What's in the gallery?

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.

 

prowess

very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (or 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 366th week of wishing, come play!

What wish is this?

This is the first time we ever missed a week, while I was deep in some intense experiences, and I haven’t decided if this is a double wish or if I write two, or if this one is really a hundred, we will see….let’s begin with the one I wrote last week and didn’t publish and see where it takes us….

this is a queen

let us not stop taking breaths of awe and wonder
admiration and appreciation
for Iesha Evans
who schooled the entire world in what it means to stand
in sovereignty, grace and power

what it means
to stand, period
literal physical stance
as well as
to stand in your own power
to stand up to (distortions of and abuse of external) power
and to stand for rightness:
queenliness embodied
embodiment embodied

you can also watch this interview with her

these are the qualities

awe wonder admiration appreciation respect, yes,
when people reveal their light, glow their beacon at full glow
we pause everything and breathe for this

I almost didn’t write about this

because this is a person
who deserves above all sanctuary, quiet, safety,
not only from prison cells and men with guns but also from
the white gaze, the analytical gaze, being turned into
someone else’s story or symbol
it’s how the world is
but that doesn’t make it okay

this is a person, who is already experiencing, in addition to
wrongful arrest and standing down armed combatants,
other complicated things:
lit up by spotlights she didn’t ask for on the one hand while
simultaneously
erased in the same moment
as the focus turns to the white-and-male person who saw her,
who “captured” something, what a telling word, with his iconic photo
and his story/perspective/experience
and this is how it always goes because this is the nature of
the rigged game

so my heart is conflicted

I want to glow endless safety for her
to allow her the space I would want for myself
away from the noise

and also we have that very rare thing which is a real person
modeling sovereignty and true power in a real situation,
applying silence, intention and presence
in the kind of scary dangerous moment that would make most of us want to
crumple and contract and surrender our strength
instead of radiating with the power of our own internal authority
(which is stronger than external authority
regardless of consequences
but the human condition/illusion is such that
remembering this even exists as an option
is almost impossible to remember
and painful to think about)

no one shows us what this looks like

and here she is
in her steady queenly grace, her certainty and her power

so we need to talk about power and prowess
because that was already my wish this week
and because she is a beacon
and we need more beacons so that we can
bring more light into all the dark corners

what is power really

our culture tells so many lies about power and what it is
and why so many people want it and why they do terrible things for it
but it is all distortions and lies
and I have been thinking for years about how to explain this
(though etgar keret once wrote a story that explains part of it)
and now I don’t have to explain
because we have this unforgettable image of Iesha Evans living it

power is not the person who holds the weapons
it is not even the person who makes the decisions, who calls the shots
literal or figurative shots
shots
are a big deal
but that is not power and not worth elevating

power is presence and intention and stateliness
and standing in your steady grace, knowing what is true for you
knowing what is right
glowing your power

a detour of campsites / leave no trace

I want to tell you what is important to me about this,
what we can see and learn about real power, real prowess and presence
from this photograph that shows a moment
but first I have to share a technique or an approach,
a state of mind,
to ensure we do this in a way that causes no harm

you know those signs at campsites about how to be at a campsite?
in hebrew there is this verb lehafkir, and it means, hmmm, to discard, maybe,
I don’t know if there is an english equivalent to what I want to say
but when you are in the field
it absolutely unacceptable to do this, to leave anything behind,
not a mark on the space
this is instilled in the culture, and
people who hike and camp absolutely live this
you respect the campsite by leaving it pristine
leave no trace
I don’t know if I am explaining this well
let me try a different angle

sensitive

I am a Highly Sensitive Person
as well as sensory-defensive, which is not the same thing
(a limited but functional explanation looks at personality trait versus condition)
as well as super witchy, which is not the same thing
and clairaudient, which is not the same thing
and have PTSD, which is not the same thing,
and oh probably also on the autism/unicorn spectrum
which is also not the same thing
and a flavor of selective mute (tagline: I’m Very Selective) which is its own
world unto itself and
don’t look it up because the wikipedia page fills me with fury and rage,

and anyway
none of these words come close to being my preferred terminology
for how I want to self-define
they are extremely limiting and ignore the most important aspects
of what they are trying to describe
but those are the words that currently exist in the world which attempt
to convey who and how I am in it
and some of the challenges involved

but first we acknowledge magic beans

let us pause here to breathe for the
enormous amount of magic beans of privilege and good fortune
that I possess which allow me to be in the world with all of this
and not be locked up

magic beans of whiteness and class
highly educated and able-bodied
I easily present in a way that matches the gender I was given as a baby,
Thin-ness and Conventionally Attractive do a lot more than is generally acknowledged
not to mention other gifts of both nature-and-nurture

all these things combined with a
generous helping of good luck/timing
have allowed and continue to allow me to
live my life with relative ease
even when it’s not always that fun to experience the world as I do

just for example

I can pretend to be an Italian heiress
and people will choose to think I’m delightfully eccentric instead of
diagnosing me with multiple personality disorder
this is of course in part the work I have done to know-and-trust the
workings of my mind, to cultivate a
conscious and loving relationship with my internal world/s
all the work of self-fluency
but mainly, let’s be honest, it’s the magic beans of being white
combined with other useful things that influence positive bias like being tall
not to mention elegantly dressed
all this works to keep me out of trouble,
though, I mean, of course elegantly dressed,
I am after all an Italian heiress

in my head
but isn’t that enough

I’m not saying there aren’t obstacles, just that they get smoothed more easily

so even though yes, many people do assume upon meeting me
that I am impaired, broken, perhaps not very bright,
unable to function in the world
and who knows, maybe they are right about that last one

and even though sometimes they decide I am someone
who needs to be spoken to
VERY SLOWLY AND AT TOP VOLUME
or maybe I don’t get spoken to at all
or treated like a child,
even with all that, and with how draining it can be, I am generally able to convey
— if I desire to, if I can be bothered to put the time and effort into it —
that I am a highly intelligent, capable, successful adult human
and this works thanks to these many magic beans

gratitude for this good fortune along with
acknowledgment that magic beans are inherently unfair,
privilege is the rigged game in action
may we always bring out attention to the rigging
with clear seeing

back to the original detour!

years ago back when I was a Talker in the world of Talkers
when I didn’t know I could opt out — at least to some extent
from being in a state of constantly overwhelmed by input

back then I always knew
when X was about to call
because it would be announced in advance
like a mysterious telegraph system that existed between us
that I’d never (knowingly) agreed to

a painful piercing sensation in my right temple
slightly cold and very red
giving the impression that it wanted to drill inward
arriving thirty to ninety seconds before the ringing of the phone
it took me many years to realize this was
the sensory experience of this person actively thinking about me
and trying to be in my head and guess what I was thinking

not knowing of course that this was
how I experience it

I have established better boundaries and made different choices

both with X, and in
all areas of my life
so this happens more rarely
but I know that if I send an email out to the list
or write a post that results in people thinking that
they wish they were me instead of reading it and
wishing to be as in tune with themselves / their selves
as I am with myself and my selves
then there it is, the painful unwelcome signal in my right temple
that announces:
[someone is knocking at the doors of your space]
and I have to use every technique I know
to get everyone out
and sometimes I whisper inside my head that campsite phrase

lo mafkirim zevel b’shetach!

which means there is to be no discarding of junk in the field!
there can be no discarding of energy in my field
no one gets to be in my space but me
out out out out it’s closing time

hesitance

hmmmm I feel very hesitant to share this online
and maybe this is why I didn’t press publish last week
and I have two fears here:

first there is the fear that a skeptical person with
good heart but a disinclination to just trust me on this one
will try to test it out for themselves as an experiment to see if I get
splitting headaches all week
and I’ll have to shut this place down
or I’ll just deal with the headaches the way I always do

and then there is the fear that
people who should not have this information will
use it to ill effect, I mean, good god,
did you see what people did to Leslie Jones this week
have you seen the internet? how people are online?
and honestly while it will be bad for me if the
Dementors come for me, it will be so much worse for the people who sent them

however I am sharing it

with as much trust as I can muster
because
if we are going to think about Iesha Evans and be
inspired by her — as everyone should,
we need to do this without violating the sanctity of her space
without trying to be in her head or heart
we need to figure out how we can follow the trail of her light
while staying in the bubble of our own glow
yes?

we need to turn on/up our own lights without trying to be in hers
this is important because it is respectful
and it is also important because
we cannot make the mistake of thinking
that some people, other people, are the magical unicorns
and that we don’t have our own power and our own radiance
(we do!)

beacons exist to light a way
not to be the way

does that make sense?
we need to train ourselves to not try to think-feel what they are
but to think-feel what we are
to hear what is inside us
hear the melody

hear the melody

that is the best and possibly only
instruction for life

this is what I mean about campsites

if we want to visit the campsite of the world of Iesha Evans
we steer clear of her sanctuary
we respect her headspace by not trying to guess what it is like there
and we do not deposit any of our energy in the campsite
while admiring her and using her as a model for
sovereignty, agency, queenliness and her pure channeling of
the superpowers of Unapologetically Standing In Truth,
Radiating Power,
Regal As Fuck
prowess

dance

I am dancer who dances in order to
creatively self express through the art of
filling space and time with movement,
and I dance because it is obsession,
an expensive and humbling addiction
but mainly I dance because I desire to become
my panther self, to return to pantherdom

in order to get closer to dance, I study lots of things that are not
directly related to dance
and I took a weekend training with Esther Gokhale
who thinks about primal posture and how we have lost it
everyone said why they were there
(back pain, back pain, back pain, back pain)
but I said I was there to become a panther
she knew what I meant

I said I was there because I deal with street harassment
all day every day
and I want to convey with my body that I am
not to be fucked with
I am to be respected and given space
and she knew what I meant

dance

we studied pantherdom, embodied grace, standing in power
for an entire weekend
and every single thing we learned and practiced
is what Iesha Evans is doing in this photo
crown on
the world didn’t know about her yet
or we would have studied this photo too

she has prowess in every way
in every molecule of her being
it glows
in the conviction of knowing she is right
and it glows through stance
serene, effortlessly grounded, in her full power
this is what panthers know how to do
and they/we don’t stop knowing it
even if people are rash enough to handcuff them
because real power — source power — just is
standing in this
radiating strength
from the earth / of the earth / with the earth

this doesn’t make the wrongs of the world less wrong
it just changes how we approach

what do I know about my wishes?

I am wishing wishes about sovereignty, grace and powerful presence
wishes about embodying
standing in truth, for truth, with truth, for the sake of truth
being extremely vulnerable
through choice
both because it’s right and because
there are moments when letting others have their weapons disarms them
(let that not be read as a stand against gun control)
(because it isn’t)

my wishes are about being and becoming
deep trust, letting go, being slow, deliberate, intentional
advocating for what is right
standing for what is right
in every aspect of our lives, in these challenging scary times
and also literally in how we stand
changing stance
to stand differently
and I mean this so completely beyond the physical
though also through the physical
as one possible door
so really these are also wishes about the
right doors opening
and reclaiming space and sanctuary
glowing powerfully from within

may it be so!

now

I am wearing a crimson beanbag cushion as my crown
going through a tunnel
on a bus that is two and a half hours late but I don’t believe in late, I only believe in figuring out why this is secretly fantastic good fortune
feeling thankful that last night me bought a very delicious sandwich for me
and wrapped it with love (and with a cloth napkin) and put it in my bag
even though she knows I never eat on the bus
but she said hmmm just in case I want you to have this please
and I am grateful

the superpower of hearing the melody

months-July-VPA-2016

July is the month of HARMONY, with the superpower of hearing the melody

and as I said, this is really the answer to everything, maybe even all I need

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 nothing to be decided, everything to be received

and this is exactly what I have learned to do, not only because it is more harmonious but because it is correct

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, including any stories you wish to let go of, any adventures you wish to welcome

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

23 Responses to prowess

  1. Jennifer @UnchartedWorlds
    Twitter: unchartedworlds
    says:

    mmm lots to think about here, thank you

  2. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat
    says:

    Yes. Just as my favorite art (of all kinds) makes me want to go make art of my own, my favorite beacons make me want to brighten my own light.

    * <3 *

    My wish, right now, is for the grace to ride the winds of change, to surf the waves of change. I remember, a few years ago, encountering an inner surfer self, strong and cool and calm and completely badass. I would like to re-visit her, and see what she knows.

  3. Sarah Beth says:

    -o- -o- -o- -o- -o- -o- -o- -o-

  4. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt
    says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This week my wish is a story, because that’s the way it wants to be, and I know the people who come here will understand it, or won’t need to understand it.

    Once upon a time there was a queen, and when she was a child her kingdom was ruled over by regents. When she was fourteen she decided that it was time that she ruled her own kingdom, and the customary ceremony was held that passed the power to her. And, as was traditional, she received gifts, and one of those gifts was a map of the world. But this was no ordinary map of the world. This map came with a history of the world, and it was a history written by someone whose understanding of the way the world works was very different from her own, which invoked ancient curses that she would never have imagined left to herself. But she thought that, because it was attached to this map of the world, it must be true.

    There were troubles in neighbouring kingdoms, and so for many years she did not think to ask whether this history was at all authoritative. She simply complied with its recommendations.

    Things moved on. She met other rulers, who were familiar with the map of the world, but who had rejected the history book that insisted on that one way of reading it. Slowly, slowly, she studied that map of the world, and she compared it with her own journeys and experiences within the world, and she saw where truth lay. And she began to understand that the historian had been mistaken; that the history he knew had perhaps been true for him, but it was not true within her kingdom.

    And eighteen years after she received that gift she came to understand what a curse had been in that map of the world, that everything that had turned her away from her true self and her true kingdom had come from believing that that history of the world was the only way to understand that map of the world.

    ****
    – do-overs forever! There will be a new map!
    – [I am the fairy godmother; I am the queen]
    – eighteen years: is enough to have been born and grow up all over again, if necessary
    – the fairy godmother works in other ways, too
    – badly need to talk to incoming me about this, and my birthday, and An Exciting Opening
    – the winds of change are blowing through my kingdom, and this is exciting and I see things loosening and detaching, and things growing and flourishing, and it is also scary, and I would like to find some stability, some groundedness

    [this is such a wonderful post]

  5. Nela says:

    What beautiful wishes <3

    I wish to be Regal as Fuck. That's such a good wish.

  6. Magic says:

    *glowing endless safety AND appreciation for beautiful role modelling of sovereignty and steady grace*

    Ohhh@the autism/unicorn spectrum!! *squeals in delight*

    Blessedness for spelling out the Rigged Game.

    And protectiveness of MindFelt Invasions *glows more endless safety AND appreciation for beautiful role modelling of sovereignty and grace* Hmm… *also glows appreciation for just being her own Elf, even if she sometimes (frequently) wishes she weren’t experiencing the world as she does* Gratitude for not wishing to be anyone else, AND for not inflicting headaches on others (at least in this known circumstance!).

    I do share the fear and shock of How People Can Be though. It Freaks The Living Hell out of me and sends me scurrying to either Isolation (mostly) or (when I’m Healthy) to fragments of my Tribe, who are scattered in pockets of unknown lands, but are out there. May Sweet Trust be Honoured, and may we all Protect, Guard, and Shield with both Fierceness AND Steady Grace.

    I’ve a million light years to go to even dare wish, but I’m practising here. I’ve had tastes of Sweet Connection, Endless Time, Being so Perfectly Seen—snatches of having my Needs Met. I want to express myself at length, as I see role-modelled here, and yet I want to just meet my Elf right where I’m at right now. Which is slowly, tentatively, fearfully, and even with pieces of Shame attached. And I want to lean forward and whisper, “Right Here is Right Here, and we’ve got this!” And I want to receive it with a shy grin, and a confidence that we can take it from here.

    And so I wish for Sweet Connection, Endless Time, Being so Perfectly Seen… AND Consistency.

    Deep thankfulness for this space *glowing endless safety for you all*

  7. elspeth says:

    Wow, what beautiful wishes. Wow. Thank you for this.

  8. Pqw-orange
    Twitter: fiadhiglas
    says:

    I loved this post so much when I first read it that I wrote a wall of text in response. (Which I deleted before posting.)

    Still love it.

    Wow, what beautiful wishes!

  9. Bethwyn says:

    Such beautiful wishes. <3

    My wish is to remember my healing, to remember that I am healing, and to glow happily to myself. I want perfect simple solutions for things that are monstery. May it be so!

  10. Paulita says:

    Havi, this writing (with its rigging-undoing and approach I find no where else and general integration of body truth, ETC) is why I send funds to Barrington’s Discretionary every month. (Yay autopay! Yay for my hope to increase my contribution over time!) You help me remember (realize) that I can create space for myself in whatever ways I want and need. Thank you for being a beacon (by being completely yourself) in my world. With significant appreciation, Paulita <3

    • Havi Brooks
      Twitter: havi
      says:

      Thank you Paulita, feeling so much big appreciation for you and your beautiful heart too! <3 Has it been a million years since I've seen you? This makes me want to have rally again!

  11. Brooklynchick says:

    This post is so, so wonderful. Thank you Havi!

  12. Puck says:

    I have been hoping for much of what I read here without knowing that I was hoping for it. This is going to be another post that I come back to again and again.

    Sending you much love and hearts and pebbles.

    I wish to embody a deep inner knowing. Superpower I am wishing for: Nothing Wrecks My Equilibrium

  13. […] says this January’s Quality is Prowess and its superpower is Serene Powerful […]

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