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: not hating on yourself

74 ways to push the reset button.

When things aren’t working, even the tiniest time-out = magic.

Yesterday things were very much not working, so I ended up making a list of the various ways available to me when I need to push the reset button.

Here it is.

Reset! Let’s see. You could…

  1. Take a shower.
  2. Go outside.
  3. Go for a walk.
  4. Walk backwards!
  5. Do something widdershins!
  6. Smell a flower…
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Hide under the blankets.
  9. Turn your closet into a temporary refueling station.
  10. Sing a song. Louder!
  11. Ask: how much of this fear/discomfort/pain belongs to me?
  12. Ask: how much of this fear/discomfort/pain is from now?
  13. Use a magical spray.
  14. Do a mudra.
  15. Use an acupressure technique (like EFT or TAT or any use of pressure points).
  16. Hum.
  17. Chant.
  18. Sing sea shanties and pretend you’re on a voyage.
  19. Roll on the floor hugging your knees.
  20. Yawn and yawn and yawns until you cry.
  21. Do an old Turkish lady stretch.
  22. Listen to one of your Emergency Calming The Hell Down recordings.
  23. Consult the Book of You.
  24. Talk to the monsters who say that you can’t stop.
  25. Let a negotiator talk to the fear that says things are never going to get better.
  26. Scribble with crayons or magic markers.
  27. Color with the monster coloring book (extra sneaky!).
  28. Ask slightly future you how she resolved this one.
  29. Use any of the grounding and centering techniques from Hiro‘s amazing Healing Internet Hangover course.
  30. Count backwards from 25.
  31. Strengthen your force field. Whoosh!
  32. Do simple Shiva Nata spirals.
  33. Run any Shiva Nata pattern or algorithm through your head. 3-2, 4-3, 1-4, 2-1!
  34. Find out why now is different from then.
  35. Use the alignment technique.
  36. Find out what is useful about being stuck right now.
  37. Invoke your superpowers — like Joseph.
  38. Write a Dr. Seuss rhyme about how much everything sucks.
  39. Yell TIME OUT!
  40. Take ten long deep breaths.
  41. Sama vritti pranayama is when the inhale and exhale are equal. Do that.
  42. Do ten silent screams (it helps to stop and take a breath or two between each one).
  43. Do the puppy paws. Pause. Paws!
  44. Be upside down.
  45. Find out what you’d tell the person you loved most if she/he was in your situation.
  46. Ask what brilliant support you’d give to a client who needed a reset button.
  47. Listen to a yoga nidra recording.
  48. Have a good cry for 15 minutes.
  49. Build a safe room in your mind.
  50. Build a safe room in your past.
  51. Run away! Just for now.
  52. Turn up the music and dance dance dance.
  53. Decide on a theme song.
  54. What Would Someone Fabulous Do?
  55. What Would The Wise And Compassionate Version Of You Do?
  56. Touch the floor.
  57. Do some stone skipping.
  58. Declare silent retreat!
  59. Take notes on what got you here so that you can change the pattern next time.
  60. Do something sweet for someone else.
  61. Blow bubbles!
  62. Whisper a secret to a tree.
  63. Make a gwish!
  64. Rub circles on the soles of your feet.
  65. Write magic words on the palms of your hands.
  66. Give yourself permission to be in the hard and in the stuck. Or to not want to be there.
  67. Put on a costume.
  68. Strike a pose.
  69. Talk about how much everything sucks but in a Groucho Marx voice. Or with your best Australian accent. Unless you’re Australian.
  70. Hop on one foot and be a bad-tempered one-legged pirate.
  71. One hand on your heart.
  72. Look for ten things that are blue.
  73. Name everything you see.
  74. Say I am here now.

Notes. And comment zen for today

As always, we invoke the “people vary” principle. This is my list of what might work for me.

Whatever doesn’t work for you can be ignored. Whatever *does* work for you can go straight into the Book of You.
It often helps to have your top three or four in mind (top of the toolbag!)

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We make room for people to have their own experience and that’s why we don’t tell each other what to do.

If you want to add other things that go on your personal list of ways to press the reset button, go for it.

Love to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.

Retroactive Emergency Vacation

It’s story time today.

Ten years ago this May.

I don’t want to write about this. And definitely not in the mood to go into all the details.

So. Ignoring the mechanisms, the how and why of my world falling apart, some relevant pieces:

In May of ten-years-ago my husband and I left our Tel Aviv apartment that I loved so much. Maybe even more than I’d realized, in retrospect. Oh, retrospect, you are always so late.

His parents had given us a flat they owned in the suburbs. Next door to them.

Except it was still being renovated, and I was working in the city.

My shifts at the bar ended late — too late for buses. And a cab out of town would eat up all my earnings.

My husband stayed at his parents in the suburb. And I stayed on various couches of girlfriends in Tel Aviv.

Time is funny.

It was supposed to be just for a month. We’d see each other weekends and in between my shifts at work.

We didn’t. Not really. Renovations took longer. My best friend went to London and I house-sat for a while, then took care of her ex-girlfriend who was going through a rough patch.

Three months.

I went to the States for a visit. Stayed with a girlfriend in Chicago. Went on a road trip. Place, perspective. Breathing room.

Four months.

Timing is timing.

I was scheduled to fly out of Chicago on September 12.

This was 2001, so September 11 meant there was no September 12. At least, not in any way that mattered.

Flights were canceled. Flights to Israel were canceled for even longer.

Another month.

Six months into seven.

Eventually I came back. The marriage, unsurprisingly, came apart. It was agreed that I would move out.

A friend of a friend was moving to Sweden. I could rent her apartment.

She changed her mind about if and when so many times that I lost count.

I stayed on more couches.

By the time I moved in, it was almost December. Seven months of couch-sleeping. Of not knowing when or where — or if at all — there would be home for me.

Why this.

This six month period is by no means the hardest or the shittiest thing that has happened to me.

It hurts to say: this doesn’t even make the top ten.

But that doesn’t mean this time wasn’t terrifying and painful, because it was.

And sometimes I talk to me-from-then. I invent vacations for her. I put her up in hotels and buy her books. I take care of her. It’s what I do.

Why now.

I have trouble taking time off. I have trouble stopping.

Until it’s an emergency, and Emergency Vacation is declared.

This is a known thing.

But to every absolute declarative “this is how things are” truth, there is always an exception. And here it is:

While I personally may be terrible at creating refuge for myself now, there is a version of me who knows how to stop.

It’s the me who invents vacations for past versions of myself.

Look at all the things I have trouble giving to me-in-the-present:

Time, space, money, attention, caring, forgiveness, comfort, reassurance, appreciation, protection.

And yet all of these I gladly give to me-who-went-through-all-that-crap.

Bless the loophole.

Yesterday, I took myself away on a holiday.

I took me-from-now and me-from-ten-years-ago, and we went on a little self-rescue mission.

We booked a gorgeous hotel room. We packed an overflowing picnic basket. Books and magazines. Slippers. An appointment for a facial.

Normally I would never do this for myself. But it’s okay, because I’m taking care of her. I’m taking care of her by showing her that now I can take care of myself.

She knows what I’m doing, me-from-then.

She knows this is my way of easing into being the person who can take care of herself in the moment and not just after the fact.

She’s happy for me.

And I am happy for her.

Very specific comment blanket fort zen for today.

This is really, really vulnerable stuff I’m writing about. It’s hard to do.

What is welcome.

Your stories.

The versions of you who are in need of a Retroactive Emergency Vacation, whether you literally might go on one or not.

Spaciousness. Warmth. A glass of wine or a cup of tea.

What I am not okay with:

Not that you would do this, of course, but just to have said it…

I do not wish to be told what to do, psychoanalyzed, judged, given advice or given that thing which is called tough love but is not loving in practice.

I do not want to be told that I shouldn’t be posting here if I’m on vacation, or that I need to learn to take time off.

Thank you.

Happy Retroactive Emergency Vacation to me. And to all of your various verisons-of-you who need one too. Hug.

Not getting rid of it. Replacing it.

The message I got from my brain yesterday (my post-flailing newly-descrambled charged-up brain) was as follows:

Replace worry.

To which I said, huh?

And then I got this:

Replace worry with curiosity.


I like this so much.

And here’s why.

  • It’s easier to access elegant and unlikely solutions while wondering what might be possible. Instead of agonizing over the stuck and why the stuck is so stuck.
  • Worry drags me down. Curiosity lifts me up.
  • Curiosity brings my attention to the gaps and the spaces, instead of to the walls. This is exactly what happens in Shiva Nata.
  • Worry is clenched. Curiosity is receptive.
  • Invoking curiosity actively challenges me to think creatively, and to anticipate creative solutions.
  • It lets me give legitimacy to spending time and energy mulling over a problem or a challenge.
  • Curiosity is balanced: it’s where you aren’t ignoring the things that need attention, but you aren’t in the pain of them either.
  • Curiosity allows for unlimited options.

And I especially like this because I still get to be in a relationship with worry.

Normally when people say things like “just stop worrying about it” or “don’t worry so much”, I feel frustrated.

Because it’s not that simple. Definitely not for me. I can’t do it. I don’t know how. And it generally seems kind of violent.

Because the traditional ways of “DON’T WORRY!” tend to involve repressing or delegitimizing all the internal stuff that comes together to create anxiety.

It’s like fighting your monsters. Not recommended.

But when I bring in curiosity, I still get to interact with my small, scared, anxious parts. In fact, I get to interact with them even more.

Only now it’s in a way that’s receptive, non-judgmental, inquisitive, and caring. I’m not pushing the worry away. Just extracting its essence.

How I’m going to make use of this today.

1. With an unresolved conflict in my business.

I am going to try to be curious about this person’s motivation instead of worried about what it could mean.

Curious about perfect, simple solutions and where they might be hiding.

Curious about what I need to feel safe.

2. Preparing for my trip to Asheville.

Instead of going gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah about all the stuff that needs to be sorted for that …. curious.

I am curious about what systems and sequences will bring ease and a sense of order to this project.

That’s the question I will ask. And then I’ll write down everything that comes up.

3. Messing around with scheduling the second half of 2011.

Curious about where my time for me will be. Instead of anxious that it won’t happen.

Curious about the different ways a small Skabbatical could find its way in there. Instead of worrying about all the reasons this couldn’t ever work.

Curious about how I can deconstruct some of my programs and do them differently. Instead of trying to just make things fit.

And the main point.

This is not about not worrying. Some things in life are worrisome. They just are.

We still get to give legitimacy to everything that’s hard. We’re totally allowed to have worry. It’s part of being human.

And we get to be curious about what help us get a little breathing room. Moving from tension into possibility.

We get to be curious about perspective — where we’re standing in relation to the worry. So useful.

(And the advanced practice.)

As with most of my posts, this is being written on parallel tracks. There’s the surface teaching and then there’s the other good stuff, for people who are interested in going deeper.

Curious is one of the things we practice with monsters.

Curiosity is part of playing. It’s also a way of making space and expanding the canopy.

And — and this is important — curiosity is one of the fastest ways to exit the middle.

What else?

Play? Comment zen for today. In the giant blanket fort!


If you have worrisome things you’d like to be curious about, bring them here and we can have a practice space for wondering out loud about what is possible.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a practice. It takes time.

And we try to meet ourselves and our stuff with as much patience as we can muster.

We let people have their own experience. So we can be curious and ask each other questions, and still avoid unsolicited advice-giving in the blanket fort.

Kisses to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads!