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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.


Visibility. Invisibility. Power. More pirates.

I was at my friend Carolyn’s yesterday afternoon.

And I was feeling pretty upset about the whole awful gold-toothed hackers invading my website thing. Upset and vulnerable. Foggy, even. Like my brain had been hacked too.

She led me through a cool little process. Which is great, because I was in no position to think straight.

I’m going to share it with you because it’s fantastic. And because you guys are smart enough to be able to apply it to your own stuff.

NOTE: Carolyn is — weirdly enough — actually a real person. Not a character in my head. Not an internal monster. Not a fear. Not even a duck. I sometimes get crap from people who think having inner voices means you’re crazy instead of creative — just wanted to be clear on that!


Taking it all apart.

Feelings and qualities.

Carolyn: Tell more about what it feels like to be hacked.
Me: I feel vulnerable. I feel uncomfortable. I feel upset. I feel unsure.
Carolyn: What kind of person would hack into your site?
Me: I don’t know.
Carolyn: What are the qualities of a hacker?
Me: Sneaky. Taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability. Nefarious? Long twirly mustaches?


Carolyn: What do you think is going on here?
Me: It’s like they’re trying to hack into my head!
Carolyn: What does your head need?
Me: I need for my head what my super genius guy is doing for my site. No one should be able to get in uninvited.

What’s going on here?

Carolyn: And do you share any qualities with the hackers?
Me: Sits and thinks about it for a minute or two.

Looking for connections and not finding them.

Me: I honestly don’t see how. I mean, I do have the ability to get into someone else’s headspace because of my weird intuitive superpowers, so there’s a connection there. But I never do it unless a client has expressly given me permission to.
Carolyn: Okay. When would it be good to be a hacker? What about being a hacker could be useful and powerful for you?
Me: ???

Looking for qualities and finding lots of them.

Carolyn: Let me ask this a bit differently. Is there anything you admire about hackers? What qualities do they have that are useful?
Me: Sure. They’re smart. They’re quick. They’re highly capable and competent. They’re good at what they do. They’re goal-oriented. They’re invisible. They get things done.
Carolyn: Wow.

What qualities do I share? What qualities do I need more of?

Carolyn: So these are all good things.
Me: Yes. Absolutely.
Carolyn: Which are the traits that you share? Obviously you’re smart and quick and good at what you do. What about the other ones?
Me: I would love to get better at being goal oriented because I’m not at all. And I’d love to get better at getting things done. And I have weird issues around the word invisible, but I get that there’s a lot of power in there.

Tapping into the hacker’s power and taking it for myself.

Carolyn: What is the power of being invisible?
Me: No one can stop you because they don’t know what you plan to do. No one can stop you and no one can sabotage you and no one can criticize you.
Carolyn: So how would it be useful for you to be invisible?
Me: Oooh. I could have a magic hacker cloak of invisibility to protect both my head and the path to my goals… so that I can ultimately be more visible and more safe and more confident and more capable!
Carolyn: And get things done. Because you’re smart and you’re quick and you’re good at what you do.
Me: Yes!
Carolyn: Tell me more. Describe what it’s like to have a magic hacker cloak of invisibility and protection.


Me babbling excitedly while Carolyn tries not to crack up: Okay, so I can get this cloak of invisibility for my site and for my head.

And what this means is that no one can see how to get in, and no one can see where I’m going.

Sometimes we take the pirate flag down. And then we’re an invisible ship instead of a pirate ship! It’s like a disguise!

You know what, though? I like flying the pirate flag! Well, the pirate-duck flag. I feel annoyed and frustrated when I think about having to take it down.

But that’s stupid. We should just be faster than everybody else! A blur! Almost invisible! Actually, instead of flying the flag… it’s like we’re the ones who are flying. Trippy.

I really do want to be seen, though.

I don’t want to live an invisible life. It’s important to be seen sometimes because being a famous pirate helps inspire other people to lead interesting, adventurous lives.

It empowers them. And that’s important.

It’s just that I really need to protect my ship. And my head. And for that I need to be able to navigate between visibility and protection. And to trust my mission.

When is a hacker not a hacker?

Carolyn: So are you ready to take on some of the qualities of a hacker?
Me: Oh yes. Underneath my magical fog of invisibility that cloaks my pirate ship, I’m fast and capable and powerful.
Carolyn: What about the other qualities? Like “sneaky” and “taking advantage of vulnerability”? When is it useful to have those qualities?
Me: When there are people around who would (intentionally or not) try to get too close to my pirate ship.
Carolyn: For example?
Me: Like if there are hackers trying to get too close to my site. Or if there are critical people whose criticism is getting too close to my head. I can be sneaky about how I close up the openings into that space in order to protect myself.
Carolyn: Yay!

Back to the feelings.

Carolyn: How do you feel about the hackers now?
Me: They were just doing their hacker thing. It’s nothing personal. They have skills and they use them. They were just being bad pirates and I’m a better one. I’m a faster one, too.
Carolyn: So you’re not upset anymore.
Me: No. Bring it on! I have the fastest ship on the open seas and I can hide it whenever I want in a magical cloak! Or maybe in a giant igloo.
Carolyn: ???
Me: They’ll never look there! Good grief. I’m an adventuress. I’m a freaking pirate queen. They’ll have to try a lot harder than that to impress me. Pffft! Hackers.

And that was it.

Here’s the part that drives me crazy but that I also completely love:

The thing I despise contains something I desperately need.

The quality that will protect me is being demonstrated to me in a way that I can’t see it, but if I can find it, I can take its power and transform it.

Take experience. Add water. Stir. Etc.

26 Responses to Visibility. Invisibility. Power. More pirates.

  1. Judy Dunn says:

    Hmm. Hackers have traits that, when used for the good, are actually, well, GOOD? What a thoughtful, creative post.

    Reminds me of the movie (why does everything remind me of a movie?) “Catch Me If You Can,” where Leo DeCaprio plays the check forging guy and Tom Hanks’s character catches him, rehabilitates him, and gives him job at the FBI.

    I love the way Carolyn helped you analyze each “power” and figure out if it could be useful to you. A very helpful exercise and applicable to lots of different lives and situations.

    Thanks for making me go past gut reactions and superficial thinking, That’s where all the fun stuff happens.

    Judy Dunns last blog post..Doing What You Think You Can’t: Marketing for Scaredy-Cats

  2. Best pirate /hacker story ever. LOL…you just cracked a nut for me..aha moment..thank you. ;-)

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Ladders On The Right Wall

  3. Naomi Niles
    Twitter: naominiles

    What would happen if hackers just used their powers for good instead of evil. That would be pretty awesome.

    I love this post. I’m going to copy it so I can use the steps for other things, all sneaky like. heh heh :)

    Naomi Niless last blog post..Planning Your Website – Before You Contact a Web Designer

  4. […] victims of hackers on her great site. Fortunately, it looks like they didn’t do too much damage. Her latest post details a conversation she had with one of her friends, discussing her feelings towards the pirates and what they […]

  5. Naomi Niles
    Twitter: naominiles

    Um, I meant copy the stesps in a document for my own use. Not like copy it and share it with the world. I’m not a pirate, lol.

    Naomi Niless last blog post..Planning Your Website – Before You Contact a Web Designer

  6. Havi you are freaking brilliant… where do you brilliant people find brilliant friends like Carolyn? Seriously, I need you people in my soul tribe… and I need one of those cloaks.

    Carmen Torbuss last blog post..Intention

  7. Victoria Brouhard
    Twitter: victoriashmoria

    This is completely awesome. Pure gold, I tell you!

    When things like your hacker situation happen to me, I have the hardest time not taking it personally.

    Definitely will be giving this a try.

    Victoria Brouhards last blog post..What’s Happening, Hot Stuff?

  8. Nancy says:

    Pirate Queen Havi has the fastest igloo on the open seas! YES!

    You crack me up, Havi. And I’m glad you got the hacker thing figured out. :)

  9. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    Yo Ho Ho my sweet missy… ah matey… uh PIRATE QUEEN!

    Yes and you are ALSO sneaky in another best possible way…. you very sneakily make all these ridiculously hard and complex internal processes so simple and uncomplicated. You write these posts that are goofy and wacky and vulnerable so that we don’t SEE how you are actually using your “greased lightning of transformation” pirate queen super powers to change our hearts and minds in subtle but deep ways.

    I am on to you!!! And you know what….I ABSOLUTELY ADORE IT…. and you… which goes without saying.

    chris zydels last blog post..Creative Miracle Grow: The Crazy Wonderfulness That Can Happen When Someone Believes In YOU!

  10. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    P.S. I always KNEW you could hide a pirate ship in an igloo! It’s just such a relief to know that I’m not the only one who ever considered that!!!

    chris zydels last blog post..Creative Miracle Grow: The Crazy Wonderfulness That Can Happen When Someone Believes In YOU!

  11. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Pirate Queen Finds Hacker-Proof Igloo and Inner-Hacker [In]Visibility Cloak While Sailing Uncharted Seas.

    Let the epiphanies roll . . . How about a super Magic Visibility Cloak with duck-pirate waddling out of igloo, raising Inner-Hacker flag? I’d buy one!

    Thanks for the best inner-process post I’ve read in a long while! :-)

    Much love,


    Hiro Bogas last blog post..Flourishing at the tideline

  12. Liz
    Twitter: lizziemcg

    For me, visibility is the most terrifying thing right now. It’s so scary to be out there on the open seas. Hmmm. Need to think about it. Perhaps in my new igloo (love that!).

    You rock. All my best to Selma.

    Lizs last blog post..Owies and Peace, Happiness and Love In Action

  13. Kelvin Kao says:

    Effective, quick, and invisible… So really, hackers are like ninjas.

    Kelvin Kaos last blog post..Review: Spring Sing 2009

  14. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    So so cool that your friend could not only help you feel better, but also lead you to find hidden gems for you in that unfortunate event! The process she used sounds very useful.
    Also, I love Hiro’s idea of a Magic Visibility Cloak, it really resonated with me. Maybe for when I want and need to be seen, but still need to feel protected? Yeah, that would be awesomely perfect!

    Josianes last blog post..A bluesy version of the Ramayana

  15. Anna Barnett
    Twitter: annabarnett

    Oh my gosh, RIGHT ON. Can’t wait to start learning stuff I need from whatever I hate and dread… talk about smart, sneaky and effective.

  16. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Hey guys! *waves*

    Believe me, this whole uncomfortable thing has been made so much easier by all the amazing people in my life. It’s so comforting and reassuring to have you be a part of my bizarre, convoluted personal practice.

    So thanks for that. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate it.

    @chris – I love that you also hide pirate ships in igloos. And that really does not surprise me one bit. You are a seriously kooky lady, and I say that with great love in my heart.

  17. Jessica says:

    Wow, awesome insight – the thing I despise contains something I desperately need. So true. As soon as I read it I had to write a blog post. I still don’t know how to do trackbacks though so I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this post.

    Thank you Havi, as always, for sharing yourself with us. I learn something new from you every day.

    Jessicas last blog post..The Pirate Queen strikes again

  18. Riin
    Twitter: happyfuzzyyarn

    I get it. You have superpowers, but you use them for good, so you’re a superhero. Hackers have superpowers, but they use them for evil, so they’re supervillains.

    Riins last blog post..Hey, I’m famous!

  19. james Parker says:

    I don’t know how, exactly, to add to the wonderfulness that is the description of this process and the good stuff that follows, except to say that it ALWAYS make me understand a little more, think a little more, and try to let go of the bad habits. Now if only I could be more goal focussed!

    Thanks for another lovely post!


    james Parkers last blog post..RSS Feed updated

  20. Wormy
    Twitter: SecretWormy

    You know, fluenself.com has become one of my daily check in sites where I eagerly visit in anticipation of yet another Havi gem. Bingo!

    And needed this morning where I’m feeling all shakily vulnerable myself. Thank you.

    Wormys last blog post..Decisions, Decisions

  21. m
    Twitter: creativevoyage


    this is a link to The Return of Peg Leg Pete the tale of an unemployed pirate made by a friend of mine.

    ms last blog post..Cake ! Tea !

  22. Cynthia Hanna says:

    Havi, I know you’ll get this. While meditating on a serious, head- & heart-messing situation these words came into my mind: “I have sent you nothing but Angels”. Very wise words, but I love having the process you shared to go along with them!

  23. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    Wow, this is awesome. A visibility/invisibility cloak. Yeah.

    I’m having some major visibility issues because I’m selling a new book, and it’s all kinds of scary. I am also occasionally very much afraid of hackers.

    I think having a flying pirate ship is just about the coolest thing in the world, by the way. I need to work on my own metaphors, cause next to that I got nothing.

    Willie Hewess last blog post..What kind of person would have the Codename: Pepsi?

  24. p_q says:

    What a “resilience” (or something like that).

    Absolutly amazing post. . Thanks hackers for this!
    (But JUST for this. I like your site clean. And I don’t see the hackers banner anymore!)

    But what is this thing about “real people”? People are strange. I love Havi in Wonderland.
    (Of course I’m joking)

    I measure how weird someone is by seeing how they react to the unknown or what they don’t understand, but that’s just me.

    Carolyn is pretty smart to. She wish to be a duck.

  25. Catherine Cantieri, Sorted
    Twitter: getsorted

    I am kind of in love with your site.

    Catherine Cantieri, Sorteds last blog post..Amazing Web Productivity Tools: All Things Google

  26. Anna-Liza
    Twitter: Divina712

    Wow. That went totally differently than I thought at the beginning. That’s so awesome? I wonder if I can do that for myself? There’s definitely some scary, despicable stuff going on in my life right now so this is great timing.

    As usual.

    Anna-Lizas last blog post..Pollyanna versus the Wednesday of the Eternally Damned Spam

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