 3D…..that doesn’t make sense but I’m not backspacing it.

I just wish that there was an adults summer camp for GISHERs in person. I’d be the first to sign up.

Before I end this post – I am already envisioning this Summer Camp. And I have to share it with you.

Stop what you are doing…and open your imagination to the possibilities

A week of pure shenanigans – where running with scissors is allowed indoors ONLY because too many people have tripped over those “Damnit, Misha” roots out there in the wild.

Just kidding. Safety is #1 priority. Yes – even in the 11th hour.

There will be a lake for all those underwater shots, failed belly flops and wakeboard painting. I’d learn how to wakeboard for that…..

Of course – there HAS to be a coffeehouse and a library and a pub open all hours on the opposite sides of camp for those that need the noise and those that will lose it if someone else interrupts their train of thought…..maybe the coffeehouse can have IV hookups…

An art shack full of every art medium you could possibly think of….and a woodshed ready to be dismantled and put back together again.

Ohohoh and a warehouse the size of a mansion full of props and clothes and fabric and glitter and glue guns.

This would be a camp that would be both in-person AND virtual for those that cannot attend. And because we are inclusive – there would be classes to learn Sign Language and classes on empathy (not that the GISH community would need it – we all love each other unconditionally already).

There would be sensory overload and underload rooms. Sensory rooms for those guaranteed sensory hangovers. And sensory rooms for when we need to recharge of find a fresh source of inspiration.

There would be hammocks and big comfy recliners and futon beds. There would be side pillows and beds specially made for belly sleepers.

GISHERs would have access to a cafeteria all hours – that is sensitive to all dietary needs, that has every snack food and comfort food available.

There would be a huge party to scream out all of our frustrations and a band to help us just let loose. And a soundproof cave if a wild bonfire isn’t your scene.

We would still be split into teams. But each team would stay in the same cabin. Each team would have a rival team and the prank wars would be endless…best prank of the week will go up on the Wall o’ Prank Fame.

And no one would be jealous they didn’t get up there. Because happiness of eachother’s successes – is our game.

Imagine. The PURE insanity that would come from 8 days of adults expected to go big yet unleashed and wild.

By the end of this fully immersive experience – we would be 90% feral but 100% happy.

p.s. I am on the fence about alcohol and marijuana at this Adult Only Gish Week…… keep that in your back pocket when planning this OK GISH? MISHA? CHARLIE?

Ok…back on track. I have to pee so I better wrap this up.

This time around – I got the girls to participate. They participated a little not a whole lot – but they participated. And they smiled. And they thought through things.

Logically – I spent Tuesday combing through the last 10 years of hunts and now have a semi long list of GISH tasks that I will be building our unschooling program around this year. Honestly – I am pretty excited to be teacher this year.

For some – GISH is about just building the courage to try something new – even if it is just to purchase a ticket.

For others – GISH is about showcasing their passions.

For me – GISH is about pushing myself to the extremes to see how far I can go with an idea.

For all of us – GISH is about embracing our imaginations to figure out how to make the world a better place – even if it is a little weird, out of the ordinary, against the rules, or unexpected…

GISH is magic. Magic is GISH.

Adventure on with Curiosity,
~ Kelly Steele, MBA (she/her/hers)

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