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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 #85: love letters in miniature

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

So my itty bitty personal ads made me realize that it’s time to make a regular practice of trying to feel okay asking for stuff.

Even when the asking thing feels weird and conflicted.

Ever since I posted the first one asking my perfect house to find me, which united me with Hoppy House, I have been a fan of the madness that is personal ads.

And now it’s my weekly ritual for clarity and remembering and stuff like that. Yay, ritual!

Hi! So. Today’s VPAs are happening on Toozday and not Sunday, because I spent the weekend running the Shiva Nata teacher training.

This week the very personal ads are also in the form of tiny love letters instead of the usual “What I want, how it could work and here’s my commitment.”

And everything is slightly different, because doing all that mad neuron-connecting flailing has changed what I know and how I know it. As it does.

Alright. Let’s do this.

Dear week,

I know things are a little off between us.

Like the fact that it’s Toozday out there in the world but not in my mind or in my body. Time is settling differently now. It’s landing differently. So we’re going to have to deal with that in some form that has not yet made itself known.

My wish for both of us is this:

Spaciousness. Ease. Support. Wonder. Appreciation.

I am going to take a breath — or maybe three — in each transition. I am going to ask you to hold me when I am scared.

The Rally (Rally!) begins tonight, and I am going to devote this rallying to learning more about my relationship with you. That is to say, with space and time, with divisions, transitions, boundaries and crossings.

Also this:

You are not arbitrary.

Even if this thing of week-ing is in some ways an externally imposed structure, it is one that I have agreed to. And I am going to investigate what is there within you.

There is love in here, and I will find it.

Dear twenty new graduates of the Shiva Nata teacher training,

Spending the past few days with you has been such a very special thing.

I wish that you could see how bright and radiant and powerful you are. That it could somehow be reflected back to you in the mirror reflections of the dance.

But even if you can’t see it, maybe you can feel the spark of it.

Over the next weeks and years, so much of what we did and said will be absorbed in new ways. It will spiral through your life.

And that is a big and crazy thing.

My wish for you is:

Comfort. Reassurance. Knowing. Discernment. Trust. Play. Freedom.

You are loved. You are safe. You are supported.

The rest of the things I have to say do not have words, so just this:

You are teachers. You always have been.

Dear Eric,

My heart says that the most important thing I can do right now is to stay receptive to the idea that you care about fairness. My gut feeling says that you cannot possibly be telling the truth.

I am hoping that my heart is right and that we (my stomach and I) are wrong.

Since there is no way of knowing, I am practicing the practice of not making assumptions.

I’m trying to make room for the possibility that I am wrong. That 99% of this is a misunderstanding. That there is a logical, reasonable explanation that is hidden.

And that what appear to be gifts of poison are actually flowers.

I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be surprised.

At the same time, I also am not afraid of what it means if I am not wrong. My respect for your boundaries is not going to lead me to compromise mine.

What I wish for me:

Trust. Trusting that I can be present with this situation and not confuse it with other situations. To trust that I can take care of myself. To trust that I can know what is needed.

And safety, so that I can keep working on this trust thing.

What I wish for you:

Safety. May you feel safe enough to recognize that no one is against you. And that there is room for all of us.

And trust, so that you know that I am speaking truth as well.

Let’s have a peaceful, ease-filled resolution to this.

Dear March Rally,

Oh, how I am looking forward to you!

And at the same time, I have not been telling people about you, because I need a vacation first.

Also, because I don’t really want to talk shit about how much I suffered through SXSW.

I’d rather talk about how fabulous it will be, and how it’s so amazing that Jillian will be there to do headshots for everyone who wants one.

So I am hoping that this week I find all the right words.

What I wish for me:

Patience. Silly, lighthearted play. Exploration. Practice. Support. Community.

What I wish for you:

Support. Love. Spaciousness. Grace. Excitement. Possibility. Appreciation.

And all the right people.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

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

Let’s see. I wanted tools. Tools! That was a great ask, because I got to play with my crayons, and I also hired cleaning people for the Playground, and I wrote about what my tools are. Ohmygod. Did you read the comments on that? So inspiring.

I wanted to find people for the March Rally, and I did not do any of my commitments. So I am going to re-think and re-commit.

The next ask was for birthday rituals, and I have a couple of ideas. Nothing solid yet. But feeling more hopeful about the fact that it could actually happen.

We’ll see what comes out of this week of rallying the rally, and I will report back.

Comment zen. Here’s what I’d love today.

  • Your own personal ads, small or large. Things you’ve asked for. Or are asking for. Or would like to ask for. Or updates on last time!

Stuff I’d rather not have:

  • The word “manifest”.
  • To be told how I should be asking for things.
  • To be judged, psychoanalyzed or given unsolicited advice.

Wishing love and good things for your Very Personal Ads! I’m so happy to have people doing this with me.

18 Responses to Very Personal Ads #85: love letters in miniature

  1. jilliankay says:

    yay yay VPA! and love letters. i love love letters.

    Last week I wanted a very good home for a vintage chair I love named Eugene.

    At the very very last minute – a cute guy named Daniel came to pick him up. and then he very lovingly looked it over, and said “i make furniture. this is a good chair, I think I’m going to take the arms off and refinish them back to their original quality”. and i melted. and eugene has a really good home. the end.

    This week:

    Dear February,

    You’re almost through (till we meet again in 2012). I had really big goals for you. And we accomplished most of them already!! But there are still a few big huge things we need to get done. But I over scheduled my social calendar this week. I’m sorry.

    I know I can’t technically wish for you to have more hours, but I do wish that the next 6 days have magical “get it done” weaved in. And I wish that no matter what, I celebrate and remember what we accomplished, not what we didn’t.

    Thanks for everything February, you rocked. See ya next year.


  2. Beth McKeon
    Twitter: skionski

    Oh, Havi, I’m so glad to see this VPA post. I think I’ve been sort of planning my comment since sometime last week.

    Progress from last week’s VPA: I have been slowly experimenting with the Morning Ritual stuff and noticing all sorts of things related to the whys and hows of my mornings. There’s still work to do, but I’m having fun playing with it. Also, I very much wanted a photographer to take business portraits of me. This has not been resolved and is still a top priority.

    Onward to this week’s VPA
    I’ve been learning a little about the power of the Ask and of stating clearly what I need while also taking the steps I know I can take to make progress. There is something so powerful about actually just making the request. I don’t know how it works, but I like it.

    Thing 1
    What I want: Four more clients

    Ways this could work:
    – I could connect with families at my Homework Clinic and four families could sign up with me
    – I could write a press release to get some publicity in the local paper
    – I could offer a round-table discussion at my office and connect with families that way
    – I could set up a new website that better explained what I offer

    My commitment
    – To trust that each of the little things I do help make this possible
    – To keep searching for ways to connect with parents
    – To remember that this is about building relationships, not just solving problems

    Thing 2

    What I want: I want my house to be clean

    Ways this could work:
    – I could go into a mad frenzy of cleaning one day and make a ton of progress
    – I could chip away at it
    – I could be mindful of not making the messiness work
    – I could plan a get-together at my house to motivate me

    My commitment
    – To not think in terms of “shoulds”
    – To keep my priorities in place – clean house is just not #1 and that’s ok

    Thing 3

    What I want: Still a photographer. This is urgent now. My cooking guide is going to be sent to the printer sometime this week and a professional picture would be super useful.

    Ways this could work:
    – I could actually take the time to put up an ad on craigslist
    – I could make a plan to try to get some candid shots this week
    – I could try to be goofy and just take pictures of myself using my macbook and see what came of it

    My commitment:
    – To actually make this ask a priority this week

  3. Miss P.
    Twitter: chemieemma

    I think this might help me out today.

    Dear Improv Group,

    I love you, you as a group and each of you that make up the group. I love playing with you and letting my creativity flow with you. But right now I am not able to contribute as much as I want. I feel like I don’t deserve to love you or be loved by you. I am also afraid that if I stop coming to practice I am letting go of a very important part of my life that I don’t recognise is important right now.

    What I wish for me is to learn to accept love given to me irrespective of deserving. I also wish to get my feelings for committing to you straight.

    What I wish for you is lots of people who give a lot of energy and have great ideas and time.

    Thank you for being there for me and forgiving.

    Love, Paula.

  4. Mari says:


    Love letters!!!!! So perfect! Here’s mine….

    Dear Chris,

    We are broken up. We have not spoken to each other for over two months. (!) I have absolutely no idea how that fits with you telling me that you wanted us to continue to be friends. But it makes me doubt that and it makes me think you didn’t ever care for us.

    Both my heart and my gut tell me that you need to be doing what you’re doing. They tell me that this is what I need too even if it’s not what I would have chosen.

    So I have been spending much time on me, which has been lovely. The new job is great and I’m really enjoying it. With the fading money worries and the new job, there’s been enough time and safety for lots of processing to happen. My conclusion is that all that stuff we got all het up about was really no big deal. I’m sorry for all the times I turned it into one. I wish I had known another way and I hope you understand I did the best I could in a year where I lost so many loved ones and was down at the bottom of a deep deep hole for way too long.

    The Girl misses you and your pup. I miss you too. But every time I think about reaching out, I still run into too much of the old stuckness and too many of the old reactive patterns. Those patterns will do neither of us any good so I’m doing the only thing I can think to do: stay away. I wish I was stronger and more skillful. But I’m not and I’m not willing to ignore my boundaries because that’s an old pattern too.

    What I wish for you is the strength to leave your past pain behind and I wish you happiness and peace.

    I wish the same things for me.

    Finally, I wanted to say Thank you. Your love helped me save my life and I don’t know how to begin to say how grateful I am. I am happy now. I have a decent relationship with my mom and the rest of my family now. And I wouldn’t be here now without you.

    Hopefully someday, this too will be no big deal and the old patterns and traps will sink back into the landscape and we can find a new way.


  5. E. Foley
    Twitter: geeksdreamgirl

    Dear Future Dream House,

    I am so super excited to meet you. I can’t wait to be able to write a mortgage check every month and know I’m one step closer to owning my own teensy piece of America. I’m gonna paint your walls and decorate you and dance around you with my boyfriend and kitties and we’re going to have an awesome life together.

    I just need to save up enough money for a downpayment and closing costs. Everything else is totally in order!

    What I wish for me:
    Abundance, abundance, abundance. Will. Strength. Patience.

    What I wish for you:
    Be on the market at the perfect time with a good price and a motivated and friendly seller who will see just how much I plan to love and cherish you.

    Thank you!

  6. Jesse
    Twitter: persnicket

    Dear Monster Who Is Really Sad We Didn’t Go To Shiva Nata Teacher Training,

    I know. I can hear you. It is absolutely genuinely unfair that we can’t do all the fun things all at once, all the time. That outside schedules are sometimes in charge, and not our sense of play and fun. I love you because you are helping me understand just how much I love Shiva Nata and what kind of beautiful place in my life I might need to build for that love to thrive.

    I promise that we will plan and scheme and save and figure things out around this. I can’t promise for surely sure that we’ll go next time, but I can promise that I will value this tantrum, and all the tantrums.

    Dear Havi,

    I really missed you on the blog! So glad you are back. The secret playdate today was so Rally-licious that it is making me antsy to come to another one, quick-like. I have so much Figuring to do and wondering where to put all the thoughts, so…Rally! Going to try my hardest to figure it out in the right easeful way, and I hope to see you and the lovely Playground very, very soon.


  7. Sweetness & Light says:

    Hi Havi, a heartfelt thanks for a great way to approach things and a timely and oh so relevant post. So as my first, and rather perfect start to posting on your site…

    A Love Letter, to me, teaching my first ever yoga class this coming weekend, to my fellow trainees…
    Dear Me,
    i see you hiding under your yoga mat. i know that this is a lot scarey for you and that at the moment even quitting feels like an option to avoid teaching this class, and all the mean things you are saying to yourself right now about how its going to go. i also know you have wanted to teach yoga since forever and i also know that you will show up and you will teach your first class cause you are great like that…
    so what i wish for you is:
    that you feel safe, supported and appreciated. that you can just be yourself and know that this is just perfect. that you have courage and are gentle with yourself.
    that is all
    xx me.

  8. Rose
    Twitter: celestialrose

    This is the week I’ve been VPAing towards since January.
    I kept asking for insight into next year – the course choices and such. This is the week I apply.
    The insights have been slowly revealing themselves in their own ways and times and it’s all been nice and gentle.

    This week, I’m asking for the application process to go well.

    Dear Masters Programme(s),

    I’m applying for two of you. I don’t yet know which of you is right for me; but I know that I have this light inside of me and you will help me to shine in a way that supports and serves others.

    I’d love a little support from outside parties and for the applications to be gentle and easy to fill in.

    I’d like my references to arrive swiftly and be positive. I’d like the right Masters course to accept me. I trust in you.

    What I wish for me:
    -Faith. Trusting that whatever happens is right for me right now.
    -Maybe a sign to remind me that I can do this.

    What I wish for you:
    -To know that I appreciate you.
    -That I understand your power and that I’ll respect that.

  9. communicatrix
    Twitter: communicatrix

    Dear Crohn’s disease:

    Thank you for stepping in and slowing us down. I apologize for maybe being the tiniest bit cranky and ungrateful here and there. I would blame it on Ending Coffee (which I did for both of us!) but I know that is not the whole story. I hope you will forgive me, and trust that if you let me take the wheel again (preferably by this Thursday), I will not burn out the engine like the last four times. Thank you!


    Dear Pile of To-Dos:

    Oh, my—have you been patient! Thank you for not blowing up on me or burning our house down in a fit of pique. You have been better about being who you really are than I, and I apologize for not handling you with respect. Please know that I have some quality “us” time planned for next week. Party! See you then…


    Dear Havi:

    {{{{{hugs}}}}}} if you want ’em!


  10. nat says:

    dear havi,
    hope all your wishes and your wishes for others come to an easy, kind and loving reality. and that you are able to feel the virtual hugs i am sending your way.

    dear hiro,
    hope you can feel the inmense gratitude for your wisdom and for sharing it. and that you may know how much this sovereignity thingy is helping me beyond my understanding.

    dear man of my dreams,
    please know i exist and that i love you already. i wish you the best and hope we can soon meet.

    dear inspiration,
    questions, questions. may you come up with a fun, reflective, inspirational way to present the importance of questions and curiosity to my new students, as i welcome them next week. if you want time, play and shivanautical magic, i commit to giving it to you. and have patience and trust that my creativity will join you to come up with a kick ass presentation

    dear me,
    please remember what you have learnt. please remember to love myself. please remember to keep being curious and playfull and how much you love the sea. this things are good for you. you know it. please remember to take care of you, me and myself.

    love to all.

  11. Chuck
    Twitter: herchuckness

    Space and time. Oh yes. So timely (ha), because just last night I was thinking to myself how uncomfy I am in both of those areas right now.

  12. Do Mi Stauber
    Twitter: dmstauber

    Dear fear,

    I see that you are here with me right now. I think you’re trying to make sure I’m safe. You’re about several different things, which is confusing. I know you’re based on some real things. I feel myself getting very small and immobile as I try to be safe.

    I wish for you to know that everything’s okay.

    I wish for me to accept the realities you are based on but to gently let you go. I wish to be very big and very vibrant as I move through this part of my life. I wish to keep trying until I find the right support and help.

  13. Julica
    Twitter: Julicahermann

    Dear Business of Mine,

    Yoo hoo! I see you there, hiding around the corner of my office, wondering if it’s safe to come out and play. And the answer is: yes, it is. I know you are a little shell-shocked from all the excitement at the Lift Off retreat and yes, I know we did a lot of visualizing and planning and even action-step-deciding and I can imagine you have not yet caught your breath because I haven’t either. And I especially know you are freaking out about raising our fees even though we both know it’s way overdue.

    So here’s the deal I want to make with you. If you are willing to come out and play with me, I promise I will not make you do anything you’re not ready to do. I promise I will decide from the heart. I will set up structures that feel solid and ample and spacious for you to hang out in. I will pay close attention to what you are trying to say to me. I will keep the desk clean so you can find yourself in it. (Jen will help if I can’t keep it clean on my own.)

    It’s time to go big, oh business of mine. It’s going to be fun. Our Lift Off siblings will help, I promise.

    I love you.


  14. Katherine
    Twitter: chessetts

    Dear My Fear

    Hello. I can see you there, little round spiky thing that you are. Thank you for trying to protect me, to keep me safe from all the excitingly huge things that may be happening in my life in the near future. But I can protect myself, and respect myself enough to say that no, I don’t want you to come with me to explore the exiting and huge things.

    What I wish for me: peace. And a new house :)

  15. Jane
    Twitter: JaneOfArdis

    Thanks for writing this – the love in them was just what I needed to read. Very calming and soothing.

    And for now?

    What would I want to write a love letter to, what do I want to blossom and grow?

    Dear journal – I know I have been avoiding you, even though I really want to write in you it has seemed easier not to. I think I am little afraid of what I will write, that it will confirm things I don’t want confirmed. Yet I know that I will feel better for it…So tonight I’m going to take half an hour to write. It doesn’t have to be sentences. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. It is just for me.

    Dear crazy, scary thing that I really want to do – I want to do it. I know that I’m scared to do this, and that’s ok. I know that it’s bringing up permission issues that are also scary and intimidating. And again, that’s ok. I don’t have to sort that out entirely before I do this, just enough that I can do this. Because I’m fairly sure life will give me *plenty* of other opportunities to work on this. I think that you would bring beauty and opportunity into my life. Will.

    Dear research – oooo how I love you. You are fascinating, although at the moment a little….hazy. I know the information I need to get, I’m just not sure how to go about getting it and presenting it…You know this is a perfect job for shiva I feel, and slowly turning you over in my mind and then the perfect solution will appear. I trust that you are there, ready.

    Yes, trust – that’s an interesting thought. Trust – this week I am thinking about how it feels to trust, to have you in my life, how it might make my perceptions different.

    Thank you again! :)

  16. Lisa Firke
    Twitter: lisafirke

    Dear Hit Those Keys,

    You’ve been nice enough to tell me what you are *tired* of being. This is such helpful information!

    I am now ready for you to tell me what you are yearning towards *that might also translate into my children’s college tuition*. Because I do need to give them that, even as I continue to grow into myself.

    I am fairly certain that there’s a side to what you want to be doing that is also a thing that would bring in monies.

    Just a little louder and clearer, my dear. I can almost hear your thoughts on this and I’m really eager to know them.

  17. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    Oh, the love letter format? Just what I needed. Thank you, Havi.

    Dear house,
    I know you are ready for new people. I’m ready for you to have new people to love you. I have loved you very much, and I know as soon as your new person/people find you they will be as thrilled as I was that first night when I saw you and your stars and dark night sky and deep silence.

    Dear people for my house: I know you’re out there. It’s time. Just follow the breadcrumbs and the heartcrumbs to the sweet little house in the woods.

    Dear sweet small thing: oh you have been SO much fun to make, and I didn’t work on you tonight even though I PROMISED. So tomorrow. For sure. And then on to the people who need you!

    Dear clients, I love you; I rely on your checks to pay my bills. Please pay on time.

    Dear future clients: you make me so happy. Your glee and your delight and our fun together is awesome. I look forward to meeting you, yay!

  18. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    Dear Certainty

    Thank you for being so certain, and repeating yourself so calmly for all that time and for being so patient with me while I talked with Fear and Ego and other people that I love.

    I have placed my faith in you and your intuitive way of doing things. The-Right-Answer-PredictOR suggests that the script calls for a “don’t let me down now” reprimand but I really don’t think I feel that you will! Which is really nice.

    I’ve relied on Right-Answer-PredictOR (yes with the super-villain-ish OORRR sound at the end of his name) for so long now, it feels very strange to be trusting your quieter, deeper, more internally-arising-rather-than-based-on-external-evidence-and-logic approach. Strange, but good.

    I’m a bit giddy, really. Let go and let it BURN baby. Yes. Wooooot!

    With much love, and gratitude,

    Dear Shame-inducing Two-headed Vulture Judges,

    Thanks for caring so much. You guys are very intense and I appreciate that you take your role so Seriously. With a capital S.

    And I think YOU know that I know now that you’re not achieving what you want to achieve and you’re hampering the team by inducing so much shame and undeserving-ness in Me.

    So I’m asking if you can focus your judgement and condemnation on all the shitty things that are happening in the world and build a slow, burning, quietly passionate rage against these things. Listen now – that’s a SLOOOOW, QUIETly passionate rage, NOT a fast and furious exhausting one. The slow, quiet sort is a (literally) BRILLIANT source of energy to help Me on my mission.

    Please work in concert with Certainty. She knows WHAT to do, and she just needs you to feed the fire, to fuel us on the journey.

    You don’t have to feel helpless or frightened or alone in your judgement and condemnation. You are quite right to feel that way about some stuff and the rest of the team is committed to Doing Something About It. We are TOTALLY on side with your judgement and condemnation of the shitty things in the world.

    Also, this relieves you of any need to apply the judgement and condemnation against Me-Which-You-Know-Is-Also-You-Anyway-DER which just slows down the process.

    Again, thanks for being you and I look forward to working with you on Making The World A Better Place.

    With respect,
    Claire xx

    Dear Perfect, Simple Solutions to my Numerous uummmmm problems, challenges, Friends-In-Disguise,

    I am so looking forward to meeting you guys!! I know you’ve been here for a while, but you’re so good at camouflage and my eyes are adjusting. I know you understand and aren’t fussed by the time it’s taking me to see/feel/intuit/grok you.

    Do big hinting to Certainty about where and what you are because I promise that I’m listening to her, and I’m making real, big, in-the-world movements to open myself up to her, okay?

    I love you and your perfection and simplicity.

    Do you know I’ve been meditating on the line “make it simple last your whole life long”? You do, yes of course, you live inside me too, of course.

    Well, I have been meditating on that idea, and feeling pretty smart that I GET now that having clear, unmuddied, unfuzzy boundaries is the only really sustainable way to operate. And feeling pretty brave that I’ve been building fences and investigating the edges, and pretty damn pleased that the Universe hasn’t collapsed after all.

    So, yes, anyway, just wanted to say hi to you and to acknowledge that you’re there and to let you know how excited I am to be evolving myself into a place where seeing you is possible.

    You’re so clever hiding there in plain sight like that!
    Love, love, love!!!
    Claire xx

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