What's in the gallery?

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.

What's in the gallery?

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.

A month of meaning

Door of Meaning

Meaning what, exactly

I love having a word to accompany each month, or really,
to accompany me each month as I passage through,
focal point and talisman,
this month though has feeling especially Baader-Meinhof-esque,
that is, the phenomenon of frequency illusion,
aka when a certain something is suddenly, out of nowhere, mysteriously everywhere
and you can’t escape it.

Was everyone in my life already focused on MEANING
and WHAT IS MEANINGFUL
and the HIDDEN MEANINGS inside of everything,
all the time, constantly,
or have I only begun to notice this now,
do you know what I mean?

Hello, meanings.

The Meaning(s) of Meaning

Meaning is Interpretation.

Meaning is CLARITY.

Meaning is INTENTION:
what do I mean and how do I mean it
as well as all forms of {enter as you wish to be in it},
presence + heart glow.

Meaning is a declaration of purpose and intent.

Meaning is also Say What You Want To Say.

“Honestlyyyy I want to see you be brave!”

And, also, this:

Meaning is all the life/soul questions
(sometimes invigorating and sometimes rattling)
that help us investigate what is meaningful
to us, right now,
questions like:

Is This My Yes?
Does This Serve Me? How Am I Of Service?
Is This Truly How I Want To Be In The World?
Why Am I Here (in this location or this relationship or at all)

Alright. Let’s investigate. What is meaningful to me?

In my work: playing with like-minded agents as equals, sharing more writing with you, dismantling external hierarchies, documenting my legacy: the approach, principles and techniques/forms of self-fluency, the art and science of transforming patterns and habits, everything I know about wild-self-treasuring and exploring internal worlds with curiosity, playfulness and love. And spreading this good stuff in the world, may there be more of us doing this work of being conscious and playful with life!

In where I live (location): horizon, expansiveness, yoga/dance, play, connection, peacefulness, stars. Community.

In home: ease, warmth, quiet, coziness, nesting, where do I always feel welcome?

In relationships: love, sweetness, presence, play, independence, treasuring, sharing, clarity, integrity, fluidity, pleasure, freedom, someone to stroke my hair and write loving words on my back.

What is the meaning in this meaning?

I value play, a lot.

And yes, I am still deeply drawn to this wish of having like-minded people to play with and magical places to play. I miss The Playground, my beautiful retreat center. I do not miss the stress of making it work. What is next? What is the new form that is both meaningful and sustainable, meaningful and supportive?

Let’s stay receptive and look for clues.

Clues

November is not only the month of Meaning,
it is the month of the superpower(s) of
{A Breath of Awe and Clues Everywhere},
which I love because it can mean so many things,
a kaleidoscope generating seemingly endless
combinations of meanings.

Awe + Clues: Everywhere!
Awe, and look, clues everywhere.
A breath of awe about all these clues, which are suddenly everywhere.

The clues inspire the awe,
and this awe-state reminds me of other, related superpowers.

Related superpowers to A Breath of Awe and Clues Everywhere.

New Eyes, Look Up, Blink Open,
Finding My Way Back To Receptivity,
Turn Around / Turn It Around / Turn Everything Around,
Breathe Breathe Breathe Breathe.

Words are my magic, words are my medicine,
Breath is my magic, breath is my medicine.

What are my November clues

The extreme kindness I found in Nebraska.

Truthfulness. In October it seemed like everyone I encountered was saying one thing and meaning another. In November, there is refreshing directness. I appreciate this.

Small miracles.

Breathing deeper.

Ring more bells.

What is my November incoming identity

Ah, of course Risk Taker me, time to channel her.

She takes our goals-dreams-wishes very seriously
while still maintaining an approach of play.

She is wild and flirtatious and sexy and mysterious and alluring and owns it,
always playing, always training, always in play, always in training,
she delights in the mysteries, all of them,
including being a wandering witchy [word for teacher who does not teach] a reveler revealer rebel of bells.

Yes, let’s be the Rebel who is the Bell and the Belle (of the ball).
To rebel is to re-bell, to reverberate again in a new way,
I am the rebel who rebels and re-bells.

Sometimes I resist [things that need doing] and I suspect this might also be a form of rebellion
but what if attending to the secret ops on my list could be
its own form of rebellion (and re-bell-ing)
as part of my commitment to Purpose & Intent.

What is the meaning in our missions?

Peacefulness, Freedom, Follow Clues, Follow More Joy.

Share Truth-Love, Breathe Deeper, Turn It Around, Play In Community.

Declaration of Purpose & Intent.

My work is, in many ways, about Agency,
it is the opposite of being the teacher/guru/solver-of-things
let us forever keep dismantling the hierarchy of that!
and more about the combination of
a) everything I do to maintain my ability to be a clear channel and access wisest-me
b) working and playing with people as equals as we process our process, using the approach of self-fluency.

I love working with clients,
and also I sometimes see some gaps in certain concepts and skill-sets,
which another reason I want to document the body of work,
so we all have a useful reference manual when we get stuck/lost/disconnected.

A vision slowly taking shape

What if we develop some sort of training,
an Agenting training
for fellow Secret Agents of Agency,
in the Agency of Agency,
so that we can play as equals,
channeling our wisdom and the universal sea of wisdom together,
glowing courage-sparks and truth-love into the world.

Anything else about this?

Not sure of the form yet, maybe a manual, maybe a not-a-course delivered by email, maybe a retreat, maybe some combination of these.

Presumably a mostly self-directed DIY sort of thing so that I don’t even accidentally wind up on a pedestal, because that goes against the whole intent of all of it. INTENT AND MEANING. That is what matters.

If this interests you, let me know!

Okay, let’s seed this wish with great love and patience, and see what emerges.

A pause for a tiny freak-out related to something entirely different.

Me: Help I am feeling very distracted and disjointed because I took a risk related to someone I love, and now I am in oh shit what did I do mode.

Incoming me the rebelling bell: Hey, risks are our fuel. There is no point in worrying about how they are received because we already get all the points possible in the video game for taking the risk, this is also true of competing in dance, it one hundred percent doesn’t matter who you draw, how you dance or if you place, because you get all the points for competing, and anything on top of that is a complete bonus, and you know better than anyone that the game is completely rigged to begin with so it doesn’t reflect on you it only reflects on the game, you just have to reverberate more and better.

Me: How do I do this?

Incoming me the rebelling bell: I need you to breathe and remember how to be a bell. What if I tell you that all that is happening now is perfect, this nervousness about risk-just-taken is perfect, even fear is perfect because it is revealing and allows you to reflect more (both meanings of reflect, to turn inward and contemplate but also to shine your light and bring more vision to the world, to be clear), this is all related to Purpose & Intent, everything is working out just right. Can you turn your BADASS REBEL CONFIDENCE up to a thousand, and set a bell for eight minutes and focus on the mission? I’m with you.

Talking to a door / seeding wishes at the threshold

I love this month’s door and its pretty prayer flags,
colorful wishes
are exactly what is needed.

Wishing for:
Peacefulness. May all beings find peace.
Sweetness.
Solutions.
Simplicity.
An Undoing that is a Returning.
An Unwinding that is also a form of Do-overs Forever!
Let This Be Made Right.
Sustenance and Sustainability.
Solace.
What I need is here when I need it.
I am a bell.

What does the door know?

The Door Of Meaning says:
You are always welcome here,
you are always welcome,
you think you don’t belong, you think Meaning is beyond,
that you are only getting by,
and yet your words your work your smile your joy
it is all meaningful and full with this meaning,
and you are love and you are loved,
and your beautiful full-and-broken heart
can hold all of this,
no contradictions,
no holding back,
cry as much as you want
at the door
it is safe to feel and want,
to know and not-know,
to have a vision and no path, or a path but no vision yet,
trust: it will all sort itself out,
nothing to do here but breathe awe and breathe clues,
breathe for passage,
feel for the meaning you have not found yet,
it is there even when you don’t see it

{trust love more}

Invocation of Meaning

I am Fierce & Fearless
Powerful & Striking
Of The Earth & Wild
Glowing & Alive

May we unwind what needs unwinding,
breathe into our heart,
wear our crown,
love-more trust-more release-more receive-more
learn to seek-and-become refuge for ourselves,
ring more bells,
yes to life

Invitation: Communal wish/processing space! Come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

You can also share how things have been going, check in, or deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, possibly in code.

Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

Wishes and checking-in are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes!

Portrait of the artist processing a [crisis-with-a-small-c]

Derailed.

This morning all my plans for a day of Making Big Progress On The Project were waylaid by what is ultimately, I hope, a minor crisis or maybe even not a crisis at all, but which felt/feels more like an enormous insurmountable disaster, and I cried, in public, again, and it was awful.

Except there was this moment, the briefest clearing of static, and in this moment I was able to hear this narration in my head as it was happening — Everything Is Awful! What About Your Plans! Waylaid! Crisis! Crying In Public Again!

It was the word [again], that particular intonation, the blaming voice, and I was able to remember that [again] is almost always a monster-word, which means it is also a clue.

Words are clues. This means this story of Derailed is also a clue, something I can investigate, with love.

Narration.

Anyone can have the job of narrator of my life if I’m not paying attention, so I always want to channel the wisest, most compassionate version of me to voice my internal narratives.

Here’s to the superpower of hey guess what, I get to decide who to nominate for this job!

Remembering this option is where I interrupt the pattern of the Narration of Doom, and pattern-interruption is what self-fluency is all about.

Process.

I asked Slightly Wiser Me to walk through this with me, to be my companion, can we traverse this current experience of [crisis] together, can we take a step and then another step?

This is called process, and here is the shape my process has been taking today.

Caveats!

I share this with the usual reminder about People Vary, aka my steps don’t need to be yours.

Additionally, it is not at all important which steps we take or how many or in which order or even if we perceive them as steps. We play, we try things, it is all a practice, and like any practice, it is alive and dynamic and can change shape as needed.

Some things work well, other experiments will probably want to be adjusted next time. Everything counts.

This isn’t a map or a formula or a recipe, take it more as a snapshot, a postcard or a series of clues. This is how process looked for me, today, one possible example of interacting with life as it is happening.

We reach for what works in a moment, and, with any luck and a lot of practice, we are able notice what types of techniques we like, how they work for us, and what we might want to try next time.

Love.

So let’s breathe love for process, and let’s breathe, in general, because that is where I started.

The step before all other steps: remembering to breathe

Once I notice that I am in a loop of monster-ing, I interrupt it with breath.

Oh, right. I am in a body, my body is where I live, breath is what brings me home, no matter how choppy the waters of my thoughts, I can soften into breath and noticing.

Hello, life force. Hello, fluctuation. I am here.

Even though this train of monster-thoughts that I just noticed sounds very believable, it is a story, it is one possible story, not necessarily true. Breath will return me to steadiness, and from steadiness I will find something more true.

Let’s trust the breathing, trust and breathe. We’ve got this.

Step: acknowledgement & legitimacy!

This is the door that always returns me to self-fluency, acknowledgment & legitimacy.

Sometimes it is too hard to offer this to myself, so I have to channel wisest me or imagine what I would say to a friend going through something hard.

Wise Me: Oh wow, Unexpected Bad News is really very distressing, especially when it changes all your plans, one hundred percent understandable that you got thrown by this. Let’s breathe some compassion for all this distress. Crying in a supermarket seems not only like a normal human reaction to a genuinely upsetting situation, but probably the best possible option available. Good reaction, nervous system! Good job, tear ducts! You guys are doing your job of releasing.

Me: Are you sure?

Wise Me: Babe, you are doing amazing. Look at all the strenuous, challenging circumstances in your life. You are already dealing with agonizing heartbreak, which honestly would be reason enough to fall apart on the regular, even without being between homes, as a wanderer whose car broke down mid-road-trip, and dealing with the work-related mysteries and the physical-therapy mysteries plus the unanticipated expenses of both, not to mention the ongoing ptsd of this presidency. It is honestly a miracle that we’re not all crying in public all day every day. Any one of these things would be devastating on its own, any one of these things could set off the monster narratives, and you are dealing with all of this at once, and it is so much, do you even realize how much you are dealing with here.

Me: Thank you.

Wise Me: Experiencing distress in reaction to distressing circumstances is legitimate and understandable. These feelings are valid, even when the monsters say that our reaction is overblown (which is hilarious given that they’re the ones trying to convince us everything is awful, they need to chill). We are allowed to be having this intense reaction to life!

Step: Small external shifts. Or: what needs to change in my environment?

Ah, of course, ear plugs.

Noticing that I am in a very loud place, which is probably not helping. Acknowledgment and legitimacy for the challenges of being a highly sensitive person in a world of overwhelming sensory chaos.

Do I want to practice Change My Place, Change My Luck?

What else is needed?

Let’s apply [RGW] because Replenishing Glass of Water always helps.

How am I feeling in my body? What would help me feel better? Feet on the ground. Shoulders can relax, let’s keep ribs anchored down. More breathing.

Step: internal shifts.

There are endless ways to do this but I like to use sixteen breaths cycling around the points of my compass, a breath towards each direction-point, clockwise and counter-clockwise.

North: Fierce. Northeast: Fearless. East: Powerful. Southeast: Striking. South: Of the earth. Southwest: Wild. West: Glowing. Northwest: Alive.

I am fierce, I am fearless, I am powerful, I am striking, I am of the earth. I am wild, I am glowing and alive. I am alive and glowing, wild and of the earth, strikingly powerful, fearless and fierce.

Yes. This feels better.

Step: Noticing and naming the monsters, giving them keys to the Safe House.

I see you. Hello to You Are A Terrible Adult and You Have Fucked Up Everything Again and Nothing Ever Works.

I appreciate how you have my best interest at heart and how deeply you want to keep me safe, and at the same time, there is no way I can take steps to deal with this [crisis-with-a-lowercase-c] while also dealing with all this blame-and-shame.

Can we establish a safe house for y’all to playdate while I take some steps? Can you observe from afar, and maybe pass notes to a Negotiator?

Step: Perspective and sparklepoints.

Hey I might be crying in public but this time it was because of my broken car and not because of my broken heart, this is a huge improvement.
Hey I am taking steps.
Hey I am paying attention.
Hey I am remembering to breathe.
Hey I am amazing for doing this all on my own in these scary times.

A hundred billion sparklepoints to me for being in this difficult moment and taking steps, whatever they are, I am trying things and they all count.

Plus extra bonus sparklepoints for being able to do anything since that awful day last november when the election results were in [ptsd of 45] began, really how do we even concentrate on work or car trouble or anything, how do we ever manage to not cry in public, we are doing amazing, really we are, all of us, even when it doesn’t seem like it at all, let’s breathe perspective.

Even more perspective!

There will be treasure in this mystery, there always is, and I can skip a stone on that later if I want to, maybe that will be one of the steps in my process.

Step: Name the mission, what do we know about it?

Ugh I have to find out if my car insurance will cover [terrifying monster-number unexpected cost], and I want to find a better name for this mission because nothing about this sounds fun.

Right now this mission is an iguana, but it doesn’t have to be.

We also have some phobia stuff around this especially when it comes to contacting institutions, so how can we make this better? Let’s investigate!

Elements and superpowers of the mission:

Congruence, Peacefulness, A Return To Harmony, Turning Things Around, Elemental, Being The Loving Observer, Dropping In, Attentiveness, Treating My Objects With Love, Treasuring My Life, Ask For Help, Where Is My Partner In This aka how can I be the best possible partner to myself right now

Yes, this is good intel. Let’s call this Operation Harmonize.

Step: FRACTAL FLOWERS

I feel better when I remember that everything is connected, and I call this fractal flowers .

My monsters believe that spending my day dealing with insurance (and processing all this process) is an enormous waste of time, taking me away from my other important missions. But if I pause and breathe, I can remember that anything I do in service of this project is initiating secret underground progress on all the other projects.

Whatever intentions I set for this mission, the clues revealed and the insights that land, the treasure I uncover, everything I learn about myself, all of this supports my other projects and brings them closer to fruition, even if I didn’t take any active visible steps on them today.

Tending to one piece of my garden nourishes my entire environment. It all counts.

I invoke the fractal flowers to remember that Nothing Is Wasted, this unexpected detour is not taking me away from anything important, it is another door that can bring me closer to myself if I let it.

All my adventures are intertwined, all the mysteries are connected, today I am focused on this one, but whatever I do today is supportive of all the projects my monsters say I am neglecting. They are wrong. The superpowers of intention and fractal are more powerful than their judgment.

Step: CWUs!

CWU stands for Complete Willingness Unit, it’s something I borrowed from the amazing Barbara Sher, except I change the acronym all the time, today it is Code Word Universal!

The CWU is just the smallest, least stressful step that you can think of that you will actually take.

My CWUs for Operation Harmonize included 1) look up contact info for insurance, 2) find numbers I need to give them, 3) the briefest script of what I want to ask.

If my CWUs are still too scary (legitimate and understandable!), I can rename them or use the metaphor trick or make them even smaller.

An imaginary helper works too, Barrington absolutely loves to look up contact information for me.

Step: Alignment!

I have written about this technique quite a bit, it is a favorite and it always works and I have no idea why.

You come up with six or so things you imagine you have in common with the person you will be interacting with, even if you know nothing about them, just based on their job and what it is like to be a human in the world.

This practice helps me approach from the mindset of We Are Equals, instead of going into Must Rebel Against Perceived Authority mode aka my default state. Alignment helps me keep my crown on.

Like this:

  1. this person and I both want easy solutions!
  2. we both want a harmonious interaction
  3. we both want to resolve this with the least amount of stress possible
  4. we are both present and engaged, having this conversation is our job today
  5. this person’s job is service, which is a quality of spirit, I can also attune to Service, the practice of being in-and-of service, what if this interaction can be transformative, a fractal flower in the field where good is seeded
  6. we both want our work to have Meaning (haha, we are in the month of meaning, this keeps coming up)

Step: Invocation/wish-scripting.

Or, what will help me feel best while I do a scary thing? How do I envision this?

I keep my feet on the ground, I feel the ground, I remember to breathe, I remember to smile. I connect with a playful person whose approach puts me at ease and we are able to enjoy this unique human interaction. We are both aligned with the higher mission, our channels of communication are clear, I remember that I am safe. Nothing Is Wrong. I have all the help and support I need.

And now we check in and notice.

That was my afternoon today, a passage from crying in public to doing something regarding the not-good news, and now we check in and notice.

What worked?

Alignment is so good. The support person I contacted, Alyssa, was warm and kind, my dread was unwarranted. I remembered to breathe and smile.

Even better, I was able to notice when I was placing my feet not-on-the-ground and make postural adjustments, a thousand sparklepoints to me for maintaining body awareness inside of a stressful moment.

Yes, monsters are not happy that it took so many steps (“why can’t you just be someone who takes care of life shit as it happens without being paralyzed by fear and pain?”) but guess what, the steps took us to where we needed to be, and got things moving.

Most importantly, I did a thing that scared me and I did not cry while doing it, and that is a Big Deal, so let’s celebrate what is.

What do I want to try next time?

Hmmm. Noticing many more monsters about how long it took and monster-judgment that I have done everything wrong, and I still don’t have good news and won’t know until tomorrow, and won’t have a vehicle for five more days.

Mainly though I am working on noticing monster-narratives sooner, and calling in an Incoming Me who is really committed to harmony and congruence, and takes action on things that aren’t working.

Anything else?

I’d also like to do more exploring into this story about “derailed”, the idea that my day can be derailed or a project can be derailed, when what I actually believe is that everything that happens while working on a project is in fact part of that project, even if it seems to be a distraction, even if it is a wild rabbit hole.

So yes, the monster story says today took me away from my Real Project, but what if everything I experienced, learned, practiced and processed today is actually actively supporting both the work of my real project and my relationship to that project?

Can I remember that my actual Real Project is taking exquisite care of myself, learning more about who I am in the world and what I need to function and thrive, pursuing pleasure and freedom and the aliveness of life? In that sense, of course everything I played with today is in service of the Real Project.

Also, when is derailed a good thing? Maybe my day did get derailed, but also I derailed the monster-train of Everything Is Wrong, so maybe sometimes derailing is good/useful/treasure. When is it useful to derail? What do I know about this?

This is process.

Not linear, sometimes messy. Curious and compassionate. Intentional and also unpredictable. There is so much more I want to say about this, and will save those words for another day, for now just love.

Invitation (come play with me / how we play here)

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here

You are welcome share anything sparked for you while reading, maybe you have new ideas about steps and process, techniques and approach you want to play with for your own projects and secret ops.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to look anything like yours, and this is a good thing.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation.

Further Resources in the shop!

Go deeper into self-fluency with the monster manual, or get me to write even more by joining our secret op!

A surprise chickening

A chicken of

Do you remember when we used to chicken (as a verb) on Fridays?

A shared ritual in the form of PAUSING TO REFLECT, then checking in here to share what was observed.

The check-in-ing sounds like chickening, the words get tangled up, as sometimes happens to me and sometimes also happens with my week, and the best part of the chicken ritual was knowing: no matter how tangled my week might get, I would still end up here, where the unwinding of self and week begins.

There were no rules, it changed shape and form as it needed to, we’d mostly just name the bits of the week that were hard and recount the parts that were good.

Really this is also the practice of Acknowledgment & Legitimacy.

Yes, the hard things *were* really hard!
Yes, good noticing, these other things were pleasurable and meaningful, they raised the joy factor, and they count!
Yes, sometimes what was hard was also good,
and vice versa, yes, acknowledgment and legitimacy for this too.

Breathing for the hard, challenging and extremely-mysterious mysteries of this week.

I desperately miss someone I hate
and still can’t stop crying
in public, like, pretty much constantly,
also cannot coax body to eat,
so worn out from 36 days on the road
and the seemingly endless miscommunications
and panicky-panics,
noticing many things that are not as they were and therefore disorienting,
too many decisions, overwhelming logistics,
the monsters of You Are Behind On Everything and
Extreme Doom,
it can be so challenging sometimes to remember that Now
Is Not Then,
especially with real terror in the air
that extra-porous highly-sensitive-person me feels
as far-away things are happening,
car is still broken,
heart too, yes, ugh, need a new metaphor for this pain-rage grief state,
betrayal and loss,
and yes, I also cried a lot about other things in the air like
actual nazis, treasonous collusion that seemingly meets no consequences,
all the memories of assault and all the stirred up me-toos,[boundaries boundaries boundaries boundaries] long aching days of driving,
and hiding from myself, and others,
when it all is too much.

Acknowledgement & Legitimacy for how hard these hard things are.

Breathing for the good, joyful and rewarding bits of this week.

oh god bless mueller and the first spark of hopefulness since that awful day in november,
are we finally at the point in the movie where someone says IT GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP,
and we, the audience, are muttering yes good grief it took you guys long enough,
breathing for that, may these sparks become flames,
also I made it to a quiet peaceful ranch in nebraska where
a tiny sweet kitten and two loving dogs immediately adopted me as their own,
so much kindness, really and truly everywhere,
a waitress at a diner gave me an ice scraper for my car and insisted I keep it,
a stranger squeezed my hand while I cried,
so many people made me tea,
there was refuge in the form of an empty gym when I needed to be alone,
and in the form of dancing with jake on the carpet in the dark,
sometimes one moment would be so beautiful, so utterly gasp-worthy, we would
set something in motion to find it again,
the ken burns documentary about FDR was oddly calming,
as was watching it in the easy quiet company of an ex from nineteen years ago
who is now a friend, see, things can change shape and pain ebbs,
mary lou understood about everything, including how grief can eat away at appetite,
and listened and didn’t push,
and chris kept me company for two hours on the hardest day,
this trip has delivered many surprises but mostly in the form of new friends,
breathing for the good things I have already forgotten,
or didn’t appreciate enough,
breathing for tacos, libraries, shortcuts, signs, clues, labyrinths,
the road less traveled,
warmth when I needed it,
and new superpowers that get stronger each day.

And I made a page: come join our secret op if you haven’t already!

A hundred billion sparklepoints for remembering the good.

Come play

Share your chicken or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation. Thank you, week. Thank you, friends who keep company here.

Acknowledgment & Legitimacy

This post is part of a Self Fluency basics series.

I love basics. Returning to basics is how we exit the middle — the advanced practice is *always* found in the beginning practice; back to the foundations, back to receptivity, curiosity and wonder.

In both yoga and dance, I revisit the basics constantly to deepen my understanding of the essence of my practice, and when I work with clients (aka when I play with fellow secret agents in the Secret Agency of Agency!), we also return to basics as if they are new.

Our prep work involves investigating the core concepts of self-fluency, practicing until they become second nature, until we can automatically apply them to anything we’re going through. I’m sharing this series so you can play along with us. One of the most foundational pieces of what we do here is [Acknowledgment & Legitimacy], this is an exploration of that…

practice

We live in a culture that privileges the ability to get over things,
move past, be over it already, be okay again.

(Or, maybe better said,
our culture rewards the appearance of having done this,
whether anyone actually achieves this or not seems to be largely irrelevant.)

This is why the practice of Acknowledgment & Legitimacy
— letting hard things be hard, making room for an experience to be how it is in that moment, remembering that [uncomfortable emotion] is a very valid and understandable reaction to whatever the circumstances may be, even if it isn’t immediately clear why —
is so deeply subversive:

the revolution internal

We sow the seeds of revolution whenever we
release ourselves of
any obligation to
get over it already,
or in any time frame at all.

Each time we notice-and-question this inherited mindset of
“hurry up and move through it”,
we are interrupting the hierarchy,
changing the established patterns,
setting something new into motion
yes, in ourselves,
and also out into the world.

revolution like uprising and revolution like circles, spirals, like the roundness of sound and resonance, bells echoing outwards

sometimes what is unlikely is still true

We can actually heal much faster when we intentionally choose [not-pushing],
when we undo external or internalized expectations about
how long the grieving/recovery/______ process should take
or what it might look like,
when we let go of the idea of a finish line,
and notice the perpetual and exhausting perception that we are always
late or lagging behind.

(a flash of memory, from the book Momo by Michael Ende,
when walking backwards, slowly and intentionally,
is what gets our heroes down the magical path to sanctuary
faster than hurrying)

ease even when not easy

Painful things can change shape with more ease
when we aren’t so invested in making them change as soon as possible,
shift happens
it does

And it happens in the timing that is needed,
which can also change,
and anyway, all timing becomes reasonable
when we agree to things being how they are in this moment,
and then, guess what, more often than not
this quiet intentional not-fighting with the timing just speeds up the process
even though we now know this doesn’t actually matter
and we whisper thank you in our hearts for the superpower of
All Timing Right Timing.

* And if we have (very understandable) resistance to that superpower,
see the next section for a workaround

wait, I have to mention a sneaky workaround!

Guess what, we also apply acknowledgment and legitimacy to the moments when
the idea that this could be right timing
seems impossible: the exact opposite of what is true,
that perception too is legitimate, it is all legitimate,
that’s the point, even [frustration with acknowledgment and legitimacy] can be met with acknowledging the legitimacy of that frustration:

yes, it *does* feel really frustrating right now!
we are allowed to feel frustrated!
it makes sense that we would feel frustrated!
it is okay to not want to apply legitimacy!
good noticing, me!

brave

This work is brave
and especially so by virtue of being
unacknowledged and unsupported,
which makes the act of choosing it counter-intuitive,
it asks us to contradict culture.

Like many things simple-and-true, this is not necessarily easy,
the practice of Acknowledgement & Legitimacy can be
enormously challenging, especially the part where we learn to embody it,
but we practice anyway…

heart

Acknowledgment & Legitimacy is at the very heart of self-fluency,
and so when I work with (play with!) fellow secret agents,
establishing this as our baseline automatic response to everything
well, this is the always the beginning of our training.

Acknowledgment & Legitimacy is how we
meet ourselves where we are, in the pain-grief-fear-numb,
or whatever it is we find ourselves experiencing,
with no agenda, just empathy, curiosity, presence, love,
and by doing this we create a refuge in time-space,
inside of which
the right-for-us answers and the indicated next steps
reveal themselves.

process

We let these inherited rules of culture,
(in the form of expectations perceived and internalized)
untangle and dissolve,
and we do this through noticing that they are there.

And the very beginning of this work of learning to embody
Acknowledgment & Legitimacy is in the noticing,
particularly in noticing where they are not,
because examples of lack are much more abundant,
and because we need to expand our awareness of why we feel
crappy about ourselves so much of the time

Haha it’s because the game is rigged, and culture is not supportive of process but we are dynamic beings who are constantly in process!

Anyway, there is lots more we could say about that,
but I want to talk about how we undo these patterns,
about the process of training

training

And so we train ourselves, slowly and steadily,
to observe culture in action,
internal and external,
we see where and how we have learned to respond to
our pain, how new and vulnerable it can feel to choose
kindness, spaciousness and permission as the alternative response,
(and that’s okay too, see what I did there?)
we notice and keep noticing so that we can
rewrite our own patterns within the bigger culture,
and (she types hopefully)
echo out new culture…

self-fluency

As secret agents devoted to the studies of
self-fluency, self-knowledge, wild self-treasuring,
part of our work is to train ourselves to catch onto this,
to pick up on these bits of culture
happening around us and inside of us,
in the language we hear and in how we speak to ourselves,
noticing all the places that Acknowledgment & Legitimacy aren’t
(aren’t welcomed, are neglected and forgotten)
as well as where they can come in,
receptive to discovering
what changes in us and in our lives when we invite them in.

observing and being observant

Can we be the observers who see culture at work,
noting the mostly-invisible pressures that push in favor of[get past painful things and move through them],
both for the convenience of others and
as a badge of honor,
as if getting to a state of “fine with it” is the only end game,
recovery and perceived well-ness the accomplishments that are
rewarded with positivity, warmth, love, admiration and so on.

Can we see how we do this to ourselves as well,
how we want so badly to be through the process instead of in it,
and meet that with acknowledgment and legitimacy,
what a kind and loving intention inside this pattern, to desire healing,
to wish for the pain (ours and others) to subside,
to pass and ebb,
as it will when we don’t make its passing the requirement?

And: what if we can practice
the gentle art of
{presence with what is > achieving}

but/and/also

But/and/also, as people devoted to the studies self-fluency,
don’t take my word for any of this.

I am sharing bits and pieces of my perspective
both about this phenomenon of culture,
and about the approach of Acknowledgment & Legitimacy,
which for me is possibly the most important element in what we do,
the core of getting to know ourselves with love,
the basis for all the other work we do
in transforming the patterns, habits and relationships that hurt or don’t work for us,
that keep us in
real and perceived states of stuck,
but of course agreeing with me is never a prerequisite for self-fluency,
it’s not even relevant to the work:

We are all wise and thoughtful beings,
we are all capable of self-reflection,
and coming to our own conclusions.

yours

I share this concept, as everything else, with the expectation that you,
as a wise thoughtful person who interacts with life,
will examine the hypothesis yourself,
play, toss it around, reinterpret, expand on what is here,
make it your own.

And I share it while trusting that you will remember
(but oh hey, here is a reminder anyway!) that
I am not the queen-empress of self-knowledge and self-exploration,
of course you will figure out what is most right for you,
we are all just practicing
practicing and noticing,
meeting ourselves with love
or with more love than before,
as much as we can to the extent that we can
right now, in this moment,
yes?

other caveats, the usual ones

We invoke, as always, the principle of People Vary,
it might be that you personally do great with Get Over It Already,
I have a friend who likes to set grieving deadlines,
and this works for him as a practice, you know you best,
the idea here is being conscious and curious about
how we are
and what we need
,
as well as how best to take care of ourselves,
while maintaining an approach of compassion, nonviolence,
inviting the kind of change that comes from love.

I have no interest in telling you how to be or perceive,
my goal/intention here is the same as always:
can we be curious compassionate explorers and investigators
of our internal and external worlds?

how do we practice being a noticer who notices

To learn about Acknowledgment & Legitimacy,
we also have to look at where it isn’t, because almost no one models this,
but luckily we can learn from the lack.

An excellent place to do this is in film/television media,
where it can be more removed and less painful
than in our immediate relationships,
and we can see how this plays out in everything from
the way people say “Aw Don’t Cry”,
like this is supposed to be considered a form of comfort (?!),
to all other forms of PUSH THROUGH IT,
but yes you will begin to notice this everywhere if you don’t already,
for example in internet memes,
overheard snippets of conversation and
inside your own head.

a top secret undertaking, aka DIY homework, if you want some!

Next time, or some time soon,
I will share some examples of what it looks like
when we practice Acknowledgment & Legitimacy in various situations,
something you’ve probably seen me do a hundred thousand times on the blog.

But for now, let’s see how many noticing we can notice
and share some here,
as a way of honing our clarity and our presence,
recognizing all the places Acknowledgment & Legitimacy can help,
as well as the ways they get lost in
the air we breathe / the water we swim in,
as well as noting ways we can change our approach
to glow more Acknowledgment and more Legitimacy,
meeting ourselves and our pain with grace and the sweetness of
presence that has no agenda.

We can bring positive examples (the category of What’s Working)
or things you wish to see change (the category of Next Time I Might…),
as well as anything useful you’ve learned or internalized on this topic
from reading Fluent Self posts over the years.

DO WE WANT MORE [BACK TO BASICS] POSTS LIKE THIS?

Excellent, because I really want to write them. And I want to share more personal process here to show this stuff in action. And if we find 108 people who want to take part in this grand experiment, I will be posting lots. More about this and other ways to take part!
xox

Come play with me (and how we play here)

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation.

Wishing for Refuge / A Refuge for Wishing

Door of Wishing

Paths

I am driving across North America because a bridge told me to
(more on that later)
and I am walking labyrinths in each place I pass through,
it is absolutely remarkable how many labyrinths hide in plain sight,
you might be in Cody, Wyoming, land of big sky and taciturn cowboys and not much else,
but lo and behold: a labyrinth,
waiting for you to passage to its center
and return new.

Not lost (again)

Whenever I tell people I walk labyrinths,
they always think I mean a maze, but I never mean a maze.

You can’t get lost in a labyrinth,
and I mean many things by that.

Verbs

The truth is, it isn’t so much that I walk labyrinths as I listen to them,
but I listen to them as I take the path,
so from the outside it looks like walking.

Labyrinths are always wise and often opinionated,
a bit like bridges, though not so unpredictable.

And, like the house, they always win.

You can enter the labyrinth in any state of mind,
and return calmer and steadier, altered-state,
the quieting power of the labyrinth always wins
over anything I might bring to it.

The labyrinth always wins

I like to greet a labyrinth by holding an intention in my heart,
or I drop a question inside its edges, asking for clarity,
— BUT —
it doesn’t actually matter,
the labyrinth works its wonders on me either way.

Even if I forget to practice conscious entry,
if I neglect to pause, to consider how I want to approach,
or even if I stumble in completely disoriented
from this raging heartbroken grief-state,
caught up in my ongoing internal storms of
destruction, fury, upheaval,
the vertigo of loss…

Even then

Even then, by the time I reach center,
my breath has slowed, my feet feel the ground again,
by the time I exit, my thank-you heart is full of awe,
I kiss my palms and place them on my cheeks,
remembering that I am the bell tower where
resonance lives.

I can try to forget but there it is

Yes, I can forget the yoga of
{Enter As You Wish To Be In It, Exit As You Wish To Continue}
which is the yoga of aliveness,
and still it brings me to presence,
to breath, to perspective,
and to wild self-treasuring.

Labyrinths are unfuckupable,
and this is important too,
they are more powerful than my sadness,
and anyway my internal state can change,
this is important too.

Translations.

The other day I decided that if I had a business card it would say
Labyrinth Translator!

But thinking about this also makes me the tiniest bit sad
regarding the ongoing mystery of why is this not my job,
why can I not be paid to listen to the labyrinths
and share what they tell me?

Maybe we can figure that out too.

Opening

I found myself at the opening of a labyrinth
located inside of a wildlife refuge in Willapa, Washington,
because Operation Tell Me About The Wild Life is still hilarious

It turns out, when you say yes to the Wild Life out in the wild wilds
as your wildest self who lives by instinct and breath,
guess what is needed most in order to really
go/be wild:

{refuge}

The labyrinth of what is mine

I could write all day every day on any topic and still somehow end up
circling this same theme of the relationship
between {Freedom & Sanctuary}
and how I always think it has to be either one or the other,
when actually one enhances the other,
I can be wild and held, wild and held, wild and held.

This is presence and this is devotion,
walking the labyrinth paths of my mind,
mapping the crown points,
reminding myself that I am allowed to pursue Pleasure,
reminding myself that I am allowed to desire Safety,
I am allowed to desire.

What is refuge

This topic feels intensely personal as well as extremely political,
especially given how each day (in these not particularly united states)
(and maybe wherever you are too)
feels even more terrifying and disorienting,
as we grapple with the helplessness of
too many awful situations,
so many people in dire need of sanctuary,
how do we serve, what do we focus on when everything is on fire,
and how do we take exquisite care of ourselves so as to not
burn out from
fury and fear?

I have thoughts on this too,
and, if we come up with the funds to allow for more
writing time here, I will share some concepts and
techniques from my Wild Self Treasuring in Troubled Times workshop

The ongoing prayer-wish of refuge

May everything that is mine return to me,
may I release everything else.

May all beings find safety and shelter,
may the next indicated next steps on the labyrinth path of justice
reveal themselves now.

Air

The air in Portland was thick with ash from the fires
and a favorite yoga person said
it is okay to go seek refuge
it doesn’t always have to be inside you
go, set off to the place where you can breathe

This was a good reminder for me about the superpower of
{change your place change your luck}

And I was fortunate to be able to run away and camp out on the coast,
among giant trees under that red fire moon, breathe again.

Verbs, again.

A verb for refuge: seek

Stories about direction/s and a secret mission

This summer a bridge reminded me of a vital mission I have allowed myself to forget,
and I don’t want to say that the bridge chastised me,
because that is a bit extreme, and also bridges are wise and kind,
they know about All Timing Is Right Timing,
but I will say the bridge was extremely clear that now is when this needs to happen,
this whole thing is kind of a long story — maybe for later? — but
here’s the short version: I am on the road.

This is a thing that happens to me sometimes,
places speak and I listen, these encounters have changed
the course and current of my life,
and now I am on the road.

Direction changes (two meanings)

First this 5038 mile voyage given to me by the bridge,
and then on to whatever is indicated next,
this apparently will be revealed towards the end of that number of miles,
which, okay, I mean, that sounds medium-reasonable,
certainly no less bizarre than the other times that a bridge has
firmly but lovingly given me a direction change,
that’s what this is,
a direction change.

I don’t know what this mission is about, but I don’t need to yet.

Mainly I will be walking labyrinths, following clues,
going to the places that need me, or so the bridge said.

Though it seems equally likely that I also need these places
as much as they need my presence, because this is the nature of things.

We let something go and the letting go is a gift,
and the trees release oxygen/love for us,
release and receive, receive and release,
this is how it works, like breath.

Calling on (and in) superpowers for this voyage

If you read them slowly while breathing deeply,
you might feel their sparkle, and if any appeal to you, you can fill up on them,
letting them spill over into your life,
taking as much as you like because there is plenty for everyone,
or if these don’t resonate, name your own…
  • What I Need When I Need It aka Beautifully Provided For
  • I Can See What I Have (so many meanings!)
  • I Remember Who I Am (and: I respect the work of staying true to what I know)
  • True To This Wild Heart
  • I Know Exactly When Less Is More and When More Is More (and can easily switch modes)
  • Receive The Redirection / Follow Until It Changes / The Endless Play Of Counter-Balance
  • SET NO PATH NEVER LOSE MY WAY
  • Willing To Seek Refuge (can I perceive this as an act of strength)
  • Breathe Into The Blind Spots / Change The Feel Of My Field / Give Myself To Breath
  • If it’s not full wild When-Harry-Met-Sally-Diner-Scene-Yes then let it be an easy no

Naming what is needed

I said this once, and it is still true:
It is almost impossible to convey how
oddly magical superpowers are,
so much more so than they should be,
and I am convinced that much of their power comes from
the process of naming them*

Naming is invoking, invoking is inviting, inviting is priming yourself to observe, observing leads to sparks of insight, and these sparks are our ally in embodying what was named.

* And, through naming powers, we remember first that they exist, and then that how we feel in this moment can change! We interact with a moment and change how we are inside of that moment, the moment becomes different and new, and so do we, except really we are MORE ourselves than we were before, which is the entire point of conscious transformation aka the heart of self-fluency!

Bandon

On the Oregon coast, in Bandon, truly a beautiful place,
there is someone, his name is Denny, he goes out to the beach and
creates stunning elaborate labyrinths in the sand,
they last until the tide comes in and wipes them away,
his art comes into form in order to be erased
can we breathe for the wonder and magnificence of this?

If

If the disappearance/destruction of a form can enhance
the treasuring of forms,
if a return to tabula rasa is part of both the art and the magic,
if we can appreciate the poignancy of
making something together that is more powerful than what I can make on my own,
and if the letting it go can be a part of the treasure of receiving…

Is there not something tremendous and magical in that, a powerful form of growth?

A story

Someone loved me and loved me and loved me and then
something happened and they forgot how to love me,
am I able to let this person now become the tide that
washes away the beautiful love-labyrinth that we
created together in the sand

And/or

Is loving this person the beautiful labyrinth that I traversed
in the sand until the tide came and washed it away,
too many unresolved questions here
like when is it time to let the tide be the tide
and when is the time to fight for big wild love,
to build a labyrinth of pretty stone on high ground
(sanctuary)

Here is something new:
if I do choose to let something go, I no longer agree
to let it go by turning my back the way I have before,
it is time for a new way

Pain, again.

The whole thing with the tide is that you know the tide is coming
you even know more or less when,
you know the beauty is tied to the impermanence,
a shared creation that will be washed away someday,
because everything ends,
and maybe re-form or maybe not re-form, depending, on so many things,
but what is this early tide with no explanation, what is that,
what is this storm and why can’t we walk together and talk it out.

These are the kinds of questions I take to labyrinths when
I walk them, or, it looks like I am walking them,
but really they are giving me dictation,
and reminding me to breathe into my blind spots.

Walking, again.

I want to let things change shape in the same way that I
walk my labyrinths
(or they walk me)
(they put me through my paces),
calm and steady, feeling the ground,
trusting the winding circles
to unwind my pain
and return me
to love.

Superpowers, again

I am calling on all the Bandon labyrinth superpowers regardless of what happens,
I am ready to be someone who marvels over the beauty and grace in
cycles of [love-and-loss],
and breathes for tides doing what they do,
even when there are tears involved,
I am ready to be someone who invites love in,
and builds stone labyrinths on high ground
with the people I trust to walk with me.

I am making wishes about my business.

My business and this space have been a refuge for many people over the past
nearly thirteen years,
and I am glad for that,
just as I am thankful for my magical retreat center
which also washed away with the tides

The time has come though for my business to also be a refuge for me,
and the time is here for me to share more wisdom,
as well as more concepts and techniques to
support everyone who gathers here in
growing/trusting their own wise internal wisdom and expertise
when it comes to things like finding refuge or wishing wishes
or listening
or mapping paths
or letting things go
or letting things come.

My wishes are about time and space to wish,
and community to share with,
and a plan, which actually revealed itself while writing these wishes,
so thank you, wishes and thank you, month of Wishing
(especially the beautiful Wishing superpower of Sparks & Stars!)
and thank you, community of readers who wish with me and wish-well with me,
because oh wow what beautiful wishes,
and because I feel much better for having written to-and-with you,
what treasure to be here and now.

Okay, here is the plan.

My need: raise funds to support the mission. What I am offering: I want to write posts about the principles, approach and techniques of self-fluency and share them here, along with material from my workshop on Wild Self-Treasuring In Tough Times / The Yoga of Strong Force Fields. And I can post about self-fluency in action in daily life, haha, for example things like what I do on the daily while dealing with the ongoing ptsd of this presidency.

The more funds we raise, the more often I will post.

You are invited to give whatever you like in support of the mission. Every $36 lets you submit a writing topic suggestion for consideration. Or commit to $36/month for four months in a row, aka this October month of Wishing, and the upcoming three months of Meaning, Ease and Majesty to also get an ebook collection of these essays at the end of the mission, plus maybe some unpublished pieces.

You can use the GLOWING CROWN button below to choose four monthly payments of $36 (the first today), or choose your sum for a one-time payment in support of the mission.

tfs-crown-glow-button

A page will be come soon with more intel, for now this is how you can support the mission, and get me posting more here on the blog again, something I am also looking forward to! Thank you! <3

What do I wish for in the month of Wishing

I am Fierce & Fearless
Powerful & Striking
Of The Earth & Wild
Glowing & Alive

May we unwind what needs unwinding,
breathe into our heart,
wear our crown,
love-more trust-more release-more receive-more
learn to seek-and-become refuge for ourselves,
ring more bells,
yes to life

Invitation: Communal wish space! Come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

You can also share how things have been going, check in, or deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, possibly in code.

Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

Wishes and checking-in are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes!