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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.


Very Personal Ads #118: navigational steps

very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal! Very.

Each week I write these VPAs to practice asking for what I want. And to get clarity on what that really is, even when asking feels conflicted.

I always get useful information about my relationship with various aspects of the ask. Join in if you like!

Happy Sunday, you guys!

You can VPA all week, if you like.

Let’s do it.

Thing 1: Chinook book dates

Here’s what I want:

Ah, October.

If you live in Portland, which the vast majority of you don’t, you’re probably doing the same thing.

Anyway, a million amazing coupons that all expire at the end of this month.

Ways this could work:

I could take the gentleman out to lunch. At a bunch of different places.

There could be lists.

It could be turned into a game.

I could enlist Dana and Carolyn.

My commitment.

To play.

To make this fun.

To discover new things and say wheeee!

To make notes for next year.

Speaking of which….

Thing 2: Seasonal updatings in the Book of You.

Here’s what I want:

The Book of Me is sorely out of date when it comes to AUTUMN.

I’d like to do some updating about seasonal changes, what I need in the fall, what works and what doesn’t. And some additions to the dammit list.

Ways this could work:

Doing some stone skippings.

Extra writing time this week at the Playground.

More Shiva Nata to get focused and to find all the openings.

My commitment.

To remember that the more I document what I need, the more likely it is that I will give it to myself.

And the more likely it is that I will run into walls about why I’m not allowed to take care of myself, which means: safety first!

And to also remember that when I run into walls, I get to consciously interact with them and learn about them, and this will end up solving all sorts of future challenges.

This is a useful opportunity to plant some really sweet surprises for Slightly Future Me, and I know we’ll look back on this with appreciation and love.

Thing 3: Tiny mini snack-size Drunk Pirate Councils…

Here’s what I want:

There is much to be done, and it needs to be done differently.

Instead of having official and formal Drunk Pirate Councils (what we call “meetings” here on the pirate ship), I’m thinking tiny daily mini-councils.

Fifteen minutes. Where are we on X? Immediate navigational steps on Y? What’s working? What are we trying differently?

Zehu. Alles. That’s it. Nothing more.

Ways this could work:

I don’t know. I’m going to ask the First Mate if we can try this for the next couple weeks.

The main problem will be figuring out a time of day, but we’re just going to have to do it.

I’m also going to ask Cairene for suggestions.

My commitment.

To show up.

To say, Fair winds!

To drink orange juice and pretend it’s rum. We might have to change the name to Ridiculously Sober Not-At-All-Drunk Pirate Councils.

Also I’d like a cute little name for mini-council. Curses, English language! Your lack of handy diminutives is yet again getting on my nerves.

Thing 4: Sixteen Days Inward.

Here’s what I want:

Sixteen deep, powerful, restful days of turning inward in preparation for Crossing the Line.

Ways this could work:

Designated notebook.

Follow the same structure as Island Time.

Stay in the Quarters.

Invent rituals.

Practice all the things you’re teaching.

My commitment.

To be present for this.

To be ready to discover all the things I’m wrong about.

To take care of myself in every way I know how.

Thing 5: An early and celebratory end to Plum Duff?

Here’s what I want:

We’re getting pretty close to selling out the gorgeous 2012 Playground calendars.

There are still a few Rally (Rally!) spots for January. And a few of the reduced rate Rallies (for KT-ers and anyone who has already been on Rally).

I’m reading through scholarship applications, but you can still send yours!

Let’s have these all fill up, and have a happy End of Plum Duff celebration.

Ways this could work:

Not sure yet.

I’m going to meditate on this and flail on it, and see what comes up.

And I’m going to give you the link to the Plum Duff page:

http://TheFluentSelf.com/plum-duff password: extraraisins

Officially? Plum Duff goes through October 17 in the morning (a week from tomorrow). However, a lot of this will be gone before then.

My commitment.

To stay connected to the essence of Plum Duff:

Delight. Curiosity. Wonder. Possibility. Joyfulness. Adventure. Play.

To wear lots of costumes and dance around.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

Just to update you on what’s happened since last time.

I wanted to start teaching about conscious entry, and I’m doing it! The Art of Embarking course is filling up quickly. I’ve been writing about it, practicing it and planning the teachings. Feeling good about this one.

Then I wanted to announce and bunch of announcings, and they got announced.

I asked for magazines for the arts & crafts area in the Treasure Room at the Playground (for doing collages and such), and we didn’t get any so far. Will have a look at SCRAP this week, and re-ask the ask.

Also wanted next steps on planning Denver. We have tickets to the Championships, a likely venue, hotel room for me, and some other stuff taken care of. Still more to do on this, but hooray for progress.

That’s it!

Play-filled comment zen. Here’s what I’d love today.

  • Wanted: Your own personal ads, small or large. Updates on past ones if you like.
  • You can also do these on your own or in your head. You can always call silent retreat!
  • Leave your gwishes! Throw things in the pot!
  • Things we try to keep away from: the word “manifest”, telling people how they should be asking for things, unsolicited advice.
  • VPA amnesty applies, of course. Leave yours any time between now and next Sunday (or whenever, really) — it’s all fine by us!


14 Responses to Very Personal Ads #118: navigational steps

  1. Eve
    Twitter: evejacques

    Surely mini-council is a councilet!
    Eve recently posted… A realisation (I have a lot of these.)

  2. Cathy
    Twitter: cathyyardley

    There’s an old ship navigation tool called a Reflecting Circle that apparently does something with lunar measuring (I got lost in the definition.) It does look sort of cool and steampunky, though. And small.

    Anyway, would like to throw a VPA out there.

    What I want: To fill both my writing classes for November thru January.

    Ways this could work:
    Lots of writers could say “Oh my god I so need this” and sign up immediately.

    They could read my blog or see me online or… um, not sure.

    I’m open to anything.

    My commitment:

    To blog. And to email my friends, who might get the word out. To possibly raise my voice above the Twitter-bar whisper I tend to stick to. And to not be afraid of telling people I do this.
    Cathy recently posted… Let Discomfort Be Your Guide

  3. Hannah K says:

    Councilet! Ahahaha I love that.

    This week I want:

    (1) To (figure out what’s up this with so I can) stop staying late at work. What’s happening? It’s like when it’s time to leave I go into intense procrastination mode and not only don’t leave but also don’t keep working. I need some clarity.

    How this could happen:
    Journaling about it.
    Being realistic that I will want to spend time on “my” stuff…but then also somehow being firm enough to insist on it happening, so I don’t subconsciously know it will be edged out and keep sneaking it into work or school time. Usually this would mean: making a schedule. But maybe instead I will make a really underbooked schedule that allows lots of time for transitioning and puttering and the stuff I normally do on weeknights that screws over my schedule.
    Setting an alarm and just walking out the door when it rings no matter what?
    Have something great to read on the bus so I don’t feel like I’m tearing myself away but instead going to something?

    My commitment:
    To try the alarm and the journal, at least.

    (2) To like, deal with having to choose between things. There is (unfortunately) a limited amount of money, time, attention, in this world. To somehow confront/accept/dance with that so I can stop being paralyzed and start trying shit.

    How this could happen?
    I could let myself feel grief about all the ghost ships.
    I could find some other way to start assigning priorities other than insisting upon what there SHOULD be room for.
    I could keep reading REFUSE TO CHOOSE and somehow, paradoxically it will help me learn to make choices?

    My commitment:
    To remind myself repeatedly that the first plan I make doesn’t have to be permanent because it’s not perfect. If I make a plan that excludes something but then realize that thing is important than something that was included, I can change it! (RIGHT?!)

    (3) To make time for the stuff I’m interested in that is not work, school, errands/cleaning, or socializing.

    How this could happen?
    I have no fucking idea.
    Chore routines to streamline the chore-doing process? (But I’m already not doing ENOUGH chores! I already need to do more stuff, not streamline. Everything is a mess!)
    The responsible choice=to cut out socializing. I’m not so anxious about doing this (as I would normally be, so small victory!) but it just kind of is sad! I like so many people and want to hang out with them!
    I could split up some chores with The Boyfriend, but since he considers them all completely optional, this will never help or work.
    I could set a timer and tidy up really fast.
    I could just give up on some of them until next week.
    I could remind myself that if I get through all of my regular work in a timely, less-procrastinating manner, I’ll have more time for projects!

    My commitment:
    To treat my “extracurricular” interests with the legitimacy they deserve.
    To put it in the pot.

    (4) In direct contradiction with 3, I want to get caught up on the schoolwork I haven’t yet done this semester (or at least get started/make a plan for doing so).

    I truly do not know. I already feel like there’s more going on than I can juggle.
    Obviously, some kind of choice needs to be made. See #2. Gah!

    Best of luck to everyone!

  4. Risa
    Twitter: lichtstrom_

    I agree that English is sorely lacking, but I’ve always kind of liked the diminutivizing (woo made-up-words) suffixes, like -ette or -ling. However, that might just be because I’m fond of vintage Wonder Woman, with her sidekick “Etta” Candy. ;)

    Anyway, I’m making little sense today, so on to VPAs! I have a lot of asks this time around so mea culpas in advance for loooong comment.

    Thing #1 – A Better Cash Flow.

    It is suddenly hitting me how much it is going to cost to bring the lovelyman here. He is trying best he can, but our situations are such that a chunk of the money has to come from me.

    Ways This Could Work:
    – I have to get rid of some stuff anyway; I could ebay or Craigslist it and see what happens.
    – I could get additional work to supplement.
    – I could be gifted with it.
    – I could discover I have the money after all, if I just adjusted *this* or *that*.

    My Commitment:
    – To pay more attention to how I spend.
    – To trust that a solution will appear.
    – To keep my eyes open for non-stressful opportunities.
    – To make an honest assessment of my existing stuff and set aside some for selling. (also, yay alliteration!

    Thing #2 – Health.

    I have no health insurance. Therefore, I would really like to stay healthy until I get some. This stomach thing is worrying me.

    Ways This Could Work:
    – I could stop waking up in the middle of the night…
    – …And/or stop spending those 2 hours awake stressing over not sleeping.
    – I could somehow manage more exercise in the park vs. in the house.
    – My body could be more forthcoming about what it needs.
    – I could discover new stress-management models for myself.

    My Commitment:
    – To make an honest analysis of why I might not be sleeping better/more.
    – To pay more attention to stress and tension in my body.
    – To think about my living space and how I might add more joyous life force to it.

    Thing #3 – Reinstate Superpowers.

    I have a few little superpowers…or, at least, USED to have a few little superpowers. Things like knowing exactly where to find what I was looking for. And being able to figure out exactly what the puppa wants within minutes of her doing the “please?” look. I would like these powers reinstated, please (and not just for the stickers I know I have here somewhere).

    Ways This Could Work:
    – I could get bitten by a radioactive flea.
    – I could get the “zap.”
    – It just could.

    My Commitment:
    – To pay attention to the times when I need the power and it isn’t there, and see if there is a pattern.
    – Shiva Nata it.
    – To be okay with having average “findie” and “sussing out” powers.

    Thing #4 – Socialness.

    I have grown more reclusive (read: antisocial) over time, which I really didn’t think was possible after last year. I could really use a reversal of this trend.

    Ways This Could Work:
    – In baby steps.
    – I could make my apartment SO nurturing that I’d want to leave it just to feel the lovely sensation of coming back.
    – My energy needs could change.

    My Commitment:
    – To spend more time At Home Alone, not just at home on the Internet. I am starting to believe I need the serenity of really being Alone.
    – To think about ways I could start to engage with ease.

    Thing #5 – Hip Balance.

    This isn’t quite the same as health, as my hips are very functional for the most part. However, I can tell something is not balanced correctly, since I can’t stand at the kitchen sink more than 15 minutes without feeling pain.

    Ways This Could Work:
    – I could be gifted a trip to a chiropractor or PT.
    – I could discover just the right stretch to pull my hips into alignment.
    – I could get thing #3 and then magically find the triangle blocks that my old chiro used to realign my hips.
    – I could find a decent substitute for the above.

    My Commitment:
    – To explore my stretches more deeply.
    – Bring the Shenanigans Mistress to the fore to see if I’m doing something in particular to tweak my posture or alignment.

    Thing #6 – Physical Ease During NYCC.

    I’m going to New York Comic Con this coming weekend, for 2 of the days of the con, and I’m a wee bit daunted. I’ve been to it many times before, but this time around the lines will be outside of the convention center, where we’ll all stand on concrete, in the sun according to the weather, and likely have smoking attendees standing close to us (if not in the line). I want to have this all not affect me.

    Ways This Could Work:
    – The rain projected for Thursday could be late and it could rain all weekend so no sun! Yay rain!
    – The lines could magically be in non-smoking spaces.
    – I could find just the right cushion for outside use.
    – There could be no outside lines for the panels I really want to see.

    My Commitment:
    – To be open to all solutions.
    – To take part in the joyousness.
    – To forgive my sensitivities.

    * * *

    Loads of love, hope, and luck to all VPAs already expressed and soon-to-be-expressed!
    Risa recently posted… Steve Was A Rock Star.

  5. Rose
    Twitter: celestialrose

    I’m in a space of unknown. I don’t know what I want, where to go; how to get by.

    Thing 1: Support and clarity on my situation.
    Here’s what I want:

    I don’t know what I need to ask for.
    So I’d like clarification; and the support I need.

    Ways this could work:

    My commitment.
    To Trust.
    To find joy.
    To look for connections, openings.
    To make notes and lists.
    Rose recently posted… Reworking Patterns – Shivanata Science

  6. Hannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah

    VPA time !
    * much rejoicing and cheering and trumpets *

    Last week, I VPA’d for fun, centering and optimism and I got it in heaps. Heaps of it!

    ***** Thing 1: Sparkly Revue with Inventory

    I’d an overview of my work that makes it absolutely clear where the gaps are and what still needs to happen. I worked on this before but I have some new ideas. I’d love for this to be fun as well as helpful.

    Ways it could work – it could flow. I could find a nice tool online. I could build on previous work

    My commitment is to take baby steps on all of this work, to look for the fun, and to keep it light. To draw it up, have a playdate, sit with it.

    ***** Thing 2: Entry&exit or structure

    I’d love more structure to my days. It was good to take some time for recovery but now I’d like clear boundaries in the day. One hour of writing, a few hours of work, some time for chilling, etc.

    Ways it could work: I could reread the great post about entry&exit. I could wake up on time and watch the day start.

    My commitment: to try things, to notice if there is resistance and then talk to a wall.

    ***** Thing 3: Moving.

    I’ve been not-moving-uch for almost a year. There were good reasons why there was no time for the gym but now I’d love a work-out plan that suits me.

    Ways it could work: i could check out options in the neighbourhod.

    My commitment: to keep this on the agenda. to see what I need to make it work. to keep an eye on the fun in this.

    ***** Thing 4: Writing.

    I started writing morning pages. I also started work on a ‘narrative timeline’. I’d love to keep working on this on a regular basis. I want to make permanent space for this.

    Ways it could work: I could make space for this in my daily structure. I could ease into it and be nice if it doesn’t work.

    My commitment: to open my laptop and pour out words every once in a whle. to keep my eyes open for ways to keep this fresh and fun.

  7. larisa
    Twitter: larisakoehn

    hey all :)

    my vpa:

    the overview: ease, clarity, vision (with a dash of strength and courage thrown in also).

    the (slightly more) specifics: i’m easing back into my business and into being online this week. it’s time for some pretty major reflecting and re-evaluation on both fronts. i’d like this to happen with ease and with a clear vision to guide me.

    ways this could work:
    shivanautical epiphanies, magic, unexpected openings, play, wonder, etc etc

    my commitments:
    -to spend time each day doing what is needed to quiet my mind
    -shiva nata
    -creating a flexible structure for my time for the next 3 months
    -to listen to my guides and wiser versions of myself and to trust what i hear
    -to remember that my business has stuff to say about how it wants to be in the world – that we are partners, that’s it’s not just me trying to figure it all out.

    larisa recently posted… The Thing I Never Thought I’d Do

  8. seagirl says:

    The word Council-ette popped into my head. But then it reminded me of Towelette. Or some sort of lady’s sanitary product. We have huddles at my work. 15 minutes then “break!”

    This is what I want:
    To be clear(er)(ish) about this Boy. And what I want. And what and how I want to be when I’m with a boy.

    Ways this could happen: we could have some time alone together that isn’t at a tavern. we could just get to know each other better.

    My commitments: to go slow. to be curious. to work on my book of me. to make sure i’m not confusing my love of lobsters for my fondness for the lobsterman. to laugh. to hold lightly. to hoop. to look and listen.

  9. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    Generally having lots of epiphanies and creative ideas and energy to get things done. In the past couple of weeks, I had no fewer than FIVE book ideas. Problem: NOT. ENOUGH. HOURS. IN A DAY. to squeeze in: school, work, writing, yoga, miscellaneous beeswaxy stuff. and I resolutely refuse to compromise my sleep hours.

    VPA, super short version: negotiation sessions with the time monsters and the good-enough monsters. to ask the Inner Genius what to dooooo. no matter what happens, to like myself anyway. To remember all the things I’m doing fabulously.

    Wheee!! Here we go. Another week. Full of hiking adventures.
    Simone recently posted… Hi. This is just stuff. Or… schtuff.

  10. VickiB says:

    Oh, wow, I could just copy and paste from these VPAs — there are so many that I would ask for too!

    @Risa — “Shenanigans Mistress!”

    @Simone — what a wonderful place to be in! I hope your monsters let you bring your ideas to fruition.

    So here is what I want:

    Thing 1: Girl time.
    I want some silly giggly fun time with girl friends doing girl things.

    How this could happen:
    I could call girl friends and sisters.
    I could receive phone calls from them.
    I don’t know. It just could.

    My commitment:
    To be open and loving.

    Thing 2: Project time
    I want to block out some time for various projects, because there are things I really want to do and just don’t seem to get to.

    How this could happen:
    Consciously. I could take my calendar and block out some times specifically for these projects.
    Without prior planning. I could just start something and stay with it.
    With support. E.g. MrB could answer the phone and screen calls and save me from interruptions.

    Thing 3: Structure
    Before MrB retired, my day was partially structured by his day: when he left for work and when he came home, when he had doctor’s appointments, and so on. Now he’s retired, my teaching schedule is lighter than usual, and there are lots of days when there is nothing on the calendar. Instead of taking advantage of the free/flexible time, I’m just drifting. Being on pain meds encourages drifting. But I want to DO things. Projects and other things.

    How this could happen:
    Extra caffeine to help me focus?
    Plan things based on radio programming?
    I don’t know.
    Talk to the Me Who Knows What To Do.
    Journal about the lack of structure and what it means to me.

    I GWISH for a week of fun and activity, playing and creating and doing things.
    I GWISH to spend lots of time this week with people who are kind and loving and fun to be with.

    And I gwish everyone the best with their VPAs and gwishes and plans.

  11. Kirsty
    Twitter: abitnotgood

    Morning all, hope everyone is well.

    My gwishes for this week:

    1. Writing

    I have to present a script outline to my class on Thursday night. This makes the monsters SCREAM because it’ll be embarassing and humiliating and I HAVE NO IDEAS. So I would like to cool the monsters and also have really amazing ideas.

    I commit to being relaxed & open and carving out space to think. And not panicking. Or if I have to panic, not panicking about panicking.

    2. Dealing with WANT

    I want so many things and right now they feel far away. So my monsters tell me it’s easier not to want- to settle instead. But I want to want (ha!), otherwise what’s the point, right?

    I commit to start ENJOYING the want, playing with it and finally finishing the wonder Barbara Sher’s wishcraft. Want want want want.

    Lots of love to all x

  12. Melissa says:

    Good morning everyone! I hope everyone’s doing well :-)

    **Thing 1**
    – I want – to go back to my daily writing commitment, as I seem to have gotten away from this. 250 words isn’t much.

    – WTCW – I could stick to recording my daily word count in my planner. I could designate a writing time, like an appointment with myself. I could decide that word count isn’t everything and that in fact I can count the inputting my word doc into scrivener as being writing activity. I could look for more minutes during the day – this seems to be the big problem in fact. I lose time while trying to do other things as well.

    – I commit to – logging my word count or writing related activity that I am doing into my planner.

    **Thing 2**
    – I want – to make progress on my application essays (which of course is related to the much huge want of getting into grad school, but baby steps).

    – WTCW – I could go back to all of the schools I’m interested in applying in and just list all the reasons that they would be a good school for me and why. I can actually contact the programs and ask for more information on them and their professors. I could relax and trust in myself to do well.

    – I commit to – thinking about why each school would be a good match for me and possibly looking into which professors at each school focus on the areas that I’m interested in (specifically language shift and for literature la voz feminina).
    Melissa recently posted… Stanford Artificial Intelligence Class – A Tool for Writers?

  13. Kylie
    Twitter: kyliewriteshere

    Hello, Week!

    What I want: Information about my relationship with time, rest and spaciousness. All very much related.

    How this could work: I could think about being a sleuth, and being willing to play with things instead of insisting that I must “solve this! now!”. I could try many different things. I could take notes. I could recognize that the state of flow I’m seeking actually already exists, and I just need to make contact with it. I could consciously bring more play and delight into my surroundings.

    My commitment: To keep up the Shiva Nata. To write down what I’m noticing. To continue to orient myself more to being than to doing.

    Sending good wishes to everyone and their VPAs.
    Kylie recently posted… is this what it’s like to fall out of love?

  14. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    Back with a real VPA. A series. Because I launched School Therapy! yesterday. It’s beginning in 2 weeks. I have never done anything like this before. Everything is new and I am curiously, unsettlingly immune to monster voices.

    What I want: For people to sign up! People who have any amount of school-stuckness, even if they are ‘good students’. People who would like me. People whom this thing could really help. My people! I want them to find me and sign up.

    How this could work & my commitment: I am posting here. With love and excitement. I am tweeting about it once a day. I am sending emails to my friends (even though that is really scary and I’m having ongoing negotiations with invisibility-from-my-closest-people monsters). I am about to launch the Freckled Brilliance facebook page. I will put it on there.

    A related thing I want: I want to use this opportunity to explore my relationship with my tiny, sweet little business that is about to be born. I want to take lessons from yoga off the mat and onto real life. I want to do things slowly. I want to celebrate the perfection of ‘things as they are’. I want this process to be joyful and intentional and transformative for myself and everyone else who comes along for the ride.

    How this could work: keep bugging my allies. More conversations with Inner Genius. More yoga-on-the-mat and more yoga-in-real-life. Prayer.

    Good wishes, cheers and hugs for anybody else who is also birthing a tiny little thing!
    Simone recently posted… Hi! I launched a thing!

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