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


Chicken 326: it was only a test

Friday chicken

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

It is Friday and we are here.

{a breath for Friday.}

What worked this week?

Going back to the qualities.

When my mother went into hospice, and I was having trouble thinking or making decisions, I turned inward and asked for guidance, and this is what I got:

You can choose story or you can choose steadiness.

I understood this to mean that my reactions are up to me, I can go into the drama of all of it, and spin out into my own complex narrative, or I can be a bell of qualities, breathe qualities, return to qualities.

So I inhaled steadiness and exhaled steadiness until I knew what was best for me, and then I didn’t need to decide anything because I knew.

This week involved many moments in which people wanted to pull me into their drama, or to give me “helpful advice” about how I should be living, and I could feel the desire to go into stories and patterns.

Choosing qualities was the right move, every time.

Sometimes that meant taking a 5MX pause to rest on the floor and feel the qualities around me in all directions of the compass. Sometimes it meant inhaling and exhaling. Sometimes it meant naming the qualities over and over again.

Trust. Release. Love. Receive. Ground. Sovereignty. Glow. Courage.

Steadiness. Steadiness. Steadiness.

Next time I might…

Do that sooner.

And take it to the bath.

Water always helps. For me.

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, so 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 miss my mom. It’s weird, because I have never said that sentence in my entire life, and until this last year we didn’t get along. And now she’s gone and I miss her, and I keep picking up postcards to write something to her and I can’t. I mean, I can, it’s just not the same. A breath for this.
  2. I got vaccinated for the flu, and my body did not like it. I suspect this might be an HSP thing. Three whole days that were mostly spent sitting on the red couch, lethargic, low energy. A breath for the challenges of having a body that is so sensitive to external input. I say thank you for the blessings of that sensitivity, and also sometimes it is so hard. Also more nightmares, though not the awful trauma kind, just the not fun kind. Oh body. A breath for you.
  3. Whoa! Someone threw some shoes at me, out of nowhere, and I was caught completely off-guard. (Shoe-throwing is when people say hurtful things). These particular shoes managed to hit a bunch of trigger points: Being Misunderstood! Veiled Accusations! Victim Blaming! The implication that Everyone Thinks This About You! All of it wrapped up in that particularly insidious flavor of unsolicited advice, “don’t take this the wrong way, I’m only telling you this for your own good”. A breath for releasing, for being intimately familiar with how abusive communication works, for letting go of everything that is not mine.
  4. While I feel very strongly that Not Everything Requires a Response (certainly the shoe-thrower doesn’t need a reaction), small-me has a lot of anxiety about being misunderstood. She has a very strong need to Set The Record Straight, and a lot of reminders were needed about how this isn’t where we need to spend our energy. A breath for comfort, may we all have as much of it as we need.
  5. So very overwhelmed by all the things. A breath for sweetness.
  6. [Silent retreat on things that are hard]. A breath for trust-more love-more release-more receive-more.
  7. Still seeing all the ways I relinquish my sovereignty, compromise my desires, neglect to state my preferences, avoid opportunities to treasure myself. For example, a woman at a rumba class accused me of having stolen her seat, and instead of calmly pointing out that the ballroom is full of seats or that in an entire year of dancing there I’d never encountered a culture of saving seats, I immediately rushed off to vacate “her” seat for her, which she then didn’t use for the entire dance because she was dancing. There are so many intriguing things about the mystery of why I do this. May all this unsovereign distorted people-pleasing bullshit reveal the treasure that is here for me. A breath for trust and more trust and even more trust after that.
  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.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. Everything moves, eases, changes. The lethargy passed and my energy came back just in time for dancing! A breath for trusting the process.
  2. A couple of years ago this incident with the shoe-thrower would have thrown me into chaos. There would have been so much pain, hurt and anger to work through. I might even have conceded some of her points and agreed to turn down my glow. Not now. I don’t turn down my glow for anyone. Not anymore. I remembered what Bryan said about how what you don’t feed can’t grow. The part about perceiving that I have been deeply misunderstood is between me and me, the rest is between her and her. I got clear: I am not going to change how I act or how I dress based on someone else’s judgment. And really, this is only a test. I’ve made vocal wishes about living how I want, and glowing boldly. Now someone says they think I need to dial it down? That’s my wish being tested, and it’s up to me to choose something new in the video game. See also: the salve of I Do Not Dim My Spark For Anyone. A breath for clear knowing.
  3. I said this last week, and it is still true: So much sweetness, tenderness, so much wild ferocious intensity, so much aliveness, such a commitment to life. A breath of thank you for the sweet reminders of the truly vital things in life.
  4. Beautiful connecting. Adventures in sweetness. Also when I was in a mood and got a surprise hug delivery visit. It took all of five seconds to cheer me up, even though I’d been having Quite The Crappy Day. A breath for all the good.
  5. I ran an experiment this week that had to do with taking exquisite care of myself and pausing to seed intentions, to notice what I need. On the days when I did this, there was so much more ease and spaciousness, so much more getting things done, not to mention so much less staring into space on the couch. A breath for all the ways that I can bring ease and softening into my life, when I remember that this is an option.
  6. There was a day I was freaking out so hard, and then Richard did some acupressure on me, and suddenly I flashed on the thought, what if everything is okay? And then it was. A breath for everything being okay, and for remembering.
  7. Sometimes yoga is magic. One one of the hard days this week, two hours on the floor took me from a mess of tight-fear-anxious pain into feeling like a radiant glowing ball of love and wonder. A breath for the magic of sweet, conscious, intentional breathing.
  8. Thankfulness. Heart full of love. A sweet wedding reception Friday night. Sleepover in the bouncy castle. I’ve had a lot of great nicknames in my day, but “sweet unicorn” is my new favorite. Ran into old friend K, who gave me tea and made things beautiful. Danielle kidnapped me and took me to have oil rubbed all over my body, she is the best. Operation Tranquility Recovery Magic has been set into motion, and I need this so badly. So much sweetness in my life, so much kindness, so much generosity and permission. So many things are beautiful. Nothing is wrong. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

WHAM BOOM! Operations completed.

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

Operation Clear Bell is still in effect, I am working on The Sultry Speedy Chicken of Sanguine Secret Ops, and I am trusting the fractal flowers. Wham Boom.

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

This post from three years ago called Everything has a counterpart. This was helpful to me this week.


Powers I had this week…

I had the power of Haha This Is A Test This Is Only A Test (it’s just the emergency sovereignty broadcast systems being tested, all is fine), the power of knowing that what I don’t feed can’t grow, the powers of sexy red velvet curtains.

Superpowers I want.

The superpower of Shoes Miss Me By A Mile (thanks Annabelle) and the power of Radiant Glowing Boundaries.

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

The Salve of extra sweetness.

This salve softens all the things that need softening.

It shows me that tenderness doesn’t have to be raw and vulnerable, tenderness can be an opening into, a sweet releasing and receiving.

This salve renders so many of the false forms of sweetness useless, all the distortions, all the way I search for comfort and sweetness outside myself. With this salve, I can release the need to add sweetening, because I am connected to my own source of sweetness.

Rumi on this:

Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart.

When I rub this into my skin, I begin to remember all the sweetness that is available to me in this moment, and then there is even more.

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

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

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

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

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

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

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

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

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

Come play if you like…

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

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

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

Shabbat shalom.

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

Wish 276: 5MX

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

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

One question, many forms.

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

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

Sometimes I phrase this question in other ways…

The same answer.

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

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

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

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

I know what I want.

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

It’s super clear.

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

The anchors are weighed / the sails they are set

We are setting sail.

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

Five minutes of X.

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

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

What I find interesting is this:

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

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

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

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

What if.

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

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

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

It helps.

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

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

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

I want more 5MX in my life.

Not once or twice a day. All the time.

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

What else would I like?

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

Anything else related to this?

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

Like a tryst.

Checking in. How am I doing?

So very tired.

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

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

Whether or not I remember why.

What do I really want?

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

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

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


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

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

The superpower of trusting the voyage.

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

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

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

Ongoing wishes.

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

Things I find helpful when it comes to wishes…

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

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

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

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

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka SMOPL IT…

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

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

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

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

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

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

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

Keep me company?

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

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

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