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 312: easing and

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…

Releasing.

This is not going to come as news to anyone but I’ll just say it anyway: lately I have been releasing and releasing and releasing and releasing, and not much else.

I mean, it’s a lot. It’s about as much as I can handle.

Releasing in the form of unanticipated primal scream moments, and releasing in the form of removing physical objects from my space. Even releasing my wishes. Saying lots of goodbyes.

It is the month of Releasing in the year of Releasing, and there is so much to learn to let go of.

Goodbye goodbye.

And thank you.

“Thank you for having been. Thank you for exiting my life. Thank you for being done.”

This has been my mantra lately. It’s what I whisper in my heart to everything.

To the food scraps that I put in the compost bin, to each memory as it comes up or doesn’t, to more papers into the recycling bin, to the early-early-morning nightmares, to phone numbers, to the contents of the flushing toilet…

Goodbye and thank you. And goodbye.

Tangled.

It’s funny how hard this is, this process of releasing.

It’s funny how this is something everyone knows: letting go can be absolutely agonizing, and yet somehow we keep collectively forgetting this over and over, and then being surprised about it.

Possessions get layered with emotional attachment, with fragments of memory and identity and oh-but-what-if.

I know with absolute certainty, for example, that I have zero interest in attending graduate school in this lifetime.

And even if I were to change my mind some day, I’m still pretty sure I don’t need this stack of papers on the table in front of me right now proving that I have a degree in History from Tel Aviv University, and that I apparently also passed an academic German language exam (that I have no memory of taking) qualifying me for god knows what.

None of this is my YES, and yet here I am, reluctant to let these go. Reluctant to let past-me go.

Doors.

“It’s hard to close doors, even if they’re not necessarily ones you’d want to open,” says my lover, who is wise and sweet and often right.

This feels true.

Closing is like admitting out loud that you aren’t going to do the thing you didn’t want to do anyway. And hoping that past-you isn’t listening. Or, really, hoping they know how much you love them.

I still feel great love for the passions, desires and yeses of past me, even as my now-yes changes to meet the present moment.

The closing of the door isn’t a NO to them. It’s a YES to now.

And it’s still hard.

Easing and releasing.

This is the year of releasing but really it is the year of Easing & Releasing.

These go together.

The easing is the softening, the smiling, the recognition that shutting this door is the best possible thing I could do right now.

The easing is when you don’t try to exhale everything, you just let yourself breathe.

The easing is when you allow yourself to be comforted.

The easing is when you say, YES ALL THIS GRIEF HURTS AND THAT MAKES SENSE AND THAT IS OKAY AND I DON’T HAVE TO LIKE IT.

The easing is permission and sweetness, acknowledgment and legitimacy, the hug before the storm and everything that comes after.

Layered.

It’s one hundred degrees in Portland so I’ve been in the basement where the cool air is, going through boxes.

Goodbye, goodbye, bullshit yoga teaching certificates from various trainings over the years: I don’t even believe yoga can be taught, never mind certified.

Though yes, I still secretly teach yoga inside of every blog post I write, just by being and practicing — well, if by yoga we mean “the art and science of slowly and patiently getting to know yourself and meet yourself with love, to the best of your ability”, which of course is what I mean and what I have always meant.

And even if I were to return to “teaching” a physical practice, I wouldn’t need the certificates. In all my years of instructing in multiple countries, no one ever asked what my credentials might be, never mind if there’s proof that I have any.

Let’s not forget either that none of the people issuing these certificates are certified, for added ridiculousness, and also sometimes the certifying organizations they represent don’t even necessarily exist.

Which makes it even funnier that I hold onto them.

Holding.

I have a yoga teaching certificate here signed by the Israeli Yoga Federation Honorary Secretary For The Middle East, President and Founder, etc etc.

Things that make this extra-funny/not-funny-at-all, in no particular order:

  1. This person hired me to teach yoga at his studio before I had any training at all.
  2. He made up all of those titles.
  3. There was no federation. It was just him. He got to be the honorary secretary for the Middle East by going to some yoga conferences with his made-up titles on business cards, and convincing some other organizations that were also mostly self-invented that his made-up thing was a thing too. This was literally a case of just one guy. Fake Band Of The Week: For Your Self-Aggrandizing Pleasure. It’s just one guy.
  4. It is laughably easy to become president, founder (and honorary secretary!) of pretty much anything you want and then put that on a certificate which no one will ever ask to see.
  5. This person sexually assaulted me while I was working for him, which, for the record, is not a yogic thing to do*, and also not befitting of someone who (even if only in his mind) represents a) yoga, and b) all of the middle east. Whoosh, goodbye.
  6. I know all of these things and yet I still hold onto this piece of paper in my basement: how’s that. Realizing this makes me want to burn it, to burn lots of things, to smash all the plates. Whoosh, GOODBYE.
* Though let’s also note that I’ve actually only ever had ONE job aside from the one I’m doing right now which DIDN’T come with sexual harassment, assault, other incredibly inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. I don’t think this is particularly uncommon for women I know, and it might explain a lot about why we like being self-employed.

Rituals.

Our culture lacks rituals and resources for grief, for endings. We lack everything when it comes to loss.

My mother died in October, and every once in a while someone asks how I’m doing, but mostly they don’t.

I get it. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and we just don’t have a way to talk about these things.

All around us people are experiencing loss and trauma, and there are no mechanisms in place for checking in with each other, for taking care of ourselves.

Look at how our culture does holidays, how we exclude the people in the most pain and celebrate the people who either aren’t in pain or are best at hiding it. Look at facebook or twitter or instagram on Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc. We live in a culture that celebrates the haves, and silences the have-nots.

No wonder it’s so damn hard to let go of things. Pain and trauma and hurt get erased in daily life. People post pictures of happy things, and of sandwiches. Not the aching goodbyes.

Hallmark.

And that’s just the grief we do know how to talk about.

But — as far as I know, at least — there’s no Hallmark cards for most of the tough things anyway.

There is no card for “Hey, I heard that your mentor just publicly trashed you after you devoted ten years of your life to promoting his work, that sucks and I am so, so, so sorry, how can I help?”.

There is no card for “I know your giant business venture failed spectacularly and you were left with nothing, and I still love you and want to be supportive, how are you feeling today, can I make you soup and hold your hand while you cry”.

There is no card for “wow, the person we all thought was treasure turned out to be an abusive asshole, so glad he’s out of your life, but that has to be really rough, I love you so much and I’m sorry this happened”.

Of course there isn’t. It’s weird and awkward and what are you going to say.

Whoosh goodbye.

This is a wish about easing and releasing, about finding the grieving rituals that are right for me, about throwing and smashing and letting go, about presence, about enoughness.

I asked my lover if there’s anything he wants to keep, while I’m getting rid of things, maybe for when we build a place in the desert, if we do that.

He said: “You. A bed. That’s it, really.”

I know he only added the part about a bed for my sake. When I met him, he was sleeping in tents and on floors. I’m the princess who needs things like sheets and pillows. But yeah, he’s right. Love, napping, sweetness, falling asleep with my head on his shoulder and his fingers tangled in my hair, that’s enough.

And I say that while fully aware of the nine boxes full of papers, binders and unfinished projects sitting next to me.

Whoosh, goodbye. It isn’t always easy. The releasing needs the easing.

Rituals can be joyful.

I forget this and yet it is true.

There isn’t a one right way to release.

Whoosh goodbye can be so many things. It can be cathartic, it can be loud or quiet, it can be a softening and a surrendering, and it can be an emphatic, unapologetic smashing of plates. It can happen with laughter, with tears, with companionship, with steady knowing, with the superpower of All Timing Is Right Timing.

Whoosh goodbye.

What if…

I am rereading Refuse To Choose by the brilliant Barbara Sher, whom I love so deeply and once promised to let live in my basement when she didn’t know what she would do when she retired.

All the more reason to say whoosh goodbye to those boxes.

I want to share this quote with you:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission. … That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus, but because you’re finished…”

Here’s to the superpower of things being enough, here’s to the superpower of knowing what can go.

Invitation.

You are invited to say WHOOSH GOODBYE to whatever you like, and you do not have to share what that is, unless you happen to feel like it. You are invited to take breaths of easing and releasing. You are invited to make up rituals for grieving, for letting go, for whatever you like.

ALSO! Calendars!

While in the basement, I found some old Fluent Self calendars from 2012 and 2013, ones we couldn’t sell because of things like dirt spots on the back cover. Each has TWELVE delicious qualities (one for each month) along with marvelous superpowers, and gorgeous, inspiring images.

I think these would be great fun for cutting up and Reflecting (shhh, it’s collage), or making Wish Boards of Yes, or choosing qualities to make your own compass.

I will mail one or both calendars to anyone contributing $20 or more to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund this week, just give me an address!

Yay, and then I will recycle what is left, if anything is left, and we are Easing and Releasing together. This feels good to me.

While supplies last, of course.

Now.

I am sitting on the couch in my living room, and it is so very hot. Ice packs on rotation. Oh, and I stole the spray bottle of water that my housemate uses to spritz the plants in the kitchen, and every couple minutes I take off my glasses and just go wild with it.

I pretend that the spray bottle is filled with qualities, like the salves in the Friday Chicken.

I am spraying myself with Pleasure, with Sweetness, with divine Comforting.

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

She: You let yourself go on Shmita, and look at all the things you are letting go of that you never thought you would let go of. Maybe Easing is the secret ingredient.
Me: That, and saying WHOOSH GOODBYE.

Clues?

I accidentally wrote EASTING instead of easing and only just caught that.

East is PRESENCE, LOVE, HORIZONS. That’s what I put in the compass.

So. Easting my way into easing means breathing in more of that.

Also it rhymes with Feasting, which is a marvelous form of ritual. What if not all grieving rituals need to be about letting go? Some could be about imbibing, taking in comfort and nourishment, all the healing that comes from receiving. I need to remember this.

The superpower of I am stronger than I think.

June - Release MoreWe are in June: RELEASE MORE, with the superpower of I am stronger than I think.

I could be reminded of this superpower every day forever, and still be grateful.

Thank you. WHOOSH, GOODBYE. I am stronger 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 current ops…

I loved this wish. It helped me stick with things that had a charge for me. It helped me go to bed and say yes to my yes, and hey, I emptied out six gigantic boxes from my basement.

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

Chicken 361: reasons and plates

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, for this space, and for being here when we get here.}

And let’s start with an extra breath of joy and appreciation for today’s Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality.

What worked this week?

Asking wise-me to make lists.

For example, Marlena Wild (Incoming Me) wrote a list of nineteen reasons to explain why being exhausted is perfectly understandable, and this helped me out of the blame-shame cycle re not wanting to get off the couch.

And then of course I did finally want to get off the couch, because guilt and shame always intensify stuck, while acknowledgment, permission and legitimacy always ease it.

I also had slightly-wiser-me make a list of possible next steps for Operation Bolthole, as well as a list of What I Would Do Next If Money/Time/Fear Were Not In Play, which was very enlightening, as it always is.

Next time I might…

Choose the easy way.

This week I did a lot of [things that don't make sense] in the interest of [reasons that make even less sense].

For example, when I landed in PDX, I decided to take public transportation instead of a cab. Even though I’m dealing with chronic pain and exhaustion. And even though I’d been traveling for six hours. And even though a cab wouldn’t have been that expensive.

I’m not even sure what I was thinking. To prove to myself that I could handle it? To placate the monsters who say I’m extravagant?

It ended up taking two hours to get to my house, instead of the twelve minutes it would have taken by taxi.

My love, my love, my love, there is nothing wrong with choosing ease.

I want to remember this, because Wise Me is right.

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

Wearing The Same Thing Every Day, So What.. 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 am releasing and releasing, and even as I let go of seemingly endless anger cauldrons that I didn’t even know about, I discover more rage and fury with the current state of the world. A breath for presence, for acknowledgment, for legitimacy, for process.
  2. Tamir Rice would have been thirteen yesterday. Heartbreaking-heartbreaking-heartbreaking. I am done with putting up with apologists, with people still pretending that racism is not a thing. There was someone in my actual house this week trying to tell me that Dylann Roof murdered nine black people because of medication he was taking, not because he was a racist, full of hate and indoctrinated by people with a hate-filled agenda. And you could tell he believed what he was saying. Someone I follow — excuse me: followed — on Instagram ordered a cake for her local (Texas) police department because “After McKinney, it seems like the police aren’t appreciated enough”. A thank you cake? How about donating that cake money towards therapy bills for Dajerria Becton? I have blocked and unfollowed and muted all week, and I cannot take this anymore. So here is a poem called How To Play Dead, and here is We Can’t Have Nothing. A breath for for justice, for grace, for everything that needs to change.
  3. If you had told me ten years ago that the Supreme Court would okay marriage equality, I wouldn’t have believed you though I would have been delighted at the thought. Now it’s here, and I am delighted. And I am also feeling lots of other feelings. Sad and angry and upset, not just about all the people in this country who are vocally not onboard with love, but with the narrow definition. I will celebrate with a full heart the triumphant joy of “It is so ordered” all day every day, but no, I will not celebrate this toxic bullshit about “nothing is more profound” and “family, sacrifice and fidelity”, these are not the values I want to celebrate. I want Love and Presence and Sweetness and Agency and Inclusivity and Clear, Loving Communication. I keep thinking about the name of Jen Agg’s conference on sexual harassment/abuse in restaurants — Kitchen Bitches: Smashing The Patriarchy One Plate At A Time. Right now I really just want to smash ALL THE PLATES AT ONCE. Yes, I will celebrate this ruling, and no, I don’t find the wording of it beautiful at all. The language makes it clear that equality is meant for binary people in conventional, monogamous relationships.I’m glad it’s here. And I’m going to keep smashing things until we get to a culture which cares about the well-being, happiness and welfare of all people, including those who don’t have or don’t want family, who might be in alternative relationships or open relationships or don’t want to be in relationships at all, for people who don’t want to commit to a gender or to a person, for everyone who wants their own profound and beautiful connections that don’t happen to fit the norm. A breath for plate-smashing. Let’s smash some plates.
  4. It’s 99 degrees Fahrenheit today, and it’s supposed to be 104 degrees (that’s 40 degrees celsius) tomorrow. I can’t do this and I’m having flashbacks to the worst summers in Tel Aviv. A breath for Now Is Not Then, for ice packs on rotation, for damp clothes, for blackberry smoothies.
  5. Body is so very exhausted. A breath for all the reasons for this.
  6. Trying to find solutions to complicated challenges that involve many moving parts. A breath for letting go of Either/Or thinking and discovering new options.
  7. I miss my lover and I miss having a comforting shoulder to cry on. A breath for this.
  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. After nearly seven weeks of dealing with chronic pain, my body gave me a break for most of the week. I was able to actually focus on other things aside from pain management, which might have something to do all these big feelings I’m now experiencing. A breath for the extraordinary thing that is not being in pain
  2. When things are hard and I start to hate everything, I remember that this is a normal and understandable reaction to life challenges. Permission softens me, it is the door jam that keeps me open to acceptance, and from there sometimes I even find my way back into my thank you heart of love. There is endless magic in trusting that — really and truly — Nothing Is Wrong: not the anger, not the frustration, not the crying on the couch, it is all okay and I am okay. A breath for me and for this.
  3. I am back in Portland in my beautiful house and not in the camper-which-makes-everything-fifteen-degrees-hotter. A breath for right timing.
  4. I had another amazing releasing/healing session with Danielle, which was reason enough to come back to the city. A breath for taking care of myself.
  5. My lover texts me with warmth and sweetness and affection, listens to my worries and helps me see doors. A breath for the way I smile just thinking about this.
  6. So much gratitude to past me for embarking on Shmita. A breath of love for this wild adventure.
  7. Each day I learn more about what I want, and what I do not want. A breath for yes.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. The Supreme Court said YES to marriage equality! Love wins. Grace wins. I have wonderful friends. And cheesy aerobics. And a bowl full of peaches. 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 slept, I worked out, I used ten pound weights like a badass, I wrote, I cried. Let’s call that a successful mission and I now award myself a billion sparklepoints. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpowers of Remain Indoors, Top Level Hiding, and Wearing Everything Purple.

Powers I want.

I want the superpower of trusting in the powers of doing nothing.

The Salve of Couch.

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.

This is a salve for comfort, rest, permission, legitimacy, agency, acknowledgment, presence and grace.

It is a salve of not doing, which is also a wonderful way to get information about what you might want to do, when the time is right.

Marlena: Aw babe of course you don’t want to do anything, it’s ninety nine degrees out. Just keep drinking water, and if you’re drawn to do something do that, and if you aren’t no worries. It is perfectly permissible to just be half-passed out on the couch right now, it will pass.

Me: But everything is still horrible.

Marlena: What if it isn’t?

Me: I don’t get it.

Marlena: What if there is no better way to spend a 99 degree Friday afternoon than as you are right now, sprawled on the couch, catching up on social media, being silly, looking at videos of dancing birds, what if this is great. You already said there’s nothing you’d rather be doing. What if we just give a YES to how things are right now, it doesn’t have to be the perfect way forever, just, what if it’s a good setup for you right now?

Me: Huh. Okay.

This salve makes everything better.

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 Lucky Lola and it’s called The Jim Convention. Their latest album is called Kindred Spear Its. They play reggae versions of Ella Fitzgerald songs, and it’s just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am recommending the Emergency Get Calm, Quiet And Steady techniques, aka the thing that keeps me from falling apart. This got me through the 2am panicking this week!

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!