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

Chicken 362: you forgot to be a giraffe

Friday chicken

A look at the good and the hard in my week, a ritual of reflecting.

It is Friday and we are here.

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

What worked this week?

Asking friends to keep me company.

Both virtual and IRL.

Companionship was a big deal this week.

Next time I might…

Run away.

Okay, two years ago I made a promise to myself to get out of town in July, and avoid the explosions and trauma of fireworks on and around [that holiday].

Last year I was somewhere quiet and peaceful and beautiful, and it was heaven.

This year I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s awful. Fireworks every day, all week, and we’re not even at the Fourth yet.

Let’s keep planning ahead, my love. And remember that it’s not just the one day, it’s more like ten days.

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

That Seems Like Way Too Much Work, Never Mind. 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. This was a challenging week, and really, that’s kind of all I want to say about that, so let this be a placeholder for [Silent Retreat] on things being difficult for me. A breath for remembering that I am allowed to find challenging things challenging, and all the superpowers of that.
  2. This heat wave is ridiculous and seemingly never-ending, and it’s nearly a hundred degrees (if not more) every day, and it is reminding me of the worst summer of my life and I am having a rough time of it. A breath for me.
  3. Body is unhappy. Not sleeping well, or, for that matter, doing anything well, because of the heat and sunburn and early fireworks going off and the neighbor is doing something that involves 8am jackhammers, and also I am dealing with [situations]. A breath for acknowledgment, legitimacy, permission, meeting myself with love.
  4. I am spending my days in the basement where the air is cooler, going through boxes upon boxes, and letting things go, and it hurts so much, and I am uncovering things (in the boxes and in me) that I did not want to see or remember or encounter, and all this letting go is the worst. A breath for easing and releasing.
  5. There is a version of me, I call her Volatile Me. She’s in her early twenties, I think, and she lives to make trouble, and she is so hurt and so angry, and she is hellbent on destroying everything in sight and doesn’t care who else gets taken down in the process (hint, it’s always her), and she is really angling for us to go on a Stupid Streak, so she can watch everything burn. I love her, I recognize that she wants to protect me, I want her to feel heard and acknowledged, and I am not okay with her going to the front of the V and taking command. A breath for these old, old patterns and all the fun-sounding but ultimately self-destructive things I want to do when she’s in lashing out mode, a breath for making new choices.
  6. Ohmygod this country. Black churches are burning every day and the news is like, lalalalala this doesn’t exist. The cognitive dissonance of that, how extreme it is. People are being terrorized, and it’s essentially invisible except there it is, happening. A breath of grace, please, for seeing, for naming things, for everything that needs to change.
  7. Two weeks without my lover, who is too busy and/or out of cell range to talk to me, and has basically really just gone AWOL, and and half the time I crave his company because I miss him so much and also just because I want someone to talk to, and the other half of the time I want to shut him out and hurt him for not being there for me (see: Volatile Me), but I can’t shut him out anyway even if I were going to, since he’s nowhere to be found. A breath for every single part of this, and for remembering that the story I’m telling is not truth. Truth is that I am safe and loved and held in grace, all the time, whether he’s in my life or not. And truth is also that he is crazy about me, and none of my monster-stories are even remotely-accurate. So let’s stay in truth, babe. Let’s come back to truth.
  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. Had another miracle week of not being in chronic pain most of the time. A breath for everything that is working.
  2. BEACH DAY! Julie and I went to the coast, where it was 73 degrees as opposed to 97 in Portland. I thought I might have some feelings, since we went to a place I used to go with The Spy, but it was easy. Oh, the Pacific Ocean. Oh, cool breezes and wearing a scarf, and writing. I need to spend way more time at the coast. A breath for happiness.
  3. Before the sunburn and other body stuff, I was MOVING MY BODY and it felt so good. I mean, I was mainly doing that because my dance studio has delicious amounts of air conditioning, but movement was wonderful. And I went blues dancing, which is incredible, because I haven’t felt motivation or desire to dance in a long time. I left my house! I went out dancing! Had some beautifully creative dances. A breath for joyful movement, for connection, for creativity and play.
  4. All this releasing is good for me. Processing all this emotion is good for me, even when it’s not fun. I can feel the truth of this. I have the tools to do this. Thank you, patterns, for revealing yourselves to me so clearly that it’s obvious what’s going on, and I can find ways to interrupt them. Thank you, wisest me, for reminding me that this is a useful experience. Thank you, internal scientists, for showing me evidence that yes, I have a tendency to get kind of pugilistic in high temperatures, yes, heat puts me back into Tel Aviv flashbacks, and I get really reactive, and that this isn’t the wholeness of me, it’s just a reaction to externals. Thank you. Thank you. A breath for taking care of myself.
  5. Agent Origami and I are doing a secret Rally right now, and it is THE BEST thing in the entire world. I am writing. This is good. Everything is part of Shmita. I have superpowers and a container for processing. Oh, and I went to see a psychic, accidentally on purpose, who was wrong about this one thing that all psychics are wrong about but man was she on target about some other things: she saw right through Volatile Me, and named the situation I had just spent two hours describing in my journal. A breath for trusting the process.
  6. Naps = magic. A breath of love for the healing power of napping.
  7. A few years ago I would have either repressed Volatile Me or let her take over completely and then regretted it so hard. Now I’m able to sit down and hash things out with her, take her dancing, listen, learn. And then I was able to take that intel and talk to my lover about [feelings], and this went really well instead of the way it would have gone back in the day. So. This is big. A breath for conscious interaction, for being present with the hard stuff, and for remembering how to play.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. Cold washcloths. Spray bottles. Frozen dates. Frozen bananas. Netflix. I found some things in the basement I’d thought were lost forever. A thing at my ballroom that could have gone horribly, tragically wrong ended up being fine. Still happy about Operation True Yes. My lover is on his way to me in four days, and I can feel him glowing sweetness towards me and smiling that smile I like so much. I dreamed a healing. 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 sorted through ELEVEN GIGANTIC BOXES full of papers. I found scribbled post-it notes from my mother. I cried my eyes out. I recycled things that I was scared to let go of. We can call that a successful mission, and I now award myself a billion sparklepoints. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpowers of Realizing What I’m Actually Upset About, and Giving Myself Permission To Do Less.

Which is kind of perfect, since last week I asked for the superpower of trusting in the powers of doing nothing.

Powers I want.

I want all the superpowers of Self-Care Is My Extreme Sport.

The Salve of Self-Care Is My Extreme Sport.

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.

When I put on this salve, I treat Taking Exquisite Care of Myself the same way that an athlete in an extreme sport approaches shredding it.

I rest like it’s going to be videotaped for posterity, and an entire generation of kids will stare open-mouthed at my balls-out fearless mastery of things like giving myself a glass of water and going back to bed.

This salve combines Strength and Courage with Sweetness and Play. It goes well with the new calendar page for July (LOVE MORE) with its superpower of This Is A Badass Way To Live.

This, yes this, is a badass way to live.

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 from a drawing I found in the basement. It was a page from the Monster Coloring Book and the monster was upset because I forgot to be a giraffe. That’s this band: You Forgot To Be A Giraffe. Their latest album is called Don’t You Even Care, they play funk elevator music and are actually 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 got me through the 2am panicking again this week!

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!

Wish 312: easing and

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…

Releasing.

This is not going to come as news to anyone but I’ll just say it anyway: lately I have been releasing and releasing and releasing and releasing, and not much else.

I mean, it’s a lot. It’s about as much as I can handle.

Releasing in the form of unanticipated primal scream moments, and releasing in the form of removing physical objects from my space. Even releasing my wishes. Saying lots of goodbyes.

It is the month of Releasing in the year of Releasing, and there is so much to learn to let go of.

Goodbye goodbye.

And thank you.

“Thank you for having been. Thank you for exiting my life. Thank you for being done.”

This has been my mantra lately. It’s what I whisper in my heart to everything.

To the food scraps that I put in the compost bin, to each memory as it comes up or doesn’t, to more papers into the recycling bin, to the early-early-morning nightmares, to phone numbers, to the contents of the flushing toilet…

Goodbye and thank you. And goodbye.

Tangled.

It’s funny how hard this is, this process of releasing.

It’s funny how this is something everyone knows: letting go can be absolutely agonizing, and yet somehow we keep collectively forgetting this over and over, and then being surprised about it.

Possessions get layered with emotional attachment, with fragments of memory and identity and oh-but-what-if.

I know with absolute certainty, for example, that I have zero interest in attending graduate school in this lifetime.

And even if I were to change my mind some day, I’m still pretty sure I don’t need this stack of papers on the table in front of me right now proving that I have a degree in History from Tel Aviv University, and that I apparently also passed an academic German language exam (that I have no memory of taking) qualifying me for god knows what.

None of this is my YES, and yet here I am, reluctant to let these go. Reluctant to let past-me go.

Doors.

“It’s hard to close doors, even if they’re not necessarily ones you’d want to open,” says my lover, who is wise and sweet and often right.

This feels true.

Closing is like admitting out loud that you aren’t going to do the thing you didn’t want to do anyway. And hoping that past-you isn’t listening. Or, really, hoping they know how much you love them.

I still feel great love for the passions, desires and yeses of past me, even as my now-yes changes to meet the present moment.

The closing of the door isn’t a NO to them. It’s a YES to now.

And it’s still hard.

Easing and releasing.

This is the year of releasing but really it is the year of Easing & Releasing.

These go together.

The easing is the softening, the smiling, the recognition that shutting this door is the best possible thing I could do right now.

The easing is when you don’t try to exhale everything, you just let yourself breathe.

The easing is when you allow yourself to be comforted.

The easing is when you say, YES ALL THIS GRIEF HURTS AND THAT MAKES SENSE AND THAT IS OKAY AND I DON’T HAVE TO LIKE IT.

The easing is permission and sweetness, acknowledgment and legitimacy, the hug before the storm and everything that comes after.

Layered.

It’s one hundred degrees in Portland so I’ve been in the basement where the cool air is, going through boxes.

Goodbye, goodbye, bullshit yoga teaching certificates from various trainings over the years: I don’t even believe yoga can be taught, never mind certified.

Though yes, I still secretly teach yoga inside of every blog post I write, just by being and practicing — well, if by yoga we mean “the art and science of slowly and patiently getting to know yourself and meet yourself with love, to the best of your ability”, which of course is what I mean and what I have always meant.

And even if I were to return to “teaching” a physical practice, I wouldn’t need the certificates. In all my years of instructing in multiple countries, no one ever asked what my credentials might be, never mind if there’s proof that I have any.

Let’s not forget either that none of the people issuing these certificates are certified, for added ridiculousness, and also sometimes the certifying organizations they represent don’t even necessarily exist.

Which makes it even funnier that I hold onto them.

Holding.

I have a yoga teaching certificate here signed by the Israeli Yoga Federation Honorary Secretary For The Middle East, President and Founder, etc etc.

Things that make this extra-funny/not-funny-at-all, in no particular order:

  1. This person hired me to teach yoga at his studio before I had any training at all.
  2. He made up all of those titles.
  3. There was no federation. It was just him. He got to be the honorary secretary for the Middle East by going to some yoga conferences with his made-up titles on business cards, and convincing some other organizations that were also mostly self-invented that his made-up thing was a thing too. This was literally a case of just one guy. Fake Band Of The Week: For Your Self-Aggrandizing Pleasure. It’s just one guy.
  4. It is laughably easy to become president, founder (and honorary secretary!) of pretty much anything you want and then put that on a certificate which no one will ever ask to see.
  5. This person sexually assaulted me while I was working for him, which, for the record, is not a yogic thing to do*, and also not befitting of someone who (even if only in his mind) represents a) yoga, and b) all of the middle east. Whoosh, goodbye.
  6. I know all of these things and yet I still hold onto this piece of paper in my basement: how’s that. Realizing this makes me want to burn it, to burn lots of things, to smash all the plates. Whoosh, GOODBYE.
* Though let’s also note that I’ve actually only ever had ONE job aside from the one I’m doing right now which DIDN’T come with sexual harassment, assault, other incredibly inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. I don’t think this is particularly uncommon for women I know, and it might explain a lot about why we like being self-employed.

Rituals.

Our culture lacks rituals and resources for grief, for endings. We lack everything when it comes to loss.

My mother died in October, and every once in a while someone asks how I’m doing, but mostly they don’t.

I get it. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and we just don’t have a way to talk about these things.

All around us people are experiencing loss and trauma, and there are no mechanisms in place for checking in with each other, for taking care of ourselves.

Look at how our culture does holidays, how we exclude the people in the most pain and celebrate the people who either aren’t in pain or are best at hiding it. Look at facebook or twitter or instagram on Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc. We live in a culture that celebrates the haves, and silences the have-nots.

No wonder it’s so damn hard to let go of things. Pain and trauma and hurt get erased in daily life. People post pictures of happy things, and of sandwiches. Not the aching goodbyes.

Hallmark.

And that’s just the grief we do know how to talk about.

But — as far as I know, at least — there’s no Hallmark cards for most of the tough things anyway.

There is no card for “Hey, I heard that your mentor just publicly trashed you after you devoted ten years of your life to promoting his work, that sucks and I am so, so, so sorry, how can I help?”.

There is no card for “I know your giant business venture failed spectacularly and you were left with nothing, and I still love you and want to be supportive, how are you feeling today, can I make you soup and hold your hand while you cry”.

There is no card for “wow, the person we all thought was treasure turned out to be an abusive asshole, so glad he’s out of your life, but that has to be really rough, I love you so much and I’m sorry this happened”.

Of course there isn’t. It’s weird and awkward and what are you going to say.

Whoosh goodbye.

This is a wish about easing and releasing, about finding the grieving rituals that are right for me, about throwing and smashing and letting go, about presence, about enoughness.

I asked my lover if there’s anything he wants to keep, while I’m getting rid of things, maybe for when we build a place in the desert, if we do that.

He said: “You. A bed. That’s it, really.”

I know he only added the part about a bed for my sake. When I met him, he was sleeping in tents and on floors. I’m the princess who needs things like sheets and pillows. But yeah, he’s right. Love, napping, sweetness, falling asleep with my head on his shoulder and his fingers tangled in my hair, that’s enough.

And I say that while fully aware of the nine boxes full of papers, binders and unfinished projects sitting next to me.

Whoosh, goodbye. It isn’t always easy. The releasing needs the easing.

Rituals can be joyful.

I forget this and yet it is true.

There isn’t a one right way to release.

Whoosh goodbye can be so many things. It can be cathartic, it can be loud or quiet, it can be a softening and a surrendering, and it can be an emphatic, unapologetic smashing of plates. It can happen with laughter, with tears, with companionship, with steady knowing, with the superpower of All Timing Is Right Timing.

Whoosh goodbye.

What if…

I am rereading Refuse To Choose by the brilliant Barbara Sher, whom I love so deeply and once promised to let live in my basement when she didn’t know what she would do when she retired.

All the more reason to say whoosh goodbye to those boxes.

I want to share this quote with you:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission. … That’s why you lose interest: not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus, but because you’re finished…”

Here’s to the superpower of things being enough, here’s to the superpower of knowing what can go.

Invitation.

You are invited to say WHOOSH GOODBYE to whatever you like, and you do not have to share what that is, unless you happen to feel like it. You are invited to take breaths of easing and releasing. You are invited to make up rituals for grieving, for letting go, for whatever you like.

ALSO! Calendars!

While in the basement, I found some old Fluent Self calendars from 2012 and 2013, ones we couldn’t sell because of things like dirt spots on the back cover. Each has TWELVE delicious qualities (one for each month) along with marvelous superpowers, and gorgeous, inspiring images.

I think these would be great fun for cutting up and Reflecting (shhh, it’s collage), or making Wish Boards of Yes, or choosing qualities to make your own compass.

I will mail one or both calendars to anyone contributing $20 or more to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund this week, just give me an address!

Yay, and then I will recycle what is left, if anything is left, and we are Easing and Releasing together. This feels good to me.

While supplies last, of course.

Now.

I am sitting on the couch in my living room, and it is so very hot. Ice packs on rotation. Oh, and I stole the spray bottle of water that my housemate uses to spritz the plants in the kitchen, and every couple minutes I take off my glasses and just go wild with it.

I pretend that the spray bottle is filled with qualities, like the salves in the Friday Chicken.

I am spraying myself with Pleasure, with Sweetness, with divine Comforting.

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

She: You let yourself go on Shmita, and look at all the things you are letting go of that you never thought you would let go of. Maybe Easing is the secret ingredient.
Me: That, and saying WHOOSH GOODBYE.

Clues?

I accidentally wrote EASTING instead of easing and only just caught that.

East is PRESENCE, LOVE, HORIZONS. That’s what I put in the compass.

So. Easting my way into easing means breathing in more of that.

Also it rhymes with Feasting, which is a marvelous form of ritual. What if not all grieving rituals need to be about letting go? Some could be about imbibing, taking in comfort and nourishment, all the healing that comes from receiving. I need to remember this.

The superpower of I am stronger than I think.

June - Release MoreWe are in June: RELEASE MORE, with the superpower of I am stronger than I think.

I could be reminded of this superpower every day forever, and still be grateful.

Thank you. WHOOSH, GOODBYE. I am stronger 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 current ops…

I loved this wish. It helped me stick with things that had a charge for me. It helped me go to bed and say yes to my yes, and hey, I emptied out six gigantic boxes from my basement.

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