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 316: unlikely combinations

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal!

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…

This week I am deep in the kaleidoscope of wishes.

With each slight movement of the kaleidoscope, the images and qualities reconfigure. Each variation is intimately connected to the one which preceded it, but also completely new and fully itself.

I want to give myself a container of spaciousness (this is not a contradiction) in which to leisurely observe all I am currently thinking about, without needing to document the connections, just trusting the interrelatedness of it all. Trusting the deep roots of the fractal flowers.

Or maybe I will just follow one thought and see where it goes…

A container of spaciousness.

I spent ninety minutes floating in a sensory deprivation tank the other day, because I am THE BRAVEST PERSON ON EARTH, but mainly because while searching for something else entirely, I happened upon a place that fits and even celebrates the way I am — which, interestingly enough, is exactly last week’s wish.

Suddenly I found myself in this marvelous, sweet, claustrophobe-friendly, permission-filled environment, a place that just glowed acceptance for people like me who feel UNDERSTANDABLY AND LEGITIMATELY hesitant about floating.

For one thing, they don’t need you to be the kind of person who is just ready to go straight into a dark silent tank of water, which frankly sounds kind of terrifying.

People who float always say it is so restful, and I nod, because the combination of deep quiet and weightlessness does sound kind of peaceful…

Except I’m ALSO thinking: Yeah I’m sure being trapped in some horrible coffin-womb while simultaneously feeling lost in outer space is extremely relaxing, how nice for you to be such a fearless person who can just hurl themselves into the abyss for fun, that is not me.

Safety First.

This place felt like it had been designed for someone like me, someone who already has enough trauma from [hard things] in life, and doesn’t need to ever experience anything terrifying again.

Anyone who has been to the Playground (the beautiful center I verb-ed in Portland for nearly five years) knows that I am a big believer in Safety First, and making new experiences comfortable and supportive for you, in the way that you need.

At this place, they think it’s absolutely okay to ease your way into floating.

You can wedge a towel between the door and the frame so soft light comes in. They remind you that it’s fine to exit the tank whenever you want. End the session early, take a break and have a hot shower, pause when you need to pause.

They talk about all the things I am passionate about: PLAY and CURIOSITY and taking time to explore your surroundings so you get a sense of where your body is in space, so you can feel safe letting go.

They let you know your time is up by piping relaxing music into the water, but they are also happy to knock on the door if you like that better.

And it worked.

I stood in the tank with the door open and then settled into the water with the door slightly ajar, with enough light to see my surroundings.

I let myself have as much time as I needed (which turned out to be maybe five minutes) establishing a clear sense of where my body was located in relation to the walls and the door, the space above me and below me and around me. I reassured my monsters and Tiny Me that we know exactly where the door is and how to open it.

We practiced closing our eyes and feeling what it would be like to be suspended in this state of darkness.

And I talked to the space, quietly, in my heart, and told it what I needed in terms of easing and releasing. I breathed qualities all around me. I asked the water and the salt to share with me their secrets of transmitting and of washing away.

And then I let the door close all the way, and allowed myself to sink into the darkness, using my fingers and toes to remind my body that we know exactly where we are, deep breaths, letting go.

What is a container of spaciousness.

It is something that is both cozy and expansive at the same time.

I came to floating with two fears — well, other than the fear of panic attacks, existential agony, getting trapped, giving up after five minutes, and a variety of flavors of Ludicrous Fear Popcorn related to truly ridiculous and impossible scenarios which I will not share with you because I don’t want you to have to add these fears to your list!

Mainly though I felt worried that I might feel trapped in an enclosed space, while simultaneously worrying about what if I feel lost and disoriented and unable to find the door.

I was delighted to discover that the tank had a wonderful coziness to it — I could float in the center, but I could also extend a limb in any direction and touch the steadiness of the edges. And it had a high sloping ceiling which gave a lovely sensation of plenty and spaciousness.

A container of spaciousness is river and banks of the river, it is voyage and ship, it is dreamland and cozy bed, it is being free and being held in loving arms, it is secret op and safe-house, it is liberty and sanctuary, it is adventure and home.

It is knowing that there is no contradiction: you are allowed to have both at once.

No contradiction.

When I was little, my father used to ask me if I would rather be a bird or a tree.

I wanted BOTH, I didn’t want to choose, but that wasn’t allowed.

It was worse than that, actually, because this was secretly a trick question. The correct answer was tree, and he frowned if you chose bird, and told you why you were wrong. I always chose bird anyway.

You weren’t allowed to be a Flying Tree either, it had to be one or the other.

I didn’t want to have to choose between freedom and safety, soaring or grounding, adventure versus steadiness, between discovering new places or always knowing that you are home.

And gradually I acquiesced to this false belief that you can only have one, or that you can only have one at a time.

Each of us learns or acquires this untruth in our own unique ways but somehow we all end up thinking that we are only allowed to have X and not Y, that the elements of our desires cannot ever co-exist, that we have to choose, we have to give up on what we want in order to have what we want.

Flowers for Tiny Me, flowers for my father, flowers for the courageous process of decolonizing and deprogramming, flowers for everyone who has ever had to make a choice, flowers for refusing to choose.

Circling.

I have spent my whole life circling around this and inside of this, resisting and succumbing to the familiar melody, to borrow that perfect image from the poet Natan Alterman:

“That melody still returns again, the one you tried in vain to neglect, and the road is still splayed open to its full length…”

That is my very inexact translation of an impossibly beautiful sentence. When he describes the road as open, he uses a word that is specifically used to describe eyes opening. The road is expanding, awakening, like a person.

It’s a poem about the intense passionate call of the road that pulls you to move and explore and experience things, and at the same time you miss the sweetness of the green grove of trees, a woman in her laughter, the place of belonging and love. And how whenever you have one, you long for the other, but you cannot stay because you need to be free, but oh how you miss your lover and so you return, but then the melody comes for you again.

The American version of this theme is the cowboy, I think.

The Eternal Cowboy Dilemma. It sounds like a band and it’s just one guy…

Eventually I realized that my dilemma is not in fact a dilemma.

Eighteen years ago Meirav asked me:

“What if it is actually a continuum? What if you don’t have to choose?”

That was a helpful starting point. I played with exploring roads and with building a home. I swung this way and that. I tested out different recipes, different combinations of freedom and shelter. I pushed edges and then retreated.

Later I realized that of course this is about Qualities, and qualities, being aspects of the divine, not only can co-exist, they must. They just do.

There is no Freedom without Safety, there is no such thing as Adventure without Sanctuary.

And then from there I began to work with permission to Want What I Want, in this very practice of weekly wishing, which helped me see that there is no dilemma, there is only the appearance of a dilemma, a mystery to explore.

And lately I have been combining qualities like ingredients, and noticing how the flavors enhance each other: what at first might seem an unlikely combination can be intensely powerful, deeply healing.

Sweet savory contradictions that aren’t contradictions at all.

Last week I talked about the superpower of FIERCE GRATITUDE (thank you, Carrie Ann Moss), which is a perfect example of a unique and unlikely flavor combination.

Then I mixed more ingredients to come up with SWEET COURAGE, which is how I ended up at the most loving and supportive place to experiment with floating, which takes place in CONTAINED SPACIOUSNESS.

I want to be a beautifully anchored wanderer: roaming and stable, rooted and free.

I want LANGUID ADVENTURING and JOYFUL STILLNESS, and glorious permission to be so many things at once.

What am I noticing about my wishes?

I can feel so many previous wishes in this. Like the theme of adding being to doing: Ha and Tha, sun and moon. Accommodating my sensitivities (and my sometimes snail-like pace of learning) with kindness.

Making room for the seemingly-contradictory experience of being both high sensation seeking (the thrill of newness!) and off-the-charts highly sensitive (extreme levels of Must Hide Immediately).

This is about loving all of me, and taking care of all of me, as I am. This is about advocating for myself, being intentional about how care for myself, choosing supportive environments.

Also big passion for social justice, passion that begins in my cells and expands outward: starting with being more present in my own space and then glowing these qualities into the world.

And appreciation for everything that got me here: flowers for everyone.

Invitation.

You are invited to share many !!!!!! about my wishes and realizations here, to share anything sparked for you while reading, to say “oh wow, what beautiful wishes” to me and to each other, to wish your own wishes.

Now.

Thinking about the Alterman poem made me think of the song version of it that Berry Sacharof did, which made me think of his collaboration with Fortis — Fortisacharof, which has to be the most Israeli album of all time, for me at least.

I am sitting in my living room on the couch, listening to the song Nitzotzot, and in my mind I am behind the bar, it’s Friday evening in Tel Aviv, I can feel the sun setting over the Mediterranean a few blocks away, the bar is mostly empty, everything is quiet.

I look up from my memory, back in my living room in Portland, and my friend who is dead is perched on top of the couch, the cigarette in his mouth is unlit because I don’t let him smoke in the house. He takes it out and smiles at me and says, “You are a vessel of light, and a vessel of light contains everything”, and then he wanders outside to smoke.

What does Slightly Future Me have to say?

Ze: You can combine ANYTHING you want, my love! You are the queen of tree-birds and bird-trees, you build entire worlds where things can co-exist!
Me: Sometimes I wonder if it’s good for me though, maybe I’m just oscillating.
Ze: You are an explorer and a Grand Adventuress, and you are also deeply committed to taking exquisite care of yourself. That’s not oscillating, that’s exploring and claiming your kingdom of wholeness.
Me: Sometimes it seems like people just want me to be one thing: sweet and spiritual, or wild and fun, or whatever. Like they can’t handle it that I am all of it.
Ze: Who cares what they want or what you think they might want. Your explorations are treasure, for everyone, whether they or you know it or not. Trust.

Clues.

This week has overflowed with clues for me, but what I want to remember is hearing a woman saying to someone, “Take special care”, her voice glowing warmth and presence, as if this was the most important thing she could possibly say.

The superpower of this is a badass way to live.

July - Love MoreJune was RELEASE MORE, with the superpower of I am stronger than I think, and July is LOVE MORE, because this is a badass way to live.

This is a badass way to live.

Giving myself permission to be all of me, in beautiful and seemingly-contradictory ways, to ease into new places, to grant myself extra safety, to take off and come back and give myself what I need. What if wild self-love and radical self-acceptance and meeting myself where I am is actually more badass than I think?!

Things I find helpful for intentions and wishes…

Nap, dance, write, play, labyrinths. Get quiet. Sweet pauses, yes to red lights and purple pills, thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Skip stones. Body first. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths in eight directions:

Adventure. Rest. Horizons. Security. Passion. Sweetness. Clarity. Presence.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week aka As I am…

I made many wishes and they were all useful. This week I practiced asking people to teach me things in a way that suits how I learn, and they were so happy to have extra information about what I need, instead of thinking it was annoying that I asked.

Thank you, process of writing about wishes. Thank you, me who asked.

Ongoing Wishes. Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere. Ha, this doesn’t require my input! My business is thriving happily without me. I think like a dancer. It’s so perfect it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS. I have what I need, and appreciate it. I am fearless and confident. I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, no big deal. I claim my superpowers. Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more.

Keep me company! Or just say hi!

You can deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads, superpowers, qualities, seeds, secret agent code, whatever you’d like, there’s no right way! Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is sharing anything sparked for you.

Comment culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play and throw things in the pot! With amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.

Here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.

xox

Chicken 365: the circus is not a viable backup plan

Friday chicken

Reflecting on both the hard and the good parts in the week that was…

It is Friday and we are here.

{a breath for Friday, for this space, for being here when we get here.}

Three hundred and sixty five weeks of chickening!

Thank you, everyone who reads: you are the reason I am still doing this.

What worked this week?

Having good self-care instincts.

Or maybe I always have good self-care instincts and the trick is listening to them. Ooh.

Anyway, past-me wisely scheduled a session of bodywork magic with Wally for the day after my trapeze class.

And I took myself to old lady aerobics immediately after trapeze so that I could wave my arms around so they wouldn’t seize up. Also because it seemed important to remind my body that yes, there are things we can do together that don’t result in feeling helpless and incompetent.

Oh, and this wasn’t intentional at all, but I packed an easy-on easy-off sweatshirt, which turns out to be a very handy thing when your shoulders give up working.

Next time I might…

Talk to the monsters sooner.

My monsters were saying very mean things about my plan to try trapeze.

On the one hand, they thought I would be terrible at it (spoiler alert: I am!) and shouldn’t humiliate myself, and on the other hand, they thought it was shameful to sign up for the baby-steps remedial class, because that’s not adventurous. As they put it, “Either real adventure or get out of town!”

So of course I was avoiding talking to them, but once I did, I got so much useful intel.

They just love me so much and want to protect me from being laughed at, which is a reasonable desire, and they remember situations where keeping me away from mean people was important. Once we talked, things got a lot better.

I reminded them that it’s a very early class, so all the mean people will still be asleep, and that it’s a class specifically designed to be welcoming to people who feel anxious and uncomfortable about trying trapeze, so of course everyone there will be warm and accepting.

It was much easier to get through the experience of class having the monsters on my side. Next time we talk sooner!

And the title of my upcoming Biopic if it were based on this week…

She loves adventure almost as much as she loves hiding. The Havi Brooks Story.

If you feel drawn to leave comments on aspects of my week, I will take love, hearts, breaths, pebbles, I do not need advice or cheering up, though presence and sweetness are appreciated. Hearts or pebbles are great if you don’t know what to say, often I don’t know what to say either so we’re in the same boat.

Eight breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. You guys, I am terrible at trapeze. I spent fifty minutes of the ninety minute class just crying my eyes out because I couldn’t do any of the things. I don’t mean that I couldn’t do the tricks they were trying to teach us. I mean that I couldn’t figure out how to get up onto the trapeze. Not even because of fear. My body just couldn’t figure out the mechanics of how to do it, even after it was explained to me about twenty times. A breath for intense frustration, for all the challenges of my not-so-secret-op of figuring out how to love my unique pace of learning, and a million trillion sparklepoints to me for signing up, for showing up, for staying until the end.
  2. You know how you always kind of think, way in the back of your mind, that if you can’t figure out your life, you will have to run away and join the circus? It turns out that is not even a good back-up plan. If the circus was recruiting, and not sure why they’d be doing that in the remedial trapeze class for people who are freaked out by the regular beginner class, but if they were looking to sign someone up, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t take the only person in the entire class who couldn’t get up onto the trapeze. I guess I could be an exhibit, maybe, but it would be a pretty boring one. “BEHOLD the woman with the surprisingly high IQ who can’t figure out how to do a somersault until the instructor shows her twenty times in a row and breaks down every single component of a simple movement that all toddlers do for fun! OBSERVE as someone who spent a decade of her life teaching coordination techniques is unable to figure out how to wrap her foot in the silks, even though it was just demonstrated for her multiple times very slowly! GAZE UPON THE SIGHT of her as she stirs comparison stew while watching people who are six inches shorter than she is just hoist themselves onto the trapeze while she can’t even get her feet high enough to do more than brush it with her toes, because she does not understand the mechanics of how this works!” I need a new backup plan, because the circus is not interested in me. A breath of protection, trust, forgiveness, safety and shelter, for me and for anyone else who needs it.
  3. My entire body hurts. There are lots of reasons for this, and, thankfully, this week they are not related to chronic pain but to trying new things, so hey, at least that’s fun and new. A breath for healing and recovery.
  4. I took a beginning jazz dance class and it was even more challenging/humbling than remedial trapeze. A breath for the me who wants so badly to thrive and to excel, may she be held in love and sweetness and know that there is so much appreciation for her. Oh, man. This whole loving yourself as you are stuff is not for the faint of heart.
  5. So much change. I went with my lover and my housemate to drop off a bunch of furniture for consignment and did not want to let anything go, except I have nowhere to store it, and it is time for it to go, and I was not feeling expansive or gracious about any of these changes, and I cried a little bit about letting go of the mahogany table, and then it felt strange and uncomfortable to be in my bedroom without it, and I didn’t want to go to bed. A breath for remembering that Now Is Not Then, and this is not The Beginning of The Bad Times, and that it is safe to let go of everything that is not my joy right now, and to trust that there will be other beautiful tables in my life, this is not the last beautiful table.
  6. So many projects. So many moving parts. How am I busy all the time? A breath for taking care of myself.
  7. I had been so looking forward to Waltz Brunch, my favorite thing about Portland. It only happens once a month, and I’ve been on the road for six months this year and also I had a knee injury, so finally I am here and I can waltz, yay, except then I discovered that my dress doesn’t fit anymore, and neither does my back-up dress. Also I didn’t want to go out and take buses in hundred degree weather. But oh the monsters about my dresses not zipping up. A breath for remembering that all these new, strong, powerful back muscles that get in the way of zippers are just contributing to my general LUSCIOUSNESS, and that any dress that doesn’t look amazing on me is the wrong dress, and that all sizes of Havi are good, and also that waltz will happen when it happens, and it will be just right.
  8. Inhale, exhale. May all misunderstandings and distortions, internal and external, dissolve in love if not in laughter. Goodbye (and thank you), mysteries and hard moments of this week. May I choose to trust-more love-more release-more receive-more.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. I am the bravest person in the entire world! I signed up for TRAPEZE! And stayed for the whole class even though I couldn’t do it! I went to Jazz Dance! And stayed for the whole class even though it was hard! I went to burlesque and had to give up on the routine because I couldn’t be on my knees, but I went and tried! I did things this week that I have been dreaming and wishing about for years, and this was the week that I felt courageous enough to try them! A breath for this, and for many thousands of sparklepoints.
  2. Oh the FIERCE GRATITUDE (thank you, Carrie Ann Moss, for this perfect term) that I feel about my knee being able to move again, and the relief from chronic pelvic pain, and for having a strong, healthy, curious body that wants to move and learn and try things. Thank you, body! Thank you, bones and muscles and ligaments and tendons! Thank you, life and aliveness! Thank you, desire! A breath for joy, play, courage, wonder.
  3. So much sweetness and intensity and spilling-over-of-joy with my lover. A breath for this full and happy heart of sweetness.
  4. I took BIG SCARY WONDERFUL STEPS towards a variety of dreams and wishes this week. Giant progress on so many ops! A breath for magic, especially the magic of fractal flowers. And a breath for feeling ready.
  5. I did lovely Shmita things like skipping stones, walking in the park, taking long delicious naps, eating cheese, not worrying. A breath for how fun it is in those moments when you do actually just trust the process.
  6. One of my favorite dance teachers, who is not exactly lavish with praise, said “hey, good work today!” to me, on the day I finally nailed both turns. I feel incredibly excited about this, about the part where I perceive that my skills are visibly improving, about the part where someone else can see it too, about relinquishing the need for external legitimacy and still delighting in being appreciated. A breath for forward movement.
  7. This was just a beautiful week for me. I felt light, bubbly, joyful, hopeful, full of life and aliveness. A breath for THANK YOU.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. Second breakfast. Third breakfast. My brother is the best. Flowers from the garden. The Secret Sword Society is amazing. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong, even when I think it is. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. Thankful for this grand adventure. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

Wham booms, wisdom, superpowers, salve and FBOTW!

Operations completed. Wham boom!

Whoosh Ha Mastodon Boom is secret agent code meaning: this thing is done! Shortened to wham-boom.

I emptied the basement, got everything ready for the sale of YARD, and did I mention that I am the bravest person in the world and went to a trapeze class, even though I was afraid I’d be terrible at it?! Yes! Calling that a successful mission, and I now award myself a hundred billion sparklepoints. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

Last week I asked for the superpower of Wildly Appreciating Myself, and I had that!

I also had the superpowers of Being Comfortable Around People Who Are Feeling Temporarily Uncomfortable Being Around Me, and Following My Instincts.

Powers I want.

I want the superpower of Releasing In Love Because I Do Everything From Love.

The Salve of Endless Sparklepoints.

These invisible salves are distributed here by way of internet magic. Help yourself! Take it in a bath, as tea, a cocktail, whatever works for you. Not only is there enough salve, there are also enough ways to receive it.

Sparklepoints are a thing I made up because they are better than regular points. They glow. And they have a wonderful cascading effect — delivering all the visual joy of fireworks without the terrifying war zone sounds.

When I put this salve on my skin, I begin to give myself credit for all I do.

Instead of thinking (monsters!) that I have to finish something or accomplish something or be “good” at it, whatever that means, in order for it to be meaningful, suddenly I am able to believe deep in my body that it’s okay to celebrate all the steps in between.

This salve dissolves beautifully, and before you know it, you’re feeling joyful and appreciative about having wanted to do something, thrilled that you’re even considering taking an initial step towards something that might bring you delight.

In addition to being a very playful salve, this is also a secret sovereignty salve, and it restores all lost crowns.

Playing live at the meme beach house — the Fake Band of the Week!

My brother and I make up bands, which are all just one guy. The Meme Beach House is the venue.

This week’s band is called Some Good Compasses. Their latest album is Resting Towards The Horizon. They play fiddle music, but without a fiddle, and it’s just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am recommending the Emergency Get Calm, Quiet And Steady techniques, aka the thing that keeps me from falling apart. This is how I get through life.

How was your week?

Come play in the comments. Share something from your week, take a breath, or just say hi! No rules, my format doesn’t have to be yours, we’ve been doing this every week for years now and there still isn’t a right way.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We don’t give advice.

Wishing you a glorrrrrrrrrrrrious day, a restful weekend and a happy week to come.

Shabbat shalom.

p.s. It’s fine if it’s not Friday anymore. There’s complete chicken amnesty — jump in whenever you like. Blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers too!