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: my personal practice

Wish 263: a wild abundance of dance partners

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal! Very.

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. The point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and accessing the qualities. Wanting can be hard, it is easy to feel conflicted about it, and the reasons for that make this a surprisingly subversive practice…

What do I want?

I had this beautiful moment of understanding last week at Rally (Rally!) that my projects, ops, missions and next steps are all potential dance partners.

This is useful because I often panic about how many [monsternumber of] things are on my list.

I don’t like having so many things. I get exhausted and overwhelmed just knowing they exist as possibilities. And I have a tendency to overestimate my capacity for doing, and overload my tray.

However, I never get overwhelmed by the possibility of more people to dance with. I adore having plenty of people to dance with.

So what if these are just a wild abundance of dance partners? What if imagining this is how I play this week?

Similarly, what if project time is like dance time!

When I’m at a dance, I take lots of breaks to drink water or watch other people dance. I pause and reconnect to myself. I take notes. I check in with dancer me to make sure I’m taking exquisite care of myself.

Both dancing itself and being at a dance are full of delicious red lights. When you are dancing these are called hesitation steps or holds. In a project, this could be resting on the floor, the magic purple pills.

Also, with projects I often get frustrated when things move slowly. In a dance though, especially in tango or west coast swing or blues, slowness can be thrilling, sexy, impossibly beautiful. In dance, I like to drink at the well of slowness.

During dance time, I feel alive. During dance time, every new song is an adventure. This is how I would like to feel during project time!

What do I know about this?

I have a parade of monsters saying this is stupid and it will never work, and the Time Gremlins think (as usual) that there is NO TIME to experiment with this because I should sit down and work, like a grown up. Except you know what? I am feeling excited about this.

A wild abundance of dance partners! This is what I want in real life too!

I actually got to experience this over the weekend at Waltz Brunch. There was a shortage of follows, and lots of people I have good dances with. People were lining up to dance with me, and it was the most fun thing in the entire world.

Imagining that my projects and Next Steps are dance partners turns project time into a sort of safe house: a place of refuge and shelter, quiet and play.

What else do I know about this?

This is bigger than I think. It has to do with shifting perspective, in a variety of ways.

It gives me a different way to understand my current situation of I Perceive That I Have Lots of Options.

I am hoping this will help transform it from something scary (gah! terror! too many things!) to something delightful: hey, check out this wild abundance of dance partners!

This way of playing/thinking should help me find new perspective on other things as well.

What else do I know about what I want?

This is related to another wish I have that scares me. It is a wish I made two hundred and ten weeks ago and even with the best code name ever, it still scared me so much that I haven’t been able to process it.

When I was at the Vicarage recently, I realized that what I want is an extended period of vicarage time. Months of Vicarage! This past week the theme of sabbatical came up over and over again. I got to have lunch with Agent Tessa who is currently taking a year off from everything, and I asked her if that was as thrilling and terrifying as it sounds, and she confirmed that yes, it is both these things.

I had a lot of questions, and her answers confirmed things that I have been thinking.

Then Agent A told me about his three year experiment of Not Working Just Practicing, which I had not known about before, and I was like, lalalalalala I can’t hear you and had to go hide because OHMYGOD WHAT HOW I WANT I CAN’T I LOVE THAT YOU DID THIS.

Yesterday I went out for a celebratory lunch with the Vicar (the Vicar and the Vicarage are actually not related at all, I know, it’s weird), and he was telling me that he is coming into some time off and can’t wait to figure out how to fill it up.

This sentence made ZERO SENSE TO ME, as my monsters are pretty much convinced that no matter how much time I could take to not-work, it would just get filled up with stupid life stuff like making dentist appointments and getting that pair of shoes fixed.

Same thing. Perspective shift. What if I could get excited about [the open time I crave] instead of dreading it?

Where do I want to start?

Trusting the wish.

Remembering that dance partners aren’t waiting around, arms crossed, toes tapping, hoping I will hurry up. Dance partners are happily dancing with other dance partners. It’s almost like the fractal flowers. My dance partners are becoming better dancers while I’m dancing with whatever I’m dancing with for this song.

Using the compass. Eight breaths: one in each direction.

Simplicity. Delight. Ease. Beauty. Anchor. Release. Glow. Wild.

How is this related to Tranquility?

July-2014Tranquility July is the month of Tranquility in the Fluent Self calendar.

Superpower: Remembering that Now Is Not Then.

Tranquility is the perfect quality to meet my stuff about No Time and Everything Up In The Air. Tranquility, trust and taking a stand in favor of giving myself what I need.

That’s what anchors me.

Talking to Incoming Me…

Me: Whaddya got?
Slightly wiser me: I am loving this phrase A Wild Abundance. Isn’t it amazing how the word abundance sometimes pricks but not when it is a wild abundance of dance partners. I love how you play. And I love how the play changes things.
Me: I’m noticing a fear that I will take time for me and it will be crazy expensive and annoying.
Slightly wiser me: (laughs) As expensive and annoying as paying for the consequences of not taking care of yourself?
Me: Oh yeah, good point, that is way worse.
Slightly wiser me: One day a Wild Abundance of Time will no longer be a scary concept, and that’s because of the work you’re doing right now with your current ops. So keep playing, and trust.

Anything else? Starting points?

Keep talking with Incoming Me. Skip stones as often as possible. Dance. Intensity. Writing. Operation Sip Hint Learn. Red lipstick. Eight breaths. My body gets the deciding vote. Thank you in advance.

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I have the best time dancing in my ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • Ops: Joining the Resistance. From the inside!


Hot hot hot hot hot hot pink.

And something Incoming Me said:

Let’s see what happens when we ready the [Sanctuary/Shelter/Refuge/Safe Place] in advance instead of running for one when we need it.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka the mystery of the purple pills…

This was the exact right thing to have wished for. I am taking them more regularly than I ever have before. Long pauses. Short pauses. AIR mode on the phone so I can Access Internal Resonance. Avoiding things that make it difficult to pause. It’s good.

Also Rally solved a bunch of things for me related to previous wishes. For example, I had this wish in April about taking down the castles through bubbling, and then last week I had an epiphany about how to take down two of the most problematic/complicated castles. I asked Richard to help, and then while I was at Rally (and Angela was blowing bubbles!), one of the castles turned into a compass, and the other one has turned into a new wish. So that’s kind of amazing.

Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. ♡

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads. In any size/form you like, there’s no right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play.

Let’s throw things in the pot! And: Amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.


Operation Tomorrow-Me I Love You!

I am recently back from two weeks at the Vicarage, a place that is both real and imaginary, where I devoted myself to exploring the previously unknown-to-me territories of tranquility.

Since I hadn’t visited these places, I didn’t really have a sense of what this experience would be like — haha understatement! — and one of the many surprising things that happened was this:

Most of my time was spent thinking about — and writing about — boundaries.

Glowingly beautiful radiant boundaries.

About how boundaries are vital to tranquility. How boundaries allow for rest, and rest helps with Clear Seeing, and Clear Seeing shows me everything I need to know. I also learned that boundaries are one of the best ways I can treasure myself, which is the real mission.

Now I’m back, and everything is a different color than it was before. The first morning I woke up and scribbled this:

I am ready to treasure my space, inside and out.

Since then I have been steadily clearing things out of my life. This morning I woke up with a new op: it is called Operation Tomorrow-Me I Love You.

What I know so far about this Op.

It is related to what ex-mentor called Morning Begins At Night.

It has to do with making choices the night before that support me of the next morning. No, that’s not exactly right.

Tomorrow-Morning Me gets to make her own choices. She is new, and the moment of her choices is new, and she is a sovereign being with agency. I cannot know what her choices will be.

What I want is to make options available for her that will make it easier for her to make choices, and to be less rushed/discombobulated in the mornings.

This wasn’t relevant at the Vicarage, because at the Vicarage I have no schedule whatsoever. I slept for as long as I wanted. I did all the morning rituals my heart desired: yoga nidra and sun salutations, taking my sweet, sexy time with all of it.

Now I’m back, and my mornings involve dance class and getting to work. And right now Morning Me is flustered and forgets things: oh right, we’ll need socks. And possibly make-up for later. Things like that.

I would like to fill up on love each evening for Tomorrow-Me and set things up for her with sweetness. Fill her bag with the things she will need. Put out clothing that she might want to wear. Write her a love note. Whisper to her that whatever she chooses is perfect, and I support it unconditionally because she is my favorite person in the entire world.

How do I want to investigate or play with this op?

With no rules.

And with stones. I want to skip some stones, which is a form of journaling where you ask questions and let them ripple out into your consciousness, like stones skipping through water, following the ripples and writing whatever comes up.

First I conduct: resting on the floor, feeling the floor, breathing, filling up on qualities, until things get quiet in my head. Or until they don’t but I perceive that I am done.

15 minutes was the right amount, as it turned out. I am ready for the first stone:

“What do I need right now?”

The first thing that came up was PERMISSION.

Not sure what that means. Permission to devote myself to this op even though I have ninety billion (monsternumber) of things that are, according to the Time Gremlins, infinitely more important?

What kind of Permission?

Permission to believe. Believe what? Permission to believe caring for Incoming Me, and treasuring her, are actually the most important things I could be doing, and doing this will speed up the other missions.

This mission is about helping Incoming Me feel deeply cared for, to do things that help her to be at ease, so she can be really present, so she can be in Clear Seeing, like at the Vicarage.

Alright. Permission. What else do I need right now? Laughter. Bubbles. Things that bubble and bubble up. A lightness. An effervescence. You can’t take this mission too seriously because this mission, at its heart, is about play.

Taking care of Incoming You is not a chore. It’s not one more thing you have to do. It’s a game. It’s a flirtation. This should feel like slipping a note under your lover’s pillow so they discover it later with a delighted smile.

Bubble up with adoration for Tomorrow-You. Delight in your desire to fulfill her desires. Ready for the next stone? Yes.

“What do I know about rest?”

Hahahaha, what don’t I know. I didn’t know anything, but after these two weeks I know that it is transformative and invigorating.

I rested ridiculous amounts, I dealt with all the monster accusations that this is indulgent and decadent and frivolous. I dealt with the monster fears that it is not safe to rest, and that if I allow myself to rest, I will never want to stop. That I will sink into the deepest darkest depression and also that I will turn into a burrito.

We had long internal conversations about all of this, and I rested.

I rested and rested more. I slept twelve hours each night, sometimes more. I napped for three hours each afternoon, sometimes more.

It was like deep hibernation, and after about ten days, I started feeling vibrantly alive. Tinglingly, wondrously alive. As if ALIVENESS was rushing through my veins.

My desires were clear and obvious. Not just that, they were beautiful.

I felt excited, awake, ready for adventures. Big adventures! I discovered that I was no longer angry about the thing I had been angry about before I left. I discovered that I was no longer hurting about things that had previously hurt.

So. I’ve spent my entire life feeling ambivalent about rest, craving it but also dreading it, avoiding the purple pills. And now I am convinced that rest is the most brilliant door into everything I want.

Also I just realized that if I do things in the evening to set up the morning for Tomorrow-Me, I will also sleep better, knowing that I am held and cared for, that ease and adoration await me in the morning. I am my lover, in this sense. And rest is my lover. And giving myself rest is an act of love.

Okay, now the monsters are saying, SHUT UP you stupid hippie this is so embarrassing you can’t let anyone read this! So let’s give them a safe room and see what the next stone holds.

“What in my current environment supports me and what needs to change?”

Hm. In terms of setting up clothing for tomorrow-me, there isn’t really a place where I can put them. I don’t like having things pile up on the dresser.

I wonder if there is a place to put a hook, where I could hang some items. Or possibly put things into a special bag and then Tomorrow-Me can unpack the bag like a present, and choose what she likes.

Oh! There’s that little orange stand that is no longer needed at the chocolate shop. That might work. Possibly a combination of these.

What supports me? My conducting nook, the closet that I turned into a place to meditate or conduct. Except I don’t always remember to use it. So maybe I leave a post-it note for Tomorrow-me that says: Rendezvous! Meet me in the vault! And then she can leave the note on the bed so that the me of later that day can see it and remember.

We can have a note that we pass to each other, always passing it forward!

I like this. Anything else?

Lighten things. What does that mean? Carry less. Trust more.

Okay. Next stone?

“Is there a version of me who is really good at the thing I’m working on right now?”

I’m not even sure what that is. What am I working on? Treasuring myself?

Yes, and…

Treasuring my space. Staying deeply connected to Tomorrow Me. Taking exquisite care of myself. Being playful and light-hearted. Committing to presence. Trusting that rest and tranquility are useful in addition to being pleasurable. Giving myself endless permission to take pleasure in life, and endless legitimacy when I’m not having fun.

So, who is the me who knows how to do all of that? Incoming Me.

And what about just the part where I do something now to make things easier on tomorrow-me. Is there a version of me who knows about this?

Yes, in the orchards. I had to be at work at 4:45am, so everything was ready the night before. Or in the bars on the days when I finished one shift at 6am and had to return in the afternoon to open.

Or when I have a morning flight.

I know how to do this. It’s just a matter of switching how I think about this. Instead of thinking of it as something I do in special cases, it’s just something I do. It’s part of my routine.

Anything else?

I’m afraid I will forget. So I’ll put a note on my mirror: Tomorrow-Me, I love you! That will remind me. And if it doesn’t, I’ll skip some more stones and find out what I need.

Come play.

If you want to brainstorm sweet things you can do for Tomorrow-You or skip some stones or process in any other way, that is welcome.

You can also share appreciation for the practice, sparks sparked for you, seed some extra wishes, say hello, whisper magic words, whatever you like.

This stuff can be challenging. It’s about desire, and when we interact with desire there can be pain about all the times we didn’t have what we need, about the vulnerability of wanting.

So: we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process. We interact with our stuff and with each other with kindness, warmth, curiosity and patience, to the best of our abilities. We remember that People Vary. My way can be different from yours, and that’s okay.

Glowing love to the commenters, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads. Thank you for being here with me.