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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.


Steal a peek at the Book of You.


The Book of You is the ongoing project that emerges from collecting notes about how we function and what our patterns are and what we need to feel safe and supported.

Notes, observations, insights, moments of bing!, plus all the stuff you know about yourself that totally disappears when awkwardness or anxiety strikes.

My own Book of Me lives in a binder. Most of the pages are colored construction paper, drawn in magic marker. They are messy. They smell like inspiration and possibility and Rally (Rally!).

I thought it might be fun to let you read some Recent Additions to my own version of the Book of You, to spark some ideas. Here they are.

Yet another page titled Remember This.

It says:

Oh, my love.

It’s a lot easier to know what you know when you’re not being flooded by other people’s prescriptive rules about how you should be, and what your process should look/sound/feel like.

Avoid what is prescriptive.

Follow what is intuitive, appealing, supportive of your sovereignty, and respectful of your experience. Your experience.

(I know you’re not going to remember where this is from. So. You said this. And you are right.)

A page about how my workspace needs to feel.

My workspace needs to be…

Fun, playful, sparkly, spacious, colorful, supportive, open, light, light-hearted, soft, comfortable, inspiring, welcoming, comfortable, and iguana-free.

… in order for me to do my best work.

I do not need to know how to make this happen. I’m just committing to these qualities being in my space, and to learning more about my relationship with space so I can find out why I resist what is supportive.

This process can take as much time as it needs. I will list my tools and take notes and put them here.

The page about AGILITY.

This is your word this year. What is agility about?

Speed of reaction. Being adaptive. Resilience. Grace. Play.

Unfazed by things that appear to be upsets.

I can be grounded and stable, flexible and quick.

Nible and steady. Fearless and clear-headed.

Slinky! Gazelle! Slinky! Gazelle!

Simplicity. Timing. Endurance allows for agility.

Responding to change with ease. Experimentation as a way of being.

I am non-predictive! I am sovereign!

Freedom: imagine a juggler. Improvising. Questioning.

A sustainable way of being (because it can effortlessly react to change)

The page about doing yoga when you’re not at home.

We need a better name for this than Hotel Yoga, but you get the point. Here’s what’s important:

It all counts. And it brings you joy.

Turn your room into a jungle gym. Explore nooks and crannies. Use walls.

A hand towel on the floor to rest your face on is very helpful.

Three poses is enough. Really? Yes. In fact, ONE pose is enough.

You can do reclining restorative poses on the bed.

Five breaths. Play and invent. Be five years old. Be an old Turkish lady. Less is not only more, it is better than none.

By reading this, you are already doing yoga. Ha. So there. The yoga of exhaling guilt and the yoga of consciously and lovingly interacting with your experience.

Play with me? And today’s comment zen blanket fort.

The nice thing about Book-of-You-ing is that there really isn’t any way to do it wrong.

Even if you wrote down useful information and then let it burn or float away, something about the intentional, active observation already changes things.

It makes the things you already know slightly easier to remember.

Everything in your Book of You can change.

It’s just what you know right now. It doesn’t need to be complete, and it definitely won’t ever be done. It’s a process.

I would love to read snippets of things you’d like to have in your own Book of You.

Could be topics or questions you want to ask yourself, or specific bits of knowing that you are trying to remember that you know. That would be awesome.

As always: we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We let people have their own experience, and we don’t give each other unsolicited advice.

Love to all the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.

25 Responses to Steal a peek at the Book of You.

  1. R says:

    I have real trouble referring to myself as ‘my love’ or ‘sweetie’. Permission to not have to?

  2. Ren
    Twitter: llamaren

    Freakishly pointed post is freaky. Your “Remember This” page? I had that thought last night! The EXACT same one.

    I… have been ignoring my Book of Me. It sits on a shelf, lonely, unused. It just feels big and unwieldy. Any ideas for how to dust it off and get it organized and moving? Any ideas for a good place to start one if I just have NO idea at all?

  3. Shannon
    Twitter: clover

    I think I might Book of You it up today. It seems I have a binder with a very nice cover that will make it easier.

    There may also be a trip to the office supply store for better post-its, but who can say?

  4. Ty Barbary
    Twitter: tybarbary

    This made me smile. Thank you for sharing, Havi.

  5. kerri
    Twitter: kerritwigg

    Remember this:

    When you don’t say “no” or agree to be somewhere doing something you don’t want to do, or do the above — while knowing that you’re double-booking or overbooking yourself, it is harder on you in the end.

    An experiment:

    – try saying no to an offer that doesn’t make you smile.

    – try giving a recommendation. Then your friends get work they love, and they can smile that you helped, and you smile because you don’t have to do it.

    – try writing all your appointments/commitments down in one book. Bring it out when making appointments. The other person will see you are busy on day, don’t accommodate – there are lots of days.

    Sometimes saying no means “saying yes!” to yourself.

    you rock.

  6. Caroline
    Twitter: Cazzylina

    Vagueries for now, but it’s a start!

    Water. Drink it.

    You are getting so much better at listening to your body. Keep up the connection. Reminder: When your arms or legs start shaking, it’s time for a pause (paws!). Whatever weeds or dust or other unwanted mess is there will still be shiftable later. Even if ‘later’ turns out to be ‘tomorrow’ or ‘in a while’.

    Pausing (paws!) does not mean stopping The End never to return. It’s a gap. It’s OK to have gaps. They make space for being and let things take time. Sometimes gaps are fantastic, because they unearth shinysparkly unanticipated stuff.

    Stuff takes time. But it doesn’t take it away from you, it’s more like an investment. Many and varied benefits of mysterious origin.

    Yoga – why do you keep getting scared of going to class? Remember the pottery, how you love it now and all your friends, how other-selves come through in the clay, how you used to be scared to turn up? It’s ok to be scared, intimidated. But you are gaining so very much already, and it’s only been five weeks. So much wonderful opportunity to build on the oh-so-very neglected relationship with your body. So much new ground to explore! See previous comment about shaking arms and legs.

  7. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    Remember this:

    If you notice you are cross at the cute puppy, first eat something with protein, then drink a glass of water. As soon as possible. The crossness is almost always a result of needing food or water.

    Do not plan to do anything on the day the time changes for spring. Even though you do not understand how it happens, it totally throws you and you will probably not get out of bed until noon. p.s. Total permission to be annoyed at this. *shakes fist at time change*

    Your camera + the outdoors always makes you feel at home in yourself again.

  8. Jess says:

    Please know this, my love:

    Bailey’s makes you sneeze. Yes, it completely sucks, but it will always make you sneeze. So will the red wine with the naked chick on the bicycle.

    When you move on a regular basis, you are sky high with well being & generosity. It’s a good look for you.


    Permission slips! = Attractiveness.

    You need at least one day of complete rest on the weekends.
    Laundry optional.

    Love the book of you!


  9. Claire
    Twitter: clairetompkins

    Like Elizabeth, I’m totally thrown by the time change. Getting up late makes me feel even less productive than I did before.

    Letting today be a day of reading and connecting with people. Trying to get comfy with the idea of doing that more often. And with it being okay not to work every day. The Book of Me says I’m allowed to not “do.”

    Probably some crying today too, but the good kind, the kind that’s responding to be in a scary transition. It feels like good self care to cry, and more peaceful afterward.

  10. chacha1 says:

    In my Book of You:

    Remember this:

    Compromise is only one of the paths to resolution.

    To reach resolution you must be resolute, and to be resolute you must resolve not to be moved from what is essential.

    Nibbling ducks may be kicked (gently) away.

  11. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    Hotel Yoga would make a great name for a yoga studio. I’m thinking monogrammed towels, maybe even a Bell Captain…

  12. Liz
    Twitter: lizemmettmattox


    You never regret getting out of bed to go running. You often regret *not* getting out of bed to go running.

  13. Pat
    Twitter: PKeahi

    My Book of Me is a mead black and white classroom notebook with lines. only I don’t always respect the lines. I make one big line through things when they no longer apply. It’s kind of is a nice reminder of my progress.

    My first page is:

    Here’s the list of people who totally love you for YOU:
    [list of my peeps (plus a bunch of dogs!) ]


    Sweetie, you are sweet enough already. You don’t need sugar.
    You function much better not being on sugar.
    Sugar = crack. You are not a crack addict.
    You really need to read all the ingredients on all food labels.
    “Just this once” = “slippery slope”. Slide around the living room floor in your fluffy socks instead.

    (I have many pages on the topic of sugar)


    Note to Dehydrated Me: Testing proved that the earlier in the day you start drinking water, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the better your food choices.

    Note to Hungry Me: Are you sure you’re not thirsty? Try water first.

    a recent addition:

    You learned at The Kennedy School (ha!) that it is easy to live without TV.

  14. Christina
    Twitter: christinag503

    In my Book of Me:

    When you start hearing the monsters helpfully pointing out that you don’t have any real friends and listing off all of their evidence for this…check the calendar. You are probably about to have your period. Give yourself permission to wallow in the self-pity for the rest of the day and don’t worry about trying to prove the monsters wrong. You’ll feel much more lovable in a few days.

    If you think you are too tired to stretch before bed, just lay down on the floor in front of the space heater for a while. One thing will lead to another and you’ll fall asleep sooner.

    Just because you function best if you go to bed at midnight doesn’t mean you can’t go to bed earlier if you start getting sleepy.

  15. Annette
    Twitter: annette maxon

    I make lists. Sometimes I title the lists, like “Here are things I love” or “These make me happy”. Lately my lists are “These things suck so bad”. I miss my happy-list-making-self right now.

  16. Annette
    Twitter: annette maxon

    Oh dear, I have no Twitter. How do I get that line off the comments?

  17. kat says:

    You need your animals – both kinds – fuzzy, lick-y, sneezy, snorey, shed-dy kind and soft, silent, glass eyed, stuffed with polyester fiberfill kind. It doesn’t matter how old you or they are – there’s comfort in all kinds, and comfort is good.

    Solitary can be the best sovereignty for you. And it doesn’t matter if no one understands this but you.

    That soft spot that only you and the animals really know – it’s okay that only you and the animals know it. It’s yours and it’s beautiful and vulnerable and needs its cocoon. So a shield is good. And it can be covered in color and beads and glitter and feathers and crystals. Because it’s yours.

    It’s okay that the physical book dwells in your heart and head and on snippets of paper. The tome will present itself when it is ready to be gathered and filled.

  18. jilliankay says:

    this is a snippet from my facebook note “things to remind myself of. constantly.” which is very like a book of you. :)

    – Darling, you are terrible at math. It’s okay.

    – Your path is your path, it’s not a scab so stop picking at it. You have a lot of really lofty, awesome goals….your path has a long way left to go. You cannot use the fictional concept of tesseracts to shorten your path. Your path will not be a straight line. You cannot shorten your path by taking out every stepping stone that says “relax” “breathe” “play” and “enjoy.

  19. Wormy
    Twitter: SecretWormy

    Recent additions to the Book of You (which lives in my head)

    When you feel sad, it is okay to feel sad. Even if you feel sad for weeks on end. You feel sad because you have had to say goodbye to a big love of some sort and you do love big, with all your heart. So the sadness at having this gone is very understandable. You won’t get stuck here, I promise.

    Eat a big lunch. Seriously. It is your main meal. It is how your body works and if you don’t you will eat sugary rubbish for the rest of the day and feel terrible. Make sure it has lots of protein in it.

  20. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels

    Item 0 on the page titled “Remember this”:

    Protein for breakfast, darlin! And don’t stint.

  21. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    Havi, thank you. I did not even know I was craving a look at how you use the Book of youmeself. But I was.

    My Book of You is a Google Doc powerpoint presentation.

    (somewhere I should write: Darling, you are indeed a geek. That is just fine; you don’t have to be embarrassed that you don’t always get out the crayons and glitter.)

    I like that it says at the top “Private only to me” (which is how Google tells me I haven’t shared it with anyone, but I COULD, if I thought it would be useful to do so. For now it is private only to me.)

    for me,

    from the page entitled: Sleep and Rest

    I need sleep! Lush, abundant, luxurious sleep. I sleep well in the dark. Completely. Dark. Cool room. Warm toes. NO NOISES! None.

    More sleep = more creativity, more productivity, more happy! More sexy, more energy, happy digestion.

    also, fallow times. Like, I’m-not-supposed-to-be-working times.


    I very much enjoy the book of me, and I wish I could make it switch seamlessly between computer produced and hand drawn with colored pencils.

    I gwish.

  22. Sari O.
    Twitter: Sari_O

    I just started my Book of Me last weekend, after trawling through your archives and bumping into the original post. So far, it resides in a book made of handmade paper (it used to have ten pages of old guestbook entries from ten years ago and then fifty blank pages, and I never had the heart to throw it out – now I know why!), and there are only a few entries there. They include:

    – Drawing and coloring are fun, even if you feel like you’re no good at it – as long as you get past the mindset of performing.

    – When someone offers you a job or other position with piles of responsibility, answer “Thanks, I’ll think about it and get back to you tomorrow.” Do not say yes just because that’s your automatic answer whenever someone requests something.

    I’m still on the lookout for a good way to keep reviewing the Book, since I have a habit of doing something like this for a week and then forgetting. (And as I typed that, I gave myself a mental permission slip to be a flake with things like this and work on it from the flake perspective… :) )

    Thank you for the concept! <3

  23. Beth
    Twitter: choosemoxie

    My theme of the year is autonomy…so naturally the book of me sounded like a splendid idea.

    And yet…I had to go to the store three different times just to pick out the silly book/binder/notebook thingy.

    And each time I got all panicy because I was afraid to pick out the wrong one.

    And then when I *finally* picked one out, I wrote out “theme” pages, and then paniced again, because I was worried that I “did it wrong”.

    Luckily, there’s nothing I find funnier than my own meltdowns…but I have to admit, this one has caught me right off guard. I really need to sit with that book and figure out what gives.

    Thanks for the idea, and thanks for giving me a push. The amount of resistance I’m feeling *has* to mean there’s something good hiding here, n’est pas?

  24. Sara V says:

    I’ve kept a diary since I was 16 – never look back at it or very rarely. Since it is now the book of me, it is much more relevant and alive. Still needs work though

  25. […] re-discover the Book of Me and set some boundaries. It seems I’m good at limiting […]

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