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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


crown on / do less

very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (also known as a Vision of Possibility & Anticipation) each week to practice wanting, listening, getting clear on my desires

the point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), it’s learning about my relationship with wanting, 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 is the 355th consecutive week of wishing, come play!


I found myself lurching awake at 3am
with one of those world-shattering, blindingly brilliant epiphanies
the kind you know is the answer
you weren’t even seeking
to [life, the universe and everything]
though you also suspect as you frantically scribble it down
this achingly important message might not make sense later
and even if it does, well, safe to bet
you won’t be sufficiently impressed


it’s the meaning of the words, the full-body reverberation of them
not the words themselves
but 3am-me knew that nothing could ever be more true
or more vital than these two words taken together:


there is no other answer
because that’s the answer
but can you sustain the charge of that moment of knowing

crown on and do less

my theme over the past week has been CROWN ON
a la Wayne and Garth: “Game On!”

the work of CROWN ON is equal parts useful and challenging
and once I started playing with this
I was immediately rewarded (ha) with
every possible opportunity to practice
because that’s how these things go

a small example

last week while doing some congruencing here
I came across an old FAQ page from maybe seven years ago
past-me had written the longest answer
to the people who ask us to remove or edit comments they’ve left here
about why we don’t do that
the explanation was warm and compassionate, written with so much love
and yet I unhesitatingly deleted the whole thing
because I remembered something that past-me didn’t trust yet
that the best answer to everything is pause-and-breathe,
trust people enough to let them resolve their stuff on their own,
and anyway, not everything requires a response


I love these reminders showing up everywhere in my life right now
helping me see something I did not realize before:
crown-on and do-less like to play together!
in fact they’re probably
skipping through the park right now
holding hands and laughing
pausing to admire the rainbow that visits the fountain

What do I know about Do Less?

it doesn’t come naturally (to me)
my mind requires steady practice to choose towards less
or even to remember that doing less is an option
it is amazing how many problems and challenges don’t need solving
if you just wait 48 hours

about 70% of our incoming emails are questions that
don’t need to be answered
I learned this years ago on a teaching trip to Berlin
the time difference solved all challenges each night
giving people time to answer their own questions while I slept
by the time I got around to them, there was nothing left to do

what if there is nothing that needs to be done
what if this is true in more situations than I think

I mean, very rarely is it necessary to take action
and the less I try to solve/fix/respond/smooth-things-over
the more powerful it is when I do take a stand in a moment that demands it

this is in part the answer to last week’s wish
see? I wished my wish, did nothing, and here’s the solution

the superpowers of less

do less is a marvelous way to practice sovereignty (crown on!)
because it combines the superpowers of

Love-More Trust-More (and trust love more!)
What If We Just Let This Situation Gracefully Resolve Itself
I Remember To Pause And Breathe
There Are So Many Ways This Could Work Out Without My Input
Look At Me Caring For The Beautiful Boundaries Of My Internal Kingdom

doing as much less as possible
is a wonderful way to challenge the rigging of the rigged game
but the rigging is also why
the practice of do less is so fraught

(let’s talk about rigging)

a commitment to live by Do Less
or even to explore living by Do Less
— even just whispering about this wish —
is vulnerable, intense,
and slightly-to-very terrifying
not only because it sets off the internal monster brigades
but especially when we remember that the rigged game rewards
a culture of do more
the rigged game is the inculcated mindset of
you are never doing enough

(because you are not enough)
(that’s what you’re supposed to think)


believing you are not enough, that’s what ensures you’ll be
too busy to rebel
too busy working your ass off
trying to achieve the unachievable
without even questioning whether or not it is your whispered heart-yes
to begin with

or you’ll give up on yourself,
thinking you’re failing at life
because the mechanisms of the rigged game
are so well disguised
we can’t even see that “winning” wasn’t an option to begin with

and here’s a fun paradox!
in order to illuminate the illusion we have to shine our own light
to shine with clarity and intention requires spaciousness and quiet
to claim more spaciousness and quiet for ourselves, we need to do less
no wonder culture wants to keep us busy and uncomfortable in our skin


it serves the rigged game
that we are constantly striving and never pausing to examine why
it serves the rigged game when we push and when we
chastise ourselves for
not pushing more or “enough”
and of course often there are real life consequences
to not demonstrating that we too are push-push-pushing like everyone else
still, it’s amazing, really, if you stop long enough to think about it
look at us chasing what we think are goals ahead of us
when it’s only horizon
horizon doing what horizon does best
hinting at a possibility of arriving
a gorgeous illusion

the rigged game depends on us believing that we can get there
if we just push more and harder
and we want to believe that if only we weren’t dealing with
[Situation X] or [Illness/Impairment Y] or [Interpersonal Relationship Z]
then sure we could just make it all happen
inbox zero and
spotless apartment and
a body that is more [this] and less [that]
on and on

trapped in comparison

as if there is some imaginary happier perfect version of us
living in some ludicrous impossible pinterest-instagram scenario
the kind where people with suspiciously great hair
lounge on suspiciously white sofas
mysteriously never spilling wine
on their perfectly tailored white garments
you guys, it’s a trap

what do I know

(1) there is always a Situation X at hand, that’s how life works

(2) all these things we are brainwashed to think are
both desirable and attainable
(if only we just keep pushing)
aren’t even necessarily things we want or need
even if they were achievable which, I mean, who knows,
but the game keeps us too busy to check in and find out

(3) as Orna says, everything that is against me is illusion
in yoga we call this maya, the thing that keeps us from seeing truth

(3.5) illusion is very compelling

(4) to release distortions and the untrue stories I habitually tell myself until they become the filters for all experience, I need to get quiet, turn inward, come home to breath and heartbeat and source-love

(5) so we’re back to less doing, more being
less striving, more allowing
less judgment, more curiosity

let’s eat pie

last night my friend the arborist texted me:
“today was a good day, as always, trusting, waiting,
wanting everything and expecting nothing, I could eat a pie”

this is what I want:

Wanting Everything While Expecting Nothing
Wanting Everything And Doing (Glorious Brave Intentional) Nothing
There Is Nothing To Solve
Nothing More Needs To Be Done
Trust And Wait and Do Nothing And Eat Pie

this is the spirit of crown on and do less
the spirit of love more trust more
yes, this is what I want

may it be so!


wishing wishes about Do Less, and yet/also:
I have three days to finish vacating my house
and deal with approximately seventy million related and unrelated tasks
so I need to find the peacefulness inside that conundrum
or the not-a-conundrum inside the conundrum
ah yes, everything that is against me is an illusion,
so it follows that there is no conundrum
it is up to me to bring the spirit of Do Less and Crown On into a busy day
not to postpone the wish until I’m “less busy”
(because believing that will happen is the rigged game too)
(and believing that I will be happier when that happens is also rigging)

I have this sweet moment now
to breathe in life and appreciate life
to stroke the beautiful wood grain of this table, let my jaw soften,
welcome myself in this moment
and this is how a moment changes
I do less inside of it
and give myself more

the superpower of beautifully supported

ah here we are in April, the month of ROOTS
and oh how I need this superpower of
Beautifully Supported
thank you, past-me, for being such a good namer and calling this into being

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called do-overs forever

and in a way today’s wish solves the question that troubled me last week, I can do less (wait and trust) and take steps (crown on), and there is no contradiction, because the contradiction was part of the illusion

so here’s to doing wonderful less, and to doing less, wonderfully
all the while full of wonder

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading

deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, intel, possibly in code

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

wishes are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing

here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: oh, wow what beautiful wishes

64 Responses to crown on / do less

  1. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat


    This is just so breathtakingly beautiful.

    Earlier today, I was thinking about how I now give myself a lot more permission to slow down than I used to, and how happy I am about that. It’s healthier for me, too; I can really feel that, can feel the difference that it makes.

    Thank you. You and your crown are marvelous. <3

  2. Margaret says:



    It is so interesting to consider ‘Do Less’ alongside ‘L.I.S.T.’ w/in ‘What’s True and What’s Also True’
    how they wrap around and in and through each other
    in my book right now EVERYTHING is a valid option
    as long as it does not shut-down
    and this EVERYTHING/ANYTHING is working better than anything else I’ve tried, so hey, I’ll take it.

    I had an interesting moment this week choosing a spoon to stir tea, I noticed that if i looked at the spoons in a particular way, one in each hand, and relaxed my eyes a little, i could SEE the Yes choice, it was extra shiny and seemed to glow from within. It was beautiful.
    I am wishing for more of that.
    I am also wishing for more EXERCISE IN TRUST and more REMEMBERING because these have been working so well!
    I am Wishing for more Wishing, and more Wishing for Wishing, and more Wishing for Wishing for


    the sound of infinite wish expansion, making space within like the blossoming of a universe
    More of this wish.
    And more Wanting cause I’m tickled by ‘Wanting Everything And Doing Nothing’
    It sounds so upside-out there *must* be truth there
    And more and more TRUST
    TRUST that if I don’t make sense to anybody but myself, but I make sense to myself, that is ALL that matters, but MORE TRUST THAT MORE OF THIS IS MORE WISH THAT IS TRUST

    Yes. More trust in the back-side, the wake of my thoughts. It all makes sense and it is all Okay.

    and more Release/Relief
    into Trust.

  3. Kate says:

    i laughed sort of terrifyingly hard
    at ‘suspiciously great hair’
    but now i am doing nothing & eating ice cream
    with a tiny spoon because it tastes better that way
    i had forgotten that but i remembered
    because today i did not very much at all
    & my brain had time to notice that
    my roommate has a tiny spoon
    & i have an ice cream
    & that this is a Very Good thing
    Kate recently posted… beltaine rising soap

  4. Pqw-orange
    Twitter: fiadhiglas

    So grateful I can come to this space, and find where our life-journeys are presently congruent.

    A few weeks ago, I possibly alienated a potential new pen friend by writing that i’ve struggled with being long-term unemployed, in great part because I used to meet the few friends I had through my jobs. No jobs: fewer friends.

    Realized after mailing the letter that… I actually love that I’m not working. The reason I needed to conceal that feeling from myself for 7 yrs – i’ve been terrified if anyone else “found out” I’m happy with my “empty” life, i’d somehow be forced to go back to work.

    Currently, I have days where the highlights are ‘interesting things I realized’, moved 2 items in my studio, imagined X, and oh yeah, took the recycling over to the bin (giving me a reason for a pleasant walk, seeing who’s got baby leaves and/or flowers, and taking pictures).

    I have no means to ‘achieve’ ‘accomplishments’ anymore, but I’m happier/more satisfied than I was when I was always ‘striving’, for stuff it turned out wasn’t useful to me personally.

    “Crown On / Do Less” all the way.
    Pqw-orange recently posted… Reading List 4 of 2016

  5. Sue T says:

    Thank you, Havi!
    Margaret and Kate, <3!!!
    I actually have a beautiful handmade tiny spoon somewhere; must find it.
    Plus must get some green tea ice cream.
    Which I loo-o-ove so there is never enough, theoretically, because I can only find it around here in pint containers.
    But I shall try eating it with a tiny spoon.
    This would definitely be doing less in order to more perfectly experience my favorite ice cream.
    And I could do this, for example, while taking a break from an iguana-ish garden weeding job, which is already underway and must be completed soon.
    However, dear monsters, science has consistently shown that we actually get more weeding done when we do less at one time.
    And what better way to help me enjoy weeding my garden than to take breaks for the purpose of eating green tea ice cream with a tiny spoon?
    This will also require stepping out of garden clogs, brushing dirt off knees, thorough hand-washing, and other transitional rituals which will allow doing even less! Thereafter I can return to the garden with renewed enthusiasm because I had a stretch break, and also ice cream!

  6. Javani says:

    And today I read a very related quote by Thomas Merton:

    “The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence.”

  7. Grace Seol
    Twitter: simonethinks

    I glow gratitude for this beautiful post!
    I made a compass yesterday and “elimination” wanted to be in there
    very interesting because it is not normally a word/quality I think about a lot
    not before recently anyway

    and some more clues-brewing about what

    have to do with elimination!

    Can I eliminate into trust?
    Can I surrender to elimination?
    How sweet can elimination be?
    How does elimination helps me *belong* more in my life, my own heart, my own body?
    Is it that I emerge my true emergence through elimination?

    Also ringing for me is the bell of [slower]
    which seems quintessentially related to [do less/eliminate]

    so I am here letting them all ring
    in a chorus of sovereign song


    • Havi Brooks
      Twitter: havi

      That is so beautiful, and did you know, I was just thinking about “what needs to be eliminated“/”what needs to be illuminated”…. <3 <3 <3

      • Margaret says:

        Mmmmm, thank you Havi, I had not found that post before, that is beautiful. Choosing the Yes Spoon was very much like that for me the other day: One of these –wants– to carry me forward. One of them –wants– to stay behind. Let’s be patient and find out which is which.

        *joins in 2013 solstice ritual, blazingly defying boundaries of time and space*

    • Nela says:

      Those are wonderful questions. It always amazes me how people come in here with their wishes and they’re somehow all connected <3

  8. Magic says:

    So not only more do-overs, but perhaps also more do-unders?

  9. Magic says:

    *grabs Shame’s hand and skips through the Fluent Self garden sprinkling tiny spoons and Magic everywhere*

  10. Holly says:

    So much love for this! What a beautiful, beautiful wish!

    Permission and rest and questioning assumptions around “the way things are done” – we’ve been having encounters recently. Which is not a word I often use, and yet seems like a good word for what’s been happening – noticings with eye contact, run ins, bumping intos -> encounters.

    I’m leaving two DNA-structured-interconnected wishes this week. One bubbled up while I was on the train, and the other came to light during a zombie morning.

    sparkle to glow to radiate
    rest – crown – release

    plus, thank yous all around. <3 <3
    Holly recently posted… when did making clothing by hand become the path of least resistance in my life?

  11. Nela says:

    “and once I started playing with this
    I was immediately rewarded (ha) with
    every possible opportunity to practice
    because that’s how these things go”
    YES haha exactly what I’ve been experiencing this week regarding a different thing but actually just writing this I’ve realized it’s related to “do less”/congruencing.

    This is a beautiful wish, and I wish to explore it in a way as well.

    My wish for this week is regarding that appointment which is long overdue, and I’ll try to look at it through this lens.
    I haven’t been stressing about what I’m going to say, trusting that the right words will come at the right time and that I’ll know how to state my needs without stepping over the person’s ego, although part of me fears this will be an ego struggle.

    What would “do less” look like in this situation?

    – I could meditate for a long time, just breathe in qualities of presence, power, trust, love and fun

    – I could calmly state that my work is complete, and leave it to them to find a way to accept that this is true

    – if nothing else works, I could theoretically end the project and stop working with them ever again

    – I could talk less

    – I could breathe presence as they’re talking (and they love to talk) instead of thinking about my response

    – I could leave the decision for next week, instead of trying to make it on the spot

    – I could hold off from promising anything. My usual response is promise the Moon and stars to make the other person feel better, and it gets me in way over my head. Smile and promise nothing.

    Let’s practice how to do less for a change.
    Nela recently posted… How to be a remarkable blogger and attract loyal readers

    • Grace Seol
      Twitter: simonethinks

      I LOVE THESE!!!

    • Magic says:

      “Smile and promise nothing”! Wow!

    • Nela says:

      Reporting that my mission was a success. I’m honestly blown away.

      We postponed the meeting by 2 hours so I had a bit of time available to do whatever I wanted, and I was tempted to do some “useful work”… but then I remembered we were on a mission of Do Less here, and I dedicated the next to hours to Doing Less.

      The Doing Less was… transformative. Before it, I was nervous about stating my boundaries, and then there was a switch and all of a sudden I was crazy enthusiastic about stating my boundaries. I was anticipating [them] to throw a fit, and I welcomed it (because it would give me the confirmation that my decision was the right one).

      Not only did [they] not throw a fit, they:
      a) apologized for stepping over my boundaries and promised to rectify it,
      b) asked that I speak more openly in the future and call them out on their BS immediately, and
      c) reiterated that they see me as a valued and respected collaborator and a person they feel (non-creepy) love for, and they want to make this work.

      When I left the meeting, I’ve felt like a miracle just happened. (And I’ve also felt like a badass.)

      I’m so glad about taking this route, and this has nothing to do with the outcome – I’ve would’ve been just as content if we parted our ways. I trust that whatever happened, needed to happen.

      Thank you all for this loving, open space where I can feel comfortable sharing this.
      Knowing that I declared to Do Less here made me keep my promise.

  12. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt

    May it be so!

    (The plane trees are coming into leaf.)
    Kathleen Jowitt recently posted… 100 untimed books: poems

  13. Darcy
    Twitter: darxyanne

    Do less has been my unspoken internal mantra for years, probably nigh on a decade, so a big YAY for at last hearing it said out loud outside me, thank you, because I never even said it out loud, because what would people think!? and how could I admit to that!? Beaming love to your wish and gratitude to you for wishing it out loud and breathing a deep sigh of relief that I am not alone. xoxo

  14. seagirl says:

    I love doing less. And going slower. Although right now I need to do more and move faster to get ready to go out of town. But Future Me will be very pleased and it will mean she can move slower when she gets back.

    My wish this week is to find the right people – at the conference, with me on the roads, at the job interview, during the dinner and lunch breaks at the conference, and when I come home and return to my little nest with all my little birdies around me. A breath for having people that I miss when I leave. And who miss me.

  15. Margaret says:

    *before remembering to be ashamed of enthusiasm, she writes:*

    spoons!!! spoons are SO important. J.B.P. and i use metaphorical spoons to communicate our {anything important} energy level.
    As in, ‘babe, i’m almost out of spoons, could we talk about this another time?’
    and ‘my spoon drawer is empty. cuddle! cuddle! we must replenish the spoons!’

    spoons have saved the [marriage] on more than one occasion.

  16. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium


    I am delighting in a slice of lemon pie as I type.

    And also black sheep red wine (Le Grand Noir) and potato salad.

    So sad and frustrated about the election landscape and other landmine-laden realms. Wishing reassurance and security and generosity of spirit to all traveling through those realms, including me.

    Also into the pot:
    foot massage
    all-over massage
    new mattress
    enough sleep
    the right amount of rain for the peppers and hocks and roses

    Warm wishes to all y’all.
    Mechaieh recently posted… cooking/noshing notes

  17. Questing Lee says:

    Since I have started Living the Smile, people ask “Are you staying busy?” And seem shocked when I answer, “No.” “What do you do during the day?” they ask. “Whatever I want to.” And my face shows this to be the truth by breaking out in a big grin. And they seem happy for me.

    • Havi Brooks
      Twitter: havi

      “WHATEVER I WANT TO!!!!!” This is the most marvelous thing I have heard, and I am so glad your mission is a success.

    • VickiB says:

      Once when we were traveling, someone asked us where we were from, and then asked “And what do you do in [hometown]?” I smiled and said, “Pretty much whatever we want” and he turned away and didn’t talk to us anymore.

    • Nela says:

      Heya, Questing Lee! :)
      I just love that answer. So much freedom and spaciousness inside of it.

  18. claire says:

    just wanted to cast a vote for “congruencing” and “38 yawns” posts for the greatest hits/most useful if that gets updated

    also would like to join Mechaieh for lemon pie/black sheep red wine/potato salad as that sounds so luscious and amazing


  19. Grace Seol
    Twitter: simonethinks

    I am collecting techniques for ‘do less/eliminate/illuminate’. Like, concrete things to help me remember to interrupt the pattern of thinkthinkthinkdododoanalyzeanalyzeanalyzesolvesolvesolve.

    (0) press pause. literally press the pause button. don’t see it? It’s on your right! (my hypno teacher would say this. and people would be like ‘oh right of course it’s right there)

    (1) 38 yawwwwwwwwwwns, until the tears come

    (2) streeeeetch

    (3) stretch + yawwwwn

    (4) this is another hypno thing I learned, but whatever script I’m cycling in my head, keep doing it except say/think everything 10 times slower. like, if I’m saying to myself “what is the point, I will never be happy again,” then say “whaaaaaaaaaat eeeeeeeeeeeeeezzz theeeeeeee pooooooooooooooooint… Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy willllllllll neeeeeeeeeeveeeeeeeerrrrrrrrr beeeeeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaapppyyyyyyyyyyyyy agaaaaaaaaaaaiinnnnnnnnnnn….” x 10

    and then eventually I’m like, huh? oh right. nothing.

    (4) declare “this does not require my input!”

    (5) borrowing shamelessly from Nela above: more things I can declare!

    – “my work is complete, and I leave it to [angels/qualities/magics/universe/mystery] to find a way to accept that this is true”

    – “if nothing else works, I could end the project and stop working with them ever again” (I’m still not even sure what this means, except I know that I LOVE how it feels in my body)

    (6) (more borrowing from Nela) I could breathe presence as they’re talking (and they love to talk) instead of thinking about my response

    (7) (more borrowing from Nela) Smile and promise nothing to my internal selves

    (8) smile and shrug

    (9) lie on the floor and breathe

    (10) lie on the floor and breathe while smiling

    (11) lie on the floor and breathe while also occasionally shrugging


    • Nela says:

      I’m blushing over my ears here, and I’m so glad these declarations carry something in them for you to unravel in your own direction.

      And how did I never notice there’s a pause button right there to my right?? *press press press*
      Thank you for sharing your collection of techniques for all of us to benefit :)

  20. Ravenstar says:

    Offering great appreciation for this beautiful post, and for “smile and promise nothing” – revolutionary!


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