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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.


Selma the Duck and The Big Day Off

One rainy Portland morning* Selma and Havi decided to take the day off.

* It might possibly have been a Toozday.

It was all Selma’s decision since Havi wasn’t willing to talk about it.

Havi didn’t want to get out of bed. Havi didn’t want to be cheered up. Havi didn’t want to discuss options.

And she definitely didn’t want to do any work.

But even non-work stuff? No.

She didn’t want to do her fabulously wacky morning rituals. Or her slow Old Turkish Lady morning yoga practice, which is her favorite thing.

Or do her ten minutes of Shivanautical flailing to generate some deep tranquility with a couple hot buttered epiphanies on the side.

She also didn’t want to write a blog post. Or do anything, really.

Selma thinks that’s okay. But Havi wasn’t buying it.

Selma made the call. She and Havi’s gentleman friend presented a united front of “okay sweetie this is what we’re going to do”-ness.

They promised that if she’d get out of bed and agree to go outside, they’d let her wear the good rainpants. She’s easy that way.

Taking a day off is the hard.

Supposedly, it’s one of the perks of running your own company and theoretically it is a lovely notion, but hahahahahaha we know it doesn’t work like that.

Selma and Havi’s gentleman friend can point out as much as they’d like that Havi’s website has been around for four and a half years.

That nothing is going to shrivel up and die if she doesn’t get to it today.

That her people know about her quest to take more time to herself and they get it and they’re awesome.

There are shoulds.

So many, in fact, that it’s kind of overwhelming.

About how people need you.

About commitments you have made that are waiting on you.

About the giant what-ifs and the times that you have neglected things before to disastrous consequences. Which are admittedly sometimes kind of hilarious in hindsight but dude not this time.

About how you can’t just let your comment moderators delete someone’s comment because they know it will annoy you.

That you’re supposed to engage with people. Triple especially when people ultimately have good intentions. That you’ve always done it before and you could do it now.

And there is the question of capacity.

Mental bandwidth.

Emotional bandwidth.

Various assorted sovereignty-related things.

How many things can you deal with in a day? How many things can you deal with tomorrow?

When do you say this is enough. Or this is not important enough for me to be agonizing over it right now.

When do you say I live in Portland and I really need some rainpants dammit.

Havi and Selma are spending a day in the rain.

Drinking warm drinks.

Sitting in a cafe while the Gentleman Friend tries to make them laugh.

Splashing in puddles.

Possibly buying new gloves.

Not doing anything important. Which, weirdly, is really, really important right now.

Havi is practicing this new thing. And taking her duck for a walk. But only because her duck insisted.

Comment zen for today.

You can cheer for Havi. You can make her a tea or offer a hug. You can wish her good things. Or share stories of your own.

As always, anyone who tries to give Havi advice is getting a swift kick to the shins. Fair warning.

73 Responses to Selma the Duck and The Big Day Off

  1. Riin
    Twitter: happyfuzzyyarn

    I heard the same joke Chris heard, only when I heard it, it was whichever 16 hours of the day… Heh. Yeah.

    The way I figure it, if it’s so hard to make yourself relax, relaxation must be work, and therefore it counts as part of the requisite 16 hours, right?
    .-= Riin´s last post … Feeling Reflective =-.

  2. Tami
    Twitter: tamihackbarth

    Yay for self-care and tea! I hope you are getting lots of hugs today too.

    I’m inspired to go grab a cup of Bliss with a friend. And while I’m there, NOT talk about work.
    .-= Tami´s last post … Yoga+Music365 (day4) – My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura =-.

  3. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    Hooray to you for taking a day off! I think that’s fabulous. And also inspiring. Kudos to Selma and your Gentleman Friend for enticing you. I hope you found some excellent pants. :)
    .-= Amber´s last post … Breastfeeding Supplements =-.

  4. Thorin Messer
    Twitter: thorinmesser

    Wait, wait…playing in the rain isn’t work? I put it in my job description.

  5. Tracy
    Twitter: verdissage

    This wonderful little story unfolded like a picture book. (A picture book, it really does not need to be stated, with a duck named Selma in it.) I loved it. I hope you (Havi and Selma and Gentleman Friend) loved it too.
    .-= Tracy´s last post … Reflection: Self-Care for Artists =-.

  6. Maya
    Twitter: animalswisdom

    To deliciously hot drinks, big puddles, dry, cozy cafes, very cool rain pants and the best company ever!

    @Havi – so appreciate your post today. I get the hard that you have to experience in order to take the day off.

    @Selma & @gentleman friend – thank you most fantabulous duck and gentleman!

    @Holly “Thank you for being an example to the rest of us, all while showing how hard it all is.”
    You put it perfectly!

    @Heather – I so loved ‘Julie and Julia’ – perfect wisdoms from some great women, including you. :)

    @Thorin – am going to add this to my job description pronto.
    .-= Maya ´s last post … To Endings and New Beginnings. To Connection and Communication. =-.

  7. Kelly Watson says:

    This is exactly (egg-sactly?) what I needed to read today. Thank you.

    I’m enjoying reading everyone’s comments, too! I agree, this could be an adult picture book … perhaps with some nice watercolor illustrations?
    .-= Kelly Watson´s last post … Eight Things I Learned When My Web Site Got Hacked =-.

  8. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    You guys are amazing and I adore you completely.

    Best. Day. Ever.


    Also, I ate a knish!

  9. Erin says:

    Wonderful Havi.

    Some days just Are . . . More power to you, Selma and the Gentleman friend.

  10. Birdy Diamond
    Twitter: EncouragingBird

    Yay, you! :-)*hands you nice cuppa tea*

    Ya know, I’d never heard of rainpants before this post, but they sound like the most practical nifty thing ever.

    I may have to investigate this.

    And yes… Avians of all types RULE! :-D

  11. Luke
    Twitter: lukeschubert

    Yay Havi!
    .-= Luke´s last post … Ighalsk – The Nature of Illusions =-.

  12. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @Elizabeth + Birdy: oh yes! Rainpants = the best.

    I used to ruthlessly mock my gentleman friend for wearing them. And it is true that they make that awful squooshy sound-of-thighs-rubbing-together.

    But you know when you go for a walk in the rain but then it *really* rains and you come back and you want to leave your boots on the porch but really all of you is going to be leaving wet splotches all over the floor when you get in?

    So you start taking your clothes off outside and hope that the neighbors can’t see you but you still make wet prints everywhere once you get in because your socks are all wet and icky?

    And then you have to hang all your clothes to dry over the heating vents. And then you need to go out again ten minutes later and there aren’t any dry clothes left.


    But when you have rainpants, walking in the rain is just like regular walking. Except more fun.

    It’s MAGIC!

    I got mine at REI (the kind that zip up the sides so you can pull them on over your shoes). They also have some that fold into a tiny bag so you can keep a pair in your backpack or whatever.

    Yay rainpants, is all I’m saying.

  13. Shawna R. B. Atteberry
    Twitter: shawnaatteberry

    Yeah for Havi and Selma taking the day off! Hugs and tea to both of you. May be chamomile since it’s getting close to bedtime? Tho I have a wonderful lavender that’s scrumptious at night. Your choice!

    I had to stop guilting myself today for taking care of myself and probably not writing. I needed to go to Trader Joe’s then I had a massage and checked in with my psychiatrist. This morning I told myself: No I am not “wasting” the day. I am taking care of myself. Getting wholesome food I love from TJs, getting a much needed massage for sore muscles due to getting back to yoga. And checking in with the shrink is always good when one struggles with depression.

    I hope you and Selma thoroughly enjoyed your day off and jumped in lots and lots of puddles.
    .-= Shawna R. B. Atteberry´s last post … Life Insights from 2009 I’m taking into 2010 =-.

  14. Bonni says:

    hooray for a day off and hooray for knish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Mmmmm — I haven’t had a good knish in ages! That sounds glorious!
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Dramatis personae =-.

  16. Ilana says:

    Yay for days off! (even more than one!) GOOD FOR YOU!

    I am personally a big fan of taking a day to do whatever. I don’t like to call it “nothing” because that is “no thing”. But I’m doing a lot!
    * I’m changing my routine.
    * I’m giving myself permission to do whatever I feel like doing (dammit).
    * I’m reminding myself that all the things I’m “supposed” to do are choices that I made and for right now it’s ok to choose not to do them.
    * I’m breathing – giving myself some breathing room.
    * And I’m preparing. Because after I’m done doing whatever for a while, I’m ready to get back to the “supposed to” list and get through it.

    And tea. Tea cures everything.

    ps On rainpants: Go Goretex. Totally worth it.

  17. Kristian
    Twitter: guy_interruptd

    Just giving you a big ‘big up!’ from across the pond in London.

    Your blog always manages to make me smile and reconsider how crap I believe life to be, so get out there with ya rainpants on and splash in some puddles!

  18. Kristian
    Twitter: guy_interruptd

    oh, and I forgot my twitter link and screwed up my blog link, which obviously means my brain is fried and I need to have a day off as well ;)
    .-= Kristian´s last post … Can I survive a life without booze? =-.

  19. Tara
    Twitter: blondechicken

    Tara & Beau took the day off yesterday as well.
    We were supposed to get a brunch underway.
    We were supposed to go run a yarn store.

    But it was SO snowy.
    And all the schools were closed.

    So we stayed in bed and read Jane Eyre (sp?) and drank chai until AFTER noon (luxuriousness!)
    Then we spun & watched The West Wing and refused to answer the phone.

    Yay for Snoozedays!
    .-= Tara´s last post … Do the Thing in 2010 =-.

  20. Sarah T
    Twitter: edgetocenter

    Hooray! Selma and the Gentleman Friend are smart cookies. (Or ducks. And people. Or something!) And you are smart for listening to their firm directions.

    Also, rainpaints are one of the most amazing things on the planet. Seriously, if I had known years ago that $100 would keep me warm and dry in all kinds of crap, I would have had a better few years.

    [Rainpaints recommendation you should totally ignore if it seems too much like advice: Foxwear.net. It is just one guy (really!), and his name is Lou, and he is so, so nice.]

  21. Gilbert (@CrazyOnYou)
    Twitter: CrazyOnYou

    Sometimes you just gotta take the pirate ship out and go… Nowhere in Particular. It’s not on a map and I can’t tell you how to get there, but you’ll know when you’ve found it.

    The thing about your particular kind of treasure is that it’s unexpected and unusual (who wants to be expected and usual?) and you’re particularly gifted at finding it.

    A tired, worn out Pirate Queen isn’t doing her crew any good by soldiering on past her limits. She’s got to know her limits, declare some personal boundaries, and learn to occasionally let go of the rudder and trust the wind to take to new harbors. Her crew will be all the more loyal to her for taking care of herself, understanding that she’s willing to make the right decisions, even for herself.

    May your sun never set on someplace boring and your sails always be full of adventure.

  22. Holly Hunt
    Twitter: metachaos

    “…the times that you have neglected things before to disastrous consequences.”

    This part reminded me so much of myself, before I started paying attention to how things worked.

    I would be afraid of things happening and hide from the possibility of them, and surprise, surprise, they would happen. I would yell and cry at the world, blaming soulless nothings of hate for my misfortune, blaming anyone but myself.

    But then I got sick of it. I started to pay attention. I started to try to foresee what might go wrong, and do the tiny little things that, if done soon enough, make the path smooth(er) or warn me when the big things will get in my way.

    I believe that you, Havi, have the experience to do those little things to prevent or side-step the big bads from happening; to prevent neglect, in other words. You can take off work when you need to, or even when you want to, and the results can be good.
    .-= Holly Hunt´s last post … My First Personal Ads =-.

  23. Katy
    Twitter: katytafoya

    Yay Selma!! Good for taking Havi away for the day. Here’s hoping there are more days like this day in the future.
    .-= Katy´s last post … Christine Kane’s 5 Large Life Lessons of 2009 =-.

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