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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.


Spaciousness. And the finding of it.

I have been gone. And doing a lot of looking for space in the tight and narrow places.

In my body, mostly.

In the joints and between the fascia. Space between the vertebrae.

But also:

In my physical and emotional environment. Activating sources of support and comfort. Noticing what happens when I contract into fear or dislike.

Finding the words and actions that can act as a buffer. Going into the neutral zones.

And instead of explaining, I am making lists.

Where I’m messing around with spaciousness for the moment.

  • In a morning bath
  • In taking three slow breaths as I open the computer
  • Noticing as I type this that I have been kind of sitting at an angle and now my shoulder hurts so I am going to stretch out my shoulder and adjust adjust adjust..
  • Drinking water
  • While reading Maryann’s amazing post.
  • In trying to trust things.
  • And remembering to play.

And more spaciousness ….

  • In taking a break from typing.
  • In giving myself permission to not write something that I don’t want to write.
  • Time for an afternoon nap.
  • Cutting a walk short because of the tired. And without a lot of explanations.
  • Making wishes and writing Very Personal Ads.
  • Fluffing up the cushions
  • Saying BED! And then going.

And then the spaciousness on the plane ride back to Portland.

  • Not going to the post office with the big box of yoga blocks and toys, but having it be luggage. Cost the same. Less hassle.
  • The smile of the flight attendant. It was real. That was nice.
  • The generously large bathroom stall at the Asheville airport which had its own sink! A sink in which I rinsed out the shirt I had stained.
  • Not flipping out over having stained the top, which normally would be cause for agonizing.
  • Not being angry when my bags got checked. Responding without being reactive.
  • Wearing my crown.
  • Not taking it personally.
  • Enough time at the gate for a snack and a phone call.
  • Remembering what I need: autonomy, comfort, support, strength, freedom, trust. Looking for ways to have more of that.
  • Hanging out with Slightly Future Me on the plane.

And really the biggest thing was this:

Making a conscious decision to not go into victim mode with the TSA woman when my bags had to be searched.

I can spend a lot of time in victim mode because that’s the history but I didn’t.

Not a victim. Just two human beings. In an uncomfortable situation but here we are.

Showing her my labyrinth and the bells and the Schmoppet, and letting her admire my sovereignty boots. Not putting myself in the helpless role and not putting her in the abuser role.

We were even able to laugh. This is very unlike everything.

Though if I’d had to be actually physically searched? I’m pretty sure I would have lost it. Still, progress where the progress is. That’s what I’m paying attention to right now.

And since returning.

  • My rituals are back! I was so worried that they had disappeared forever but I was wrong. It turns out that they live at Hoppy House.
  • Getting up early to take a bath and tramp it up.
  • Going for a walk with Selma and the gentleman friend.
  • Cleaning at the Playground and making space for the new rainbow hammock that @herchuckness sent
  • Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetching! But very slowly. Old Turkish lady style.
  • Checking in with Real Life stuff but only for a few minutes at a time.

At the dentist.

  • Trying not to use the word dentist.
  • Remembering that today is not ruined just because this is where I will be today.
  • Knowing that this is another space to do a little ju jitsu (or shivanautical deconstruction) with my pain and my victim stuff.
  • Making space before and after to not have to do things.
  • Remembering that this is a way of giving support to myself, and that there are other things I can do to give myself support while I’m in it.
  • Permission to not want to be there.
  • Legitimacy to the pain.
  • Wearing the invisible sovereignty crown.
  • Knowing that I’ll get to report back, if I want to.

Receiving a not nice letter.


Giving myself room for my pain. Giving them room for their pain.

Remembering that not everything requires a response.

And even if this one does, my main job during a barrage of flying shoes is to take care of myself first.



And then possibly other things.

We’ll see.

And comment zen for today.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff.

We let everyone else have their stuff.

Playing is welcome. As is silliness, thoughtfulness, wonderings, practicing, noticing, metaphor-mousing, figuring out what’s next.

What is not welcome: unsolicited advice. Because not giving advice is how we let everyone have spaciousness for their stuff. It’s about consciously, actively not going into our default patterns of trying to make things better. Even when we really want to. We take care of ourselves instead.

Internet hugs all around. I’ve totally missed you guys.

26 Responses to Spaciousness. And the finding of it.

  1. Amna
    Twitter: AmnaAhmad

    I’ve missed yoooooooo! And I bet Hoppy House and its rituals are glad to have you back home and finding wee interstitial gaps to wiggle into. Happy back home-ness!

  2. MommyLisa says:

    Okay – I am glad I read this today. Made me breathe in my space with my cheap spicy mocha.

  3. Leslie M-B
    Twitter: lesliemb

    I missed you, too.

    Thanks so much for this post. For some reason I’m heading into this day (and, alas, maybe this week) with some extra sticky stucknesses. My day feels like a series of knotted muscles and vertebrae out of place, and your reminder to breathe and just be still for a while is helping to dissipate some of that tension.

  4. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Oh, Havi, welcome home!

    Right here, right now, I am taking a moment to breathe and offer my welcome to spaciousness. Lowering the shoulders, again. Slowing the breaths. Allowing tears to flow. I don’t have to know why they’re there to allow them their space.

    For me, spaciousness and sovereignty are intertwined; they are interdependent, mutually supportive partners. When I am able to stand (or sit, or sleep!) in my sovereignty, I am able to allow myself more space. When I allow myself more space, it’s easier to remember my sovereignty.

    Another deep breath. A neck roll. I am here, and here is a place I am happy to be. And I’m happy that you’re here, too!

  5. andrea
    Twitter: gocreativedream

    awwwww your airport story reminds me of a getting searched at the airport story. I was flying to a transformational emotional process integration workshop. I had a makeup case filled with little tubes of glitter eyeshadow. I needed all 24 colours because I did’t know who I’d be transforming into and what colour of glitter she would need.

    I didn’t realise glitter eyeshadow counts as “liquids” so I got a harsh scolding about carrying liquids onto the plane but this woman was so confused about what this sparkling things were and why i needed them she kept getting distracted. And I kept hoping she didn’t look deeper into my bad because the contents only got weirder from there.

    The strangest scolding I’ve ever received, and was a good exercise in not taking “getting in trouble” seriously.

    I am really happy to remember that this morning. Thank you.

  6. Jesse
    Twitter: persnicket

    Having very recently had a sovereign airplane trip (my first ever that didn’t feature Doom) I know the feeling — it is pretty amazing to step away from a familiar travel pattern and not let it settle in and make things weird. It was a pretty magical feeling to me.

    I wasn’t really thinking about spaciousness until I read this, but now I want to go find some. Or do some thinking about it. Thank you for that.

  7. Audrey
    Twitter: spinnerin

    I forgot I had a dentist appointment today, so thanks for reminding me to check my calendar. I hope it goes as well as possible for both of us today.

  8. A. Mancuso
    Twitter: authormancuso

    Havi, I’d like to give you a Giant Hug for being so wonderful while your stuff got searched. What you said about the victim-and-abuser roles hit home and will be gnawed upon in my head for some time to come; I have a few areas where I am very prone to doing that, and they need work. Thank you for casting a little light into those corners.

    So very glad you’re back. I’ve really missed your posts.

  9. Tara
    Twitter: taraswiger

    I’ve missed yOOOOOOu! (hey, wait, Amna already said that!)
    So happy to have you back to your rituals and your Hoppy House (although the entire southeast is missing you).

    Wishing you happy hoppy not-calling-it-a-dentist visit today.

  10. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium

    Welcome home, Havi. I’ve been dipping into the archives and bookmarking touchstones for this week: the post about something being good for business =/= good for me is what I’m needing to hear as I wrestle with Other People’s Needs vs. my current limits of capacity vs. “OMG People Will Think I’m a Selfish Cow” monster. (In other words, thank you.)

  11. Amy
    Twitter: amyseybrown

    Thank you so much for the reminder to breathe and take the space I need. Sometimes I feel more claustrophobic in my own head than in my environment.

  12. Lisa
    Twitter: soapboxcreation

    Holding on to body parts, planting face mudras, and chanting “What is true.?”/ “What is also true?” allowed me to come out the other side of an excruciating 4 day transition without filing for divorce or fleeing back to Canada. How did I ever survive without a magic wand? Operating wand-less? The idea seems so ludicrous.

  13. Andrew Lightheart
    Twitter: alightheart

    ‘Just two human beings.’

    I love the freedom inherent in not letting ourselves become one part of a calibrated loop of roles. Remembering our part in the system, and how changing our part changes the system.

    Timely timely timely reminder. Thanks Havi. x

  14. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    I missed you too, Havi. Welcome back!

    When you mentioned finding space in the joints and between the fascia, I totally thought of Paul. I did 4 Yin Yoga workouts in the past week since I actually felt like doing something meatier than my version of old Turkish lady yoga.

    Finding ways to do good things for my body but also just to be. Cutting myself slack when I’m tired but also gently coaxing myself to do things which I know will bolster my energy and mood. All pretty low key.

    Your lists assured me I’ve been on a right track. Not as productive as I might like perhaps, but mindful and open to other aspects of productivity, like learning.

  15. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    Today my spaciousness is all about accepting that my kids have colds, my nanny has a cold, and therefore I am not going to get a lot done. We are all going to spend too much time watching movies, and eating crackers, and that is OK. This is clearly the space my family needs right now.

    Sometimes, when you don’t take your space, life takes it for you.

  16. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    I’ve totally missed you, too, Havi.

    I love that you cherish ritual. I do, too. And I know how disconcerting it can be when comforting rituals disappear for awhile. I’m glad yours resurfaced at Hoppy House. :)

    Love you oodles and gobs. xo

  17. Cathy
    Twitter: cathyyardley

    Glad you’re back, Havi! And happy to hear about everything.

  18. Sue T says:

    Schmaaaaaah-pet! (not the right spelling, but it sounds better) Considering the airport hassles these days, doesn’t evereone need to take one with them? Or at least some fabulous sovereignty boots.

    Welcome back, Havi!

  19. Burt
    Twitter: bam0027

    A lovely angel in my past said to me, “In space, there is softness; in softness, there is space. Breath in softness.”

    This was in the context of hatha yoga, and I was _amazed_ at what I could achieve in my practice when I used this approach as opposed to “trying harder”. The places that I could apply this to were places of tension and as with peeling an onion, as I breathed softness into one point of tension, I was able to find the next.

    Process, process, process…

    I’ve applied this to many different aspects of life, funny how well it works. I had kind of forgotten about it, but someone helped me remember it just the other day.

    Thanks for your post, and for reminding me once again to attend to those places of tension, to honor space, and to touch the excitement of where that space might lead to.

  20. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    Welcome back, Havi!

    I’m so glad you posted this today. It made me think about spaciousness on my morning walk and it occurred to me that playing with spaciousness might be a way of working on my patterns related to trust and rest, both of which are things that I struggle with. Because in order for me to make space, I need to both rest and trust, and space seems like an easier place to start. So thank you.

  21. Mary Jane
    Twitter: Mararose10

    Havi, ammnew to your blog…I LOVE it! This post was totally awesome :-)

  22. Squirrel says:

    Where I’m finding spaciousness these days: by emulating my dog, Beans. So what if she’s totally, utterly dependent on me for her next meal of kibble and meaty bones? She’s not sweatin’ it…

  23. Kris B. says:

    Hi Havi,

    Wondering if you could write a little more about what happened for you in the moment you decided not to go into victim mode. How were you able to move in a new direction as the situation was unfolding?

    Thanks for all that you do and share!

  24. Thank you. Lovely.

    As a perpetual putter of too much on my plate, I value the reminder that space is to be found in many simple places.

    Like in the minute before my client calls.


  25. Tasha Chawner
    Twitter: TashaChawner

    ~~It’s about consciously, actively not going into our default patterns of trying to make things better. Even when we really want to. We take care of ourselves instead.~~

    Thank you for this reminder. Today. Timely and much needed.

  26. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Hey you guys!

    @Kris – I tried to answer in a comment but it got much too complicated too soon, so I put it into a post: http://fluentself.com/blog/calm-techniques/safe-rooms/

    Hope that helps some. If it’s too complicated, then the short answer is that I notice I’m going into my past patterns and then remind myself about all the ways that now is not then.

    Hugs all around!

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