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 352: I read the script

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.}

Somehow I spent all of today until just now believing it was Thursday, and wondering why it felt like Friday. I think that must be a good sign that this sabbatical thing is working. I can feel the resting points declaring themselves, but also I have no sense of time. This is kind of great.

What worked this week?

Attentiveness.

As I shared last week, I’ve been starting each day by asking “What do I want” over and over again in my journal. My monsters had a lot of objections to this, they think the practice/question is shallow and self-centered and greedy, and all the usual objections.

They are placated when asking the question reveals something especially useful or wise. And they are appalled when it reveals something they think is embarrassing.

One morning, the answer wasn’t deep or profound. It was, “I want a pedicure and this is important and I want it today.”

This desire was immediately met with huge resistance, but I’ve been committing to being attentive to internal intel as part of Shmita and Operation True Yes, so after some negotiationg, I went ahead and made this happen.

The color I chose for my toenails was a sparkly wine-red called I RED the Script.

And then, miraculously, I suddenly had the superpower of having already read the script, and it changed all my interactions this week. I was able to extricate myself neatly from potentially problematic situations by reminding myself that I’d already read the script.

Turns out having read the script makes it easier to say no to a no and yes to a yes. And when I am attentive, someone else’s behavior tells me what their character is likely to do further along in the plot.

So thank you, attentiveness, for leading me to the pedicure place and guiding me to the color that was a secret superpower. And for showing me why it’s good to say no now, and not follow the script.

Next time I might…

Go for a walk.

Everything that was not good this week became not-good when I was inside and sitting and not moving.

Sometimes on transit days, we are just trying to get some internet and figure out laundry, and it seems like there isn’t time. Except of course there is time.

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. Realized all my stuff from last week with the person who crossed a boundary is about CONSENT. Much contemplation about the mysteries related to my relationships with people who do not grasp or respect consent. A breath for sovereignty, and for glowingly healthy boundaries.
  2. Figuring out this situation where someone I do not trust is a long time friend of one of my favorite people. There is no room in my life for people who can’t be trusted, and yet, this person is going to be around, how do we navigate this? A breath for clarity.
  3. On the day when I suddenly needed a hotel, the one place available quoted me a price that was so outlandishly high that you’d think the entire building would freeze and there would be a collective universal intake of breath at the audacity of this. A breath for me, and for the challenge of remembering that everything that is against me is an illusion.
  4. Somehow just as my knee healed, I injured my pinkie toe, and it has been letting me know that certain forms of movement are uncomfortable. A breath for healing.
  5. I haven’t been having nightmares on this trip, which has been so amazing, and then when I had a potentially scary dream which didn’t go in that direction, I had big hopes that maybe we’re in new territory. But then Wednesday night I had a bad dream in which I was attacked by a man in a bathroom, so that was not fun, and somehow extra-distressing because I had been feeling so hopeful. A breath for the process of healing, which is what it is.
  6. Somehow all my writing time just turns into Logisticking time, as one change of plans begets another change of plans. I’m not even sure how, but I was on the stupid computer all week and not for any of the things I want to be doing. A breath for a clean cut through this.
  7. I made a move on the unresolved situation in the building where the Playground lived, and did not get the response I was hoping for. A breath for the right wind to blow out whatever sticky cobwebs are left and to blow in some clarity.
  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. Guess what! In my nightmare, for the first time ever in one of these dreams, I responded (inside the dream) completely differently than I ever have before, and instead of waking up screaming in terror and not able to breathe, aka the usual pattern, I woke up feeling like a badass with skills, strength and power. Hey, we’re at a new place in the video game and this is so good. A breath for things can change, because they can, and they do.
  2. Turns out that the same person who unblinkingly quoted you an outrageous hotel room price can also equally unblinkingly knock $50 off the same room if you ask them for something better. I have learned this before but I forget it. Also the room turned out to have a balcony with an absolutely breathtaking view. And a gigantic whirlpool bath. And a full kitchen. And a couch. So let’s have a breath for beautiful miracles and the superpower of Good Surprises.
  3. I had a long talk with the beautiful boy about something that was upsetting me, and he was so present and loving and understanding and kind. A breath for this being my life now, and how this is such a healing for past experiences
  4. I was able to laugh at abrupt changes in the script this week. It started when I learned the last leg of my trip next month — Operation Adventures in Reverberation — had been abruptly canceled on me due to some obscure federal law that no one knew about. This is hilarious, and such a moment of hologram-shifting. Or really, a Truman Show moment of “whoops we can’t let our hero off the island, let’s come up with something fast”. It is so very ridiculous that I am in massive admiration and appreciation for this sudden change of plans. Normally I would be shaking my fists at the sky about my adventure suddenly being messed with, and the cosmic raining on parades, but right now I am just appreciating the Redirection. A breath for I am a grand adventuress and I am ready for this new adventure.
  5. My lover climbing out of bed in the camper and finding me “at work” and laughing happily in my ear: “You have wild eccentric writer hair and you’re in your underthings, typing away clicketty-clack, and you are cute and sexy and hot and odd and wonderful, and this life here makes me happy.” A breath for how quickly my big and seemingly impossible life wish (revealed on our last trip in November) of Run Away And Do Nothing And Just Be A Eccentric Writer came into fruition.
  6. We walked for an hour in the evening in my favorite state park and SAW A BEAR WHO ALSO SAW US — the bear did a much better job than I did of acting like this was no big deal, and we danced country two step between the trees, and then I received a lesson in grounding from a gigantic sequoia, and that was all pretty amazing. A breath for all of this, and for all forms of adventuring.
  7. I am learning so much about Adventure. For example, how hilarious it is that I thought this six month road trip was the adventure. A breath for how happy I am, and for “how did we ever pull this off!”.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. I am learning so much about no and about yes and about adventuring. Back to the hills and our sweet evening walks. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. Thankful for joy, presence, grace, pleasure, peanut butter, Shmita and 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.

Rewrote the about page and all my various bios in the various places. Did a lot of thinking about what I want. Pieced together some pieces. Made the list I hadn’t wanted to make. Finalized the plans for Operation Adventures in Reverberating. Figured out timetables for the summer. Actually a surprising amount got done this week.Thank you fractal flowers, thank you Shmita, thank you Switch/Swoop. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpowers of laughing at clues, inventing imaginary ice cream and the power of Knowing What I Don’t Want.

Powers I want.

The superpower of Joyfully Skipping — in the sense of letting things go and also not doing, and also playing hooky, and also the buoyant body sensation of skipping down a hillside in the best mood ever.

And the superpower of easily holding everyone accountable.

Also the superpower of All Obstacles Quickly Reveal Themselves As Not Obstacles, And I Say Thank You Before During And After.

The Salve of There Are No Obstacles.

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 one of those tricksy metaphysical salves — it has an iridescent quality to it so it looks like water and then like metal, and while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, it’s already absorbed deep into your being, dissolving paradoxes and generating new ones.

At first when I wear this salve, I begin to see openings and possibilities: the fascinating variety of ways that my obstacles might turn out not to be obstacles.

And then in a flash I see how maybe they weren’t obstacles to begin with.

Sometimes this salve requires immense amounts of trust, and several naps. You have to give it a few days, or longer, but you only think you do, because the magic is happening under the surface and also it doesn’t need to happen under the surface, because it already happened, it’s already done.

The best part of this salve is the way it streams in other qualities, like vitality, courage, wonder, appreciation and laughter.

It comes in a shell, which you can tuck under your pillow to release obstacles — that is to say, obstacles that never were, the perception of obstacles! — while you sleep…

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 comes to us by way of the horrible color that twitter and Facebook and all these sites use, they’re called Allergic To Blue. Their music is like Daft Punk meets Jacques Brel, but all in 3:4 time. And as it turns out, it’s just one guy.

And my upcoming Biopic…

She Really Loves Peanut Butter. The Havi Brooks Story.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am recommending the Emergency Get Calm, Quiet And Steady techniques, aka the thing that keeps me from falling apart.

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!

Solving for X with kisses

Content note: This post references potential/theoretical bad things as well as memories of actual bad things, without describing them in any detail. I do describe an uncomfortable dream, but nothing bad happens to dream-me, she’s not in any danger. I am now invoking the superpower of instant safe rooms for all aspects of us — at any and all ages — who require extra safety, comfort, grounding and warmth. A breath for steadiness!

The dream.

In my dream I was supposed to meet someone, he was going to come pick me up at my hotel room and we were going to go out. I knew him somewhat well, not very well.

I mean, clearly it was someone I felt comfortable with, because otherwise I would have arranged to meet him in the lobby or at the place we were going.

There was time left before he was scheduled to arrive. I was taking a shower, it was a very leisurely dream, and then I stepped out of the shower, wrapped in a soft white towel, and he was in the hotel room.

Inside of the dream, a backstory for how he had been able to do this was immediately supplied, the details of which now seem hazy to me: he was a magician? Something like that?

Somehow, it now seemed, I had known in advance that he had this ability to get through locked doors. And I had either forgotten this rather vital piece of intel, or I had trusted that he wouldn’t, because, well, because that’s creepy and obnoxious and not okay.

At any rate, I was taken aback that he was inside my room, but he seemed to think this shouldn’t surprise or alarm me at all.

The mystery, part I.

Okay, and now I have to step out of the story of the dream for a moment to talk about how weird this part is.

I’ve been through a wide variety of not particularly fun things in life, and sometimes I have night terrors, awful dreams about being attacked, and sometimes I wake up screaming.

This is enough of a thing that I can’t share hotel rooms at dance conventions, and that I have a fairly long document which I wrote a few years ago called How A Bell Works, given to anyone I trust enough to share space with me, detailing what might happen during the night and what to do when that happens. Well, mainly what not to do.

So I would have expected — and here “I” refers to both awake-me and dream-me — that this dream would have taken a turn for the traumatic, given how it started.

But it didn’t. I mean, not in that way.

Now.

[As I was typing this, my lover, who has the superpower of reading emotional undercurrents inside of my quiet, spontaneously came over and wrapped his arms around me. He stayed there for a while and whispered "beautiful girl" in my ear, and then I felt wonderfully peaceful again. He is, as one of my friends likes to say, very good.]

Back to the dream.

Here’s what happened.

This guy I was meeting went on the offensive (or is that the defensive?), and immediately went into a very vocal panic about how he felt uncomfortable hanging out with me.

Like, he hadn’t thought this was a date, and why was I making it seem like a date, and who showers right before going out unless it’s a date, and why had I invited him to my room, and he wasn’t ready for this level of intimacy, and obviously I wanted sex, and how could I make this kind of assumption and he didn’t know what he wanted, etc.

So here I am in the dream, trying to be calm and reasonable and steady.

Making rational points:

I had no such intention. This is not a date. Showering is a thing people do for a variety of reasons, like getting clean or washing off stress hormones or just because it is comforting, or as a transition between the work day and going out. Of course if I were ever to become interested in him, I would communicate that clearly because that’s what I do, and that isn’t the case at the moment, and this is all a misunderstanding.

And then I woke up. It was Tuesday morning, and I was laughing.

Yes, I woke up laughing. It was kind of a bitter laugh, but laughing is still infinitely preferable to screaming, so here’s to laughing.

Laughing.

This dream is very much related to one of the biggest mysteries in my life at present, which is the mystery of why I don’t respond to a crossed boundary, even though someone has just crossed that boundary in an absolutely egregious way.

Why would dream-me even bother trying to reassure this guy of her intentions, when he’s the creep who just used trickery to enter her hotel room without permission?

Why is she so invested in demonstrating what a good, trustworthy person she is when this guy just did something shockingly inappropriate?

Why isn’t she responding to — or even mentioning — what a horrifying breach of basic human decency it is to unlawfully let yourself into someone’s space just because you can?

Why isn’t she pointing out that entering someone’s private space without consent is unthinkable.

That’s where the laughter comes in. How is it that I am so dedicated to protecting myself from being misunderstood, and often so completely disastrous at the kind of self-protection that is enforcing boundaries when other people are being wildly inappropriate.

That’s the mystery. Well, that’s one of the mysteries.

Parallel.

The dream is an excellent parallel to a current situation, where someone recently did something completely uncalled-for, and I didn’t react at all, other than to remove myself from the person’s company.

My usual theory on this mystery is self-defense: I go into placating mode when I perceive that someone is (potentially) dangerous. This is child mode, really: Please like me. Please don’t hurt me. I’m not going to make trouble. Just leave me alone.

Ever since this latest situation last week, I have been remembering other situations in my life that followed this formula of Someone Does Something That Is Intensely Not Okay and I Act Like It’s No Big Deal, either because I don’t want to be misunderstood, or because I think I will be safer if I don’t react.

Another memory.

Dani and Havi had known each other for a few years, can we say that there was intimacy without closeness? They got along very well, and had been through some shared experiences which brought them together, and there was trust, but it wasn’t like they were really friends.

Havi ran into Dani and he let her stay at his place that night because she had nowhere to sleep. And then he took fifty shekels from her wallet which was sitting on his table with her phone while she was in the other room, and went out and bought a thing which was kind-of sort-of for both of them but really for him, and assumed she would be okay with it.

She didn’t want to say how not okay with it she was.

As it happened, this was her LAST fifty shekels in the world, and she had so much shame about this part of it that it didn’t even occur to her to say, dude you can’t just take my money without asking me if it’s okay.

She wanted to be someone who had enough money that it didn’t matter if someone took some.

And she wanted this so badly that it didn’t occur to her that even if she had endless money, it is never okay to just go through someone’s wallet and take their money.

(Unless you have already obtained consent, or your relationship has already established blanket consent about sharing money all the time without asking, I’m not sure why this would ever be a good idea, but people vary, and I can imagine this as a theoretical construct.)

So it’s a pretty good mystery.

An ongoing mystery, which showed up again last week in the form of someone crossing a big boundary, and then again in this wonderfully problematic dream.

Here’s something I know about mysteries, and about recurring themes.

If something keeps showing up in my life, it wants resolution.

It’s like life is trying to support me in getting through the next level of the video game, which means it’s time to try things I haven’t tried before, and react in the ways I’ve never reacted before.

Solving for X.

During the Alphabet Rallies, X was, of course, the Week of Mystery.

We solved for X.

We let X be the variable. The unknown.

Whenever we didn’t know what to do or say, we named an X, and then started investigating the mysteries.

Here’s how you might investigate a mystery.

Or at least, here’s how I do it.

  1. Safety First! This might mean a proxy, a new metaphor, a Negotiator, using a coloring book, creating safe rooms, whatever helps. We play at the edges. Anyone who tells you the only way out is through doesn’t know about the magic in the deep work of intentionally mapping around, above and under, or the wonderful art of sneaking past. Which, okay, is another form of through, but the point is, there are always less painful options of through.
  2. Permission to take care of myself.
  3. Gathering intel in the safest ways possible. Skipping stones. Talking to Slightly Wiser Me. Using third-person.
  4. Acknowledgement and Legitimacy: the things I am feeling are normal and understandable! Even if I don’t know why! The patterns I am following make sense! There is nothing wrong with me for automatically going down familiar neural pathways.
  5. Looking for clues.
  6. Mapping the patterns.
  7. Noting the points where it’s easiest to make One Tiny Change.
  8. Making One Tiny Change. And observing a pattern counts as a change to the pattern, so even if I can’t do anything else differently right now, I’m still making progress.
  9. Taking notes about what worked.
  10. High-fives! Good work, team! Bath time!

Note! If/when stuff feels stuck, always go back back to Item #1: Safety First. Anyway, there are lots of good ways to work on a mystery in secret. Intentional Naps are a great way to approach mysteries. Looking for clues while watching a movie is another one. Getting down on the floor and closing eyes and breathing until you feel better is pretty much always a good strategy.

These are the mysteries in my life.

These are the mysteries I have focusing on since I discovered them during Rally X…

The Mystery of Bridges: How do I get from Point A to Point B?

And the mystery of not this and not that: What does it look like when I am not avoiding a situation or a pattern but I am also not feeding it anymore…

And the mystery which used to be called Quitting Grad School Even Though I’m Not In Grad School, and is now called Getting Out Of Berlin — the solution to which was really just the realization that I want to quit everything. Teaching, leading, directing, being in charge. I want to play with people. Not be at the front of the room. I want to rendezvous with other agents, not run an Agency.

And the Mystery of Crowns: Why do I put up with WUSIT situations. WUSIT stands for What unsovereign shit is this?! This is the mystery of how I forget about sovereignty over and over again.

Hilariously, I just did this right now, when I started worrying that maybe people won’t like it if if I change the format of the alphabet posts. Sweetie, it’s your blog. You can do whatever you want here. Oh right. I forgot.

The mystery of this amnesia, and the mystery of learning how to remember again.

What else do I know about X?

  • X marks the spot, on the treasure map. It shows you where to go.
  • X is extreme self care.
  • X is the crux. Or: X is in the crux.
  • X hides in words like exist and exit.
  • X is kisses. And everything can be made better by blowing kisses. Try it.
  • X is ten.
  • X is the unknown.
  • X is two halves of a diamond. Or a V on top of an upside down V.
  • X is ex, what is done.

It starts with X and doesn’t…

In The Thirteen Clocks, one of my very favorite books, there was a prophecy about a man whose name begins with X, and doesn’t. Everyone thinks there isn’t such a man because it cannot be, but there is, and now you will have to read the book.

“Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn’t go, there lived a cold, aggressive duke and his niece, the princess Saralinda…”

Oh, and another clue from that book: “It always takes my father three and thirty days to make decisions.” Yes, that is one way to solve for X.

And…”I wish you every strangest kind of luck.”

That too.

What did I learn during the week of X?

The week of X was a marvelous week, full of existential crises and resolutions, exits and beginnings, things that began with X and didn’t.

Here is what I learned:

The answer to all the mysteries is taking exquisite care of myself, doing things that support me or help me follow my yes (or hear it).

Being well-rested, and attending to the wells. Scents. Flowers. Color. Texture. Bodywork. Bath time. Napping. Breathing. Garments. Beauty. Being outdoors.

Basically, everything that feels good and is pleasurable is not just good for that (which would be enough of a legitimate reason anyway, monsters), it is good for helping me get to my new yes, my new intel.

So not only are these things not frivolous because they just aren’t, they are ESPECIALLY not-frivolous because they get me to my next indicated steps.

In other words, the answer to X is YES.

One of the Agents at Rally X put on an only somewhat-metaphorical power point presentation called GALLIVANTING FOR FUN AND PROFIT, and this is such a good mission that I instantly decided this is what I want to do with my life too.

That is to say, joyful exits (another x word, sort of), and the kind of eccentric play-filled retirement that makes for peaceful adventures.

I also decided I wanted to be a fashion consultant (proxy), and — speaking of grand adventures — that is what led me to solve the Mystery of The Missing Panache.

So this is all very mysterious, and yet, so it must be when you are solving for X.

May it be so! And come play with me.

Usually my alphabet posts are a quiet, playful meditation on words that begin with that special letter. We whisper words or sound effects, and I suppose we can still delight in things that are X-rated, engage in xenophilia (which is kind of what happens when we love each other across a blog), and invoke Xena, warrior princess.

This time though, X has been more of a door for me into the mysteries, and that was what I wanted to share with you today.

So you are welcome to come up with new names for some of the mysteries in your own life, or share something sparked for you, or come up with some more X words, or leave flowers and pebbles. And we can all blow kisses, because blowing kisses is magic.

I am leaving some extra superpowers here for us, including the superpowers of I Don’t Need To Solve This Right Now, and Insight Comes (Safely) While I Sleep, and All The Exits I Need Are Here For Me, and Endless Do-Overs, and Wonderful Healing Under The Surface, and I Have Everything I Need For This, and Extra Comfort and the Best Room of Requirement Ever.

Whispering loving spells that begin with X (and don’t), for all of us, and blowing kisses for everyone who reads. Thank you.