What we do here:

Work on our stuff. Dissolve stuck. Play. Experiment. Rewrite patterns. We take sometimes-heavy things* and we make them more fun, playful, manageable.

I also write about my conversations with walls and monsters, and what it's like to work on a pirate ship. Good times.

* Sometimes-heavy things include: mindfulness and presence, pain and trauma, business-growing, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity


Wish 276: 5MX

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal! Very.

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. The point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and accessing the qualities. Wanting can be hard, it is easy to feel conflicted about it, and the reasons for that make this a surprisingly subversive practice…

One question, many forms.

Lately whenever I do stone skipping, I have been asking questions that are really all variations on the same question:

What enhances my ability to experience my own light? And what diminishes that ability?

Sometimes I phrase this question in other ways…

The same answer.

It is hilarious (to me!) that I keep asking what is obviously the same question, and I get the exact same answer each time…

What emerges, no matter how I phrase the question, is an identical list of the choices and activities that are good for me, things that fall into the category of DO MORE OF THIS, PLEASE. And then a list of things I would do well to avoid (cough, facebook) if I want to function at my best in this world.

I get clear intel, and then a week later I ask again, and I get the same clear intel, and then I ask again.

Not sure if it’s because I forget, or I need to hear it again, or maybe I think something will change, or maybe this is just part of the process of learning how to take care of myself.

I know what I want.

I know what I want. I know what I need. I know what works.

It’s super clear.

And there is a gap between what I know and what I choose. This is okay. It’s part of the voyage. Like in the line from my favorite sea chantey:

The anchors are weighed / the sails they are set

We are setting sail.

And by anchors I mean presence, and by sails I mean intentions.

Five minutes of X.

Many of the things that are on the list of YES are things I can be doing right now, just not always in large quantities because time does not currently permit.

Actually, time always permits. Or at least in theory. There are previous commitments I’ve made that mean I’m currently making other choices towards other things, and, again, that’s okay too.

What I find interesting is this:

Yeah, okay, I might not have two hours for long, slow, sweet yoga on the floor. For sure I have five minutes though.

Maybe I can’t make a massage happen right now. I could still take five beautiful minutes and rub my feet, or roll things out with the foam roller, or just let my body sink into the floor.

Five minutes are there. Five minutes to do a gazelle thing, five minutes to breathe, five minutes to talk to my heart, five minutes to say thank you.

Five minutes of anything on the list of things that are good for Havi Bell.

What if.

Sam and I have been calling this 5MX. It stands for Five Minutes Of X.

Let X = anything that would be helpful and supportive for me, anything related to how I want to live.

His 5MX sometimes includes things that are not appealing to me. Like pull-ups. My 5MX is often just closing my eyes or staring at the wall.

It helps.

And then I forget again that this is a thing I can do. I find myself feeling frustrated about my desire for the experiences that would be good for me if only I had time.

The truth is, I really do have time for most of them right now if I go with the five minute version. Or even if I can’t have the thing I want, five minutes of something that’s like the thing I want.

While I can’t go to the ocean for five minutes, I can connect to some of the qualities of ocean. And I can look at pictures of the ocean or remember the ocean or watch a surfing video or close my eyes and channel Beach Day me.

I want more 5MX in my life.

Not once or twice a day. All the time.

I want so much 5MX that I can’t forget the reason for the voyage. I want constant reminders of what is important.

What else would I like?

Partners and playmates. People in my life that want to play with this so that at any given moment, I know my friends are also 5MX-ing along with me, even if not at the same time.

Anything else related to this?

I don’t want to think of this as a chore. I want to think of this as a delight.

Like a tryst.

Checking in. How am I doing?

So very tired.

It’s partly the travel, and partly the burnout, and partly having just been through my mother’s funeral. Also today would have been my mother’s 70th birthday. So. And also I got vaccinated for the flu, and apparently HSPs and vaccinations is a complicated combination, because it’s been over 48 hours, and I have barely been able to get off the couch.

What helps with tired? Permission. Rest. Remembering that tired is always legitimate.

Whether or not I remember why.

What do I really want?

Same as the past few weeks. To trust my instincts more. To trust my yes and trust my no, and act on that trust immediately.

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: 5MX is a great idea. And even 2MX. Honestly even thirty seconds is enough to lovingly interrupt an unconscious pattern, and really, that’s what this is about. This is the entire basis of all of your work: the sweet, loving, compassionate interruption of patterns and habits that aren’t working.
Me: You are right, that is the basis of this work.
She: So every time the monsters say that this is taking you away from your Very Important Work and from being of service in the world, let’s remind them that actually this is the work.
Me: This is the work. This is the work. I need to remember that.
She: You know how the monsters basically have two primary doom modes lately? It’s either You’re Wasting Time (Doom!), or This Is The Beginning of the End (Doom!)? Let’s use 5MX to interrupt that.


It is the month of trusting the voyage, and it is on the calendar, and here I am, on a voyage. Also, I am getting strong intel that I need to visit the Vicarage soon. So yes. Trust the voyage.

Also I met someone whose nickname is the last name of my favorite cover identity. Clue!

The superpower of trusting the voyage.

Last month on the calendar was the month of receiving, and gracefully receiving gifts. Gracefully receiving my gifts.

Now we’re in the month of Embarking, with the superpower of trusting the voyage.

So here we are. This is me trying to find my way into a life where I am much, much, much more true to my internal knowing than I have ever dared to even try before. It requires new levels of trust.

Ongoing wishes.

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I have the best time dancing in my ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things, I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, and it is not even a big deal, yay.
  • I am ready to come into my superpowers, including the superpowers of knowing that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, I Am Okay With Being Seen, receiving gifts that are winging their way to me. See also: The superpower of Everything Enhances My Superpowers. And adds panache.

Things I find helpful when it comes to wishes…

Set the intention. Nap on it. Dance it, write it, play with it, walk the labyrinth. Take lots of notes. Take deeper breaths, getting quieter and quieter until I hear what is true.

More sweet pauses, yes to the red lights, remember the purple pills, say thank you to the broken pots. Permission. Bright colors. Passion. Costume changes. Stone skipping with incoming me. Dance. Intensity. Writing. Lipstick. My body gets the deciding vote. And, as always, saying thank you in advance.

Give it to the compass: Eight directions, eight qualities, eight breaths.

Trust. Release. Love. Receive. Anchor. Crown. Glow. Boldly.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka SMOPL IT…

I still haven’t figured out how exactly I want to SMOPL (Something Meaningful On a Personal Level) the grieving process. I’ve gotten some good clues though, and tried some experiments.

I’ve been wearing my mother’s necklaces. My friend Patrick bought me the DVD of The Tango Lesson, so I can watch her favorite movie, and that was super sweet.

I’ve been eating soup, taking things slow, doing things my own way, and this is good.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. ♡

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads. In any size/form you like, there’s no right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play and throw things in the pot! With amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.

Here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.


Chicken 325: figs and licorice

Friday chicken

A look at the good and the hard in my week, a ritual of reflecting.

It is Friday and we are here.

{a breath for Friday.}

What worked this week?

Lighting sage.

Sometimes you just need to change the feeling (internal/external) quickly and bring in some steadiness.

This is one of those things I have on hand and forget that it helps, and then I remember. This week I remembered.


I cried a lot. I hid a lot. This is okay.

Next time I might…

Give myself more time.

Not sure why I thought that the day after flying home from Michigan from my mother’s funeral was a good day to try to get work done.

I mean, how long have I been me that I do not know these basic things about me.

I forget that time is required. So, permission, sweetness, forgiveness, more time.

Eight breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. The funeral was rough, the burial even more so. A breath for breathing.
  2. If you feel drawn to leave comments on this, I will take love, hearts, breaths, pebbles, I do not want advice or cheering up or any of the standard phrases, just presence and sweetness, thank you. Hearts or pebbles are great if you don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to say either so we’re in the same boat.
  3. Night terrors, not related to the above. I’ve had a few months without and then it was back. A breath for releasing.
  4. My body does not like travel or being squished on a plane or losing sleep and not getting yoga. It is not happy with me right now. A breath for love.
  5. Missing. A breath for comfort.
  6. Overwhelmed. A breath for sweetness.
  7. Going through four different rooms of my mother’s stuff filled me with an intense desire to not have any stuff. Everyone I know who has been through this process has said this, not sure if many people act on it. I mean, I remember my mother saying this exact thing after her mother died. But oh dear lord I want to let go of so many things.
  8. I can see so very clearly what is not working in my life, and all the ways that I relinquish my sovereignty, compromise my desires, neglect to state my preferences, avoid opportunities to treasure myself. A breath for trust and more trust and even more trust after that.
  9. Inhale, exhale. May all misunderstandings and distortions, internal and external, dissolve in love if not in laughter. Goodbye (and thank you), mysteries and hard moments of this week.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. My wonderful uncle Svevo came to visit me. He brought figs, this is a tradition. And I always keep black licorice in the house, just in case I get a surprise visit from him. He and Noah and I had a beautiful brunch together, and what had begun as the saddest day turned into a day with lots of smiles and so much joy. A breath for the treasure of people in my life who love and adore me unconditionally, and for having found them.
  2. Watching my Guns N Rollers skate with Cherry City. A breath for friends, for lovely distraction when that is the right thing, for warmth and joy.
  3. So much tenderness, so much wild ferocious intensity, so much aliveness, such a commitment to life. Sometimes also with tears. A breath of thank you for the sweet reminders of the truly vital things in life.
  4. The beautiful boy, who hates mornings and waking up more than anything, insisted on getting up at 5am after only three hours of sleep in order to drive me to the airport. A breath for so much sweetness.
  5. So many things worked out with my trip to Michigan for the funeral. So many small and large miracles. The superpower of Extreme Serenity. Lucking into the just-right seatmate. Getting an aisle to myself on an otherwise packed flight. Being able to stay with kind, warm people who gave me lots of space. Connecting with my father’s cousin. Getting to hear Eleanor’s heartbreakingly beautiful story about my mother’s secret goodbye. Sweetness. A breath for all the ways that I am held and cared for, even in the hardest times.
  6. Being picked up at the airport on my return to Portland, I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier to see someone, so happy to be back home. A breath for that.
  7. Lucidity. This week held so many tears but at some point I became the clearest bell. It was as if a fog cleared and I hadn’t even known it was there. I am so very clear right now about what I want and need, and what I am willing to do about this. And I am doing things I normally avoid, just getting them done, like a grownup. A breath for clear seeing.
  8. Thankfulness. Heart full of love. Wearing my mother’s necklace. Wise loving friends. So much sweetness in my life, so much kindness, so much permission. So many things are beautiful. Nothing is wrong. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

WHAM BOOM! Operations completed.

The phrase Whoosh Ha Mastodon Boom is secret agent code that means: this thing is done! It is often shortened to wham-boom. You may also shout (or whisper) other joyous words if you like.

Operation Clear Bell is in effect, and I am trusting the fractal flowers. Also got a flu shot, set up an appointment I’ve been avoiding, and unpacked like a boss. Wham Boom.

Revisiting some wise important words of truth from past-me.

This post called the treasure box of tiny stones. I needed this so much this week.


Powers I had this week…

I had the power of Extreme Serenity, and (again) of turning inward for guidance and getting it.

Superpowers I want.

The superpower of Permission Slips Everywhere.

Other favorite superpowers: Acting on guidance in addition to listening it. Trusting That the Loving No Is The Door To True Yes! Delighting in Plenty. I am allowed to enjoy being adored. As much sweetness as I want. I see how beautiful everything is and I say thank you.Theatrical Spectaculars! I get a parade! Self-Ripening Wisdom. Everything…in style! And in grand fashion, because that’s how I do things, baby, like a fairground stripper! I Boldly Glow. Ablaze With Fearless Intentional Choice-Making. I Have Everything I Need. Wildly Confident, Outrageously Beautiful, Wonderfully Tranquil. I Do Not Dim My Spark For Anyone.

The Salve of Permission Slips everywhere.

This is not externally-granted permission. This is not something that is given to me.

This is something that is grounded in self, in knowing, in remembering.

When I was in Michigan I needed this salve so hard. It’s as if as soon as I’m there I just instantly relinquish my sovereignty in every situation, almost automatically. As if I suddenly forget that I am an adult, that I am allowed to make choices and decisions, express wishes, act on my own behalf, advocate for my needs.

This salve reminds me that I don’t need to ask for permission because it is already mine to begin with. It’s not external to me. It is available to me at all times.

When I rub this into my skin, I begin to remember all the things that are okay. It is okay for me to go to bed at a laughably early hour. It is okay to exit situations and conversations that do not feed me. It is okay to stop what I am doing without knowing what the reason is.

This salve undoes internal distortions and false constraints. It lets you breathe new air, see new openings. This is a deliciously subversive salve, and it smells like wonder. Use in good health.

These salves can’t be seen, but the production factory delivers enough for distribution by way of the magic of the internet, so help yourself. There is enough.

If salve does not appeal, you can have this in tea form, as a bath, cocktail, whatever works for you. Not only is there enough salve, there are also enough ways to receive it.

Playing live at the meme beach house — the Fake Band of the Week!

My brother and I make up bands, which are all just one guy. The Meme Beach House is the venue.

This week’s band is called So Many Sparks. They play sultry lounge music versions of punk rock songs, and it’s actually just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am still recommending the Emergency Get Calm, Quiet And Steady techniques, since they are keeping things good around here for me.

So I want to seed a reminder that this is a thing, and it helps, a lot. Not just with calming down in the moment but with building the kind of habits that allow you to change your relationship with whatever is scary or uncomfortable.

I hardly ever recommend these because the page is already many years old and needs rewriting. However, copywriting aside, this is still one of the best things I have ever made, by a lot. I have two boxes in my office full of the sweetest thank you notes from people, and so many of them are for this.

Come play if you like…

Join me in the comments. Some of us share hard and good, some of us say hi, or maybe we’re on silent retreat. My ritual doesn’t have to be your ritual. Whatever works for you. We’ve been doing this every week for years now and there still isn’t a right way.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We don’t give advice.

Wishing you a glorrrrrrrrrrrrious day, a restful weekend and a happy week to come.

Shabbat shalom.

p.s. It’s fine if it’s not Friday anymore. There’s complete chicken amnesty — join in whenever you like, it’s no big deal. And I am blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers. I love that you are here too.