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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.


Hi there, qualities of the voyage that is 2012.

December 31st. Curled up in blankets at my retreat center, sitting across from my partner in crime

We were plotting away about the new and much bigger Playground space that is opening in Portland in March, as well as the online parallel space opening in February.

And we decided to name the qualities we wanted to connect to as we sail into this coming year of adventures and growth.

So many qualities!

Saying each one out loud was like having a wonderful witchy imaginary aunt read you a trippy incantation as a bedtime story.

Or like taking a really restorative warm bath that is also exciting at the same time, because it keeps changing colors and blowing little happy bubbles at you.

Anyway, I thought I would plant the list of qualities here, in case some or all of them want to speak to you.

And because, wow. QUALITIES. Undiluted essence.

As always, if a word doesn’t appeal to you, no worries. It might not be your word. Or you can translate it. Rewrite it. Use the metaphor mouse technique to unpack it and change your definition.

The qualities!

Trust. Grounding. Expansion and expansiveness.

Spaciousness. Sovereignty. Presence. Radiance. Beauty.

Clarity. Shelter.

Renewal. Willingness.


Softening and surrender. Grace. Power. Lustrousness.

Tranquility. Warmth. Appreciation. Delight. Play.

Possibility. Sanctuary. Creativity. Expectancy and anticipation.

Joy. Emergence. Adaptability. Certainty. Focus.

Patience. Love. Belonging. Welcoming. Sustainability.

Effortlessness. Effort. Yes, both at the same time, supporting each other!

Crossing-through. Protection. Alignment.

Effervescence. Excitement.


Adventure. Experimentation.

Filling up and replenishing. Frolicking.

Permission. Gratitude. Strength. Toughness and tenacity.

Boldness. Resilience. Suppleness. Smoothness.

Admiration. Sensitivity. Truth. Resonance. Responsibility. Flow.

Cheer. Movement. Dance. Enoughness. Efficiency. Ease. Courage.

Sustenance. Dedication.

Flexibility. Exulting.

Release. Elimination. Congruence. Harmony. Knowing.

Imagination. Sophisticated Innocence!

Commitment. Devotion. Exuberance. Agility.

Receptivity. Wonder.

Nourishment. Poise. Agency. Exploration. Spontaneity!


Sincerity. Curiosity. Sweetness. Kindness. Compassion. Ingenuity.

Charm. Autonomy. Intelligence. Wisdom.

Support. Community. Discovery.

Safety. Protection. Attunement (syntonics!)

Order. Deconstruction. Structure. Form.

Festivity. Building and rebuilding.


Transformation. Desire. Balance.



And then sixteen to become special friends with.

Sixteen qualities that especially beckoned to me on the evening of entry…

They showed up in pairs.

They had alarmingly alliterative tendencies.

They wanted to be my force field this year, and I said YES PLEASE:

Spaciousness and Sovereignty.
Presence and Possibility.
Radiance and Receptivity.
Effortlessness and Efficiency.
Adaptability and Agility.
Desire and Deconstruction.
Boldness and Beauty.
Congruence and Creativity.


And because I am apparently secretly a medieval Jewish scholar-mystic, these also made a mysterious acrostic.

Spread… something with B and C.

So I decided it should be spreading boundaries of courage. Because that seems like a good thing to be spreading this year.

And then…

Before we went our separate ways into beds and dreams that night of the new year (well before midnight because we get cranky when we don’t get to bed early), we lit a beeswax candle that my uncle Svevo made.

And then we read the list out loud.

The full list. Then the sixteen special qualities. Then: Spreading Boundaries of Courage.

We blew out the candle. Whisper-whoosh!

And here we are.

Play with me. How the commenting blanket fort works!

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process.

When our stuff comes up in reaction to something, we recognize that this is our stuff.

We own it. And then we consciously, lovingly interact with it.

We create safe spaces for ourselves to get to learn about our stuff, so we don’t have to be in our stuff. And we create safety for each other by giving lots of permission and zero advice.

If you want to whisper-whoosh any qualities that appeal to you, go for it.

If you want to share in any of these, that’s welcome too.

If you want to add another candle to the mix, yay.

Waving from the ship! Spreading boundaries of courage.

26 Responses to Hi there, qualities of the voyage that is 2012.

  1. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    That’s exactly the kind of thing I was planning to do with MY tiny sweet thing because my secret business advisor told me to! Except now I know how to do it in the totally magical and witchy way you described!

    Yay, yay, yay. Blowing happy bubbles.
    Simone recently posted… Hello, 2012! But more importantly, hello, you.

  2. Jennifer
    Twitter: unchartedworlds

    Oooh congruence and creativity. Yes.
    Jennifer recently posted… End of 2011

  3. Becky
    Twitter: fruitmaven

    So funny that you would post such a generous list of qualities today. I decided that this year would be the year I explore qualities as a means of getting to know myself better. I already have about 325. I think there may be some in here I didn’t have though. Fun fun.

  4. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat


    Love and Creativity are my forever qualities; I invoke them every day. Clarity is my special word for 2012. Play is my other (secret, but I can tell all of you) word for 2012, which I didn’t know until just now, when it started bobbing up and down and whispering, “Oooh! Oooh! Me too!”

    I also adore your force field, and would like to invite it out for dinner and a movie, or maybe for a long, meandering walk, followed by conversation at a cafe. Spreading my arms wide, and welcoming boundaries of courage!
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… Clarity.

  5. Esme
    Twitter: TheRealSqualor

    I love everything on your list. I wrote my own list including most of your qualities, and a few of my own such as: health, richness, spirituality, epiphany, fresh air. Because fresh air is both a thing and a quality.

    There were a few on your list that I’m especially glad you included because they put a name to concepts I’ve been trying to capture. I want to temper frivolity and spaciousness with determination and productivity, without the negative connotations I have with the word productive. Your qualities tenacity and commitment capture what I want perfectly.

  6. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels

    Mmm, yes!

    (And now I see I am beginning *everything* with “mmmmm, yes” these days…)

    For me, the quality is sovereigntysovereigntySOVEREIGNTY! I am feeling like it will be an easy, relaxed, confident sovereignty. Not a scepter-clutching-deathgrip sovereignty, a balanced, hey, this purple ermine-trimmed robe fits perfectly! kind of sovereignty.

    Ooooh, I am hugging 2012 and giggling and rocking back and forth with pleasure because I am so chuffed about the whole thing!
    Max Daniels recently posted… The thin are not that different from you and me

  7. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels

    Oh, and I’m liking FEALTY too.
    Max Daniels recently posted… The thin are not that different from you and me

  8. Taylor Lindstrom
    Twitter: goodinkinc

    I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but just in case it adds a whole new layer:

    Your pairs of eight would be super-excellent Shivanautical positions. Or maybe all sixteen varying every other one somehow. I don’t know what level that would be. Pirate Queen Level, certainly.
    Taylor Lindstrom recently posted… The Pit

  9. Sony says:

    I also love this. As I was sitting there on Jan. 1st, mulling over your shivanautical insight of conscious entry and exit, I decided to write down the qualities I wanted to invoke for 2012. The qualities I wrote down were: Self-expression, Self-knowledge, Coziness, Warmth, Support, Sustenance, Compassion, Connection, Comfort, Automagicality, Transformation, Learning, Clarity and Presence.

  10. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels

    Oh, and PAGEANTRY. That is a big one for me this year.
    Max Daniels recently posted… The thin are not that different from you and me

  11. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    I want to “like” Taylor Lindstrom’s comment.
    Simone recently posted… A Plan for 2012: So how do I “live what I know” anyway?

  12. Cherilyn
    Twitter: Bikeblisschick

    Oh. My. So many waves of magic in many directions.

    Yes and yes.
    Cherilyn recently posted… Another great New Year’s for the books!

  13. Leni says:

    I love the Pairs of Qualities! So nice for the Qualities to have an Ally in theri work.

    On NYE and NYD I was inspired by another friend from Portland to make a cut-up Enchantment for the year (a collage with the qualities etc for the year). It was tremendously juicy.

    I wrote out the Qualities in different colored inks on the back. So Fun! is a fun color and Rest! looks restful.

    There are many layers to this cut-up Enchantment, I know more discoveries will bubble up.

    I’m also exploring my pirate stronghold, which i have named Isle du Rhum. Anyone have better French, feel free to correct the spelling.

    I have never entered a new year so consciously as I have this year. And despite a very lazy day at work yesterday, I have moved stuff along today that has been languishing since June.

    All kinds of divinations for the new year show all kinds of brilliant possibilities.

  14. Hannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah

    This is like the New Year’s Eve Guide for Highly Sensitive Peoples’s!

    Very nice.

    For 2011, I think the main word that kept occuring to me was “ enoughness “. It was hard in the beginning just to hear it and to imagine that’s where I could be (oh the pain of just thinking such a place exist and then thinkin – could I be there?)

    And then it sunk in a little bit. And then it was magic that popped up here and there (even while it also was hard)

    My word for 2012 came to me after clew-finding!
    I’d previously found the word while working with Hiro’s Deva cards (http://hiroboga.com/deva-qualities-cards/#usecards)

    It is: provision !

    2012 seemed mostly about work, finishing, blah.
    But the clews said: it is not just about that. There are things to do ‘in the soft’. You can stock the stocks and fill up the well and go on artist’s date and set it up ! and ! !

    And then I squeeled with delight.

    I think it was one of them real epiphanies.


    I am adding from the magic enchanting list:

    safety, protection

    structure, form

    kindness, compassion, curiosity, charm

    nourishment, resonance, flow

  15. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    Happy New Year, Havi!

    Though I’ve been lurking more of late, I am still reading and enjoying your posts.

    I picked “Ease” as my theme for 2012, wrote about it in the link below, and am already seeing the curious ways it’s playing out. Also recognized my stuff as being my stuff when someone else had a much more productive sounding goal and was able to let my stuff go and encourage them.

    Best wishes for you and all of your qualities!
    claire recently posted… Low profile

  16. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    My short list for the year is Power & Radiance.
    My medium list for the year is Beauty, Power, Radiance, Plenty, Delight, Possibility, Permission, Magic, Trust, Joy, Ease, Surrender, Support, Spaciousness & Belonging.
    Then, I have a very very very long list.
    Elizabeth recently posted… it’s a hard knock life – for pups

  17. Beth Freeman
    Twitter: fantheember

    depending on how sophisticated innocence is counted (I counted it as 2) – there are 123 qualities! Which is a fun number entirely. And they needed to be counted.

    Elizabeth! I love your short/medium/long lists – my journal list ended up being very… outline-y. Like, folders of sub-qualities (how can a quality be sub?) I like your way better.

    My short list: Joy & Sovereignty (unless there’s a better word for serenity that also radiates strength/wisdom?) (also. these are the words that mark me. my words. every year. shrug.)

    My medium list for this year: Possibility and Play, Navigation, Femininity, Spaciousness, Support, Synthesis/Seeing and Claiming All of Me/Integration(?), Softening…. (fades into a very long list)

  18. Miss P.
    Twitter: chemieemma

    I love this list, because it gives me so many impulses and nuances. I think nuance is also an essence.

    The single quality is courage, but it sits in a hexagon too:

    Courage and Permission
    Wisdom and Harmony

    And then courage also has a home in a garden with trust, sovereignty, support, spaciousness, action, loyalty, tenderness, care, magic, increase and blossom
    Miss P. recently posted… Observation on intelligence.

  19. Miss P.
    Twitter: chemieemma

    I love this list, because it gives me so many impulses and nuances. I think nuance is also an essence.

    The single quality is courage, but it sits in a hexagon too:

    Courage and Permission
    Wisdom and Harmony

    And then courage also has a home in a garden with trust, sovereignty, support, spaciousness, action, loyalty, tenderness, care, magic, increase and blossom.
    Miss P. recently posted… Observation on intelligence.

  20. I love you. (That is all.)

  21. VickiB says:

    I am so loving the list of qualities, and the words and qualities everyone is posting.

    My word is EASE. Hi, Claire!
    The word GRACE keeps popping up to join it.

    I want this to be a year of EASE — not of taking it easy but of *making* it easy.

    I want to do WITH EASE the things that need to be done.

    EASE is an acrostic (as yet incomplete) for things I can do, plan to do, want to do, to make 2012 a year of ease.

    E for ELEMentary self care:
    ELEM is for the familiar Eat Less Exercise More; “Ment” for mental (the attitudes etc related to self care), “ar” – because it’s pronounced “air” – is for fresh air, in the literal and metaphorical senses, and” y” (pronounced “ee”) is for ease and also for “EEEE!!!”

    A is for Act. As in “take action” and in “act the way you want to feel” and don’t sit around waiting for things to happen.

    S is for Setting Things Up.

    E is for — as yet undecided, but I’m thinking about “Elegance”, because of its association with simplicity, dignity, and grace, and because its antonyms include messy and unwieldy.

    May it be so.

  22. Juliemybird
    Twitter: juliemybird

    Long-time lurker emerges from woodwork to say:

    The mention of *effortlessness* and *effort* working together made me smile and sigh, because YES. :)

  23. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space


    I have been invoking the quality of ‘humility’. A word, like ‘surrender’, which I’ve really struggled to understand – why does this come up for me? It’s quite counter-cultural of course. (Ha! Which probably helps me believe that there’s probably something good in it!!!)

    Here’s what I have found in the idea of humility.
    [+ service]
    [+ surrender]
    [+ ‘I don’t know’ mind]
    [+ receptivity]
    [+ curiosity]
    [+ possibility]
    [+ commitment]
    [+ liberty]

    If I want [whatever] to grow and thrive in the world and [whatever] needs [this], then how I feel about delivering [this] is IRRELEVANT to the fact that [this] is what [whatever] needs.

    My child is his own self. My job is to get to know him and meet his needs as best I can so he can grow and thrive in the world.

    My mission from god is it’s own self. My job is to get to know it and meet its needs as best I can so it can grow and thrive in the world.

    I myself am who I am. My job is to get to know me and meet myself as best I can so I can grow and thrive in the world.

    Midwifing. Garden tending. Lantern keeping. I have lots of metaphors. They are all around humble, dedicated service. Obviously the most important lantern I am keeping is my self. Not for the SAKE of the lantern, my physical small-s ego self, for the sake of the LIGHT. Humble surrendering to whatever needs to be done so that the light can shine most clearly, steadily, brightly.

    Happily, paying attention to what the lantern needs and delivering it places my physical small-s ego self in a life that is most enjoyable and happy. But that’s a side benefit.

    Ego-driven STRIVING for happiness just ends up in loops of chocolate, spendthrifting, procrastination tv, sleeping in, staying up late, self-harm, depression, anxiety, certificates, fabulous business cards with my name on them, lots of external EVIDENCE that I’m okay…. None of it satisfying.

    Humility makes room for midwife-me, lantern-keeper me to ask curious questions around those ego-driven desires and impulses. Hello ego – why do you think you need [chocolate]? Is that true? What is the essence of the want? Is there a more powerful way I can deliver that quality than through [chocolate]?

    MMmmmmmmm, humility. Humble like the one-L Lama. Me and the Dalai Lama, we’re tripping the humility shtick together. I should probably read an Intro to Buddhism book I think…

    Anyway, it struck me a couple of days ago that the opposite (and therefore, yin-yang like, ESSENCE) of humility is INFINITY.

    The infinity sign. The mobius strip. The endless spirals, like in shiva nata, like in life, coming back to where we began and knowing it for the first time. Over and over and over again for ever for ever that is what life is.

    Which means….. every point on that mobius strip is OKAY, every point I find myself on my joooourney along and around the infinity sign of my life, (oh hello ISSUE you’re still here but we are different now) (hello PATTERN we’re back where we started but we are different now), is OKAY. It’s PART of it. Obviously – because infinity contains, er, everything!

    Being lost for months in horrible paralysing depression is OKAY because it’s PART of the infinite experience. A dark, painful part, but a part, a legitimate, important, perfect part of it. And IIIIII got to experience it. There is a grace in that that is hard to explain.

    So I have nothing to fear. NOTHING. How…. light ….that feels! How spacious, and free.

    Epiphanies are stoopid when you try to wrap them up in imperfect words.


    Humility. Infinity. They are the same thing.

    And those are the qualities I’m consciously bringing with me on my voyage.

  24. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    @VickiB Hey! When you got to “ar” – because it’s pronounced “air,” I laughed because my brain just went straight to “ar” because it’s like “arrrr” for pirates. :)

    I really like the “not of taking it easy but of *making* it easy.” Yes!

    And Grace is a great companion for it.
    claire recently posted… Life of Art SitRep #100 Woo!

  25. Jane
    Twitter: JaneOfArdis

    @Claire P – what you say is so mind-blowingly helpful and interesting. Surrender has kept popping up in my life, and my reaction is pretty much ‘ugh! go away!’, retreat! retreat!

    But it’s being surprsingly persistent and I’m picking around the edges of my resistance, and am digesting your words and finding little chinks appearing. Yay! Good stuff.

    Four qualities have sung to be my heart-core qualities for 2012:

    Creativity, Possibility, Connection and Fertility.

    I tried to persuade the last one that it really wanted to be abundance, but no, fertility was it. Considering my desire to have children (ie, none) its appearance is…confuzzling me a bit.

    Something to be unpacked and explored as the year goes on…
    Jane recently posted… Some kind of rebirth

  26. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    @JaneofArdis – thankyou. I use this comment space fairly ruthlessly to ramble on to myself in a mostly incoherent fashion, and it’s lovely to think that sometimes it might ALSO include some resistance chinking usefulness for someone else!

    If I were in the slightest bit into chakras (ahem) I would say that your four words are all sitting down there in your sacral chakra baby! It’s about give and take in many forms. Mmmmmmm plenty to unpack!! Shake your hips honey! Get all feminine and goddessy!! Woo!! xo

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