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

 

The 366th Chicken: I was wrong!

Friday chicken

Reflecting on both the hard and the good parts in the week that was…

It is Friday and we are here.

{a breath for Friday, for this space, for being here when we get here.}

I realized this week that it seems kind of weird to say Chicken 366 as if we are assigning a number to a being, when in fact it is the 366th week that we are engaging in a process. So. Experiments in title format.

What worked this week?

Having a PROTOCOL.

When I found myself surrounded by internal monster-hordes at five am, all shouting reasons to not skip trapeze class, but also reasons about why going would be disastrous, I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t hear what I really wanted or needed. It was kind of terrifying.

But then I remembered the PROTOCOL: Apply Extreme Self-Care Immediately!

So I went back to bed, and slept for three delicious hours in a cocoon of sweet healing permission, and when I woke up, I knew that not going to trapeze was the most loving and respectful thing I could have given my body that day.

Ah, that’s why there’s a protocol. Even if, in the moment when I remembered the protocol, it felt vague and fuzzy and I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I was still able to ask, “How do I best take care of myself?”. So here’s to protocols, and all the superpowers of intentionally and powerfully Going Back To Bed.

Next time I might…

Not let the monsters write the titles to my blog posts.

I want to apologize to you guys. Last week I wrote a chicken called “Joining the circus is not a viable option”. And I was completely wrong.

That was my monsters writing the title, and we had a good meeting, and they have now retired from all forms of copywriting.

There are so many wonderful ways that I was wrong!

For one thing, a friend of mine told me that she had directed her friend to this blog, and then her friend decided to quit their job and JOIN AN ACTUAL CIRCUS. Wow! Can you even imagine the joy and wild delight I feel at having even theoretically played a tangential part in this marvelous and inspiring story?!

And then Vicki commented that her brother had joined the circus even though he couldn’t trapeze, and he fed the elephants. She pointed out that not everyone in the circus performs — you can cook, you can do maintenance, you can contribute, there are LOTS of ways to join the circus.

Of course! I was just in a state of self-directed monstering, and also suffering from the cultural thing about how you supposedly have to (especially if you’re a woman) be self-deprecating and self-critical all the time. What a great reminder that my monsters don’t get to title my posts.

MAY WE ALL REMEMBER THAT WE ARE FREE TO JOIN AS MANY CIRCUSES AS WE WANT TO, IF AND WHEN THAT’S WHAT WE WANT, AMEN.

And the title of my upcoming Biopic if it were based on this week…

Oh, cool! What else might I be wrong about? The Havi Brooks Story.

If you feel drawn to leave comments on aspects of my week, I will take love, hearts, breaths, pebbles, I do not need advice or cheering up, though presence and sweetness are appreciated. Hearts or pebbles are great if you don’t know what to say, often I don’t know what to say either so we’re in the same boat.

Eight breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. I don’t think my body has ever hurt so much as it did after trapeze. All week. So many unhappy muscles! I got emergency massage and emergency Feldenkreis and spent ninety minutes in a floatation tank, and still could barely even dress myself this week. Between the physical discomfort and the frustrations of learning to love my unique pace of learning, it was rough. A breath for easing and releasing, the theme of this year.
  2. My lover is a natural athlete who just launches himself into any new challenge with grace, agility and fearlessness. Oh, and then immediately excels at it. Racing motorcycles, breakdancing, parkour, whatever — if it’s impossible and terrifying, he’s good at it. I admire this tremendously! And I had Ludicrous Fear Popcorn all week because now he knows I cried my way through remedial trapeze, while not physically able to get on the trapeze. Clearly (say the monsters), he will want to trade me in for someone much more impressive/courageous. One assumes this imaginary upgraded version of me is a successful hip hop dancer who does extreme triathlons for fun and rides a unicycle to her incredibly meaningful job. A breath of love for small me who forgets how to trust life and stirs imaginary comparison stew. And a breath of laughter, because while Ludicrous Fear Popcorn is always legitimate, it is also always ludicrous and therefore funny.
  3. The third or fourth heat wave of the summer. Enough is enough. A breath for taking this as a Redirection. Let’s find somewhere to live that is not 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius), because that is too much. Or, alternately, let’s find somewhere with air conditioning.
  4. Oh, the patterns. Oh, the stew-stirring. Oh, the forgetting to be gentle with myself. As I said last week: Loving yourself as you are is not for the faint of heart. A breath of deep permission and acknowledgment for being who I am, as I am, where I am, right now, in this moment, with all that this entails.
  5. Lots of trouble (or the perception of trouble!) with accessing my True Yes this week. A breath for trust and for reducing input.
  6. Oh hello, late thirties monster-driven identity crisis: What do I want to be doing? Where do I want to be doing it? A breath for all the big questions, and for not needing answers yet, and for taking exquisite care of myself while I explore.
  7. Taking care of my body with its aches and pains and [alternatively-abled learning] is expensive and time-consuming, and I just want to hide in a lovely bath and not have to do anything or worry about anything, and just watch cop shows and eat peanut butter. A breath for this wish.
  8. 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. May I choose to trust-more love-more release-more receive-more.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. I said this last week and I will say it again: I am the bravest person in the entire world! I recovered from TRAPEZE! I spent ninety minutes floating in a dark isolation tank! I went to the super hard hip hop class that is supposedly easy but it isn’t! I told people what I wanted and needed! I tried new things! I went back to bed! A breath for saying GOOD JOB, BABE.
  2. My big wish/intention this week was I Advocate For Myself Joyfully! And I did. And amazing things happened as a result. I was able to give people really specific information about how I learn, what I need, how they could help. And instead of thinking that was incredibly annoying (which was the monster-fear), they were delighted to have that information. A breath for radical honesty, radical sovereignty, and for the magic of what is supportive for me is actually good for everyone involved.
  3. My beautiful lover, who somehow just radiates warm, sweet loving acceptance towards me at all times. And thinks I’m brave. Go figure. We are sweet and hot and magical together, and I feel this intense spilling-over-of-joy when I think about him or feel him thinking about me. A breath for this full and happy heart, and immense gratitude for this thing I didn’t even know I wanted.
  4. Somehow everything that needed to get done this week got done. It seemed impossible but it happened. I credit the Monster Manual, which helped with everything, and the Secret S-Word Society. Oh, and the Sail of YARD got canceled due to rain, and that turned out to be perfect, because it allowed me to discover that this had not been my true yes. A breath of wonder and thank you.
  5. So much joy and healing and joyful healing this week! I explored mysteries! I had beautiful dreams and extraordinary naps. I uncovered memories in the floating tank and in hypnosis (which is its own kind of floating tank), and understood things I hadn’t understood before. I learned about my body and about next steps, and practiced Wild Uninhibited Gentle Self-Forgiveness. I felt immense gratitude for Shmita where I am committed to giving myself the time to just be instead of making and doing. A breath for the fruits of Quiet Undoing.
  6. Had an absolutely phenomenal dance lesson where I got to practice being a Relaxed Panther, which is my new favorite thing. A breath for receiving this treasure in the moment I was ready to receive it.
  7. This was, again, and I don’t even know how this is happening, just a beautiful week for me. I felt light, bubbly, joyful, hopeful, full of life and aliveness. A breath of immense appreciation for all of this.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. Lovely glass bottle. Favorite rug. Marisa texted me from the Land of Math. I remembered that Asking For What I Want is a huge success, whether I get it or not. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong, even when I think it is. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. Thankful for this grand adventure. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

Wham booms, wisdom, superpowers, salve and FBOTW!

Operations completed. Wham boom!

Whoosh Ha Mastodon Boom is secret agent code meaning: this thing is done! Shortened to wham-boom.

I took exquisite care of myself. I planned a secret op. I heard and asked (and even answered) the scary questions. Calling that a successful mission, and I now award myself a hundred billion sparklepoints. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

Last week I wished for the superpower of Releasing In Love Because I Do Everything From Love. And, incredibly enough, this is exactly what happened.

I also had the superpower of catching an unlikely bus, make of that what you will.

Powers I want.

I want the superpowers of Beautifully Anchored, Deeply Trusting, and, of course, I am a Powerful Slinky Very Relaxed Panther.

The Salve of Radical Self-Acceptance or: Me As I Am.

These invisible salves are distributed here by way of internet magic. Help yourself! Take it in a bath, as tea, a cocktail, whatever works for you. Not only is there enough salve, there are also enough ways to receive it.

So often I find myself wishing I was something I’m not (someone who would want to hang upside down from silks, or go backpacking in the mountains for ten days), and I forget that what I REALLY want in life is to love who I am, how I am, as I am, and not try to wish myself into being someone or something else.

When you rub this salve into your skin, there is a tingling peppery-sweet something, and then you are in this moment, meeting yourself, and suddenly noticing and appreciating all the lovely bits about your you-ness, your suchness.

You hug yourself tightly and say “hey, babe, here we are, I’m not going anywhere, I’m with you for this wild ride, and you, as you are, you are good and you held in love by me, right now and always.”

Or maybe what you say is different, and said in an entirely different way! People Vary and you are your own person. That’s just what this salve glowed through me. Whatever it glows through you will be good too.

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 from me trying to high five my brother via text, which didn’t work at all. The band is called HUGH FIVE. They are a five piece doo wop band composed of Hugh Grant impersonators who do sort of an awkward british take on the Jackson Five. They do solo scat bits that are basically just shy self-deprecating stammering to a beat. Their latest album is I Just David Copperfielded Myself. And not sure how this works, but it is just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS. Special CARE PACKAGES this week!

The marvelous Monster Manual is how I got through this week and was able to hear my YES again.

And if you want, you can get this with a Fluent Self Care Package, because I just made two Care Packages on the theme of Everything Is Okay.

They contain clues, Marvelous Reassurance, at least one squooshy companion for whatever you’re working on, and inspiring, calming Playground goodness. They should help very much with whatever you’re working on. And you get either the Monster Manual & Coloring Book (basic version) or the Art of Embarking course, whichever you like. That way you have techniques along with Playground magic.

Price: $76 for care package and ebook/course. I will cover shipping in the continental United States, otherwise ask the First Mate for a shipping estimate. Either way, email the First Mate if you want one!

How was your week?

Come play in the comments. Share something from your week, take a breath, or just say hi! No rules, my format doesn’t have to be yours, 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 — jump in whenever you like. Blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers too!

Wish 316: unlikely combinations

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal!

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…

This week I am deep in the kaleidoscope of wishes.

With each slight movement of the kaleidoscope, the images and qualities reconfigure. Each variation is intimately connected to the one which preceded it, but also completely new and fully itself.

I want to give myself a container of spaciousness (this is not a contradiction) in which to leisurely observe all I am currently thinking about, without needing to document the connections, just trusting the interrelatedness of it all. Trusting the deep roots of the fractal flowers.

Or maybe I will just follow one thought and see where it goes…

A container of spaciousness.

I spent ninety minutes floating in a sensory deprivation tank the other day, because I am THE BRAVEST PERSON ON EARTH, but mainly because while searching for something else entirely, I happened upon a place that fits and even celebrates the way I am — which, interestingly enough, is exactly last week’s wish.

Suddenly I found myself in this marvelous, sweet, claustrophobe-friendly, permission-filled environment, a place that just glowed acceptance for people like me who feel UNDERSTANDABLY AND LEGITIMATELY hesitant about floating.

For one thing, they don’t need you to be the kind of person who is just ready to go straight into a dark silent tank of water, which frankly sounds kind of terrifying.

People who float always say it is so restful, and I nod, because the combination of deep quiet and weightlessness does sound kind of peaceful…

Except I’m ALSO thinking: Yeah I’m sure being trapped in some horrible coffin-womb while simultaneously feeling lost in outer space is extremely relaxing, how nice for you to be such a fearless person who can just hurl themselves into the abyss for fun, that is not me.

Safety First.

This place felt like it had been designed for someone like me, someone who already has enough trauma from [hard things] in life, and doesn’t need to ever experience anything terrifying again.

Anyone who has been to the Playground (the beautiful center I verb-ed in Portland for nearly five years) knows that I am a big believer in Safety First, and making new experiences comfortable and supportive for you, in the way that you need.

At this place, they think it’s absolutely okay to ease your way into floating.

You can wedge a towel between the door and the frame so soft light comes in. They remind you that it’s fine to exit the tank whenever you want. End the session early, take a break and have a hot shower, pause when you need to pause.

They talk about all the things I am passionate about: PLAY and CURIOSITY and taking time to explore your surroundings so you get a sense of where your body is in space, so you can feel safe letting go.

They let you know your time is up by piping relaxing music into the water, but they are also happy to knock on the door if you like that better.

And it worked.

I stood in the tank with the door open and then settled into the water with the door slightly ajar, with enough light to see my surroundings.

I let myself have as much time as I needed (which turned out to be maybe five minutes) establishing a clear sense of where my body was located in relation to the walls and the door, the space above me and below me and around me. I reassured my monsters and Tiny Me that we know exactly where the door is and how to open it.

We practiced closing our eyes and feeling what it would be like to be suspended in this state of darkness.

And I talked to the space, quietly, in my heart, and told it what I needed in terms of easing and releasing. I breathed qualities all around me. I asked the water and the salt to share with me their secrets of transmitting and of washing away.

And then I let the door close all the way, and allowed myself to sink into the darkness, using my fingers and toes to remind my body that we know exactly where we are, deep breaths, letting go.

What is a container of spaciousness.

It is something that is both cozy and expansive at the same time.

I came to floating with two fears — well, other than the fear of panic attacks, existential agony, getting trapped, giving up after five minutes, and a variety of flavors of Ludicrous Fear Popcorn related to truly ridiculous and impossible scenarios which I will not share with you because I don’t want you to have to add these fears to your list!

Mainly though I felt worried that I might feel trapped in an enclosed space, while simultaneously worrying about what if I feel lost and disoriented and unable to find the door.

I was delighted to discover that the tank had a wonderful coziness to it — I could float in the center, but I could also extend a limb in any direction and touch the steadiness of the edges. And it had a high sloping ceiling which gave a lovely sensation of plenty and spaciousness.

A container of spaciousness is river and banks of the river, it is voyage and ship, it is dreamland and cozy bed, it is being free and being held in loving arms, it is secret op and safe-house, it is liberty and sanctuary, it is adventure and home.

It is knowing that there is no contradiction: you are allowed to have both at once.

No contradiction.

When I was little, my father used to ask me if I would rather be a bird or a tree.

I wanted BOTH, I didn’t want to choose, but that wasn’t allowed.

It was worse than that, actually, because this was secretly a trick question. The correct answer was tree, and he frowned if you chose bird, and told you why you were wrong. I always chose bird anyway.

You weren’t allowed to be a Flying Tree either, it had to be one or the other.

I didn’t want to have to choose between freedom and safety, soaring or grounding, adventure versus steadiness, between discovering new places or always knowing that you are home.

And gradually I acquiesced to this false belief that you can only have one, or that you can only have one at a time.

Each of us learns or acquires this untruth in our own unique ways but somehow we all end up thinking that we are only allowed to have X and not Y, that the elements of our desires cannot ever co-exist, that we have to choose, we have to give up on what we want in order to have what we want.

Flowers for Tiny Me, flowers for my father, flowers for the courageous process of decolonizing and deprogramming, flowers for everyone who has ever had to make a choice, flowers for refusing to choose.

Circling.

I have spent my whole life circling around this and inside of this, resisting and succumbing to the familiar melody, to borrow that perfect image from the poet Natan Alterman:

“That melody still returns again, the one you tried in vain to neglect, and the road is still splayed open to its full length…”

That is my very inexact translation of an impossibly beautiful sentence. When he describes the road as open, he uses a word that is specifically used to describe eyes opening. The road is expanding, awakening, like a person.

It’s a poem about the intense passionate call of the road that pulls you to move and explore and experience things, and at the same time you miss the sweetness of the green grove of trees, a woman in her laughter, the place of belonging and love. And how whenever you have one, you long for the other, but you cannot stay because you need to be free, but oh how you miss your lover and so you return, but then the melody comes for you again.

The American version of this theme is the cowboy, I think.

The Eternal Cowboy Dilemma. It sounds like a band and it’s just one guy…

Eventually I realized that my dilemma is not in fact a dilemma.

Eighteen years ago Meirav asked me:

“What if it is actually a continuum? What if you don’t have to choose?”

That was a helpful starting point. I played with exploring roads and with building a home. I swung this way and that. I tested out different recipes, different combinations of freedom and shelter. I pushed edges and then retreated.

Later I realized that of course this is about Qualities, and qualities, being aspects of the divine, not only can co-exist, they must. They just do.

There is no Freedom without Safety, there is no such thing as Adventure without Sanctuary.

And then from there I began to work with permission to Want What I Want, in this very practice of weekly wishing, which helped me see that there is no dilemma, there is only the appearance of a dilemma, a mystery to explore.

And lately I have been combining qualities like ingredients, and noticing how the flavors enhance each other: what at first might seem an unlikely combination can be intensely powerful, deeply healing.

Sweet savory contradictions that aren’t contradictions at all.

Last week I talked about the superpower of FIERCE GRATITUDE (thank you, Carrie Ann Moss), which is a perfect example of a unique and unlikely flavor combination.

Then I mixed more ingredients to come up with SWEET COURAGE, which is how I ended up at the most loving and supportive place to experiment with floating, which takes place in CONTAINED SPACIOUSNESS.

I want to be a beautifully anchored wanderer: roaming and stable, rooted and free.

I want LANGUID ADVENTURING and JOYFUL STILLNESS, and glorious permission to be so many things at once.

What am I noticing about my wishes?

I can feel so many previous wishes in this. Like the theme of adding being to doing: Ha and Tha, sun and moon. Accommodating my sensitivities (and my sometimes snail-like pace of learning) with kindness.

Making room for the seemingly-contradictory experience of being both high sensation seeking (the thrill of newness!) and off-the-charts highly sensitive (extreme levels of Must Hide Immediately).

This is about loving all of me, and taking care of all of me, as I am. This is about advocating for myself, being intentional about how care for myself, choosing supportive environments.

Also big passion for social justice, passion that begins in my cells and expands outward: starting with being more present in my own space and then glowing these qualities into the world.

And appreciation for everything that got me here: flowers for everyone.

Invitation.

You are invited to share many !!!!!! about my wishes and realizations here, to share anything sparked for you while reading, to say “oh wow, what beautiful wishes” to me and to each other, to wish your own wishes.

Now.

Thinking about the Alterman poem made me think of the song version of it that Berry Sacharof did, which made me think of his collaboration with Fortis — Fortisacharof, which has to be the most Israeli album of all time, for me at least.

I am sitting in my living room on the couch, listening to the song Nitzotzot, and in my mind I am behind the bar, it’s Friday evening in Tel Aviv, I can feel the sun setting over the Mediterranean a few blocks away, the bar is mostly empty, everything is quiet.

I look up from my memory, back in my living room in Portland, and my friend who is dead is perched on top of the couch, the cigarette in his mouth is unlit because I don’t let him smoke in the house. He takes it out and smiles at me and says, “You are a vessel of light, and a vessel of light contains everything”, and then he wanders outside to smoke.

What does Slightly Future Me have to say?

Ze: You can combine ANYTHING you want, my love! You are the queen of tree-birds and bird-trees, you build entire worlds where things can co-exist!
Me: Sometimes I wonder if it’s good for me though, maybe I’m just oscillating.
Ze: You are an explorer and a Grand Adventuress, and you are also deeply committed to taking exquisite care of yourself. That’s not oscillating, that’s exploring and claiming your kingdom of wholeness.
Me: Sometimes it seems like people just want me to be one thing: sweet and spiritual, or wild and fun, or whatever. Like they can’t handle it that I am all of it.
Ze: Who cares what they want or what you think they might want. Your explorations are treasure, for everyone, whether they or you know it or not. Trust.

Clues.

This week has overflowed with clues for me, but what I want to remember is hearing a woman saying to someone, “Take special care”, her voice glowing warmth and presence, as if this was the most important thing she could possibly say.

The superpower of this is a badass way to live.

July - Love MoreJune was RELEASE MORE, with the superpower of I am stronger than I think, and July is LOVE MORE, because this is a badass way to live.

This is a badass way to live.

Giving myself permission to be all of me, in beautiful and seemingly-contradictory ways, to ease into new places, to grant myself extra safety, to take off and come back and give myself what I need. What if wild self-love and radical self-acceptance and meeting myself where I am is actually more badass than I think?!

Things I find helpful for intentions and wishes…

Nap, dance, write, play, labyrinths. Get quiet. Sweet pauses, yes to red lights and purple pills, thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Skip stones. Body first. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths in eight directions:

Adventure. Rest. Horizons. Security. Passion. Sweetness. Clarity. Presence.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week aka As I am…

I made many wishes and they were all useful. This week I practiced asking people to teach me things in a way that suits how I learn, and they were so happy to have extra information about what I need, instead of thinking it was annoying that I asked.

Thank you, process of writing about wishes. Thank you, me who asked.

Ongoing Wishes. Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere. Ha, this doesn’t require my input! My business is thriving happily without me. I think like a dancer. It’s so perfect it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS. I have what I need, and appreciate it. I am fearless and confident. I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, no big deal. I claim my superpowers. Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more.

Keep me company! Or just say hi!

You can deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads, superpowers, qualities, seeds, secret agent code, whatever you’d like, there’s no right way! Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is sharing anything sparked for you.

Comment culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on 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.

xox