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

 

What do I know about the thing I don’t want to let go of?

Goldenrod.

Making my way through a giant box of unsorted bits and pieces from the center I closed this year, I found a piece of paper.

Well, I found what seemed like thousands of pieces of paper, but this one was more attention-getting than the others.

This page was large and goldenrod yellow, and it told me I need to write about the the thing I don’t want to let go of.

That’s literally what it said.

In my handwriting:

Write about the thing you don’t want to let go of.

And then, in smaller letters: on the blog

There’s no date.

Apparently past-me thought the instructions contained sufficient intel.

I don’t remember what particular thing-I-didn’t-want-to-let-go-of I had in mind though.

No idea. Not that it matters. It’s a good question that is always in fashion. Timeless.

Whoosh. Goodbye. Releasing.

During my five year tenure of play at The Playground, I let go of many things. In fact, that magical wonder of a space facilitated all kinds of releasing.

It even came with a secret elevator shaft which we used specifically for that purpose. Whoosh!

Energetically/symbolically, of course, not literally. The door was sealed off, though the stunning old-fashioned bell still worked on occasion.

It said BELL on it. It was perfect. I miss the Playground.

And here we are.

Here we are in the Year of Easing & Releasing, my Shmita year.

Over the past several months, I have let go of more than I ever thought possible. Sometimes beautiful and painful shedding, sometimes release like liberation.

Write about the thing you don’t want to let go of.

It’s a great sentence.

And I don’t know that I don’t know what it is I don’t want to let go.

I mean, I bet I do know. At the very least, I suspect many things, and probably more that I’m intentionally hiding from myself because it feels safer to convince myself that I don’t know.

If this year of Operation True Yes has taught me anything, it’s that I generally know a lot more about most internal mysteries than I’m comfortable admitting.

For whatever reason though, I’m not entirely ready to process this question yet. Which is okay. All hesitation is legitimate. And the way we play here — always — is Safety First.

We are here to heal pain, with acknowledgment, legitimacy, appreciation, love, creativity and play. Not to poke at it or force anything.

Self-inquiry should get to be as non-violent as possible, I feel strongly about this!

I’m going to try two things.

The first is that I’m going to proxy this!

I’m going to pretend that [the thing I don't want to let go of] is carrots, since that’s the first thing that came into my head.

That way, I can ask the question like this:

What do I know about these carrots that I don’t want to let go of?

I can also ask related questions like…

  • What happens when the carrots exit?
  • What are some things that have helped me let go of carrots in the past?
  • What changes (or in what ways do I change) when I become the person who lets go of carrots?

And the other thing?

Company. I’m inviting you to play with me here.

I’m leaving the question from past-me here for all of us to play with for ourselves.

Kind of like what some people call a writing prompt and I call skipping stones.*

* A better image/metaphor for me, and also I find it almost physically uncomfortable that the name for such a powerful creative endeavor would be so bland. But that’s me. Call it what you want!

You can write about a stand-in thing (like carrots, except whatever comes up for you), and you don’t even have to know what you don’t want to let go of, though you might. Assume/pretend you don’t know, and just focus on [carrots] or whatever your version of [carrots] is.

And I whisper a secret here…

The most important question here is not “What is the thing I don’t want to let go of?”, and it’s not even “What do I know about the thing I don’t want to let go of?”.

It’s this:

How can I approach this with kindness and permission, acknowledgment and legitimacy, presence and love?

Approach is everything. We come to these questions with curiosity and affection, and we also are committed to making sure we feel safe.

Play with me? And helpful notes on commenting/process.

There is a reason introspection is hard! It means looking at what is, which also involves separating from what isn’t.

This means that as we turn inward, we often encounter monsters and Ludicrous Fear Popcorn, and all our misperceptions and misinterpretations. No wonder people avoid it like the plague.

And now you also know why I put so much emphasis on playfulness, and safety, and playing at the edges.

As for releasing, well, probably nothing is more fraught than that.

For very reasonable reasons.

We remember that we all have our stuff. We meet ourselves and each other with as much love and understanding as we can muster. We lovingly refrain from giving advice! We are here to play, and whoosh sparklepoints with each other.

And speaking of the beautiful and important practice of Safety First, I wanted to say in case anyone forgot that you can always post a comment: a) silently, b) under a secret name or even a secret email address, c) in code!

So feel welcome to take some breaths or play with a question or share anything sparked for you, or express appreciation/sparklepoints, or deposit a pebble of “I read this and I am here!”

My thank you heart is full of love and appreciation for everyone who reads. You are an important part of this space. ♡

Luscious Minimalism.

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal!

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…

Here we are. 321 consecutive weeks of wishing. Welcome. ♡

Two and a half weeks.

Two and a half weeks is how long my lover is away, back and forth between the mountains and that city where the indescribable Vesica Piscis massage table lives.

I don’t want to spend this time just doing day-to-day stuff while missing his kisses, thinking about the particular way he looks up at me and smiles with his whole self.

I want these two and a half weeks to feel like a container for me, something that can hold whatever most needs to happen now for me, possibly a mission or secret op. Intentional space. Retreat time. Rally time.

What’s the mission?

The idea of an intentional container for diving into a mysterious project was very appealing to me. But what project?

All these desires were clamoring for attention at once:

Writing time for Writer me. Working on dance drills with Dancer Me. Doing things for my home. Caring for the body that is a home for me. Clearing out the spare room. Thinking more about operation Round House!

I felt overwhelmed, and choosing was impossible.

Except then I woke up and I knew two things.

First! The secret name of both my passion and my project: Operation Luscious Minimalism.

And then also what it’s about, which is my APPROACH to all those possible projects.

Luscious Minimalism is what I want to embody, as a writer and a dancer, and in my home and in my space and in my body. This means that investigating everything I know (and don’t know that I know) about Luscious Minimalism supports all of those desires and more.

It’s a fractal flower.

Haha! Of course it is.

For five years, I [verb]-ed an outrageously magical center in Portland called The Playground, where we had retreats and also Rallies, which were basically retreats for projects.

And people would come to Rally with so many monster-based misunderstandings, in the form of “oh no I don’t know what my project is” and “oh no I have too many projects” and “oh no I can’t work on my project because I forgot my notes” and so on.

I would explain:

None of this matters. ALL projects are really one project, because all projects are interconnected. Playing with one supports all the others, because you’re acquiring the clues, skills, awareness and insights that will help you reach whatever needs to happen next.

And — here’s a secret — all projects are one project because anything you work on in life is part of the bigger project, aka the True Secret Project.

Wait, what’s the True Secret Project.

It’s this: How do we come more fully into ourselves?

And it’s everything we do to investigate and play with that:

Welcoming back all of our lost and forgotten aspects, amplifying our qualities and superpowers, untangling our distortions and internal misunderstandings, meeting ourselves with love so that we can be our most embodied, shining, full selves, glowing our wholeness of soul/life/presence/aliveness, delighting in our unique suchness!

That’s also why we practice self-fluency, to be better equipped for this mission.

Yes, it’s the secret mission of missions and my work for the past ten years, and why this site exists. Shhhh don’t tell!

Lalala, back to the other point.

So of course I have taught this for years and still hilariously forgot the most important thing about projects, which is that I don’t ever have to choose which project to work on.

I just choose the qualities and the feeling I want, everything else will come from that. Okay. Let’s do that!

Qualities and feelings of Luscious Minimalism for me right now…

Here’s my compass, starting from North:

Adornment, Simplicity, Pleasure, Plenty.
Grounding, Intention, Tranquility and Thankfulness.

In the center is SANCTUARY.

When I am filled up on the feeling of Luscious Minimalism, I glow. I feel creative, inspired, peaceful, wildly sexy, freedom to fully express whatever needs to be expressed, and yes, oh yes, that glow.

If you aren’t familiar with compass techniques, here’s a place to start. Draw a circle. Choose eight qualities, and place them around the circle. Breathe them in. Face north and feel the quality of north. Do the same for the other directions. See what happens.

What is Luscious Minimalism.

Well, let’s start with what it isn’t. It’s not a paradox. It might be considered an Unlikely Combination, but actually it really isn’t.

There’s been a lot of backlash lately, if you follow these things, about minimalism.

As more attention is directed towards people who are interested in living mindfully and intentionally with Less Crap and More Meaning, and all this talk about paring down, it’s been met with reactiveness and misunderstandings. And legitimately so, because of course as we know, possessions do have meaning and value.

So it can get complicated.

Here’s what I think.

Sure, there are some people at the fringe of minimalism who just want to own as little as humanly possible, to Do Without and Make Do at hardcore puritan-guilt levels of self-punishing abstinence, and to get everyone else do the same.

And yes, there can be a monk-like beauty in having very little, it can be a wonderful treasure-filled experience, and occasionally this can get distorted into a kind of obsessiveness that doesn’t bring joy. And it makes sense that other people react by wanting to protect the sanctity of objects.

Extremist minimal philosophy is the fringe though.

Those people are to minimalism what people struggling with anorexia are to the slow food movement. Or what someone who genuinely hates men would be to feminism.

Not representative, not even connected to the actual thing, not choosing from love.

When we’re in pain, we do the best we can in the moment. And sometimes that’s trying to work our shit out through attempting to exert control; in how we relate to our bodies, our environment, our relationships.

And I have a heart full of love for that, because who among us hasn’t gotten lost and disconnected from ourselves? Who among us hasn’t forgotten truth and grasped for anything that might feel like support? We can’t let a pain-fueled path be representative of the beautiful truth of minimalism though.

Back to truth.

Slow food isn’t about denying. It’s about PRESENCE. Presence and pleasure and sustainability. It’s about enjoying each beautiful bite, and filling up on gratitude for the process, the ingredients, the land, the preparing, every moment that came together into this moment.

Feminism isn’t about hating. It’s about JUSTICE and equality and sustainability. Being deeply aware of the forces that create divisiveness and oppression, and how we internalize those belief systems. It’s about conscious presence, working towards change, uncovering more sustainable ways of relating to each other, investigating how hierarchy and power and magic beans (privilege beans!) work so that we can be aware of how we participate in oppressive structures, and make new choices to help dismantle them.

And so that we can be better humans, ideally glowing more empathy and love for everyone who is harmed and disadvantaged by the current systems and structures, which paradoxically also includes everyone who benefits from them as well.

Same goes for minimalism.

Minimalism isn’t about abstinence and getting rid of everything and being wholly unattached to objects, in a cold way.

It’s about full-body delighting in the spaces and objects and experiences that are beautiful and joyful and meaningful for you, so much so that you wish to remove everything from you life that is less-than-that, in order to fully be present with what you love.

It’s not caring less, it’s caring more. It’s knowing we need much less than we thought, which lets us really connect with those things that elicit appreciation, nourish the senses and transmit real pleasure.

It’s about PRESENCE, joy, simplicity, clarity, peacefulness, hope. It’s about treasuring beauty, spaciousness and everything you own. And of course, choosing to live sustainably.

Anything else is a distortion.

Did you notice that everything good is centered in sustainability? It is.

Do I have Stuff about Minimalism too?

Absolutely. Ohmygod. I look at Instagram feeds of people who care about the things I care about: sustainability, ethically-produced clothing, conscious fashion. Clothing whose production and manufacture does not exploit, or worse.

In mind and heart, I am on board with this mission!

Saying no to fast fashion and the way it oppresses people and harms the earth, and turns us into creatures addicted to the temporary sugary high of consuming but can’t actually enjoy our belongings. Being intentional about our choices, buying LESS but better. Yes!

And yet what I see is an endless parade of thin, mostly white women, wearing all black or all white, with interesting “statement piece” jewelry, and always the ubiquitous and much-loathed-by-me standard issue identical straw hat.

Apologies if you’re a straw hat person! YOUR straw hat is wonderful. I am definitely not talking about yours.

I have Reactiveness!

In part, because that’s not my aesthetic. What I want is a lushness: a richness of color, fabric, and texture. I want to wear clothing that supports my Havi-ness.

I want to be a Wild Sensualist, a lover of life!

And also because I want to see more of a variety of everything: body types, cultural diversity, glorious self-expression, interesting hats!

So yes, I have no end of monsters and Ludicrous Fear Popcorn about Oh God You Will Be Boring, and What If The Only Way To Live A True Yes/True Less Life Is To Be Monochromatic, and What If Sustainable Fashion Is Turning People Into Zombie Clones And This Is The New Stepford Wife.

None of that is truth though. Truth is that I am always allowed to find my own way, discover my own flavors, play and explore, invent and re-invent.

What do I know about this?

I don’t have to go into comparison and stew-stirring. Instead I can practice Trust More, and trust that my flavor of less — LUSCIOUS MINIMALISM — is just right for me.

What else about this wish?

[I just removed two thousand words because this post is already extremely long, even for me, so we will have to return to this topic which apparently fascinates me to no end, because I have a lot to say.]

Anything else?

This is not about negating, denying, forcing, rejecting, or discarding for the sake of discarding.

This is about the buoyancy and joy that comes from intentional choosing: what is beautiful to me, what is important to me, what gives me pleasure and delight, how do I want to live, what supports me in accessing the qualities of my compass?

It is about making space to see what I love about what I love, so I can bring more of that into how I am.

Invitation.

You are invited to share many !!!!!! about my wishes and realizations here, to share anything sparked for you while reading, to say “oh wow, what beautiful wishes” to me and to each other, to wish your own wishes.

I will also take all forms of EXCITEMENT and GLADNESS for this particular wish, and also clues if you have any, or good wishes if you don’t!

Now.

I am looking out through my bedroom window at the beautiful green tree whose leaves take up the entirety of my view, appreciating how very lush and green and alive it is, the sun streaming through it.

I pause to kiss the palm of my hand and press the kiss into my cheek — Smooooooch! Smush! A sweetly sloppy, enthusiastic toddler kiss, the way we sometimes do at Rally. I want to appreciate me as much as I appreciate this tree.

That’s the kind of thing that is easy to forget about when my space is so packed full of distractions, or reduced to such spareness that I don’t remember pleasure.

The superpower of Fearless Intentional Choosing.

September - Stand in My Strength MoreAugust was TRUST MORE, with the superpower of Wildly Confident, Wonderfully Tranquil.

Now I am ready to Stand In My Strength more, and September comes in with the marvelous superpower of Fearless Intentional Choosing.

Which, interestingly enough, is actually the theme of this week’s wish about getting to the truth of Luscious Minimalism.

I am also remembering that June (Release More) came with the superpower of I am stronger than I think, and now I am STANDING in that strength! Double strength. Thanks, June Me, for all the work you did to get me here.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week aka Stand in my strength more…

I’m doing it. This week was all about setting clean boundaries, speaking truth, finding my allies, navigating complicated situations with grace. And I worked on being beautifully grounded in my dancing, which is the same mission.

Thank you, process of writing about wishes. Thank you, me who asked.

Keep me company! Or just say hi!

You can deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads, superpowers, qualities, seeds, secret agent code, whatever you’d like, there’s no right way! Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is sharing anything sparked for you.

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

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

xox