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 348: Do not stay at the Sonora Inn. I do not recommend the Sonora Inn.

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?

Taking time off.

I’ve been hard at work on Operation PLAB. It stands for Pee Like A Boy, and you can pronounce it plab or Pee-Lab, since it is also that.

Plabbing has turned out to be much more challenging than anticipated (for me), for a variety of reasons both physical and psychological. So I’d been feeling frustrated about how long it is taking me to adjust to the training wheels, and how far away the goal seems to be.

Then I took a few days off during moon retreat, and when I went back to PLAB, suddenly I could do it.

I mean, I’m still using a device, and still don’t feel completely at home with it, but the thing I wanted to happen, it is happening, as opposed to not happening or kinda-sorta happening.

I was so sure this would be a “practice makes perfect” thing, but it turned out to be more like “forgetting about it and doing something else for a while makes perfect”. Delight!

Next time I might…

Call on Assertive Me sooner.

When I forget to bring in Assertive Me when I need her, we end up with an accidental power vacuum.

And then before I know it, scared three-year-old Havi is hijacking the front of the V because she thinks Now is Then.

Big love for sweet, tiny me who thinks that she can keep me safe. Her methods are out of date, ineffective and sometimes kind of dangerous, but her intention is to protect me, and I thank her for that.

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. The Disproportionate Day Twos. Sadly not just one guy. The Day Twos are what happens on the second day of Rally, when everything goes Horribly Wrong. On an eight day retreat this usually happens on Day Four. It’s when you hit the rapids, and the ensuing panic and meltdown is an important part of transformation but also very much not fun. My Disproportionate Day Twos included getting stranded at a shooting range and losing my keys to the truck and re-injuring my knee and getting sunburnt, all in that intense premenstrual phase of I Will Start Bawling Uncontrollably Over Nothing So Wait And See What Happens When Things Actually Go Wrong. A breath for this.
  2. Everyone I care about is going through a really rough time right now. A breath of love for their beautiful hearts.
  3. Saturday night involved zero sleep thanks to Angry Abusive Drunk Guy who stationed himself outside my hotel room to pound on the walls and scream obscenities. The hotel staff, the police and the medical team were all very nice, but not particularly helpful in dealing with this or even at acknowledging how scary and unpleasant it was. A breath for safety.
  4. Do not stay at the Sonora Inn, should you ever find yourself in Sonora, California or thereabouts. Repeat: The Sonora Inn is not a good hotel, and I do not recommend it. A breath for doing a better job of following my instincts next time.
  5. Body didn’t get to move much this week. A breath for patience.
  6. Feeling intensely frustrated about a work situation that should have been resolved a month ago, except the other parties have no interest in resolving it. A breath for going all Shiva on this one until they are motivated to resolve it.
  7. Boundary issues, boundary issues, and more boundary issues. And cramps. A breath for undoing.
  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 traveling companion found my glasses! And my keys came back to me! A breath for solved!
  2. So many lovely people in my life who adore me and shake their fists with me at the Disproportionate Day Twos, and remind me of truth. A breath for companionship.
  3. I solved the mystery of Why Is Everything Breaking. Another breath for SOLVED!
  4. The beautiful boy and I went on hikes in the sun, among the wildflowers and my life is peaceful and I am outdoors, and this is what I want. A breath for joy
  5. Moon Retreat included bath time and napping and delicious mexican food. A breath for taking care of myself.
  6. Joy. Presence. Pleasure. A breath for Shmita and this grand adventure.
  7. I rewrote and renamed something that has been a big source of pain in my life for years, and this made everything better. A breath for the magic of words.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. My knee is healing. Smiling my face off with the boy. 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.

I wrote a hard letter. I organized the secret files. And, even better, I wrote every day, out of desire and joy, and wrote the things I wanted to write, just like last week. Thank you fractal flowers, thank you Shmita, thank you Switch/Swoop. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpowers of Trust, Do-Overs, Looking Something Up Online At The Exact Right Time, and the amazing superpower of Impeccable Timing Of Outdoor Bathroom Breaks.

I mean, it was awe-inspiring. I’d finish up and then a couple minutes later, nine guys on dirt bikes would ride by on a path of their own invention right where I had been.

Or I’d be practicing my PLAB aim, and then just when I was done, some lovely old ladies with their dogs would turn up hiking in the previously empty mountainside, and I could act all demure and ladylike, as if I had not just been seeing how high I could plab on a rock.

Thank you, superpower I did not even know I had, you are awesome.

Powers I want.

More of all of the above please, and especially I would like an even better relationship with Taking Time Off From Something Actually Makes Me Way Better At It, Ta Da!

And all the superpowers of magic dance shoes.

The Salve of Taking Time Off From Something = Miracles.

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 salve softens old patterns and sets of patterns, with such deftness and ease, dissolving rules, making new connections….

As soon as I begin to apply this salve, my steps are more steady. I feel grounded and stable.

All the magic of fractal flowers kicks in, so I suddenly understand, deep in each cell, how everything I’ve been doing while not doing the thing I thought I should be doing has actually been a powerful training sequence, delivering what I need.

This salve is the ultimate Wax On Wax Off salve. Or maybe it’s like in The Matrix when you can just download a martial art into your body-brain.

Now you’re not only better able to approach this, you are better equipped to be the person who can do this. You have skills, internal and external, that were not developed before.

Now is not then. Now is now, and in this charged-up now, you can have a better relationship with the thing that needed some time off. You are recharged, you trust in your abilities, and, more importantly, you trust in the right timing of this.

[This includes the superpower of remembering that things sometimes get worse before they get better, and sometimes getting what appears to be the opposite of what you want actually means the treatment is working, so remain hopeful, take care of yourself and rest up!]

You trust in your ability to learn, rest, recover. You remember that there is time. You remember that a rough day doesn’t mean you are broken. Nothing is broken. Everything is working.

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 Help I’m Dating Huckleberry Finn, which, coincidentally, is also the name of my upcoming biopic. Their latest album is Fed Via Nachos, they play baltic-inspired versions of 40s swing music, and it’s actually 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.

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!

Oh no oh please don’t go

I am two weeks into Operation True Yes, aka six month road trip, aka the first segment of Shmita, my sabbatical time of letting the fields lie fallow.

So far it has been an intense training in everything that is not yes, and I have been following and untangling many threads, going deep into the mystery of the mysteries.

And lately I have been thinking about mysteries that involve appreciation, endings, translation, letting go, and my own heart.

Let’s start with the no, since True Yes has teaching me all about no. Actually, let’s start with the Nooooooooooo.

The Nooooooooo.

Over the past weeks the internet was reverberating with the news that Jon Stewart, the sexiest man alive*, is leaving The Daily Show to do whatever beautiful things he is drawn to do next.

* According to a unanimous vote made up of a panel of me.

As soon as this happened, my various social media feeds instantly filled with the loud public cry of “Nooooooooooooooo!” as everyone instinctually reacted, as we do when we are surprised by unexpected news, and catapulted into the grieving process.

Understandable. We will miss Jon, a lot. I know I will. We will miss him because we appreciate him, because there is no one like him.

And yet, there is something about the outcries of NO that is almost the opposite of appreciation.

Not in intent, of course. Only if you think of how it might feel to be met with a pleading NO when you are the person who has just taken a big step towards your own YES.

Of course I get that this shouting of no is instinctual, and that “don’t go” actually translates to “we love you so much”. And, at the same time, if we think about it, there are more, well, more loving ways to express love.

Oh no oh please don’t go.

The general outcry, which, interestingly enough, coincided with my retreat from social media, reminds me so much of the dancing and cavorting wild things who said almost the exact same thing to Max:

But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!” And Max said, “No!”

And then he stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye…

When people express love by shouting “no no please don’t go”, it requires the person on the receiving end to translate.

Silent Translation Services, at your service.

Here is a sample translation, in case you were wondering what this looks like.

Hmmm, it sounds like you aren’t happy for me that I’ve reached an important decision about what I need to do next in my life.

Oh! I see. What you mean is that you like me and appreciate my work.

I get that endings bring up memories of loss and pain, and I can see how the combination of these factors might explain why you’re responding to my good news with anguish instead of warmth and support. You perceive pain and loss in my good news, even though what is good for me is good for all of us.

You are trying to give me love, it’s just coming by way of this filter of your pain. Got it. I now accept and receive this love, and I return your pain to the earth to be healed.

A life of translation.

I am very good at this kind of translating, thanks to years of being around people who speak in layers, and at least a few times a day I am given an opportunity to apply a translation filter.

I am currently experimenting with a highly advanced sovereignty filter with special Extraction Capabilities, and it is actually calibrated to deliver qualities in their pure form, and nothing else.

So someone in my life says whatever they say, and it is (usually) coated in all of their stuff, except all I get is Love and Appreciation. Then I say thank you, and glow Love and Appreciation back to them.

That is the magic of filtering.

Except.

Except we shouldn’t have to filter.

I mean, yes, it’s a useful skill, and one worth honing. We want good translation skills.

Except what interests me even more right now than translation skills is becoming someone who does not contribute to a culture in which translations are necessary.

What if we could figure out how to just offer people Love and Appreciation, instead of trying to hand them Love and Appreciation wrapped up in our stuff? Imagine how beautiful that would be….

This is much of what I have been thinking about and writing about in my journal during Operation True Yes.

I am training myself to breathe qualities. To figure out which parts are My Stuff, and not give those to other people, and instead to turn inward, greet those parts, and make space for them, so that they don’t spill over into my interactions. This is a process, and some days are easier than other days, and I’m working on it.

Once.

Once many years ago, I was talking to my friend Iris Ohm Ah (not her real name, just what I call her), and I was exploring this deep scary wish of mine, to go on Shmita, except I didn’t have a name for it yet. About craving this time off, this state of not-work.

She said, “Listen. If you never did anything else for the rest of your life, if you just sat on a cushion and watched movies and painted your nails, it would be enough. Your contribution has already been enough. Go take care of yourself.”

I had enormous resistance to that, and didn’t like hearing it.

And yet it is not so different a message from the one the ocean gave me last week. A mission of less.

The mission of less.

Part of the mission of less, I am now realizing, is trusting that our gifts get transmitted whether or not we are actively doing and creating in this moment.

This requires letting go of so many rules and expectations about “value” and “meaning” and “visible tangible results”.

For me it also means noticing the deep fear that if I am not being “of service” in a way that I understand and perceive as valuable, then I will turn into someone who doesn’t care about the world.

And yet, that thing my friend said to me, I would say exactly that to Jon Stewart.

I mean, good grief, talk about someone who has already given more than enough to the world.

Though I think I finally understand what my friend was saying. It was not so much that I have done meaningful, valuable things — though she probably also meant that, because she knows my tendency to diminish everything I do.

No. She was saying this for everyone: You. You are enough right now.

The most wonderful thing.

When I came to the realization that I need to let go of the Playground, the intensely magical center that I have run for the past five years, I was bracing myself for these cries of NO.

I was readying myself for the translation work.

And I received the most amazing gift.

I didn’t have to translate from “I love you so much that I’m making this about my loss, because I don’t have the tools right now to turn inward and acknowledge my legitimate pain in order to turn back towards the world and glow love” to what people really meant: “I love you and support you and want what is best for you, trusting that this will also be what is best for the world.”

I didn’t have to translate because, in a wildly beautiful, completely unanticipated miracle, what I got from everyone was unequivocal support.

I know lots of people are mourning the end of the Playground, and believe me, no one is grieving harder or has shed more tears over this goodbye than I have, and I get it.

And still people were able to transcend that and to think about what is good and supportive for me, the person who brought the Playground into the world.

So many people said things like, “I can’t wait to meet the amazing things you will do next”, or “I support this and I am happy for you”.

People celebrated transition with me, and that is the most wonderful thing. They appreciated me without needing me to do more, give more, be more, or anything at all. Just appreciation in its pure form.

Appreciation.

For most of my life, I’ve had all kinds of stuff related to Appreciation.

For example, the perception that I’m not appreciated as much as I would like, or an inability to express my appreciation for others. Or wishing that people expressed appreciation more, or wishing I was better at perceiving and receiving that appreciation.

Or envy over the perception that other people do receive the kind of appreciation I was yearning for, or worry that my desire for appreciation is limitless and can never be filled.

Or really just constantly craving more firgun, a word/concept in Hebrew which means something like “other people being demonstrably happy and vocally supportive about your good news”.

Oh, and of course I also have big stuff about the culture of forced Gratitude and giving thanks, both in the self-helpitty world, and during the week of American Thanksgiving. And my negativity about this is funny if you think about it, because I absolutely love feeling gratitude and appreciation as qualities.

To the point that being in a state of thank you heart is probably my very favorite sensation in the entire world.

Guess what.

Somehow, in a beautiful and surprising miracle, something has shifted with me and my relationship with Appreciation since ceasing work and hitting the road.

Somehow right now, when I’m not working, not doing anything that I would think is “worthy” of appreciation, I feel the most appreciated of any point in my life, and also the most appreciative.

I feel the most joyful about the people in my community, the most grateful for the warmth and love around me, the most capable of appreciation when it comes to both myself and the people in my life.

Astonishingly, this has also spilled over to a deep trust that everything will be okay with this mission of Not Doing, even though I still have no idea how the money part of things is going to work without, well, working.

And, even more amazing — to me — is this: for the first time in my life, I finally perceive that there is firgun all around me, that I am not lacking in appreciation, adoration, sweetness and love.

I always thought that the way I would resolve this distortion, and heal this bottomless desire for firgun, would be through releasing the need for external legitimacy. Just letting it go. Turning inward. Remembering that Appreciation is a quality, and it comes from and through Source.

And yes, that is still what I want, and that is still a good path.

And at the same time — maybe because, haha, of course, this is the month of Receiving! — I also now have a real sense for the first time of all the internal and external appreciation there is for me and for my work. Suddenly I am able to feel this, receive it, bask in it.

Less is more. Yes is more.

So here I am on Operation True Yes, doing nothing.

Sometimes it is intense glorious nothing, and sometimes it is just a quiet, simple absence of doing.

Sometimes it is bawling into the Void. And sometimes it is napping for hours, snuggled up with my favorite pillow, my hand on my lover’s arm while he works.

Sometimes it is letting things go, and then noticing how I immediately tense up, how badly I want to say oh no oh please don’t go I’ll eat you up I love you so. And then remembering that I don’t need to do this. I can just glow love and wave goodbye.

And the more nothing I do, the more my heart wells up with appreciation and gratitude. The more I soften into all this nothing, the more appreciated and loved I feel.

This is not what I was expecting, and it is so beautiful.

I feel so much intense THANK YOU for everyone who has expressed loving support of my mission of Less. And so much glowing delight over finally understanding that it doesn’t matter if people support it or not, because of course I’m going to follow my yes: it is indicated, it is right.

I have a heart full of joyful thank you about everything right now, and especially about nothing.

So here’s to nothing. :)

So here’s to nothing. Come play.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

If you want to say hi, leave hearts and smiles, share anything sparked for you, join with me in feeling tingly about Jon Stewart, any of that is welcome.

I can’t wait to update more from the Mission of Less. Though I might not do it right away, because I might be busy a) doing nothing, and b) learning/re-learning that this is not only okay, it is important.

Love, as always, to everyone who reads and everyone who has been a part of these adventures with me over the past ten years. I will see you here, and Friday, of course, when it is time to Chicken.