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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 #145: flexibility, discernment and readiness

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!

VPAs are late this week because I was out fulfilling a wish made here a few weeks ago: to drop everything when the sun comes out and go be in the sun.

And that was lovely. Normally I would have stayed in and grumbled. But I didn’t.

Thanks, me from two-weeks-ago for setting that up. You’re the best.

Anyway, Very Personal Ads. Let’s do this.

Thing 1: Flexibility.

Here’s what I want:

A sense of expansiveness. A freedom of movement that comes into every aspect of my day.

I’m not sure if I can say more about it than that, but I’m reminded of an interview I read with the founder of Tumblr who refused to schedule meetings, because what if you wanted to be doing something more fun?!


Also, last week slightly future me told me that the version of me me who is okay with [X thing I want] is the me who knows about flexibility. So that’s interesting too.

Ways this could work:

Dropping everything and heading to the park.

Doing my yoga practice in the garden, like I did this weekend.

There is also something in here about setting up structures and forms that ALLOW for unstructured play, but I don’t know how that works yet.

I could also have my phone call with A in the garden.

I can look for a clew in the novel I’m reading.

And I can spend more time talking to Flexible Me.

I’ll play with…

Canceling appointments.

Lots of yoga.

Being willing to be wrong.

Thing 2: Knee-length skirts.

Here’s what I want:

Pretty, comfortable, non-see-through knee-length skirts for wearing to the park!

Ideally they have pockets and can be rolled up into a bag. But not too sporty. A skirt-like skirt. But no ruffly bits or frills. Just a skirt.

Definitely not something that needs to be ironed or dry-cleaned or otherwise given attention.

I don’t really care about the material. Filmy is okay if not see-through.
And I feel happy wearing them.

I may have to have another conversation with the “you’re too fussy” monsters about how knowing what you want is the superpower of Discernment..

Ways this could work:

Maybe someone here has a place for skirts. Or even a skirt in mind.

Maybe I stumble upon the just-right thing.

Maybe the skirt and I find each other.

I’ll play with…

Asking my friend Rebecca for suggestions. She knows about things like this.

Wanting what I want.

Being receptive to the idea that something about this is important because I want it, and remembering that I do not need to know yet what that something is.

Thing 3: Stop, drop and picnic.

Here’s what I want:

To keep going to the park/garden whenever I feel drawn to.

Ways this could work:

Automatic Internal Permission Slip.

* It’s just one guy!

I’ll play with…

Testing it out.

Thing 4: [Silent Retreat!]

Here’s what I want:

I’m going on silent retreat on this one, but this particular ask has to do with confidence, grace and equanimity.

Ways this could work:

Interviewing slightly future me.

Doing an OOD.

Using the Floating Playground for support.

I’ll play with…

Asking lots of questions and skipping some stones.

And doing Shiva Nata on it, of course.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

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

Last week I did ten wishes and asked four questions. The question-asking was super-useful!

I also liked using secret agent code for the wishes. That helped too.

Let’s see. Seven of them came true, and three are still in progress. Feeling pretty good about that, and I will re-plant the three that need some love.

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 #145: flexibility, discernment and readiness

  1. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium

    Sunshine! Yay, sunshine!

    This week’s thingiest Thing: to complete [Thing] on schedule, with confidence and without sleep deprivation.

    Ways this could work:

    * permission slips to ignore must-reply-to-everything-else and must-follow-up-right-away monsters.

    * low-prep meals. or takeout.

    * recognizing that the rest of the laundry really can wait.

    * viewing it as a graduate school assignment, but with better tools and more resources.

    * viewing it as practice for my next courses of study.

    I’ll play with:

    * thanking Me-From-Earlier for doing so much laundry and sweeping and other chores already

    * coming up with some sort of prayer or other patter(n) to answer rowdy resentment monster monologues.

    There be other things, but that’s the one that feels at once both most within my control and most tangled with sticky stuff.

    Here’s to flexibility, discernment, and readiness for us all.
    Mechaieh recently posted… let there be light

  2. Hannah_Savannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah

    Gwishing Wheeeeeeeeeeeee.

    throwing things into the pot this week

    1. for today’s seminar to be fabulous and like a treat and also like a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel

    2. confidence in the business plan writing

    3. time to rest, sleep, play.

    4. a step in the star trek captain’s log to report (proxy!)

    5. did i mention time to rest, sleep, play ? more of that please.

    6. writing. lots of it.

    7. for this cold and this allergy to pass!!

  3. Tara
    Twitter: taraswiger

    Knee length skirt!
    I just bought this one: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=79586&vid=1&pid=477243&scid=477243002
    And have not taken it off. They have it florals, but they’re pretty neon. Pockets, roll-ability, and softness. And lined!
    It says tea length, but it hit me just past the knees…and you’re even taller than me, so I bet it’s knee length on you.

    Wishing you skirts and skirt-like weather.
    Tara recently posted… The making of an entrepreneur – studying French

  4. Melissa
    Twitter: Melissa Corbett

    I used to have an awesome denim skirt made out of an old pair of jeans and then a nice heavy cotton material (ie not see through) it was awesome. I don’t know if that helps you in your mission to find awesome skirts, but if you can find someone who would make one (or if it were your thing make one yourself) it would have the pockets and rollability.

    Thing I want
    To understand why I got so angry on Saturday (I was a lot drunk which is not going to repeat itself, but very obsessed about the rules being broken, so why are the rules so important to me?)

    I could journal on the rules. Ask myself the ten times why. In the end, I could just let it go. It won’t help me to understand the obsession with why the rules must be followed, and should not be changed. I could ask other questions and try skipping stones.

    My Commitment
    To try to understand myself and my frustrations that are going on right now.

    Thing 2
    I think this anger ties into needing more me time and time to relax, so I want that. And maybe a vacation day where I can just chill and hang out and make some me time to do nothing with no interruptions.

    I could take a day off work with no obligations and no where to go? I could take the late bus one day this week with my normal chill at McDonald’s time, which I think I’ve been missing.

    My Commitment
    To look at what I really want and make some space just for me and quiet time. Even if that’s just fifteen twenty minutes of additional quiet time.
    Melissa recently posted… Taking the pressure off – April W-3 Check-In

  5. Julia
    Twitter: JuliaBushue

    Athleta has a lot of cute rollable skirts (http://athleta.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=46842) and skorts (http://athleta.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=46843). I don’t have a store near me and I’m pretty leery of ordering clothes I can’t try on, but I’m always tempted!
    Julia recently posted… First dispatch from the new job!

  6. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    What I want: More sparkle! (This is kind of a proxy, but also kind of not.)

    Ways this could work: I can eat and drink things that make me feel sparkly. (Just pausing long enough to ask myself whether or not they do could make a big difference.) I can dance! (That includes Dance of Shiva, especially when it’s done to music.) I can swim more, and I can drink plenty of water, because water is sparkly! I can invite special people to sparkle with me, and if they don’t feel like it, I can always sparkle by myself!

    I’ll play with: Negotiating with the monsters who fear that it spells DOOM DOOM DOOMITY DOOM whenever no one feels like sparkling with me. Doing long, luxurious meditations in which I visualize my sparkling self.
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… Silk and steel.

  7. Kate
    Twitter: CameraKate19

    Oh, wanting…

    Thing 1

    {Silent Retreat}

    Here’s what I want:

    So much {Silent Retreat}

    Ways this could work:

    I don’t know. *sigh*

    And yet I believe it will work…or rather Slightly Future Me knows it will work, and I have faith in her.

    I’ll play with:

    Talking to Slightly Future Me. Doing an OOD for what I want. Releasing expectations without letting go of what I want.

    Trust. Faith. Love.

    Thing 2


    Here’s what I want:

    To be okay with waiting for Thing 1.

    Ways this could work:

    Trust. Faith. Listening to Slightly Future Me.

    I’ll play with:

    Shavasana. Yin Yoga. Shiva Nata. Recognizing how Now is Not Then.
    Kate recently posted… Magic in Montréal!

  8. pam says:

    yep, phewee, firstly, want to say how happy i am that the exhibition is done and has gone well, thanks to the fairies and the friends and my awesome and wonderful man and the peer support and the keeping my head calm.

    now i have to edit my writing. for this i need to find a voice that i really like. the substance of the writing is there, and finding the style has been super tricksy so far… so i definitely need some fairy dust on this one…

    what can i do? i can firstly believe that there is a voice in there that is available and that will work for this writing.

    i can put in the time, and decide right now that it will be an enjoyable and gentle process of shifting the tone of the work into one that expresses the uncertainties i am writing about, the possibilities i see, the difficulties of working through the ideas materially, and opening out the ideas in an expressive and clear way.
    i want this tone to be truthful and revealing, and have the same lightness that the work has. the same kitschy class.

    i can level out the plane of my mind so that it can make easy and right connections between words and ideas, so that i can see everything i need at once.

    i can do the other things i have to do, knowing that my superknowing mind will work on this and be ready with some goods when i next get time to write.

    i can even dust off some shiva nata moves!

    thanks for the vpa space, it rocks.

  9. Rachel
    Twitter: rachelgordonart

    What I want: I launched a website a few weeks ago that is very close to my heart – coloring pages for kids and kids at heart. I draw new ones every week to send out – day to day adventures of Sophie and Sadie – a little girl and her cactus friend. http://www.sophieandsadie.com What I want is for the world to get to know them and sign up for the coloring pages and to have the courage and confidence to follow through and let this be amazing. I’ve worked a lot on dispelling doubts and perfectionism and all of my many barriers to success and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to get my little friends out in the world. I need ideas!

    Ways this could happen:
    Friends could tell everyone they know.
    People could give me ideas about where on the internet to post information about the site.
    Ideas could just pop into my head.
    I could use my courage and search for connected people and contact them out of the blue.

    I’ll play with:
    Believing that this will happen. Believing in my idea and having patience in the process. Embracing the process. Breathing. Moving forward. Looking inside rather than outside for affirmation.

    Rachel recently posted… Hide and seek 2

  10. Theresa says:

    Morning :),

    Hey Havi, I’ve been lurking around a bit. Enjoy your posts :).

    Could you please post more on setting and keeping absolutely absolutelies? I set one about a week ago about getting to bed at a decent time – want to be there by midnight at the latest – and I’ve blown it by a long shot almost every night/morning since. My days are better when I follow this absolutely absolutely!

    More please also on coming out of silent retreat – when and how to handle emotions and what not. I have some things that I’ve called silent retreat on for way way way too long.

    I love the future/present/past me idea, by the way :). It has been very helpful. I’m doing more for future me and enjoying it. I need to remember to thank past me!

    Have a great day,

  11. Leni says:

    I’ve started using the four questions from last week and they are helping me discover things,often the real pattern underpinning the ask.

    Deeper Morning Practice is about wanting more Conscious Entry into the Day, which requires more Exiting the night before. I have a good consistent practice, props for me, bt this is setting aside that time for me, so it’s also about self-care and discipline. It’s also about not making bad or self-destrutcive choices in the morning, because that sets the tone for the whole day.

    I’ll play with: Exiting the Day more consciously and in a timely fashion. More Forcefields etc.

    More Joy and ELegant Leadership are doing well, more of each. I just need to rememerb not to cut corners or focus too strictly on the “to do list.” Both of these things requires easse, gentleness and a willingness to set aside the rules and play.

    I also relaize that while I may want this or that little thing, what I want isnt really…things. I want more yoga, better fresh food, more energy, etc as opposed to new baubles. Not that I don’t want new baubles. But as our finances stabilize and I’m tmepted to treat msyelf, I want to make sure I’m not just buying stuff but consciously lavishing attention and affection on myself.

    I wanted better containment for the Scary project, and it just materialized with very lil effort on my part. Complete with someone to manage the containment. This is so cool and helps with the scary.

    VPA #1Now that I’ve decided to schedule surgery, I need to Prepare for it. I’ve been plkeased so far by the cool calm pro-active mindset I get into when delaing wioth it. I like using owl stickers on all my medical stuff to remind me to stay calm, clear and focused despite the panic. I have more stuff to plan now.

    WTCW: Using my lil notebook and the owl stickers has helped, continue using this. More meditation and heart-centered breathing to keep calm. Keep going to pilates and yoga once a week. Make lists and keep track of supprt people.

    MC: Daily meditation, yoga and Flailing. Set aside timwe this weekend to go over questions for DocJ and make plans and lists. Buy a breakfast in bed tray and some new nighties (cute ones)

  12. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahemily

    (A very late-in-the-week VPA)

    What I Want…
    Ease and maybe even playfulness at Central Station (formerly known as work)

    Ways This Could Work…
    I don’t know… I’ve been in resistance mode with this for a while. And when I do get an easy day, the next day someone asks me to do something really simple and I have some crazy adrenaline-anger thing (which is weird because anger is not a common emotion for me, ever) and then I end up crying. So, I’m trying to just let that be okay, but really I want it to stop.

    I’ll Play With…
    The Floop
    Remembering to give myself time and space to process
    10 deep breaths
    Secret refueling station (sometimes known as the bathroom…)
    Maybe 10 allies or sources of support that I’m forgetting?
    Counting down days until it’s over
    Letting it suck?
    My favorite angry safe-room where internal-angry-me gets to break lots of glass things in a very loud and satisfying way.

    That’s all for now!
    Sarah recently posted… Today Doesn’t Have to Suck

  13. anonymous for now
    Twitter: light_of_summer

    Re skirts, maybe the AWOL skirt from http://www.titlenine.com?

  14. Cat
    Twitter: cat_annatw

    This great etsy shop does custom skirts, knee-length (or shorter, or longer, because, you know, it’s custom) with pockets. In lots of beautiful colours. For such a decent price! I’ve been eyeing a red one for ages. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Ananya?ref=seller_info

    Ahhh…only one VPA for me this week, because there’s been so much hurt

    What I want: finding a way to feel the hurt without drowning in it…and not being so scared of drowning that I just numb out the hurt.

    Ways this could work: Maybe some timed journalling, with a ‘hey, maybe you could just feel for the next 5 minutes, and if at the end you need to pull out, then that cup of tea and your favourite tv show is waiting. And if you don’t need to pull out, then you could give yourself another 5 minutes to feel a bit more’. I’m too exhausted by this already to think of any other ways, so…

    I’ll play with: Remembering that self-care can mean self-protection, too, and that I’ve done so much wonderful work to even be aware of my numbing patterns and fear of drowning patterns.


    Naming the patterns as I see them, and knowing that even that can be enough.

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