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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

 

Taking a stand.

I have been working on a Declaration of Independence. Actually, it’s more like a Declaration of This Is My Life, Dammit.

All this because I told the participants of my Right People Clinic that helping your Right People understand that they are, in fact, your Right People, is all about being clear.

Well, not having to be clear or anything. More like making room for things to get clear. Or clear-er.

What I really mean by being clear.

Being clear about what you stand for and what you care about and what you will not put up with, dammit.

Being clear and using the word dammit as often as possible, dammit. If only just in your head.

Oh, and let me say that yes, dammit is the most important word when you’re manifesto-ing it up, and ideally every sentence ends with it.*

Even though it can really just be implied.

*Like this: “My business is about helping people, dammit!”

Writing it down.

Think of your manifesto-ey thing as a big yeah-baby declaration of what you believe in and what you will not put up with.

Obviously, you can call it whatever you want. A declaration. A list of “here are my principles”. A battle cry.

The point is: people know where you stand. You know where you stand.

Harder than it sounds?

Hahahahaha. Oh, absolutely. For me, at least.

I’ve been running up against all kinds of stucknesses trying to write mine.

So. Here were my general guidelines for writing one, in case it helps:

1. No one has to read this. Ever.

The stuff in my Declaration of Being Fabulously Independent is for me. It’s for my clarity.

My being clear on stuff — and the experience of getting closer to this sense of clarity — will help me connect with my Right People whether or not I ever declare my Declaration of Things I Declare out loud.

2. I am allowed to be as ridiculous with it as I want.

If one of the things on my List Of Points That Define The Way My Business And My Life Function is that Billy Joel (Glass Houses-era) is my mentor, or that I jump on my trampoline-thing when people annoy me, fine.

And it’s a legitimate thing to stand for.

Not everything in the I Can’t Touch My Manifestoes has to be especially (or even slightly) deep or powerful or meaningful.

It just doesn’t.

That’s because it’s my Declaration of This Is How I Do Stuff And Baby That’s How It Is, and therefore everything on it belongs there.

3. I can take inspiration from anywhere I like.

I always think of my friend Pam Slim’s excellent take on this — like her super-inspiring screw-you Open Letter To CEOs, which still gives me the chills.

Or like this: (man, this was ages ago – I can’t believe I’ve been reading her blog for almost four years)

“I promote liberation from oppressive environments, relationships, limiting beliefs and unhealthy lifestyles. I live my life consistent with this value and encourage my clients to do the same.”

Or there’s Chris’s brief guide to world domination that does something similar.

And I definitely take inspiration from Mark who leads by example and plays frisbee in the middle of the day, and mixes Sufism into his business biggification teaching.

Pretty much anything that helps me feel inspired to do my own thing and do it my way is useful here.

Havi’s Partial and Temporary List of Things That Might Belong in A Declaration of Something … Uh, Dammit.

  • I don’t have a resume.
  • My business partner is a duck.
  • I retain the right to do business in my pajamas.
  • Nothing can make me go to Las Vegas.
  • I refuse to have a desk. I don’t like desks. That’s why my desk is a chaise lounge.
  • I shouldn’t have to wait for an impending break-down to take a day off.
  • I am a writer, even if that’s sometimes hard for me to say. And Writer Me gets treated with respect.
  • I always have permission to go do a few minutes of Shiva Nata.
  • Emotional manipulation in business is icky. I won’t do it. I don’t care how many people say it’s “just part of business”. To hell with that.
  • I refuse to write “promotional emails” to a list. Or any emails, to anyone. But definitely not promotional ones.
  • Actually, I don’t want to sell anything.*
  • Ever.**
  • If I want to wear a tiara while on the phone, no one can stop me.

* I don’t mind having stuff that people can buy, as I’ve mentioned. But I’m not going to push it. I don’t have to. And I won’t. At most, I’ll mention on the blog that hey, I’m doing a thing. But not for more than maybe a paragraph.

** All together now: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

Other thoughts.

As far as I can tell, the essential thing in this whole process — like every other thing we’re working on — is about meeting yourself where you are.

Which means …

  • Not making it be about where you wish you were.
  • Or at least noticing that hey, I’m making it about that again …
  • Reminding yourself: “Yeah. Even though I’m not there yet, this is what I’m working on right now.”

In practice, meeting yourself where you are also means fitting the items in your List Of Stuff You Stand For to what you’re actually doing right now.

So if you’re stuck doing something you hate, your Declaration of Things That Are Really Important To You might be more about themes of independence.

And what you need right now. And how you’re going to be interacting with those themes and needs.

If you’re doing what you want to be doing, you can do this too, of course. And you might also find yourself adding on things like this:

I will never go through a job interview again. You can’t make me. And I’m not going to.

Anyway, you get to play with it. You get to skip the parts that are too stressful. You get to have fun.

Ideally, your Hey I Have Things To Say About My Life And How It Works Statement is something that makes you feel better about things, and not something that’s completely depressing and horrible.

Play with me?

Mine is extremely incomplete. A work in progress. Very in progress.

But it’s a start. It’s tiny little glimpses of clarity and direction. Which is useful.

Anyway, I guess my point is ignore the bits that aren’t useful for you and do the parts that do help you have fun with it.

And if you want to share bits and pieces of your own Declaration of Things That Make It A Glorrrrrious Day (or thoughts about the process) that would be lovely. Yay!

Comment zen, as usual, is as follows:
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We’re practicing.

81 Responses to Taking a stand.

  1. Melody
    Twitter: MelodyKiersz
    says:

    Havi,

    Thanks so much for your inspiration! I’ve been traveling for a while, and struggling with the “being myself no matter what, dammit!”

    It’s difficult to not feel constrained by what people will think of you when you are alone in a remote part of the world (in my case, Laos). You’d think it’d be easier, since all the people I hang out with are relative strangers… But it’s not. At least not for me.

    And that’s ok, dammit!

    So, my Declaration:

    – I will not be bullied or subdued into not being me, just because other people don’t happen to be into the stuff I’m into.

    – I will allow myself to trust and give credence to my feelings and my intuition.

    – I have the right to express myself in whatever way I feel like, as long as no one gets hurt in the process.

    – I will go where I want to go, regardless of who comes or doesn’t come with me.

    – I will be open to change, spontaneity, and the adventure of not knowing

    Ok.. That’s it for now, but I know I’ll keep processing for a while. It’s been the theme of the past few days.
    .-= Melody´s last post … Leaving the crossing for next time =-.

  2. […] 18, 2009 by shiatsurob Totally and utterly ripped off from Havi here is my dammit list, which is sure to […]

  3. My Declaration of Magnificency

    1. I don’t accept unsolicited advice, “constructive” criticism, or suggestions. Ever. Period.

    2. I “ain’t changing sh**e” is my motto. I only change if I want to. Not because someone else says
    I should.

    3. I refuse to go to Chicago ever again. For any reason.

    4. I’m under no obligation to listen to my mini-me or others opinions if I don’t want to. And
    I don’t want to. Especially if it’s about how I can change to suit others. This means if you
    have an opinion/criticism about me, stow it; I don’t care to hear it. Never ever ever!

    5. I reserve the right to swear whenever I bloody well please.

    6. My Inner SupaDupa Star is be respected, honoured and cherished at all times.

    7. I get to wear African-inspired headwrap crowns without apology.

    8. I get to quit anything that bores the sh**e out of me.

    9. I self-opt out of being a nice person or a good person. For the rest of my life.

    10. I get to follow my heart, my spirit and intuition from now on. And f*** what others think!

    11. I get to sleep late whenever it bloody well pleases me.

    12. I get to have a Jamba Juice on Tuesdays when I desire it.

    13. I intend to treat myself as the queen/goddess that I am. And everyone else is
    free to do the same. If they fancy.

    14. I get to remind myself of my magnificence every day! Out loud, if it pleases me!

    15. It’s cool with me if people don’t like, understand, or support what I am doing all the
    time.

    16. I don’t ever have to like night clubs or parties.

    17. I get to change my mind about everything in my reality. Just because I want to.

    18. I won’t ever ask for permission to follow my spirit, my heart, or my intuition ever
    again. Deal with it!

    19. I give myself the freedom to opt-out of things that I am supposed to do just because everyone else is doing it, or it has always been done that way.

    20. I get wear lots of colour. And the colours get to clash!

    21. Mondays are me time. Period.

    22. I choose to avoid indulging in small talk or boring conversations.

    23. I get break any social rule I want just because I believe they’re stupid.

    24. I get to say, ‘No.’ with joy, when some asks, ‘Do you want to know what I think?’

    25. I get to be whoever I say I am; even if you don’t get me. That’s your problem.

    26. My mission, life purpose, and soulmate are all who and what I say they are. Also,
    I am who I say I am; regardless of who I might have been in the past.

    27. I get to make it up as I go along. (I have a Ph.D in Making Stuff Up. Apologies
    not forthcoming!)

    28. I reserve the right to apologise only when I am truly sorry.

    29. I don’t wear biz suits, tights, or sensible shoes. I reserve the right to wear embroidered
    blue denim jackets, tie die dresses, yoga gear, purple tutus, silver ballet slippers, and
    metallic rosy-purple leggings, and cowboy hats. Just because I wanna, dammit!

    30. I hereby banish all “shoulds,” “musts,” “have tos,” and “gottas” from my vocab* and
    life.
    *I reserve the right to make up words whenever I feel like it!

    31. I can complain as loudly as I want, whenever I want, when something angers,
    frightens, or just plain hurts me. (sticks out tongue) So there!

    32. I am (and my life is) a work in progress.
    And I’m not “paying my dues” to earn the right to have fun, dammit!

    Ah, extremely liberating!

    Ta very much, Havi!
    .-= sean stargazer´s last post … Site Update: Nov. 2009 =-.

  4. […] in deadline crunch today, so no great explication here, but this here post by the fabulous Havi on making a Dammit List completely rocked my world. As did many of her other posts, especially those on sovereignty and […]

  5. […] can totally identify as something that I am drawn to do, is the “Dammit List”. As Havi describes it:   Think of your manifesto-ey thing as a big yeah-baby declaration of what you believe in and […]

  6. […] made a Dammit List (read the incomplete version here). I love this. Love love love. I want a manifesto, too. Here it is, proclaimed on this cool gray […]

  7. […] As long as I can do those things every day, I am not a failure, dammit. […]

  8. […] have come up with a blogging dammit list (valid for the next, oh, I don’t know, 2 […]

  9. Andrew Lightheart @alightheart
    Twitter: alightheart
    says:

    Ok – I just wrote a dammit post re: my blog.

    Just got to a point, you know..?
    .-= Andrew Lightheart @alightheart´s last post … The Blog Police Can Suck It. =-.

  10. […] I don’t post photos here, dammit, you can look at my favorite one from today here, courtesy of my favorite photographer […]

  11. […] idea of a dammit list. Which I will pen into my new Elite Banana […]

  12. […] would Eileen’s perfect week have in it?  I mean really? (If I could make a dammit list for how I spend my […]

  13. […] goals and similar success activities. However, one tool came along that really changed my thinking, The Dammit List. This simple, simple idea by the excellent Havi and Selma over at The Fluent Self is a lot like […]

  14. […] The enigmantic Havi Brooks has a wonderful little tool that you can use to establish your core values / principles. She calls it a Dammit list. […]

  15. […] A great cry nothing a less. Something in me wants to roar during random(ish) people, “You matter! Damnit.” Cuz people should know! 12. we am grateful for Paulette as well as for her gifts of loyalty as […]

  16. […] a Dammit List with your brand new […]

  17. […] even though I would like to be in Bolivia already (dammit!), and even though I hate shopping for jeans because it feels like having my teeth ripped out… […]

  18. […] would Eileen’s perfect week have in it?  I mean really? (If I could make a dammit list for how I spend my […]

  19. Faith says:

    I just discovered your blog via Kelly Diels (who I discovered via Tara Gentile) and I have to say I’m really loving this post! I’m in such a transitional period of my life right now, just moved across the state, just launched a small business of sorts, about to have another baby. I’ve got a lot to think about now – thank you so much for your positive, gentle approach to growing as an artist and individual.

  20. s
    Twitter: mostlywater413
    says:

    OhOhOh! I know this is an old post but YES for the Say Anything quote – I always wanted to print that one a piece of paper and just hand it to people who ask me what I do or what I want to do.

    YES to never going to another interview, damnit.

    do not tell me I’m being too sensitive, damnit.

    don’t tell me that ‘everyone else’ works from 9 to 5 and doesn’t get to go outside during the day so I should just get used to that, damnit.

    don’t tell me I’m being unrealistic, DAMNIT.

    don’t tell me that whatever I’m feeling isn’t ok, DAMNIT.

    if reading the things I’m going to write about myself on my blog makes you uncomfortable and you think I shouldn’t admit to feeling scared/vulnerable/ugly/sad/angry/anxious/terrified where everyone can see it, I don’t want to know you anyway, DAMNIT!

    omg, just writing those felt great, DAMNIT! especially when I get so worked up I have to write it in capital letters! wheeeeeee!

  21. […] Take a stand, declare my independence and create my Dammit List. […]

  22. […] afternoon if I want to. (Hey, that needs to go on my Dammit List! –which is also explained here and […]

  23. […] The audacity to add “midday naps” to my Dammit List. […]

  24. […] thinking about why I have such a complicated relationship with my own damnit list. Problem? I don’t feel strongly about many things. Okay, obviously that’s a lie. […]

  25. […] that all work environments should have refueling stations where people can go to nap and replenish dammit!. Since I can’t see that happening in the near future, I know there are two […]

  26. […] it to where I’m at now.  The concept comes from Havi Brooks (yet again) and can be found at http://thefluentself.wpengine.com/blog/biggification/taking-a-stand/.  That’s right, I’m a Havi Brooks […]

  27. […] dammit list is … any and all of the things you stand for. Things you care about enough to put a dammit on the […]

  28. […] Enemy says, “Dammit. We’re playing by my rules […]

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