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: stucknesses & stuckification

The Treasure Box of Tiny Stones.

At the Playground, where I work play, there is a very small treasure box.

Whenever you remember something that hurts, you drop a tiny stone from the bowl of tiny stones into the treasure box.

If it hurts a lot, you can drop more stones. All the stones! It’s okay.

Each stone makes a sound halfway between a tiny plop and a tiny thunk. A tiny plop-thunk. It is the best.

When the treasure box is full of stones, you empty the stones back into their bowl, and you begin again.

Here is what the box is good for.


Guess what? Things from then can still be painful, even if they are over.

They can still get to be painful.



It is okay that this thing still hurts.

Or that I have uncovered a new hurt.

It’s okay that I am feeling whatever it is that I’m feeling, even if I’m not sure why this is coming up right now.

Actually, sometimes why isn’t even the right question.

This is what I’m feeling. Plop-thunk.

This is what is true for me in this moment. Legitimate.Plop-thunk.

There is nothing wrong with me for feeling this. Plop-thunk.


There is the having-something-to-do part, which is comforting. Plop-thunk.

The ritualized aspect, which is (for me) also comforting.

There is a symbolic but very physical repository for pain, which is comforting.

The stones are there for you whenever you need them, which is comforting.

And you are also comforting yourself through giving legitimacy to the feelings and marking the moment of being in them.


Plop-thunk is the sound of patterns being interrupted.

Telling the story of a break-up, for example, is very different when you do it while sitting by the treasure box of stones.

You tell the story differently.

It’s almost like you get to tell the story without going into the story.

You have to be paying attention because you’re dropping stones as you talk. So it’s not the same old story. It’s a new one.

This version of the story comes with awareness and is accompanied by acknowledgment. Rewritten through the addition of sweet pauses. All the old patterns getting interrupted with love.

Because tiny stones are the most compassionate interruption there is. Plop-thunk-plop-thunk-plop-thunk..


Sometimes this thing happens where we tell stories about old pain, and then the telling just serves to reinforce something. We go into wheel-grinding. Each retelling makes the narrative that much more rigid, deepening the pain-grooves and the perception of being wronged.

But! When you tell your story while dropping stones into a treasure box (plop-thunk!), everything begins to move again.

New insights reveal themselves. Something that used to be about disillusion can suddenly turn out to be about discovery. Or freedom.

Stories (like anything else) are made new when you get to interact with them in a new way. Yay, unexpected opportunities for movement. Plop-thunk.


Oh. Hello, pain. This is me and this is my pain and this is my stuff and this is me reminding myself that I am noticing all of this.

And every time I notice, I’m stepping out of the pain-experience and into a new state: the loving-observer-of-me-going-through-the-pain-experience.

I am being with the pain and with the me-who-is-in-pain. But I am not the pain itself. This leads to the (advanced practice! super hard! but really great!) superpower of compassionate detachment. And to love and permission. To all the good things, really.

And I can do this even while I’m in the hard. Even when I’m not liking being in the hard. Just by dropping a stone into a box.

Each plop-thunk of stone-into-box is helping me be the tiniest bit more conscious. Plop-thunk. Plop-thunk..


I am here, now.

Now is not then.

I have different tools and different skills that weren’t available to me the last time I felt this way.

There are always more stones.

Commenting blanket fort. Come play, if you like.

Seriously. There are always more stones.

If you would like (plop-thunk!) to drop a stone or several stones or ALL THE STONES here, you are welcome to.

In a way, it’s a bit like bringing things to the fountain. Or throwing things into the pot. And it also works really well as a subset of silent retreat.

So if you would like to play, I would love to have company. Drop in stones with me. Or say plop-thunk with me. Or leave something that got sparked for you.

The usual reminders: We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process. We make this a safe and welcoming space by not putting our stuff onto other people. We take care of ourselves while not trying to take care of anyone else.

Permission to take time.

If you’re only going to read one permission slip today — But why would you do that? Read all the permission slips! It’s fun! — I would go with this one.

I wrote this for myself. But you can have some too.

That is the magic of permission. There is absolutely no way that you could possibly diminish my supply of it by desiring permission for yourself as well. It is an infinite source.

Permission to take time.


Permission to take my time in any situation I need to take more time in, without having to know why or how much, without the taking of time being perceived in any way as negative.

If, for example, I need to pace around the room thinking thoughts and more thoughts before I sit down to do [X], that is allowed.

Yes, even if it takes 45 minutes. Even if it doesn’t feel like entry, guess what, it can also be entry.

If I can’t write copy for a thing until I can again, that taking of the time is ALLOWED and even good. Take it!

If I know a thing needs to end but I don’t yet have words to put the ending in place, I can take my time and wait for the words instead of thinking I’m a horrible person for not ending it the minute I realized it needed to end.

That is okay.

If I thought I needed four days to quiet my mind and reach a decision but actually I need more, then I need more. More time can be taken! Monsters who think that this time is endless are wrong, and they can consult the records on that account.

And this as well!

Guess what?

If I have passed all personally-imposed deadlines on a thing that is important, then those were not the right deadlines.

Clearly I need more time and that more-time is a big deal, so I can have that time to figure out what is useful about taking the extra time. There is time. There is something in there and I am allowed to want more time to find it.


I feel strongly about this.

And if I could put it all on a popsicle stick, I would.

But: permission. And more permission.

The commenting blanket fort and how it works!

But first: a story. I wrote this permission slip for myself two weeks ago. Not really believing it 100% but wanting to so badly.

And I want to tell you guys that me-from-two-weeks-ago was right about everything. Everything.

If you would like to play, here are things that are welcome. You could invent your own permission slips, you could leave smiles or things that were sparked for you, you could rejoice in all the rejoicings, you can go on silent retreat!

The one thing we don’t do is tell other people how to be, feel or think. And the one thing we always do is take responsibility for our stuff when it comes up.

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

When things aren’t working.

The hardest part when things aren’t working is waiting for the new things to come in.

The ones that do work.

That is to say:

The new patterns, the new customs and rituals, the new techniques, the new approach.

(If you’re a shivanaut, you’re intimately familiar with this process. Engaging with Shiva Nata means you’re constantly deconstructing patterns and replacing them with the new ones. It’s really hard!)

But often there’s a gap. And inside of this gap you’re hyper aware of all the things that are not working, and still not clear on what form the new pattern is going to take.

That’s where CONGRUENCE comes in.

Part of what’s happening in this type of period of frustration (and I go through this fairly often because I do a lot of internal processing) is this:

It’s not just that you’re aware of the things that aren’t working. You’re also seeing evidence all around you that points to the extreme severity of This Is Not Working.

And you’re extra-sensitive to everything that doesn’t feel congruent. Everything that is not in line with the new way can feel jarring or pokey.

Extreme cognitive dissonance! It’s just one guy!

You’re noticing all the places in your life that are not harmonious with the way you actually want to feel.

One of the things that I have found helpful — for me! — in these times of transition-ey process-ey aaaaah-I-hate-everything-in-my-life is this:

Making tiny little symbolic things more congruent. And getting rid of tiny little symbolic incongruencies.

Tiny things.

It could be just one thing.

Or it could be just ten things.

Or however many you like.

The way I do it is by wandering around Hoppy House or the Playground or my office aka the pirate queen quarters, looking for what doesn’t fit.

And I make a REALLY BIG DEAL out of the symbolic value of releasing incongruence.
Translation: moving things around! Throwing things out!

What this looked like yesterday.


“Listen up, WORLD! I am DONE with things! I am done with things that are incongruent! Done with things that are unsovereign! Done with things that are not in present time!

“Or any combination of the above!

“And I am READY for things that are congruent, harmonious, sovereign and fabulous.”

And then I remembered again:

This is the pain and dissonance of my current growth period — right now I’m hyper aware of all the things that are not harmonious with how I need them to be.

So of course I feel like crap.

As for my panicked “oh no the old things aren’t working, where are the new ones?”, we know how this works. The new tools will come as I get rid of those things which are not congruent.

This happens after every Rally (Rally!). It happened after Crossing the Line (password: haulaway), and we totally prepared for it there because we knew it was coming. This is a normal thing that can happens when you cycle through a big internal change.

And that’s good because things need to move and change. That’s part of being alive. It’s when they don’t change (or I try to not allow them to change) … then they stop working and become stagnant.

There’s even a whole page about this in the Book of Havi.

So find out what you’re done with and be done with it.

What am I done with? Let’s find out…

I am done with this green visor on the giant duck that lives on top of the red wall at the Playground! I don’t know why. A few months ago I thought it was delight-filled and sweet. But now it’s wrong. Gone!

I am done with this list of iguanas!

I am done with not taking care of myself!

I am done with holding onto presents that I don’t want!

I am done with the Lost & Found box!

I am done with this door not closing properly!

I am done with all of these things.

And I am ready to discover what the harmonious and congruent version of these things might look like / sound like / feel like.

So there were tiny changes.

The visor got put on a stuffed animal (who loved it!).

I decided that none of the iguanas actually needed me, they were just reminders of things I don’t like, so I tossed the list.

A bunch of presents at Hoppy House got recycled and regifted.

The First Mate was charged with getting the door fixed.

I still don’t know what to do with the Lost & Found box but it is being moved to a new place so I don’t have to look at it while I’m working. Maybe I’ll write a Very Personal Ad for this one.

I still don’t know what the new way is yet.

But there are fewer barriers to it coming in.

So I don’t have to know. I just have to keep making room for it.

That’s what I did yesterday.

Today I feel more like myself than I have in a while.

I feel less frustrated about the gap between knowing what I don’t want and remembering what I need.

This is what I’m focusing on right now:

Trusting that the new patterns are coming in.

Welcoming them by removing tiny, symbolic things that remind me of what isn’t working, and by making space.

Play with me! And the commenting blanket fort.

You are welcome to search for tiny, symbolic mini-changes in your space or in your day.

You can leave a loving hand-on-heart sigh for the shared experience of those gap times.

You can use the tools and explore and discover. You can color some monsters. It helps. It’s crazy, but it helps.

You can throw things you are done with in a giant magical recycling elevator-shaft that I am establishing here. Into the completion pot!

Or drop off some gwishes.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We take responsibility for our stuff. Because without sovereignty and spaciousness, this whole thing falls apart.

And we make this a safe space by not telling each other what to do, how to be or how to feel. We make room for each other.

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