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 295: bell exits / exit bells

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 day before yesterday, Saturday, February 28 aka the day of leap, this was the last day of Playground.

The Playground is the center I opened in Portland five years ago. Five-years-minus-two-months. It is the thing I am most proud of having brought into this world, and the place where I feel the most joyful, safe, creative, held, loved.

And now it is gone.

I am in Portland for four more days but will not visit. In fact, I plan to avoid the street altogether, except for a mission with the ninja, and stopping by Back To Eden bakery to acquire delicious savory baked goods sans gluten to take on the road.

All timing is right timing, and this timing is especially right timing.

Saturday was the right day for the last day because:

  • Erev Shmita, or Shmita Eve.The evening before the first day of my year of fallow fields.
  • Goodbye playground and hello Secret S-word Society aka the Swoop aka the Switch is the perfect, well, switch. An ending into a beginning.
  • The Playground told me this was the day and the time, and how to exit.
  • The beautiful boy took the last furnishings and rugs and lamps out of the Playground and onto his truck, and I don’t want to see the space completely bare. I want to remember it in my last moments there, my last conducting/shavasana on my favorite red rug by my favorite lamp.
  • Reasons that I don’t know yet and possibly may never know, because this is a secret op and I only have clearance for so much intel. Need to know basis. That’s how this works. All I need to know is that I am being led, and my only job in life is to follow what is indicated and trust that all is well. Literally right now that is my only job. And even when I go back to other jobs, that is the only important job. Knowing this is one of the many gifts of the Playground.


I was in shavasana, on the red rug where I have spent so many hours in yoga, in naps, in soaring bliss and in deep peaceful quiet. And I was crying a little, overwhelmed by the ending, and by how much the playground loves me, and what will I do without being able to be there.

I reminded myself of what we always say on the last day of retreat: once you have played at the playground, it lives in you forever. A blueprint in every cell. You can’t lose this.

I cried and listened to the playground, and the playground said:

I brought you the [situation that forced you out], this is my gift to you even if it may not look like one. Think of it as the most loving way I could bump you out of the nest and get you to fully commit to the road. I knew you didn’t want to leave me, so I invited a situation that would make you want to leave.

And then I felt full of peacefulness, and in that moment the boy sat down next to me and took my hand in his very gently, and his hand was so warm, and I could feel his heart full of sweetness, the way he just holds peace and calm for me, and the playground said:

I brought you this too. I brought you this boy, and I have brought you every wish you have ever made here in these five years of wishing. If any haven’t arrived yet, they’re on the way.

I have fulfilled your wishes, all of them, sometimes in forms that seem different than what were imagining, because that was right. And now I am coming with you, so we will still be together. Talk to me whenever you want.

All the superpowers of the playground are yours. Happy Shmita. I love you and am with you always.

I have two stones next to me.

Hand-painted by Richard. One stone was a gift for me when I became a bell, the other was made for a voyage that went somewhere unexpected.

One says exit and one says bell.

These are my clues and my companions right now.

I am the bell of exiting. This is the bell of exit, this is the exit bell.

Exit with bells. Exit the bell. Exit as a bell. Ring the bell of exits.

Right now my secret agent name is Bell West. Bell is for resonance, and also Bell is my middle name, and bell as a verb. And west because West in the compass is GLOW, which is the visual form of resonating. And west in my new compass is CLARITY, and I want to be a bell of clarity.

And west is the western united states which is where I will be on Shmita: Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. This is the territory of Operation True Yes aka Rosh Tzalul.

And there is more intel I haven’t received yet about why Bell and West and Exit…

I am Bell West, the Exit Bell and the Bell of Exits.

The last thing.

The last thing I did at the Playground before exiting, was to ring the bell that hangs from the magical elevator shaft, and then I took the bell with me.

Actually that was the third-to-last thing.

As I approached the door for the last time, I paused to remove the sign that says exit as you wish to continue, and tucked it into my bag. As I was doing this, I suddenly noticed that the wallpaper covering the inside of the door glass is POMEGRANATES with beautiful CROWNS.

How is it possible that for [five years minus two months] I have looked at pomegranates every day, multiple times a day, and only this year recognized that this is the symbol for everything I want in my life and business, and only now realized that past-me planted this clue for me to find.

I have always just thought it was a pretty pattern and never really looked at it. I laughed, as I have so many times at the Playground, in so many startling and hilarious moments of realization.

Agent Annabelle, who has rallied at Rally many, many times says, “Geniuses like to leave fun clues for themselves to discover later. For the fun!” This makes me laugh too.

So many gifts, so many clues.

One of the first things that went into the Playground was a full size tree decal on the wall. When I peeled off all the leaves on Saturday, I discovered that if you change their orientation, they are diamonds. This whole time I thought the tree was to remind me about grounding, but it was also to remind me about treasure.

And when I took the last piece of the playground — a giant bulletin board — into my basement, a piece of paper I have never seen before slipped from the back of it and onto the floor.

A white piece of paper with a watercolor painting of a flower and the words Thank You.

What is my wish? What do I want?

My new mysterious project for Shmita is to become a playground.

To learn the quiet art of becoming a playground.

To carry the essence of playground with me so that everywhere I go I am grounded and playful and charged up with magic and fully aware of how deeply loved I am. Just like when I am conducting on the floor of the playground, held in love.

And I want to learn how to work without working (oh right, that’s what play is, that’s why I made a playground), and how to do without overdoing, or really, how to do without doing.

And also to release resentment/frustration about the [monsternumber] of things that need attention before I climb into the boy’s truck and set off on the road for this adventure.

What do I know about becoming/being a playground?

  • I skip stones!
  • I rest before I need rest
  • there is always tea and snacks
  • rich sumptuous colors and textures, sexy deep reds and oranges
  • I play with identity and invite in new aspects of me just like at rally
  • I delight in being barefoot or wearing the comfiest socks
  • spirals spirals spirals
  • I walk around and blow bubbles and receive clues (sometimes I walk backwards)
  • conducting and clearing out (whoosh, to the elevator shaft!)
  • clear firm glowing boundaries
  • only inviting in things that are beautiful
  • humming and glowing and filling up on love
  • bells

What do I know about what I want?

If I believe/remember that it is already done, I can just be it.

And if I forget how to believe/remember, I can pretend that it has already happened and then I can reverse-engineer and figure out how I might have gotten there.


Something we always say at Rally is “change your place change your luck”, which is kind of like going widdershins.

And today I was deep in Nothing Is Working, and overwhelmed because my house is full of Playground things, and so I am hiding out in the guest room, and it is so peaceful there, and everything is better now.

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

She: Let’s have an RGW (Replenishing Glass of Water)
Me: (drinks)
She: Look at all the aliveness around you. Just from where you are sitting you can see three plants, two flowers, trees outside. There is so much life in this life. All the things you are worried about are distractions and maya (illusion). Choose to be part of this flourishing of life. Plants and flowers are not caught up in doing. Choose things that remind you about breath and pleasure.


Agent Anna saw a sign that says “ATTENTION! Bell will ring without warning.”

She sent me a picture. I love this so much. I am also a bell who will ring without warning.

And it makes me want to sing, “If you like it then you’d better put a ring on it…”

The superpower of delighting in plenty

March - Receive More The quality for February on the 2015 Fluent Self calendar was APPRECIATE and the superpower was I See Beauty Everywhere.

Now we are in March, and the quality is RECEIVE, with the superpower of delight in plenty.

They go together so seamlessly for me. This past week I was really starting to feel Appreciation kicking in, and something opened in my heart from all those thank-yous, and now I am ready to fill up on Receiving.

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. 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, not a big deal. I am ready to come into my superpowers and receive.

Things I find helpful when working with 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 follow me through the rubble…

What a big upheaval of a week, and what a perfect wish. The shitstorm resolved itself (or maybe it didn’t and I just don’t care?), I took the exit sign and said thank you, and I no longer think the wallet is ugly. Also I now see why the thing that looked like destruction is actually treasure.

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

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

If you want a handmade buttmonster from the Playground, we have a few left: $22 + $5.95 shipping = $27.95

If you want a Playground mug and a pack of stone skipping cards: $30 + $12.65 shipping = $42.65

Just send a note and we’ll set it up. Not sure about international shipping but Richard might know.

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 344: And Smash

Friday chicken

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

It is Friday Saturday and we are here.

{a breath for the Chicken showing up when it’s ready.}

What worked this week?

Giving up!

Thursday night at around midnight I was still working. And very annoyed. Not only about the latest frustrating challenge keeping me up, but also about all the other similar midnights I’ve been through.

My business will be ten years old on Saturday.

That’s ten years of saying “okay, this is the last time it will be like this, just one last push and then we’re done”. I did not like this thought.

This was a rough week for me, in a lot of ways, and I was imagining sitting down to write the chicken and instead just saying: YOU KNOW WHAT NOTHING WORKED THIS WEEK BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS STUPID AND AWFUL THE END.

Band of the week: Ugh. Salve: Screw Everything. Superpower: Giving Up.

So I was sitting there thinking, “I give up, I give up, I give up, I can’t do this anymore.”

But then this switch happened and I suddenly felt so joyful about this! Like, HEY WAIT A MINUTE! I COULD JUST GIVE UP! OHMYGOD! I GET TO GIVE UP!

And suddenly that felt amazing. I mean, that’s the essence of Shmita. Giving up on things that are not working is releasing, which is what I want to be doing anyway.

Next time I might…

Give up sooner.

And surround myself with people who support this. Yeah! Give up!

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 work 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. My knee isn’t healed enough to dance, and I’m missing Rose City Swing, a dance convention taking place this weekend in Portland, something I’ve been looking forward to for the past year. This is the worst. I mean, I know that this is not my bus, because if it were my bus I’d be on it. And I know that it is good for me right now to be away from the competitive, comparison-heavy mentality of the dance world. It’s just hard for me to trust this right now. So. A breath for trust, patience, healing.
  2. The nightmares are back. A breath for rewriting, and for restful sleep.
  3. Consulting with lawyers about the distressing thing in my work space. A breath for remembering that sometimes the right door is an exit.
  4. Working on projects and waiting for other people to get back to me with critical intel. The ball is in all the courts but mine. A breath for trusting in right timing, and for the sovereign superpower of calmly and warmly requesting updates.
  5. Somehow we didn’t save vital posts from last year’s Floop (my online community) when everything got erased during Dry Dock. And the backup disappeared. And the 2013 backup is the an old version and anyway we couldn’t re-install, and the Secret Sword Society is embarking this weekend and suddenly we din’t have any of the orientation material. We uploaded it somewhere else but that still meant sorting through THIRTY THOUSAND POSTS. After about a million hours, we finally found the search terms that worked, but it’s still the old material without my rewrites, ugh. Speaking of millions of hours, my entire week was like that. For example, I thought a project would take two hours so I allotted three, plus an additional two hours to get in the right headspace for doing it. Nope, it took NINE HOURS. This whole week was just one long frustrating experience of everything being infinitely more complicated than I wanted it to be, and re-doing the work I’d already done. A breath for this.
  6. I didn’t get to see my lover this week at all, partly because he was sick and mostly because we are both working our asses off so that we can hit the road for Operation True Yes. Except what is the point of being in the same city with the person you want to be near if you never see them, and what is the point of working towards LATER if you can’t be together now, and anyway, I don’t believe in later. A breath for me.
  7. So many endings. A breath for saying goodbye with love, and for new eyes so I can find the treasure and enjoy the beautiful beginnings taking form.
  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. My knee is doing better this week. Actually my knee no longer hurts at all, just parts of my lower leg, on and off, depending on many things but mostly my mood. It’s still not predictable enough to test it out on the dance floor, but I am walking with ease, and stairs don’t bother me anymore. A breath of love for my body for being so clear about what it needs.
  2. Long talks with my lover (by text because we haven’t seen each other in eight stupid days) about what we want to be doing with our lives. A breath for insight, sweetness, seeing new paths forming.
  3. Spend most of this week at the Playground, soaking up its love and magic, resting in the hammock, looking at the ceiling, listening. A breath for being loved, because I have never felt more loved than when I am there letting it love me.
  4. So much joy and appreciating for things in my life that are beautiful. Usually when I’m going through a rough time, I can’t see any of this, but right now even in the hard, I am enjoying so much. The sensation of my feet on the ground, my marvelously comfortable shoes, the miracle of taking a bath, the wonderful thing that is moisturizer, the taste of this tea. A breath for the superpower of enjoying what is.
  5. While I was panicking about [Situation], my wonderful friend Alon gave me some of the best counsel I’ve ever received on the topic of NO, LISTEN, THIS IS ALL GOOD. Which is also what the Playground told me: “There is no bad news here, there is only being Redirected towards something more congruent.” A breath for remembering this, and for finding the treasure.
  6. In five days I am leaving for Operation True Yes aka Operation Rosh Tzalul (clear head) aka six months in a camper with a boy, being places that are not Portland, and uncovering, I hope, what I want to do next and where I want to live, and what this all might look like. A breath for a grand adventure.
  7. The thing that looked like the biggest obstacle might in fact be the most beautiful exit. A breath for saying SWITCH, and having everything switch.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. Lira is in town! My suitcase arrived! I have new glasses for the first time in nine years. The cherry blossoms are going crazy and it smells like spring. Emptying out. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. 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.

Good grief this week. I did more ops than I can even remember. Got the Secret Sword Society ready, on schedule! Emptied out even more of the Playground. Wrote a very hard letter. Met with the attorney. The Munich op is taken care of. Got the necessary provisions for Operation True Yes. It’s happening! Thank you fractal flowers. Wham Boom.

Revisiting some wise words from past-me.

There are two kinds of asking why

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpower of Knowing That I Am Okay.

Powers I want.

I will take the power of Completely Trusting The Adventure, along with Paying Attention To What I Want And Need, and also Delighting In Surprise Exits.

The Salve of Screw Everything: Giving Up!

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.

Normally I think of this in terms of Letting Go, or Releasing, but Screw Everything Giving Up is about reaching the point where you realize you just don’t want to do something anymore.

It is a combination of the sweet softening of Surrender, with the bold, clear, firm deep body knowing of saying Not Going To Do This, Dammit.

This salve has a cooling, calming effect. It establishes boundaries. When this salve touches my skin, I can feel not only my internal space change, but how my immediate external space changes as well. It becomes more defined. The space around me sparkles.

It is a joyful giving up, because I realize that I don’t have to do [it] anymore. The [it] that I don’t have to do might be a pattern, or a way of thinking. A behavior, an approach, a belief, a chore, a way of doing or a way of being. Whatever it is, I don’t have to do it, and I don’t have to do it that way.

This is a salve of options because when I decide to give up, new doors open for me.

Or maybe they were already there but I couldn’t see them because I was still trying to hammer at [it] instead of giving up.

When I wear this salve, I breathe more peacefully, and suddenly I am smiling and I don’t quite know why. This salve is comforting like chamomile, but it also has a zing of possibility to it. I never knew giving up could be so much fun, but it’s kind of celebratory, who knew.

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 Amye and it’s called Husband And Smash, their latest album is Do You Take This Smash, and it is a very loud band with a gigantic drum set that plays in a completely not-soundproofed room, and yes, it is 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.

They help, 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.

The page is many years old and needs rewriting! Copywriting aside, this is still one of the best things I have ever made, by a lot. I have two boxes in my office filled with thank you notes, and most 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 feeling quiet. 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. Feel free to leave pebbles (or petals!), hearts, warmth, sweetness. Those always work.

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. Blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers too!