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)


Category Archives: biggification

The Convening of the Enthusiastic

My darlings!

Today I am convening an Enthusiastic. Yay!

And YOU get to be a part of the Enthusiastic. And take part in it. Should you choose to. Yay!

This is all very exciting. And meta.

Because it is going to be an Enthusiastic on the subject of Enthusiastics. Yay!

What’s an Enthusiastic?

It’s like a board. A meeting of the board.

But not bored. Not bored at all.

Because you’re enthusiastic! See? It’s FUN.

And instead of having a meeting of the bored where everyone is bored, we have an Enthusiastic where we get to enthuse.

It is quite jolly, as Barrington might say.

Plus there are really good snacks. And possibly confetti. Yay!

What happens at an Enthusiastic?

For one thing, we are enthusiastic! Very much so.

Also there is SHOW & TELL.

Show & Tell is kind of similar to the thing that grownups call a “presentation”. But there’s no powerpoint and no judgment.

And it’s not stressful to be the person doing it. Because it’s kind of like this…

Me: You guys! Look at my puppy! PUPPY! So soft!
You: Ohboyohboyohboyohboy! It’s a puppy! Yay!

Except not a puppy. But like a puppy. It’s something you’re excited about and hopeful for.

A gwish, a dream, a hope-filled semi-plan, an aspect of a tiny sweet thing. Yay!

What is the purpose of an Enthusiastic?

An Enthusiastic exists as a safe and cozy way to:

  • tell certain people about something you care about, knowing that it won’t be poked at or picked apart.
  • practice thinking about the thing you want.
  • think out loud and generate more ideas.
  • have a welcoming for your idea.
  • experience what it’s like having a fairy godmother collective.
  • practice giving and receiving firgun.*

* Firgun = Hebrew slang. In this case: Being joyfully, whole-heartedly and demonstrably happy and appreciative about someone’s good news or good fortune.

Yay, an Enthusiastic! So how does it work?

Like this! There are three parts.

1) The establishing of wants.

The person convening the Enthusiastic tells the members of the Enthusiastic how she or he needs them to be enthusiastic today. It’s basically a request for the type of enthusing desired.

Of course, the members of the Enthusiastic are sovereign beings, so they can consciously interact with this request in their own way, and choose a version of responding that suits them.

I’ll give some examples of how this works in the next section.

2) The Show & Tell.

When it is my Enthusiastic, I like to imagine that all the things I want to say are inside of a magical treasure chest. Or inside of a Mary Poppins bag that can hold anything — look, a hatstand!

And then I pull things out of the bag and everyone goes oooooooh and aaaaaaaaaaaah and wow!

But sometimes I feel like playing dress-up, and then I have a flip chart and a clipboard and I wear an outrageous wig, and we all giggle hysterically.

3) The Reacting with Enthusiasm.

This part is mostly determined by the requests set forth by the Convener.

At Crossing the Line (password: haulaway), we spend an entire day doing Enthusiastics for everyone there, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life.

One person wanted us to be enthusiastic by tossing things in the air. Someone else wanted us to run around the room being spies. Some people wanted only very subdued responses, and not to be looked at.

All of these are equally good things to want. And they were all fun things to give. Yay!

Something important I have to say about that.

You might think (I did!) that it could be frustrating to not react in the way that first occurs to you.

But actually there’s something incredibly reassuring about knowing the kind of response someone wants. It is so easy to give someone what they want, and so useful to know what that is.

And if, for whatever reason, you can’t give them what they want in the way that they want it, you give it in the form you can. For example…

Say they want everyone to jump up and down and yell WOOOO!

But maybe you have a headache, or you just can’t jump up and down right now.

So maybe you just WOOOO from your seat. Stand your WOOOO instead of jumping it. Write it on a giant sheet of paper and lift it.

You participate in the essence of the wanting, without making yourself unduly uncomfortable. You take care of yourself. Yay!

Related to that!

It might happen, while in someone’s Enthusiastic, that your stuff comes up.

Maybe some monsters. Or some jealousy. You might find that it’s hard to be fully happy for the person doing Show & Tell because of your own stuff.

Understandable! This is a sign of appreciation-depletion on your part. It means you’ll need to give yourself the experience of safety, permission, amnesty and receiving. And to convene your own Enthusiastic.

For the moment though, if you’ve committed to an Enthusiastic, it’s important that you be present for the experience.

It’s great if you’re noticing your stuff. That’s information you can use later. It doesn’t make you a bad person! Scribble some notes about it.

And then interact with it later on your own time. Because we don’t let our stuff take the stage at someone else’s Enthusiastic. We’re here to give.

Your Enthusiastic exists to give you what you need.

In the way that you can receive it right now.

You don’t have to want questions.

Or you don’t have to answer questions if you do want questions.

You can change what you want at any point, and let people know (“I thought I wanted YAYs but actually I would just like happy appreciative murmuring!”).

You can run the whole thing from another room, or by having a small bunny interview you or while hiding behind a potted plant. Safety first!

It’s a practice. We practice.

Enthusiastic celebration! And the commenting blanket fort.

Today you get to be my Enthusiastic. If you feel like it.

You can do it silently by yourself or here in the comments. Whatever feels right.

Here is how I would like to receive enthusiasm today:

  • Loving hand-on-heart sighs.
  • Saying YAY for the existence of the Enthusiastic and YAY for any aspect of it.
  • Appreciation for my Show & Tell (which was on the subject of what an Enthusiastic is, because I am sneaky!).
  • If you have participated in an Enthusiastic with me before and have stories about how awesome it is to be a member of an Enthusiastic, that would be great!


p.s. I am running lots of Enthusiastics right now because I need all the enthusiasm I can get to support Shivanauticon. If you come to a Rally (Rally!) this year, you could be in an Enthusiastic with me! But only if you want to. :)

Help me undo a spell. In a toy shop!

Alright my darlings.

Here’s the situation.

At the Playground, we have a Toy Shop.

The Toy Shop is beautiful and sparkly and everyone loves it. Everyone.

The Toy Shop is full of toys. And things that aren’t toys. All of which are for sale.

For example…

For example, we have:

Playground mugs.

And sets of gorgeous cards for stone skipping.

Lamps. Yoga blocks. Postcards. Notebooks. Jewelry. Wearable spirographs.

Butt-monsters and Pouncers and Yowls and other adorable creatures.

It has been scientifically proven that if you are feeling sad and you touch the butt of one of our butt-monsters, you will immediately feel better.

Magic wands. Bottles of Playground spray. Heidi’s potions for mixed-up emotions.

Pirate monkey meditation cushions.

And so many other special things.


Except for some reason it is still not entirely apparent that the Toy Shop is a store. Where you can buy things.

Invariably someone will ask me on the last day of Rally if there is any way at all that they can purchase a Playground mug to take home.

So I say: Uh yeah, they’re in the Toy Shop. With price tags on them!

This person is then delighted and goes home to drink tea.

Or if I mention at the end of a class that the things in the Toy Shop are for sale, everyone goes Ohboyohboy zooomygaaaaaaaaawwwd really? Yay!

And then they buy toys from the Toy Shop and they are happy.

So I’m looking at this. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

1. The name.

Unsurprisingly, the Toy Shop got its name from metaphor mouse.

And my definition of toys is probably wider than most people’s.

Maybe if we’d called is something boring like “The Gift Shop” or “The Store” or “The Souvenir Stand” or “The Place Where You Can Buy Stuff”, we wouldn’t be dealing with this.

But I like the name. For me, toy shop contains [+glee] [+excitement] [+childlike wonder] [+possibility] [+magic] [+anticipation] [+happiness].

But maybe it needs a subtitle for the sign? Okay!

2. So we could add onto the name…


The Toy Shop. How you can take the Playground home with you.


The Toy Shop. Hey, this stuff is actually for sale.

Kidding with that last one. But only slightly.

3. Speaking of signs…

What would a useful sign say?

We already have a sign above the door that says it’s the Toy Shop.

And we have a small framed sign inside the Toy Shop that says something like this:

How to get stuff from the Toy Shop! Talk to Havi after class.

Except it’s pretty small. Maybe too small? And the Toy Shop is pretty overwhelming and sparkly and packed with goodness, so maybe people don’t notice the sign?

And there is also a sign that explains that we take cash, checks or we can set up payment by Paypal.

But maybe we need different signs or bigger signs or different wording.

4. Price tags.

Much of the stuff in the Toy Shop is price-tagged.

But some things (like the pouncers or the butt-monsters) don’t really tag easily.

We do have giant chalkboard signs that say how much those cost. But still.

5. Displays.

Maybe more displays. Or posters?

Or pieces of information?

Hi. I am a pouncer. I look like this. I am cool because I pounce on things. Also you can hide secret notes in my mouth. This is how much it costs to take me home.

6. Or displays in other parts of the Playground.

Maybe a shelf at the entrance to the Playground or by the sign-in desk.

We could feature different neat things and have a little sign that says, Hey, I am for sale. At the Toy Shop!

7. In the soft.

We know — of course — that 99.9% of biggification is really about destuckification.

So that means I need to look at my stuff.

Are there places of discomfort? Parts of me (fuzzball monsters or sad, scared selves) that do not feel safe having stuff for sale?

Where is my resistance? What does it have to say? What do I know about it?

And then I can practice destuckifying. Using things like how now is not then or talking to slightly future me.

8. Undoing the spell.

Maybe me-from-then cast an accidental spell on the Toy Shop. Keeping it invisible or small or quiet in an effort to try and keep me safe.

It is my job to undo that spell.

And you can help.

How you can help!

First, what I don’t want.

I don’t need help in the soft. I can work on that myself using Shiva Nata and all the other destuckification techniques at my disposal.

And I don’t want to be psychoanalyzed or given advice about how to work on my stuff. I’m good.

And then what I do want.

What I’m interested in is steps in the hard.

Specifically, suggestions for signs. And things to say on them. And subtitles for the store.

Other ways to make it more clear and obvious that the Toy Shop contains things that someone could buy, if that person were so inclined, and that this is lovely and exciting.

How do we make it clear that the Toy Shop is, in fact, a Toy Shop? While still staying congruent with the bigger Playground culture of play, light-heartedness, safety, amnesty, permission and spaciousness?

I want reassurance (one day the Toy Shop will be all the magical things it can be), and rejoicing (for all the work I have already put into making the Toy Shop a beautiful, peaceful, restful, loving space).

And I want snacks for my iguana pen, because I have a giant iguana that needs some love, and it’s feeling a little anxious that I’m spending time with the Toy Shop instead of talking to it today.

So iguana snacks are appreciated. You can just toss them into the pen. Thank you!

The IWOM Brigade.

I do not have the slightest idea what I do for a living.

Nor do I wish to know.

The not-knowing has worked out quite well for nearly six years of running a business, and I expect it to only get better.

The grown-ups in my company (attorney, accountant, financial planner) don’t seem to be worried either.

They trust the duck. As they should.

A little confusion never hurts.

One of my neighbors thinks I’m a business consultant. Or a life coach?

Another thinks I’m a yoga teacher. Her husband thinks I’m an unlikely internet celebrity.

Another knows that I run a sort of zany pre-school for adults and that I always get the best toys at the neighborhood yard sales.

They’re all correct. I try not to talk about it. It just adds to the mystery.

The dreaded question.

The only thing I really dislike is that awful, awful moment when you meet someone new and they ask what it is you do.

I try to avoid this. I have tried being five years old. Thanks, Maria!

Or saying that I’m a pirate queen, which is true.

But then they still want you to talk about it, and I NEVER want to talk about it.

I have tried being evasive and changing the subject. I have tried being a secret agent and a ninja and a mob boss and saying that I can’t talk about it.

With an Italian accent! Idawanna talk about it! But it still stresses me out.

Oh ho! A sneak-around!

You see, it has been decided that I am an International Woman of Mystery.

I am part of the underground IWOM Brigade.

And no matter how many questions well-meaning strangers ask about what I do as an international woman of mystery, I am marvelously unfazed.

Person: So. What do you do?
Me: Oh! I’m an International Woman of Mystery! And this is my duck, Selma.
Person: An international woman of mystery? Really? What does that entail?
Me: I wish I could tell you but then it would be considerably less mysterious. What about you?

That is the power of the International Woman of Mystery.

It’s also fun to say, in a reverberating sort of way. IWOM IWOM IWOM!

What does it mean to be an International Woman of Mystery?

I’m not sure.

Remember when I tried to figure out what a CEO would do without having to wear shoulder pads?

That’s when I was looking for the signifiers of sovereignty.

And now I’m looking for the signifiers of being an International Woman of Mystery.

Sovereignty boots? Check.

Glitter eyeliner? IWOM drag outfits! Costumes!

I might need a parasol. Or a secret ring. It could be anything!

Joining the IWOM Brigade!

Would you like to? Obviously there aren’t any criteria.

It’s not important that you be and/or identify as any part of this: woman, mysterious or international.

It’s more about attitude.

It says:

I don’t have to know, explain or justify what I do. Unless I happen to feel like it.

Or possibly: Why yes, I AM wearing glitter.

Or possibly: I am changing the subject!

It’s a personal investigation into your secret identity and your superpowers, without owing explanations to anyone else. It’s about freedom.

Play with me!

There are many ways to play.

We can up with fun possible associations (and accessories) for the IWOM Brigade. Calling cards? Badges!

Or determine the qualities of being an International Whatever of Mystery:

Radiance, of course. Freedom. Play. What else?

Or we can find other ways to Intentionally Not Agree to being put in a box.

The Comment Zen part:

We remember that talking about business, biggification and identity can bring up a lot of hard and painful stuff. We all have our stuff.

We make room for people to have their own experience, and we don’t give unsolicited advice.

Love all around. And really great sunglasses, because that part seems important.