This week I’m marking one hundred consecutive weeks of my practice of writing Very Personal Ads.
And I’ve been thinking about all the beautiful wishes that have been wished for, and about everything that has happened as a part of this.
We can talk about some of those incredible Very Personal Ad stories at some point. But today I wanted to talk about those times when you ask for something and you don’t get it, because this is important.
First a hug!
There is nothing more frustrating than not getting what you want.
Oh, wait. Except getting up the courage to ask for it and then still not getting it. That’s even worse.
It’s an awful feeling. Vulnerable and lost.
This is the hug for all those times you have experienced felt the pain of unfulfilled wishes.
For all the various parts of you who have craved love, support and sustenance, and didn’t receive it when they needed it most. I am so sorry.
And after the hug, let’s talk about Very Personal Ads and how the whole thing works.
What a Very Personal Ad is.
A Very Personal Ad is about discovery.
It’s how you find out what your relationship is with the thing you want. And with the wanting.
That’s because it’s a destuckification practice.
And like any destuckification practice, Very Personal Ads are about conscious, loving, mindful self-inquiry. Playful self-investigation.
You’re looking for information. You’re trying to get clarity about what it is you are really and truly asking for.
You’re looking for the qualities and essence of the thing you want. And for new ways to interact with both the object of your desire and with desire itself.
You are collecting data about how you interact with the world and about what needs to happen for you to feel comfortable and safe connecting to the essence of the thing you want.
What a Very Personal Ad isn’t.
A magic fountain you throw pennies into. Suspicious beans that one might theoretically trade a cow for.
Of course, sometimes — even fairly often — outrageously and seemingly magical things happen as a result of writing Very Personal Ads.
They happen in part as a result of the new-found clarity and sense of purpose that come from investigating your relationship with the thing you want.
The problem with treating Very Personal Ads (or any other destuckification practice) as a form of external salvation, is that then we’re relinquishing responsibility. It’s like handing over your sovereignty.
If I give the tooth fairies and the fountains power over my happiness and well-being, I’m pretty much always going to end up disappointed.
But when I stay connected to myself and to the conscious, loving, curious, investigative approach, I will always learn something useful and vital about myself and how I operate. And something about faith as well.
An example of a Very Personal Ad not working.
“I want a million dollars! I want a new job. I want the perfect girl/boyfriend. I want ten new clients.”
It might work. It might not. It’s like the fountain thing. It couldn’t hurt. Toss the penny in if you want to.
But it’s not really a Very Personal Ad because there is no curiosity, no play, no experimentation, no mindfulness, no self-inquiry.
And how you would make that Very Personal Ad start working.
Let’s take the ask for the million dollars.
And put it through the filter of the conscious, loving, curious, mindful, playful destuckification appproach:
“Okay. I’m noticing that I just named a sum which scares me. I’m noticing that I can’t even say it out loud. Oh, and also this: when I think about large sums of money, I get this tightness in my throat. Almost like I can’t breathe.
So maybe what I’m asking for is to feel comfortable having — or even wanting — larger sums of money. And to have that comfort in my body too.
I’m also noticing a lot of internal rules about how things can come to me or that I have to work insanely hard for things and even then it’s not okay to get them.
It seems like this is about safety and trust. So one of my asks is to get better at bringing safety and trust into my life in relation to money and in general. And to brainstorm ways to get more comfortable with receiving.”
That is powerful stuff. And each week you can check in to see where you’re at, you can use what you have learned to edit and alter your request
The truth about Very Personal Ads.
As long as it’s a conscious practice, it can’t not work.
You get information about who you are and how you function. You connect to the essence of the wanting. For example:
How do I bring more safety, support and sovereignty into my life?
You test your hypotheses. You do a spangly revue review.
After one hundred weeks of asking for three or four things a week, and several months of doing daily Very Personal Ads in my Hello, Day ritual, I can say that they always work.
Do I always get what I want? Of course not.
But I always get useful information that can lead me to what I want. Or to understanding how I’m getting in the way of what I want, and why I might be doing that.
And the hug again.
Every once in a while someone will say to me:
“I wrote a VPA for X but I didn’t get it so I stopped writing VPAs.”
And then I give them a hug.
Because that’s the only relevant response in that moment.
The moment of pain not the time to explain why. It’s not the time to respond to the content of their experience: just to the hurt.
It’s like someone you love saying to you: “I started looking at why my relationships are so painful but it’s a mystery so now I’m not going to love anyone again.”
You can’t really convince them to not give up on love. At least not immediately. All you can do is give them love.
So I know that a lot of what I have said here might not sink in right away. And if all you want to take from this is the hug, that’s fine by me.
The answer is usually somewhere in the ask.
And that’s why we keep asking.
But the asking is never prescriptive.
It’s always about wondering, discovering, finding out and being willing to be wrong about pretty much everything.
And comment zen for today.
The usual: we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process. It takes time.
We let other people have their stuff, and we don’t tell each other what to do.
What I would love today:
Stories of how Very Personal Ads (ones you shared here or made silently in head/heart) resulted in you discovering something new or interesting about yourself or the thing you were asking for.
p.s. Should go without saying but of course Shiva Nata is the great destuckifying pattern-untangler of all times. Most of my VPAs have been helped by doing some shivanautical flailing in order to get the insight needed to change the patterns.