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

 

Shmita

This year is Shmita year, it is the sabbatical year in the seven year agricultural cycle when you let the land rest.

More than rest. You let the land lie fallow. Lie fallow.

That phrase used to feel desolate to me, almost a lonely sort of emptying, but now it feels luscious, vital, thrilling.

What happens when I enter — consciously, purposefully — into a state of intentional not-producing? What happens when I choose the experience of letting my fields lie fallow?

This is what pulls me right now, this and everything else about Shmita.

It’s for releasing.

Shmita literally means RELEASE.

It is a whoosh let go let go sort of word.

Whoosh! Let go, let go.

I am in the desert, and this is what I am doing: letting things go.

Releasing and recovering.

To let land lie fallow is to let it rest and replenish, to be left unsown for a period of time in order to restore its fertility.

During this time, all agricultural activity is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). You can do things like weeding or trimming — clearing out — but only as a necessary preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants.

Debts are let go of.

It is a time of emptying and replenishing, of emerging and receiving, easing and releasing, echoing and returning.

It is a releasing to refill (bountiful harvests are promised to those who observe the Shmita), but that is not the point of the releasing, as far as I’m concerned.

The releasing needs to happen because the releasing needs to happen. The plentitude that comes back to the land is a result of the releasing, not the reason to release.

Though hey, sometimes things don’t happen (in my life, at least) unless or until we find Reasons and Justifications, so if you need a reason, that’s a good one.

Twenty-first century releasing.

In these decidedly non-biblical times, our fields are — for most of us –metaphorical, internal.

And yet here we are, overworked, overcooked, overwhelmed, overdrawn, endlessly plugged in, exhausted.

We live in a culture that is all about producing, output, productivity, ass in chair, making stuff happen, get it done. We get so disconnected from what our fields actually need.

If you want to do more thinking about Shmita as a concept, and possible implications for us, I would direct you to this piece from Hazon, which means vision.

The Hazon piece also references six qualities: Sova (enoughness), Hodaya (thankfulness), Revaya (plenty), Hesed (loving-kindness), Puriyut (fertile), Otzar (treasury and shared resources). It’s almost a compass, so if anyone else feels like playing with that, I am adding Ahava (love) and Shlemut (wholeness).

And while I hesitate to link to HuffPo, a place I find exhausting, my interest was piqued reading about how some Jews are giving up things like Facebook, Amazon, apps, news and more as a modern experiment in Shmita year, finding their own way to live out both the practice and the intention of releasing, sustainability, wholeness.

Releasing, sustainability, wholeness.

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past several months about what Shmita could look and feel like for me.

God knows it’s necessary. I’ve been doing this Fluent Self work since March of 2005. That’s just about ten years of asking my fields to produce.

The thing is, I like producing. What we are doing here feels tremendously vital. It also actively makes use of my superpowers: building creative spaces and culture for intentional play, infusing them with spaciousness, permission and sovereignty.

And given this world of ours, this world of go go go that seems to be fueled on guilt, shame and pushing, this world where the default choice is not to be conscious or aware, I think what we are doing here is both necessary and deeply subversive.

So I’ve been looking at what reconfigurations need to be made in my business, how I can change how I work/play so I don’t burn out.

Asking over and over again: What is needed here? What do I know about this? What do I really know if I’m being completely honest with myself?

What do I know?

1) Resting does not require a reason.

Or at least, it shouldn’t require a reason. I would like to be able to remember this.

Right now I rest when I reach my end point. When my fields are already done.

Resting to recover is a good reason, a very legitimate reason, and I don’t want it to be my reason anymore.

I need healthier cycles that are grounded in sovereignty and self-fluency, anchored in truth-love.

2) My body is telling me that we are done.

These last three years have been rough, it is just now occurring to me that this may or may not be related to having plowed through — if you will excuse the agricultural pun — the first seven years without pausing.

One of the things that has been made very clear to me over the past five weeks of Operation Tranquility Recovery (Magic!) is this:

I have reached the point of beyond worn out. My body has made it very clear that it doesn’t have more to give.

I can keep pushing and trying to make stuff happen, and my body will go on strike and I will need to rest and heal. Or I can skip the part about pushing and go straight to the “rest and heal” option, but either way resting and healing is the new game plan.

3) Rest, space, time, quiet.

That’s what I need. Preferably away from the endless noise of the internet. And definitely a break from being immersed in the day to day work of systems, chocolate shop drama.

I want to find out what my fields want to produce, what I want to write about, what I want to be doing and experiencing in this life, but in order to get there, I need this Shmita period of releasing.

4) What does service look like.

Whenever I take time to look at what I care about, something that always comes up as incredibly important to me is being in/of service.

And the reason I don’t stop (even though I talk so much about beautiful red lights and the practice of pausing) is that I don’t want to stop serving.

Except now this is going to be how I have to serve.

Taking space and time to figure out what is next is going to be how I serve. Taking care of myself is going to be how I serve. Emptying out and not-producing until I can find a more sustainable way to serve is going to be how I serve.

5) The edge of the circle.

Edge of the circle

When I wrote about Constellations, I talked about how I do my best work at the edges of the circle, holding the circle.

This is very important for me. I am an ally of spaces. Where I excel is at making spaces and experiences special.

This is where I want to be. Not in the center. Not at the front of the room.

What else do I know about what I want?

I want to be a bell: to be at my most resonant. This means doing the things that help me connect to myself (getting on the floor and breathing) and not doing the things that disconnect me (reading everything on twitter).

I want to be a beacon. This is about living by example.

Living in a harmonious congruent way in which I am true to my instincts, my needs and my desires. Demonstrating that it is possible to live like this. Walk the walk, clear the path, document the process, share through being.

I don’t want to teach through teaching, I want to teach through glowing. I want being a beacon to be the primary way that I work. Doing the work, documenting the work, breaking it down where necessary.

I want to take deep breaths, spend time in my thank-you heart, play, laugh, wear costumes, write, dance, cry. To spend more time in presence and grace, less time in the land of spreadsheets.

I want to protect my energy, my force field, my memory at all costs, this means things like not reading about Gamergate right now, removing sources of toxicity from my life.

What does Shmita look like for me right now?

Even though this current Shmita year began in the fall with the Jewish new year, I am going to begin mine at the end of February, which is when I embark into the year in my business.

I am going to devote this year to releasing and letting go, in all forms. Not just releasing. Easing and releasing. Allowing the releasing to be a softening into.

Releasing: Clearing out my space, my home, my closets, saying goodbye to everything that is no longer harmonious or congruent.

Releasing: Grieving what needs to be grieved.

Releasing: Getting quiet. Time to honor the decisions being made (as Bryan puts it), instead of forcing decisions or making decisions based on what I think other people want from me.

My plan. Trusting and laughing.

If you’re currently panicking about the thought of the blog going away, breathe freely. The blog is not going away. This is where I process and reflect, how I empty and replenish. I still plan on being here.

I am also going to continue to spend time with my (private) online community, now entering its seventh year, though it is getting a new name, a new look and a new focus. More about this soon.

And other than that, I am going to rest and release. I am not clear yet how this is sustainable in terms of, you know, money and rent and real life things like that, and yet I am so very clear that doing anything else is not sustainable, so I am letting a possible plan for this emerge.

I will also be renting out half of my house as well as embarking on a year of intentional Not Spending, and will write more about this as I go.

And practicing trust, because what is crazier than not planting, not producing? How were my ancestors brave enough to let their fields go? Fallow sounds like barren, not fertile. And yet fallow is the answer.

It is deeply counter-intuitive, and so it requires trusting and laughing. That’s what I’m starting with.

Play with me.

I would love warmth, support and enthusiasm about Shmita, as a concept or more specifically my experiments with it.

You are welcome to share anything that was sparked for you, or do your own processing about rest and releasing, fallow fields, what this might look like for you, anything you’re working on.

And you can laugh with me about how I have been thinking about this biblical practice for the past four months, but it took — yes — forty days and forty nights of wandering the desert, the desert of California and Nevada that is, to get to the point where I can say out loud that this is what I want and need.

The way commenting works here: we make sure we have safe space through the practice of not giving each other advice or telling anyone how to be or how to feel.

We all have our stuff, we’re all working on our stuff, it’s a process. We meet ourselves and each other with patience, warmth, love, to the best of our abilities.

I have a heart full of appreciation for everyone who plays here, everyone who reads. It is vulnerable and scary to talk about what I really want and what I really know, and knowing I can do this with you is a big deal, even if I have to take a deep breath and remember this every time I post. ♡

Wish 284: like a red sweater, for example

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…

The red sweater.

Before I took off in a camper on Operation Tranquility Recovery Magic, I ran away to Eugene (the city, not the person) for a few days.

Just to soak up some pre-emptive tranquility to get me through until the op and I were ready for each other. My uncle Svevo is the most tranquil person I know, and I knew that if I could just be in the same place with him, everything would be okay again.

While in Eugene, I went out dancing, which was amazing, and while out dancing I somehow lost my black sweater.

I really, really love that sweater and I was feeling super sad. Except then I remember what we say at Rally (Rally), which is that everything that happens at Rally is part of Rally.

And since everything that happens on Operation Tranquility Recovery Magic is part of the op, then I had to operate under the assumption that losing the black sweater was vital to the mission, I just didn’t now how.

The next day.

The next day Svevo took me to the train station, and we were early and went for a walk.

We passed a clothing exchange shop and he said, maybe they have your sweater!

I went in and met a deep crimson red sweater by Eileen Fisher: thick, warm, cozy, flattering. Eighteen dollars and exactly my size.

So I went home wearing the sweater, it’s a very Havi sweater, and I’ve been wearing it for pretty much all of Operation Tranquility Recovery Magic.

It’s actually a much better sweater for this op than the black one would have been, because it is cold in the desert, especially at night.

This red sweater is like having the Right Tool For The Job, and I didn’t even know I would need it. It’s almost as if the black one knew I’d need something else and took off on its own adventures so that I could take care of a need before I needed it.

Apply to everything.

What if….

(Deep breath for me)

What if I can apply this red sweater thing to everything in my life?

For example, I have been feeling very frustrated about many things in my life not working the way I think they should, or at all.

What if these things are like my black sweater? What if something going wrong (in my perception) is like losing the sweater, an opportunity to replace the thing that isn’t right for my current or upcoming needs with something that is?

What if this is another way to say thank-you to the breaking, to smile at the broken pots?

What if I can say a graceful goodbye to all the versions of [black sweater], trusting that the thing that will replace them will be so much better than I ever imagined?

I mean, I was super sad over the loss of the black sweater when it happened, but since embarking on Operation Tranquility Recovery Magic, I have had a glowing heart full of appreciation for this just-right super-snuggly red sweater, thankful for it all the time, and have not missed the black one for even a moment.

What do I know about this?

  1. It is very important to not push through grief. Grief is legitimate. I am allowed to mourn the loss of all the [black sweaters]. When one door closes, it is okay to feel sad about not having access to that room anymore.
  2. I love the way this turns bad news into hopefulness. Oh, this thing is breaking or malfunctioning or exiting because it was done, and the next thing is going to be a huge improvement. When one door closes, it is very exciting if I can remember that the new one opening for me is the right one.
  3. Having this mentality of red-sweater-receptivity seems to require a certain calm grace that people like Svevo have, and that I do not always remember how to access. This will take practice, deep heart breaths, patience, play.

What do I know about what I want?

This has to do with entirely new levels of trust.

What’s next.

I don’t know. Right now it seems as if — with many aspects of my life — I’m in that point between having lost the black sweater and before the red one has revealed itself.

So I guess this is why I come here each week: to seed some wishes, to get back to the qualities.

What are the qualities of my red sweater wish?

Play. Presence. Ease. Illumination. Trust. Release. Love. Receive.

What do I really want?

I want to be someone who is really, really good at letting go, and actually enjoys it. And who laughs at how this didn’t use to be true.

And, as I seem to wish every week: To trust my instincts more. To trust my yes and trust my no, and act on that trust immediately.

Now.

I am in bed in the camper.

At some point during this trip I have undergone a shift from being someone who finds small spaces claustrophobic to someone who loves the coziness of a ridiculously low ceiling.

I like typing in bed, reclining, resting the laptop against my knees.

I am liking all kinds of things I don’t normally like at all. For example, how it gets dark obscenely early this close to the solstice, and we set up camp at five and I am in bed by seven thirty in the evening. This would normally be depressing to me, except right now it feels right.

Maybe not forever-right, just right for now. Like this red sweater which is exactly what I want and need, and one day in the future it will no longer be the sweater for me and it will become someone else’s just right sweater.

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

She: You think this wish is a simple wish, a surface wish, but actually it goes so much deeper than you think.
Me: Tell me more.
She: This is a wish that can only be wished by someone who has loved and lost, who has lost her clear seeing and then regained it.
Me: I don’t get it.
She: Everything is temporary, and everything is beautiful. There are different ways to react to knowing this, and the way you are choosing to react (appreciating the red sweater for what it is right now, not thinking that it will be your one and only right sweater forever) is really great. You are able to do this because of what you have lost, not things on the black-sweater level of loss, the other losses. You have new eyes, babe. This is good. I’m glad you got here so we can do the next piece together.
Me: Thank you.

Clues?

I was writing about the chocolate shop, and I misspelled shop so that it was ship, and then I went oooh! Because I love ships. The chocolate ship, I like that so much!

What if it’s not a chocolate shop, it’s a chocolate SHIP?!?

What happens then? And in what other places in my life can I switch out a vowel and make them better?

The superpower of bringing light to the corners.

December-2014-Illumination I owe you guys an apology. Or maybe I don’t, maybe this is a perfect example of the red sweater thing.

We’re in the month of Illumination, with the superpower of bringing light to the corners.

And last week I forgot to switch out the month and said we were still in the month of Sovereignty, with the superpower of I do not wait in line for my own swing.

That might have been good though, because it was working with sovereignty that helped me say what I need, which brought me to Clarity, and the thing that helps with clarity is illumination. So here we are.

What else needs to be illuminated? That’s what I’m asking right now, and I am enjoying many different sources of illumination: the moon, and the flashlight app on my phone, and also going to bed ridiculously early (at 5:30pm on Wednesday, just saying) and waking up and dancing spirals in the light. Illumination is exactly what I am needing.

Oh, and by the way, if you enjoyed this year’s Fluent Self Year of Salves calendar, or if you didn’t get one but wished you had, the 2015 calendar — the Year of More — is ready and it is gorgeous, and you can order one soon. I recommend!

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!
  • My body gets the deciding vote.
  • 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, receiving gifts that are winging their way to me, I Am Okay With Being Seen, Everything Enhances My Superpowers.

Taking care of these seeds.

The intentions have been planted, the sails are set. Whatever intel, fruits or flowers emerge will be just right, whatever they are. Thank you in advance.

Now to nap on it, dance it, write it, play with it, take notes, skip stones, walk the labyrinth. Deep breaths, purple pills, getting quieter and quieter until I hear what is true. And a good costume change never hurts. Also eight breaths in eight directions:

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

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka midlife easing…

I got much more ease than I was expecting. Really I don’t know why I don’t wish for things more often. Just the process of uncovering and getting closer to desire is its own magic, and anything that comes after that is a bonus.

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.

xox