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

 

boundaries and bells

very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (also known as a Vision of Possibility & Anticipation) each week to practice wanting, listening, getting clear on my desires

the point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), it’s learning about my relationship with wanting, 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…

this is the 359th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

here, now

some weeks I almost cannot bear to sit down and
hear my wishes
never mind write them down
because I feel so much and such passionate intensity
that I can’t even approach

afraid to pull on one thread
and see just how much there is to my desire
so maybe this is also a wish about that
in addition to being about
boundaries and bells

Jen

Jen is the only person who can tell me
to relax

or really,
Jen is the only person who can say it with the result that
I will in fact relax
and not want to punch her in the face

she says it about thirty seven times per song
when we dance together in our lessons
and for the longest time I couldn’t tell the difference
between relaxed-me and not-relaxed-me
I couldn’t tell how she knew
but now I feel when she says it

I feel

I feel how I have tensed up without meaning to and am clinging
and I feel how it feels to not be doing that
and I feel how it feels to
trust that one day I will feel all this before
she needs to point it out to me

what happens when I relax

shoulders drop
I feel more grounded
Jen says that she sees me soften but in that softening I have
more power and more strength
I am suddenly aware of the ways in which I was not relaxed
oh and my dancing gets better and also I’m smiling

the superpower of shoulders down

last week I rented studio space to practice for two hours
this might sound like lot of physical exertion
but 90% of dance is taking one step or maybe two
then squinting into a mirror or staring into space
trying to figure out what felt off

my two hours alone with the mirror didn’t help with
any of the things I thought I was there to work on
but it gave me one very key piece of information:
when I let myself drop my shoulders
(an act of releasing effort, not of more effort)
anything I do looks better
even if I’m still doing it “wrong”
it still seems more authoritative,
confident, graceful, powerful, intentional

I can’t currently afford to rent studio time as often as I’d like
and my basement still isn’t ready for use
but I can whisper to myself a thousand times a day
hey my love how about shoulders down
and that is my practice for dance/life

rigging

one of the ways in which the rigged game is so very rigged
is that our culture has no built-in mechanisms for
pausing-and-reflecting

we are constantly encountering
unexpected or uncomfortable moments,
because life is full of these,
and we don’t have space to receive them, process them, figure out how we feel,
to let the moment land and let ourselves land in the moment

there is no agreed-upon word or hand-gesture to use
with friends and strangers alike
something that might mean
“I need to take a minute here to absorb what just happened”
or maybe “I am gathering myself and my thoughts”

possibly implied: in order to respond to the bizarre thing this person just said or did

windows

on the plane to Detroit someone took my window seat
his was supposed to be the window seat on the opposite side
I shrugged and sat in the seat that should have been his
and then ended up on the receiving end of
unwanted attention and touching from the creep behind me
who of course denied it, in the tradition of creeps everywhere

I Am Okay and Nothing Is Wrong and I was brave
and tough and established boundaries and moved seats but also I wonder…

possibilities

if some shared signal or ritual existed, if
taking a moment was universally acknowledged as healthy and okay
or if I made this my choice anyway
and stopped to reflect instead of just acquiescing
because social conditioning says don’t make a fuss
what could have happened instead

asking without blame, in the spirit of do-overs forever!

(1) I might have remembered something
when past-me chose my seat several months ago,
she specifically requested advice from Wisest Me, who
unhesitatingly said to take the window on the right side of the plane,
after which I might have taken a breath and
asked the guy to exit my seat,
letting go of the worry of
What If This Complete Stranger Thinks I’m Being Petty And Fussy And Entitled….

(2) I might have noticed the tightness
in my chest and the perceived need to hurry,
the flight attendant urging everyone to take their seats,
and perhaps also noticing the no
my body was giving me about the new seat,
respecting it without needing to know why it was a no….

all roads lead to…

my guess is that in all imagined situations
I would have had to stand up for myself to some degree
whether over seat-assignment
(when cultural conditioning says why can’t you just be accommodating)
or with the creep behind me
(when cultural conditioning says don’t make trouble)
or who knows, but I would have had to take a stand over something
all roads lead to boundary-setting
or to whatever my current life theme might be
and this is mine

there is no pass that lets me
skip this level of the video game
I am here to learn how to
take up space in this world
stand up for myself
layer on experiences of safety
claim space for myself
claim time for myself to get quiet and listen
(so that I can hear what I already know)
to trust my instincts harder than I ever have before
and not put up with bullshit

full-body no

it is the full-body no that wakes me in dark pre-morning hours
the full-body no that tells me
I need to back out of the thing I said yes to
because I don’t have the capacity
or there’s weird energy from someone
or maybe it just wasn’t my yes to begin with

it is the no that I would know
in the moment
if I took a moment
if I remembered that it is okay for me to take a moment
to reconnect with myself and my desires
drop shoulders (again)
breathe
be here now

again

my favorite part of a guided yoga meditation on my phone
is when the instructor suggests that I relax my jaw

I do and then she says “good, now relax your jaw again” and I laugh
every single time
even though I know it’s coming
because I never really relax the first time
it was just the beginning of letting go
and there is always more
more to soften, more to release, more ease
if I take a moment to get there

I want to drop my shoulders and then drop my shoulders again
I want to take a moment to breathe and then take a moment again
I want to say my no, and then say my no again
(whether to the same thing or to something else)

let this be my normal

I want this sweetness to become normal, habitual
granted to myself with generosity
of course there’s time to relax my jaw and relax my jaw again
of course there’s time to find out if the thing I thought was my yes is still my yes

thinking about small (in this sense)

I told Jen that instead of working on dance I have been
just relaxing my shoulders as I go through life
and she said,
“all the time you spend focusing on fine points —
whether you are in the studio or not, in front of a mirror or not,
thinking of it as dancing or not,
this makes all the difference in the big picture
and anyway slow and steady will serve your other projects as well
if you can trust the process
so relax”

she thinks she’s my dance teacher but really she’s my
relax about life teacher

thinking about small (in another sense)

oh the accumulated micro-aggressions, or unbridled jackassery
I shrug away each one because it’s just a drop
until the cup is too full
and I am suddenly hyperventilating in the bathroom and don’t know why

this is so important!
these not-okay moments that we are supposed to see as small are not small
these body-no moments are not small
these ignoring-my-no moments are not small
we are told that we should just let them roll off
but they have a residue
small adds up
small is not small at all

a conversation with my wishes

I had so much trouble writing about these wishes
so I asked them to tell me what they wanted me to know
and they said Trust Life More

then they told me that I am still really sad about
my mom and I need to let that be okay
my wishes said:
it is okay to be in big grief
you are just in a culture where there is no room for this
there is no model for what it even looks like to make/take room for this
and this is also related to boundaries because
when there is this big mismatch between culture and actual needs,
it is revolutionary for you to tend to your needs first
so tend to your needs first

they said:
cry, find a supportive environment,
eat food that feels good to you,
and please trust that when-and-how you write these wishes is correct

and then I passed a piece of sidewalk that said
“she knew she would get there on time”

first detroit epiphany

the trick to not being overwhelmed is Presence
the trick to Presence is pausing and taking a breath
the trick to remembering I’m allowed to do that is Sovereignty
the trick to Sovereignty is boundaries
the trick to boundaries is being willing to say Hey I Feel Uncomfortable
the trick to being willing to say that
(other than knowing the cost of not saying it)
is practice practice practice practice

second detroit epiphany

turn up not on
in other words
when my boundaries and force field and panther grace are
already in play, I just need to turn up the volume
but if I forget they exist until I need them
then it’s begin again from zero
when I’m already exhausted, depleted, overwhelmed, scared, disconnected
time to begin from light
which means

relax my jaw, relax my jaw again
pause and breathe, pause and breathe again
drop shoulders
stand in my power
glow

what do I know about my wish

being a bell (resonant, clear, cutting through space) creates a beautiful boundary
and it is also beautiful boundaries that preserve my bell-ness

in order to ring at maximum bell state
there are conditions that need to be in place
and that is what this wish is about, I think,
being someone who prioritizes those conditions so greatly
that I will not compromise them
being at my most resonant is both the kindest thing I can do for myself
and a great service to the world
I would like to remember this
even if it requires repeating it to myself several thousand times a day
until eventually I just live it

may it be so!

now

I texted Sarah about how I want her to
teach me cha cha as if I didn’t know cha cha and
as if she didn’t want me to know that she was teaching me cha cha
like, how would she go about tricking me into acquiring
the presence and body awareness required
to excel at cha cha?
but really when I said cha cha I meant being a panther
and then an hour later I was at the grocery store
staring intently at a jar of olive spread with a goddess on it
when someone whispered in my ear
“the answer is yes”
and it was her
(Sarah, not the goddess from the jar)
and then she hugged me and ran away
and this really happened
which is to say
this is a small sweet funny world that we live in
and why not believe in big joy and magic

the superpower of sexy fearless powerful presence

months-May-VPA-2016
this month is WILD with its wild door, and sexy fearless powerful presence
thank you, past-me, for being such a good namer and calling this into being

I have been wilding hard, and this is right

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called who shines the light of this fierce independence

and hahahaha it was about boundaries and so many other things
I also got to be the Divorced Almost Forty Year Year Old
modeling joyful life at the wedding
which is important
I am shining the light of this fierce independence anywhere I can
in me and through me and into all the dimly lit spaces
and the unknown

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading, including any stories you wish to let go of, any adventures you wish to welcome

deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, intel, possibly in code

safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving

wishes are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing

here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: oh, wow what beautiful wishes

chicken on the river and through the skies

Friday chicken

Reflecting on both the hard and the good in the week that was…

Hello, week: we are here.

{a breath for being here when we get here}

Thank you, week!

This is the 408th week in a row we are chickening here together!

Or “checking in”, if you prefer to enunciate.

What’s been working?

Setting up my day in terms of Truth and Video Game. This is what I usually call playing in the soft versus working in the hard.

For example, my video game list might include things like “write check to M, get provisions from grocery store, urgent laundry situation, ask person X about thing Y…”

And my truth list is more like “today I want to shimmer and spark, I am practicing wearing the cloak of someone who deeply trusts life, there is plenty of time for what is most important…”

I might try…

I want to remember to keep asking my project what it wants me to know for now, so that I don’t get overwhelmed by all the possible things I could be working on.

Naming the days.

I name each day the night before and I love how names change things and also how they become incantations.

This week was the week of Fierce Independence, and here were the days:

Awake = freedom. Ready to trust life. What is simple. Where ease meets joy. Plenty of time. I hold the light (because I am the light). Clean and clear.

Upcoming biopic if it were based on this week…

Setting boundaries is my cardio. The Havi Brooks story.

If you feel drawn to comment 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 always welcome

8 breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. My body had so much trouble on a hike. The visiting faraway beautiful cowboy, who always likes to get to the top of a high thing as fast as possible, suggested we climb Hamilton mountain, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. I like pretty views and outdoors and waterfalls and long walks, and I appreciated that he chose something he thought I could do. But then my body just could not do it, and I was tired and kept getting dizzy, and had to sit on the ground and rest literally every five minutes if not more often than that. And oh the agonizing self-judgement and shame that accompanied this even though my body is my body and my only job in life is to meet it where it is with love, and this has been my primary focus for the past eleven years, but guess what, there is a lot of rigging in the rigged game, and so I felt shame about my body for being my body. A breath of love for me in that moment.
  2. It is incredible how quickly the monster-brigade of self-criticism and comparison can take over the brain in a moment like that. I felt bitterly envious of everyone who blew past us on the trail while I rested and rested and rested some more. Envious of their strong, capable twenty year old legs and their lack of cellulite and their good moods and their ability to keep going. I needed REASONS for why my body couldn’t do what I thought it “should” be able to do, instead of being amazed by what it can do, and does, for me, in every moment of the day. (“Maybe it’s the 90 degree heat, maybe the bottle of wine we drank the night before since I hardly ever drink, maybe-probably iron deficiency again, maybe Some Horrible Reason Of Doom And I’m Probably About To Keel Over And Die Right Now, etc.”) I forgot truth. Truth says I don’t ever need a reason to go at the pace that I need to go, and this body that houses me is a miracle, all the time. Sometimes it’s like my whole system just disconnects from truth. So let’s have a breath of compassion and a breath of truth, I am okay whether I remember this or not, and not remembering it sometimes is also okay because it’s very understandable and part of the process of remembering.
  3. Three and a half days with the beautiful cowboy (aka Operation Field Work) went by way too fast. A breath for wanting more when I can’t have more.
  4. A spell was broken and I didn’t want it to break. A breath for this.
  5. Creep on plane thought he could get away with inappropriate touching, and then of course denied it, and I insisted on moving seats. Also had to repeatedly explain this week about how invisible limitations work, and identify to people what is not possible for me to do even though from the outside it looks as though I could and just don’t want to. A breath for powerful boundaries and radiant presence.
  6. It is extra hard right now to take good care of myself and also get anything done and so many important time-sensitive (work and personal) keep getting lost in the shuffle. I mean, the game is rigged anyway, so doing all this is basically impossible to begin with, but when you are between homes and on the move and you have nowhere to really land and all your stuff is always somewhere else, this is extra-extra-extra challenging. A breath of steadiness.
  7. Inhale, exhale. May all misunderstandings and distortions, internal and external, dissolve in love if not in laughter. May peacefulness prevail. Trust-more love-more release-more receive-more. Goodbye (and thank you), mysteries and hard moments of this week.

8 breaths for the good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. This week was filled with many beautiful joyful things, and I will start with this: I made it to the top of the mountain, despite blisters and being about to keel over the whole way! Monsters say this is really nothing to be impressed about but I am going to be impressed with myself anyway. It was indeed spectacularly beautiful. The way back down was blessed with ease: no people in sight, and a lovely cool breeze on the other side of the mountain. Then outrageously delicious tacos at Walking Man, and a baptismal dunking in a swimming hole in the bracingly cold Washougal river before the sun went down, then snuggling into our treehouse lair with great joy, and peaceful happy hearts. A breath.
  2. Big wild sweetness, intensity and closeness. A breath for joy and magic.
  3. So proud and grateful about The Toast acknowledging the rigged game bullshit that is creating something amazing but having to carry it yourself. Extraordinary community is quite possibly the most exciting thing in the world, and constant [work + raising of funds] is not sustainable, and there doesn’t seem to be a good way to have solve this but how can we solve it when no one brings up how broken this is? Very few people talk about this openly and honestly, and I brim over with appreciation for The Toast: for what was, and how beautiful it was, and for ending it in right timing with this big honesty. A breath of gratitude and saying thank you because it’s the right thing to say.
  4. A spell was broken and now I am free. I thought the answer to what was hurting would be “trust more” but it was actually more like “trust more and care less”, which maybe isn’t all that helpful except then I magically was able live that. A breath for new beginnings.
  5. After not dancing or practicing for most of the month, I rented an actual dance studio for two hours like an actual dancer and DANCED. It was amazing. Then two private lessons with my teacher who was in town, and she saw big improvement and we had a breakthrough, so maybe time off has been good for me. Waltz brunch was glorious. Live band. Dance floor was so crowded that dancing became an adventure in deep trust and intimacy, because you just had to believe your partner was going to whisk you through the crowd, like whirling between raindrops without getting wet. Big magic. A breath for movement.
  6. I said what I needed (which is brave!) and got what I wanted (which is a cool bonus!) and felt peaceful and relieved about standing up for myself. Rewriting old patterns. A breath of appreciation.
  7. Going through this big intense time in my life and most of the time not falling apart about this, and I don’t even know how to explain what a big deal this is. A breath of appreciation and gratitude for being able to access my adventurous spirit when I need it most
  8. Thankfulness. Treasure in the form of a wild affair, a perfect midnight meal at the Fleetwood, people in my life who understand, the best smiles, trusting life. So much treasure. Everything is okay and so much is good. Nothing is wrong, even when I want to believe it is. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. Thank you for this grand adventure. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

Superpowers I had this week…

Last week I asked for power of trusting life, immediately forgot about that, and then it was the theme of my week. It’s a good one.

Powers I want.

The superpower of being glowingly unapologetic about the fullness and richness of who I am.

The Salve of Appreciation.

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 smells delicious and reminds me to breathe. When I wear it, I notice what is beautiful to me and smile at it, and I make small adjustments in my environment (external and also internal) so that there is even more that invites me to smile.

Side effects include feeling wonderfully lucky about the smallest things, loving the people you love, noticing details.

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.

just-one-guy

This week’s band comes from my brother, who is also the most considerate person I know and makes all of his plans in service of…

Maximum Doom Avoidance

Obviously they’re a metal band and their latest album is Fuck You I Am Not A Touch Screen, and this band is just one guy.

Photo taken just for us in Lubbock, TX by Jesse — thank you!

Announcement time….

More to come soon, but I left the monster manual in the place that used to be the the shop. So if you missed the closing of the shop, there is still something beautiful for you!

How was your week?

Come play in the comments. Share something from your week, take a breath, or just say hi! No rules, my format doesn’t have to be yours, 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 lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

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

Shabbat shalom.

It’s fine if it’s not Friday anymore. There’s complete chicken amnesty — jump in whenever you like. Blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers too!