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)

 

Author Archives: Havi Brooks

on fire

Back in eighth grade, a kid in my class set the school on fire
because that was how you expressed helpless rage in the 80s,
with fire.

It seems old fashioned now, another time,
before school shootings even existed in our collective consciousness,
before they became part of How Things Are.

No one was hurt,
the building, made as it was of cinder blocks and steel, was unharmed,
school was closed for a couple days
and I haven’t thought about it since
until now.

Invitations

GET OVER HERE, WE HAVE A SCOOP!
That’s what Marlene said when I picked up the phone,
she was the teacher in charge of the school newspaper and
also, I realize now, in charge of keeping me safe,
my personal guardian angel, self-appointed.

She always knew, seemingly by magic, when gym class would involve dodge ball
or some other game invented by bullies for bullying
and she would rescue me.

The gym teacher would scowl and tell me to go,
and I would exhale in relief,
realizing Marlene had conjured another “important” mystery that
urgently needed investigating,
and I see in retrospect many things that I could not see before,
and which did not even have names.

for example, the gym teacher believed turning a blind eye to cruelty would make weaker kids stronger (he was wrong, and also a bully), and I thought my best friend E and I had been named editors of the newspaper because of editing skill, but Marlene was an angel, and the newspaper was a way to offer us sanctuary, and I am thankful, and oh the invisible magic beans of privilege, those that worked so hard in our favor and those we could have used more of…

Without the why

Anyway, Marlene called me
and this is how E and I ended up wandering the smoky halls
of an empty school, accompanied by fire fighters, men, in yellow,
surveying the damage.

We wrote a front-page full-page article with the headline “FIRE!”,
wherein we compiled the uninteresting and inconsequential details of
where the fire originated and how much damage was done,
with quotes from the fire fighters.

We covered the who/where/what/how,
though not the why,
and there is another mystery
why we did not go near the why,
maybe because it seemed too obvious?

Reasons

My mother said that boy must have had “problems”,
I think all the grownups were very bewildered
by the question of WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING
but we didn’t need to ask why,
who didn’t want to set that place on fire,
and he had more reason than any of us.

I know why I never set the school on fire
other than in the realm of fantasy
over and over again
blowing it up on repeat

For example

absolutely no idea how to go about doing it
consequences
really just not brave enough
numb and defeated, etc.

But still

But still, setting that school on fire seemed to me
a very logical response
to being in that school.

Invisible things

The kid who set the school on fire didn’t have a Marlene
to rescue him over and over again with well-timed notes,
deus ex machina.

And I never got made fun of for having clothes that came from Kmart,
or the wrong shoes for gym,
the prejudice and classism that made him a target
did not touch me.

I remember feeling terrified all the time,
and I remember wanting to disappear
so the scary things would stop happening
but his approach actually makes more sense than my wish:
make the place where the scary things happen disappear.

The wrong question

Adults experienced other things
parental emotions which made no sense to me at the time —
fear, anger, worry, and, most of all, confusion
why would this happen
how could this happen
why would someone do this.

But we felt thrill and admiration
he did it he did it he did it he did it
he set it all on fire.

There was no way to explain to them
that this was the wrong question, and
adults being adults couldn’t understand.

if they could, they *never* would have let you go there
they wouldn’t have dreamed of asking how was your day,
and they also would have been able to interpret the requisite shrug-response:
well unfortunately no one burned it down today
so gotta go back tomorrow, and ugh, fuck everything…

Fire

We built an enormous fire in the Utah desert this weekend
and sat around it telling stories
or, really, listening to stories,
drinking whiskey under the stars,
four of us,
from different places and times.

This is what we are meant to do,
said the cowboy, who was very drunk
and suddenly enthusiastic about everything
instead of not caring about anything.

He is right, there is something wonderfully human
about fire and stories,
flames and embers, under the stars.

Fiery

I have been thinking a lot about Operation Turning Fiery
aka the various missions related to being forty,
and how my life wishes have basically distilled themselves:

Breathe, be outside as much as possible,
be a Total Fucking Badass (TFB)*
and take exquisite care of myself
with love.

* when I can, to the extent that I can, in whatever ways I can, given limitations etc

I find myself wanting to burn things,
to go back and rescue past versions of me,
to be my own angel Marlene of miracles,
to set more things on fire.

A path of fire

The man at the supermarket steps too close to me,
and I move away, instinctively, automatically,
brandishing a red pepper and not sure how to use it,
but in my mind I stand my ground and say BACK OFF, CREEP
RESPECT THE PERIMETER
THIS IS MY SPACE
and then I set the whole produce aisle on fire with my mind
just so he knows who it is that he is not to fuck with
(me).

A man in a white Ford pickup with no license plate on the front
is watching me as I walk past warily
with a tote bag of groceries in each hand,
everything about him and how he
looks at me creeps me out
and I set his truck on fire too.

In my mind I breathe fire,
I call it into being,
leaving fiery paths in my wake,
sending meteors through space and time
and memory.

Middle-aged white men, all day, every day,
they look at me and I set their world on fire.

Compass

Here is my compass of Turning Fiery
aka being a total badass who is forty
and could definitely set things on fire with her mind
but doesn’t even need to.

North I AM FIERCE
Northeast I AM FEARLESS
East I AM POWERFUL
Southeast I AM STRIKING
South I AM OF THE EARTH
Southwest I GLOW
West I AM WILD
Northwest I DELIGHT IN LIFE

And all possible combinations and forms, may these now be my superpowers forever

Fierce and fearless, powerful and striking,
grounded and glowing, wild delight in life

Delighting in life, wildly glowing,
from the earth I strike, powerful and fearless.

I am fierce in my power, fearless in my striking,
wild and of the earth, glowing aliveness and delight

Fiercely of the earth, fearlessly glowing,
Powerful and wild, striking and delighted

How do I want to use fire?

Powerfully, and in my fiery fierce fearlessness,
and also for joy and pleasure, under the stars,
letting it reflect everything that needs reflecting,
letting it warm me, free me, illuminate desire.

As a door: look, I walked through [experience x] and
I AM STILL HERE.

With presence and intention,
let this burn away all that is done,
sage smoke
in front of me above me
behind me below me and in all directions
writing words in the air with incense
and powerful knowing
that whatever wants saying
needs room to be said.

How do I want to use fire?

Fire in my editing
(battlecry: burn it all down!)
goodbye, six hundred more words,
and fire in my writing
whatever wants to be told or named,
I’m listening,
hello, resurfacing stories,
I will sit by your fire
and learn

Fire in my dance
and on the pole
and through the ground
and in my burning desire to learn more
(and more) (and more) (and more)
and fire in a shared moment of play.

Fire in firing myself
from jobs that are not my job
(possibly most jobs)
and a path of fire to create openings
where none were before.

Is there anything else in this wish-vision?

Let’s burn it all down and find out,
burning to reveal essence,
undoing structures and assumptions,
willing to find out what wants to come next.

Invitation: come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

You can also check in, or deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, possibly in code.

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

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.

Nothing we say is ever late because whenever we write words is the right time for those words.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes!

What do I know about Pleasure?

Door of Pleasure

Discernment

The night March came in, I found myself suddenly awake, a voice in my ear:

{DISCERNMENT}

There was no doubt that this was an instruction
in addition to all the other things it could be;
a suggestion, an approach, a clue, a puzzle piece, a quality of spirit,
a reminder about presence and grace, wonder and awe, holy holiness.

March had arrived, the month of Pleasure,
and my (ha!) marching orders were here too
time to apply Discernment
in my search for Pleasure,
in my relationship with Pleasure.

The (ongoing) practice of being okay with not knowing.

Sometimes the name which comes in — for a month, for anything,
feels too distant, inaccessible, unobtainable, unknowable,
and familiar thought-patterns kick in:
frustration, hopelessness, the monster chorus of
what’s the point and why even bother trying.

Last year, February was the month of Sanctuary,
spent preparing to exit my home of the past eight years,
with no idea as to where I might be headed,
and no funds to get there, wherever it might be,
all of which felt like EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF SANCTUARY.

Last March was the month of Lusciousness and I felt pretty sure no one
could ever have had less of a connection to Lusciousness than I did
in that lonely month of isolation and dread.

It took me until July to connect with Lusciousness,
March was just the opening of the door…
but who knows what would have happened had we not opened it,
and so I glow endless love and appreciation for me of last March
she was so brave and didn’t even know it

What does this remind me of?

Ah, that disorienting feeling of walking a labyrinth
getting farther and farther away from center as you move towards it.

Naming the month asks for big trust.

More about this

(1) The main thing I learned in the month of Sanctuary last year:
Sanctuary doesn’t necessarily always exist in a physical space at all times.

It is more about the approach of how I scoop up tiny-me and scared-me,
meeting myself and all of my selves with great tenderness,
devoting myself to feeling at home in myself
and in my world,
how I tend to my internal and external space
each choice I make to protect myself, treasure myself,
to welcome all aspects of me, make space for what I need.

(2) Similarly, the month of Lusciousness taught me this:
I need to prioritize Lusciousness,
it isn’t just going to come in on its own because I asked,
and I need to believe that I am enough,
my existence is enough of a reason to celebrate my body,
receive pleasure, luxuriate in softness,
savor everything worth savoring.

Mystery

Right now I’m staying in an RV park in the desert,
covered in red dust, showering twice a week at most,
my daily life might not look particularly luscious from the outside,
but I feel Lusciousness all around me, I take sensual delight in everything,
spices, taste, scent, anticipation, the rush of wind on the back of the motorcycle,
the breath-taking sunsets, walking under the stars.

Often the theme of the month is more of an indication
of what I need to seek, or learn about, or come to terms with.

The glowingly beautiful quality of the month doesn’t necessarily
just show up when I ask for it, though then again sometimes it does.

The name invites me to delve into the mystery,
that is part of the magic of naming things.

Right on time

Delayed reaction is normal — I spent January devoted to Prowess,
studying it, inviting it into my life,
but I didn’t know how to feel Prowess, to embody it,
until suddenly last week when it just arrived.

I didn’t get it until I did.
Until it landed and it was mine.
Right on time.

I say right on time because all timing is right timing,
not because January was the wrong time
January was the right time to let Prowess be the north in my compass,
and last week was the right time to wear it like a garment that was made for me, breathe it in and breathe it out, in my element.

What else do I know about this?

All that to say that I think I don’t know about Pleasure
but clearly I know more than I think I know,
and future me who has already passed through this door
will know so much more about it than I could possibly imagine,
she is asking me to march into pleasure with her,
to meet her on the other side.

Discernment goes well with Pleasure

This is about yes to my yes,
my brave and hopeful yes,
and paying attention to each no that redirects me
back to yes.

This is how I distinguish between
the perceived pleasure of what Jen Louden calls shadow comforts
and the real echoing-and-reverberating full-self Pleasure
of those sensations and experiences which truly excite me and bring me joy.

What do I know about Pleasure

Sometimes I forget that I am allowed to be
the Wild Sensualist, to crave sensation and value delight,
to listen intently to my desires, to be my own light source.

Sometimes the door to Pleasure is Permission,
including permission to want it.

What do I not yet know about Pleasure

That I get to embody this every day,
not just in tiny moments, but in everything I do,
pleasure is mine for the taking,
it just requires a shift in what I define as pleasurable
and how much I pay attention to body and breath.

What else do I know about Pleasure

Setting and view enhance pleasure
sometimes this requires a dose of change your place change your luck
I take pleasure in
the way the scruffy mountain man smiles at me and rests his hand on my knee
pleasure in walking with Prowess
under the stars
dance, dance, dance, more dance, movement,
pleasure flying through Zion on the motorcycle
pleasure in the music
pleasure in the quiet
pleasure in touch, taste, the fullness of sensation
pleasure in sleep and in waking
pleasure in adventure and not knowing what is next
(last year this terrified me, now it tastes like freedom)

What else do I not yet know about Pleasure

I can’t wait to find out…

Come in, come in, superpowers of Turning Fiery

I am turning fiery (last week I was flirty-nine, tomorrow I am fiery),
and Pleasure and Fiery go together,
also Prowess and Reflection.

The superpowers of Turning Fiery / Being Fiery / Becoming Fiery include:

Total Fucking Badass
I Know How To Be My Own Light Source
It’s All Beautifully Clear
True To My Yes / Yes To My Yes
Surprise Good Fortune Everywhere
Ease of Provisions
It Brings Me Joy To Know (And Ask For) What I Want
The Key Was In My Pocket This Whole Time
I am Fierce and Fearless
Standing In My Powers
I Reflect Light
I Take Pleasure In Pleasure
I Am My Own Pleasure-Delivery System
The Pleasure Is All Mine, If Ya Know What I Mean
Regal AF

Reflecting on Pleasure

There is so much I want to say about Pleasure,
and its subversive ability to fuel things,
about its role in the Resistance, its role in Revolution,
how it is a form of radical self-love
how it is a door to presence and play
and all the extraordinary things of life and aliveness.

But instead I am going to devote this month to
learning and studying, feeling and perceiving,
noticing how (and where) I position myself in relationship to Pleasure,
watching how I interact with this gorgeous door.

Good Expands

The superpower of the month of Pleasure is GOOD EXPANDS,
this to me is about Trust and Plenty, Trust in Plenty,
but also about making room,
which brings me back to Discernment and
last month’s wish about tabula rasa and letting things burn.

I want to follow pleasure like a path, I want to put my ear to this door
and listen.

I want to enter this new door and this new decade of my life
with curiosity, playfulness, sparks, radical self-treasuring, sweetness,
full trust in my glow
and my yes.

Marching towards Pleasure, with Pleasure, for Pleasure,
and for what I believe in,
which is a lot,
come march with me,
and I mean this in all senses of the word,
with Discernment and Prowess,
with certainty in what is right,
and hope about what is possible,
because we are the mighty mighty pleasure crew,
and there is so much to experience-learn-heal-undo,
and Pleasure is quite possibly the most unlikely and subversive door to walk through,
so here we go and here we are…

May it all be so, or something even better, amen.

Postscript!

Last chance to get some or all of the truly fantastic ebooks from the new year sale in the gift shop though not for long. I especially recommend the Illumination of Qualities if you want to work on Prowess and force-field strengthening — I find that skimming the beautiful words and qualities helps me connect with them and remember them throughout my day. Glowing love and appreciation your way, thank you for being a part of this with me in whatever way you can.

Invitation: come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

You can also share how things have been going, check in, or deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, possibly in code.

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

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.

Wishes and checking-in are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes!

Reflecting on the month of Reflecting

February is both the shortest and longest month, it always seems (for me, at least) as though it will never end and then suddenly it is gone.

Let’s reflect. Which is extra appropriate, since this was the month of Reflection and Reflecting.

I’m feeling tired and cranky and not particularly in the mood to reflect, so I’m going to do this like a messy awards ceremony, like the Oscars, which I did not watch, or whatever the other awards ceremonies are, I missed those too this year, as I do every year, so I do not actually know what I’m talking about, but I plan to give out awards to various February things in my life, and you are welcome to join me if you like.

What’s been working?

My monster committee believes I do nothing but navel-gaze, no matter how much I manage to get done in a day. They think I am steadily moving away from yes instead of towards it. They think I am trapped in fear-paralysis (I am, at least sometimes, definitely more often than I would prefer to be, though usually it’s because of them.)

So I did a lot of noticing and reflecting on this, for example how everything on my list gets zapped from my mind once it’s done, so that no matter how hard I work, nothing seems to ever count.

I decided to start tracking ALL THE SHIT I DO, aka ALL THE SPARKLEPOINT-WORTHY SHIT THAT I DO, which is everything, including the really small things, aka all the progress that the monsters instantly erase because each individual action seems so small, and because they like to say that I spent the whole day screwing around and puttering instead of doing the IMPORTANT things.

It is good that they want me to do the important things, but it is not helpful that I let them minimize everything I do.

My friend Agent Emdee recommended an app called RememberWin, and I am using it to keep lists of everything I do. These are not to-do lists. These are THIS SHIT IS DONE lists. Naming as it happens.

It is a good way to remember that actually I am constantly doing things. This is also helping me remember to celebrate, something I am notoriously bad at.

For example, yesterday it turns out that I actually did THIRTY SEVEN THINGS, all of which have meaning and are important, and any of which could have easily turned into iguanas (stuck things that are unappealing for no clear reason but they just are). And I did them. But apparently when I don’t note these tiny victories, I think I’m doing nothing, when actually I’m sweeping the floor and postponing an appointment and washing dishes and looking up a resource and making soup and so on.

Ten thousand sparklepoints to me!

Funniest thing about the month of Reflecting.

That time I spent a week looking for a room I could use with a mirror.

Because there is no room to learn how to keep a hoop around my waist in a motorhome.

Most unlikely thing I did this month.

Spend an afternoon shooting guns in the desert. Not something I ever thought I would do, but hey, when in Utah. I am still a neurotic eccentric urban jewish writer at heart, but it turns out that shooting at cans and making them fall down is a good time.

Hardest parts of this month.

Intense waves of hurt and anger. Learning more about how waves work.

The odd and awful feeling of loneliness when not alone. Wanting to be wanted.

There is so much racism here in southern Utah, and now this is something I encounter every single day instead of occasionally, and it is heartbreaking, and I never know if the answer is exit or punch people or educate, and the answer keeps changing, and so does the question. I second-guess myself a lot.

Best decision this month.

Motorcycle boots. They were for a motorcycle ride which got postponed, but it turns out I just feel 10,0000x more badass in motorcycle boots, and also more comfortable.

Also I started walking in circles around the RV park, and this turns out to be very calming for me. The circles, and the walking.

Best secret ops this month.

Operation Tabula Rasa. Operation What Would Alastair Reid Do. Operation Clear The Path To Clear The Path.

Things that are reflective.

Stars, reflective tape, lights.

I also found a really good library, which is a place of reflection. A well-lit place of reflection. That was unexpected and perfect. Thank you.

Things I am reflecting on (and making wishes about).

Kickboxing. Pole dancing. Hot springs. Quiet under the stars. What does it mean to get lost on purpose. The note that past-me left for me says GET OUT AND BE HARD TO FIND.

Superpowers I had.

Extreme Bravery!

Giving myself sparklepoints for Extreme Bravery!

Walking My Way Through.

Waves Pass and I Am Still Here.

This moment is worthy of being celebrated, and so am I.

Connecting.

Trying New Things Just Because.

Adventurous Spirit.

Making perfect rice.

Change the date.

Superpowers I want…

Everything that is mine returns to me.

Redirected with Kindness.

Emeralds and Moonstones.

More Sweetness.

Everything Is Looking Up.

Regal As Fuck.

Yes I Know How To Use This.

The superpower of saying “back off, creep”, a la Traci Lords as Wanda in Cry-Baby, and the superpower of not even needing to say it.

The superpower of being a panther, a jewel and a ray of light.

The superpower of remembering that I already have all these superpowers.

Incoming me says…

Breathe. You’re doing great. Take in more oxygen. Give yourself a better view. Find your way back to the stars. Take exquisite care of yourself. Do more nothing. Do less, in general. Surprise yourself. Enjoy the boots.

Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe. The month of Pleasure begins tomorrow. Look at all you have done to ready yourself for this, all you have emptied out, while you thought you weren’t getting anything done. You have been preparing the ground for this.

In the meantime, February was for Light, Clarity and Insight, and you had all of these in spades. You had breathtaking sunsets against the red rock mountain backdrop, you had big understandings about no and about yes, you had so many opportunities to let go and clear out.

You were your own ally, you were a spark of light, a ray of aliveness, awake and clear, and I couldn’t ask for a better companion to cross through this door.

Invitation: come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

You can also share how things have been going, anything you’ve noticed this month, awards you wish to award yourself, or glow massive amounts of sparklepoints for yourself, whatever appeals.

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

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.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with kindness, appreciation and warmth.

I’ll see you here and also for the March wishes, and I’m also writing a post about setting things on fire, which I might publish soon, we will see how I feel. Lots of love.