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 285: The surprisingly easy metamorphosis of iguanas into unicorns

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…

The surprisingly easy metamorphosis of iguanas into unicorns.

What do I know about this wish?

It has to do with change. Specifically change that I think will prove to be difficult but actually doesn’t have to be difficult at all.

What is an iguana?

An iguana is any task I don’t want to deal with, anything I’m dreading or avoiding or dread-avoiding.

Iguanas don’t feel like missions or ops or adventures. They’re more like chores. They hide in piles but I still know they’re there, so that’s why I don’t look at the pile or open the box.

Just thinking about them makes me want to crawl into bed and hide.

What is a unicorn?

Light, agile, responsive, playful, magic, alive, full of presence and trust, sparkly.

I want to spend time with a unicorn. Unicorns bring out the sweetness in everything. They expand my capacity for wonder.

When I’m waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain, hating everything, and suddenly I remember to breathe a thank you for the green trees, a thank you for the yield sign that reminds me to let go, a thank you for the church across the street whose sign holds a clue for me…

That pause of exhaling, remembering that I get to be differently in this moment, if I want to…

That, for me, is the feeling of being in unicorn energy.

Since when do iguanas turn into unicorns?

It’s a recent discovery. Very recent. Maybe five minutes ago.

Sparkly Uniguanicorns! They’re in that awkward transition phase right now, but it’s happening. Metamorphosis. Transformation. Transition.

So when we say, “Goodnight, iguanas!”, we’re really saying, “See you when you’re a unicorn!”

I am choosing to believe that this is a thing.

Current iguanas in my life.

  1. x-mess blues aka what if christmas is as awful as it was last year?
  2. scary dental thing
  3. dental thing #2 and how do I get home
  4. ugh going in for a physical, and scared about [things], this is also related to what my father calls jewish ptsd: the P stands for pre.
  5. Stu and friends, and I have put off this project for so long that I can’t even remember why I liked it but I made a promise and it’s time to commit.

Okay and now I stop naming iguanas because I am getting overwhelmed and can’t think about any more for now or I will cry.

But wait, what unicorns are they are going to turn into?

Ah, of course. Their unicorn names won’t scare me at all!

Let’s see. We have…

  1. Gemütlichkeit Extreme To The Power of Ten, aka The Coziest Cozy Retreat Of Coziness, with Bell West, Adventuress at Large!
  2. Look At My Radiant Smile: I Glow So Hard
  3. My Radiant Smile: EVEN MORE RADIANT, good lord I have a great smile
  4. Operation Lacy Hips for the Lacy Ship: wearing the glowing crown
  5. My Love For Language Goes Down To The Letter

Great. So now let’s look at the metamorphosis.

What are the elements of metamorphosis?


Being conscious about preparing for the voyage. Bringing all of me to the experience. Letting it be playfuland creative. So much legitimacy for the fact that these things are challenging and scary. What will help me be grounded? How can I approach this standing in my strength, wearing my crown? How can I be there in full radiance, making sure I’m engaged and not checking out. And can I be a bold fearless adventurer?!

This is what I want to try.

What will help me with the iguana-to-unicorn transition process?

Remembering that these iguanas want to transition. They want to be free. They don’t want to scare me. They want us to have fun.

Renaming things helps. A lot.

Same with conscious entry, setting clear intentions, getting intel about what I desire.

Doing the alignment caper.

Oh, and maybe an OOD!

What else do I know about this?

It is okay that these things are scary, that they’re stressing me out.

And it is also true that they can transform.

There are so many things that used to be super charged with doom for me, and now they’re fine. There is no reason we can’t find a way to make these work. And the worst case scenario is, they won’t be enjoyable but at least I will be really conscious about what is and isn’t working, which is already changing the pattern of I’m Stuck In This Horrible Situation That I Hate And Resent.

What do I know about my wish?

It has to do with trust and play.

Trusting the play, playing with trust.

And it has to do with sovereignty: this is the kingdom of my life and I can glow more grace by approaching things with curiosity and presence.

And it has to do with clarity and illumination.

What’s next.

I’m going to come up with a list of things I can play with for each op.

For example, with Operation Lacy Hips (anagram for physical), I could bring a note saying I’m a Conscientious Objector, since that sounds better than saying that I’m part of the Resistance.

I can have a friend come with me.

I can write a list of ten things the doctor and I have in common, to help me remember that we are equals who ultimately have similar goals, even if we see the world through very different lenses.

I can make a list of things that are important for me to let her know. And a list of things I can feel free to ignore, should she say them, since she does not live in my body and does not know it as well as I do.

I can write a description of my ideal visit, as if it already happened, and feel how that might feel, instead of imagining and feeling all the ways this could be scary, stressful or infuriating.

I can ask Wisest Me to come to the front of the V, so that all the versions of me who have had negative experiences with doctors can go take a nap in a safe room.

What do I really want?

To release the pattern of agonizing, dreading, hating and resisting.

To allow for things to be different than how I think they have to be.

To bring all of myself and my playful heart to this, so that I can treat it as a grand adventure, a wild experiment in what-if.

To remember that much more complicated things have transformed themselves and become magical and sparkly, there is no reason these can’t too.

To give so much legitimacy to the dread and the avoidance. I don’t have to know why these things feel uncomfortable to give myself comfort.

And, as I seem to wish every week: To trust my instincts more. To trust my yes and trust my no, and act on that trust immediately.


I am sitting in the Playground, my center in Portland, which is also currently in a state of metamorphosis, transitioning into something new.

It feels disorienting being back in Portland.

Downstairs at the chocolate shop, there’s a giant holiday craft fair and they’re playing christmas music, which reminds me that for next year I would like to be as far away from this country as possible.

It is good to know what I want.

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: The key to letting things be surprisingly easy is believing that they can be.
Me: Can you say more about that.
She: Imagine you have the superpower of “this is surprisingly easy”, how does it feel?
Me: Hilarious.
She: Perfect. Keep laughing. Do things that make you laugh, that bring you back to the bubbly goofiness of all of it. Imagine that you are drinking tea called This Is Hilarious.


Driving through Idaho, I was feeling frustrated about my lack of clarity related to something and just then we passed a Beacon Light road.

The superpower of bringing light to the corners.

December-2014-Illumination Can I tell you something funny?

We’re in the month of Illumination, with the superpower of bringing light to the corners. And last month was Sovereignty, with the superpower of I do not wait in line for my own swing.

Since coming back from my 43 days of Operation Tranquility Recovery, I have been having the most wild epiphanies and crystal clear clarity about everything that is unsovereign in my life. For example, all the problems we have with the chocolate shop are not business problems but sovereignty challenges.

They aren’t things that need to be addressed with system changes, they need to be addressed by standing in sovereignty, asking for what we want and need, not trying to people-please. Anyway, I am right at the intersection of illumination and sovereignty, just like in the calendar, and everything not sovereign is being illuminated, which is incredibly frustrating and also very useful.

The 2015 calendars — the Year of More — have been ordered and will be for sale very very soon!

Ongoing wishes.

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!
  • My body gets the deciding vote.
  • 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, I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, and it is not even a big deal, yay.
  • I am ready to come into my superpowers, including the superpowers of knowing that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, receiving gifts that are winging their way to me, I Am Okay With Being Seen, Everything Enhances My Superpowers.

Taking care of these seeds.

The intentions have been planted, the sails are set. Whatever intel, fruits or flowers emerge will be just right, whatever they are. Thank you in advance.

Now to nap on it, dance it, write it, play with it, take notes, skip stones, walk the labyrinth. Deep breaths, purple pills, getting quieter and quieter until I hear what is true. And a good costume change never hurts. Also eight breaths in eight directions:

Trust. Release. Love. Receive. Anchor. Crown. Glow. Boldly.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka like a red sweater for example…

This was the best wish ever. While I didn’t get [red sweaters] to replace the things that weren’t working, just being aware that they exist was so helpful.

For example, my laptop stopped working this week and instead of thinking this was the end of the world, I thought, I wonder what wonderful thing is going to come from this breaking.

So that’s new. And kind of amazing.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. 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 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.



This year is Shmita year, it is the sabbatical year in the seven year agricultural cycle when you let the land rest.

More than rest. You let the land lie fallow. Lie fallow.

That phrase used to feel desolate to me, almost a lonely sort of emptying, but now it feels luscious, vital, thrilling.

What happens when I enter — consciously, purposefully — into a state of intentional not-producing? What happens when I choose the experience of letting my fields lie fallow?

This is what pulls me right now, this and everything else about Shmita.

It’s for releasing.

Shmita literally means RELEASE.

It is a whoosh let go let go sort of word.

Whoosh! Let go, let go.

I am in the desert, and this is what I am doing: letting things go.

Releasing and recovering.

To let land lie fallow is to let it rest and replenish, to be left unsown for a period of time in order to restore its fertility.

During this time, all agricultural activity is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). You can do things like weeding or trimming — clearing out — but only as a necessary preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants.

Debts are let go of.

It is a time of emptying and replenishing, of emerging and receiving, easing and releasing, echoing and returning.

It is a releasing to refill (bountiful harvests are promised to those who observe the Shmita), but that is not the point of the releasing, as far as I’m concerned.

The releasing needs to happen because the releasing needs to happen. The plentitude that comes back to the land is a result of the releasing, not the reason to release.

Though hey, sometimes things don’t happen (in my life, at least) unless or until we find Reasons and Justifications, so if you need a reason, that’s a good one.

Twenty-first century releasing.

In these decidedly non-biblical times, our fields are — for most of us –metaphorical, internal.

And yet here we are, overworked, overcooked, overwhelmed, overdrawn, endlessly plugged in, exhausted.

We live in a culture that is all about producing, output, productivity, ass in chair, making stuff happen, get it done. We get so disconnected from what our fields actually need.

If you want to do more thinking about Shmita as a concept, and possible implications for us, I would direct you to this piece from Hazon, which means vision.

The Hazon piece also references six qualities: Sova (enoughness), Hodaya (thankfulness), Revaya (plenty), Hesed (loving-kindness), Puriyut (fertile), Otzar (treasury and shared resources). It’s almost a compass, so if anyone else feels like playing with that, I am adding Ahava (love) and Shlemut (wholeness).

And while I hesitate to link to HuffPo, a place I find exhausting, my interest was piqued reading about how some Jews are giving up things like Facebook, Amazon, apps, news and more as a modern experiment in Shmita year, finding their own way to live out both the practice and the intention of releasing, sustainability, wholeness.

Releasing, sustainability, wholeness.

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past several months about what Shmita could look and feel like for me.

God knows it’s necessary. I’ve been doing this Fluent Self work since March of 2005. That’s just about ten years of asking my fields to produce.

The thing is, I like producing. What we are doing here feels tremendously vital. It also actively makes use of my superpowers: building creative spaces and culture for intentional play, infusing them with spaciousness, permission and sovereignty.

And given this world of ours, this world of go go go that seems to be fueled on guilt, shame and pushing, this world where the default choice is not to be conscious or aware, I think what we are doing here is both necessary and deeply subversive.

So I’ve been looking at what reconfigurations need to be made in my business, how I can change how I work/play so I don’t burn out.

Asking over and over again: What is needed here? What do I know about this? What do I really know if I’m being completely honest with myself?

What do I know?

1) Resting does not require a reason.

Or at least, it shouldn’t require a reason. I would like to be able to remember this.

Right now I rest when I reach my end point. When my fields are already done.

Resting to recover is a good reason, a very legitimate reason, and I don’t want it to be my reason anymore.

I need healthier cycles that are grounded in sovereignty and self-fluency, anchored in truth-love.

2) My body is telling me that we are done.

These last three years have been rough, it is just now occurring to me that this may or may not be related to having plowed through — if you will excuse the agricultural pun — the first seven years without pausing.

One of the things that has been made very clear to me over the past five weeks of Operation Tranquility Recovery (Magic!) is this:

I have reached the point of beyond worn out. My body has made it very clear that it doesn’t have more to give.

I can keep pushing and trying to make stuff happen, and my body will go on strike and I will need to rest and heal. Or I can skip the part about pushing and go straight to the “rest and heal” option, but either way resting and healing is the new game plan.

3) Rest, space, time, quiet.

That’s what I need. Preferably away from the endless noise of the internet. And definitely a break from being immersed in the day to day work of systems, chocolate shop drama.

I want to find out what my fields want to produce, what I want to write about, what I want to be doing and experiencing in this life, but in order to get there, I need this Shmita period of releasing.

4) What does service look like.

Whenever I take time to look at what I care about, something that always comes up as incredibly important to me is being in/of service.

And the reason I don’t stop (even though I talk so much about beautiful red lights and the practice of pausing) is that I don’t want to stop serving.

Except now this is going to be how I have to serve.

Taking space and time to figure out what is next is going to be how I serve. Taking care of myself is going to be how I serve. Emptying out and not-producing until I can find a more sustainable way to serve is going to be how I serve.

5) The edge of the circle.

Edge of the circle

When I wrote about Constellations, I talked about how I do my best work at the edges of the circle, holding the circle.

This is very important for me. I am an ally of spaces. Where I excel is at making spaces and experiences special.

This is where I want to be. Not in the center. Not at the front of the room.

What else do I know about what I want?

I want to be a bell: to be at my most resonant. This means doing the things that help me connect to myself (getting on the floor and breathing) and not doing the things that disconnect me (reading everything on twitter).

I want to be a beacon. This is about living by example.

Living in a harmonious congruent way in which I am true to my instincts, my needs and my desires. Demonstrating that it is possible to live like this. Walk the walk, clear the path, document the process, share through being.

I don’t want to teach through teaching, I want to teach through glowing. I want being a beacon to be the primary way that I work. Doing the work, documenting the work, breaking it down where necessary.

I want to take deep breaths, spend time in my thank-you heart, play, laugh, wear costumes, write, dance, cry. To spend more time in presence and grace, less time in the land of spreadsheets.

I want to protect my energy, my force field, my memory at all costs, this means things like not reading about Gamergate right now, removing sources of toxicity from my life.

What does Shmita look like for me right now?

Even though this current Shmita year began in the fall with the Jewish new year, I am going to begin mine at the end of February, which is when I embark into the year in my business.

I am going to devote this year to releasing and letting go, in all forms. Not just releasing. Easing and releasing. Allowing the releasing to be a softening into.

Releasing: Clearing out my space, my home, my closets, saying goodbye to everything that is no longer harmonious or congruent.

Releasing: Grieving what needs to be grieved.

Releasing: Getting quiet. Time to honor the decisions being made (as Bryan puts it), instead of forcing decisions or making decisions based on what I think other people want from me.

My plan. Trusting and laughing.

If you’re currently panicking about the thought of the blog going away, breathe freely. The blog is not going away. This is where I process and reflect, how I empty and replenish. I still plan on being here.

I am also going to continue to spend time with my (private) online community, now entering its seventh year, though it is getting a new name, a new look and a new focus. More about this soon.

And other than that, I am going to rest and release. I am not clear yet how this is sustainable in terms of, you know, money and rent and real life things like that, and yet I am so very clear that doing anything else is not sustainable, so I am letting a possible plan for this emerge.

I will also be renting out half of my house as well as embarking on a year of intentional Not Spending, and will write more about this as I go.

And practicing trust, because what is crazier than not planting, not producing? How were my ancestors brave enough to let their fields go? Fallow sounds like barren, not fertile. And yet fallow is the answer.

It is deeply counter-intuitive, and so it requires trusting and laughing. That’s what I’m starting with.

Play with me.

I would love warmth, support and enthusiasm about Shmita, as a concept or more specifically my experiments with it.

You are welcome to share anything that was sparked for you, or do your own processing about rest and releasing, fallow fields, what this might look like for you, anything you’re working on.

And you can laugh with me about how I have been thinking about this biblical practice for the past four months, but it took — yes — forty days and forty nights of wandering the desert, the desert of California and Nevada that is, to get to the point where I can say out loud that this is what I want and need.

The way commenting works here: we make sure we have safe space through the practice of not giving each other advice or telling anyone how to be or how to feel.

We all have our stuff, we’re all working on our stuff, it’s a process. We meet ourselves and each other with patience, warmth, love, to the best of our abilities.

I have a heart full of appreciation for everyone who plays here, everyone who reads. It is vulnerable and scary to talk about what I really want and what I really know, and knowing I can do this with you is a big deal, even if I have to take a deep breath and remember this every time I post. ♡