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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.


Wish #246: Some thoughts on the nature of wishing…

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

Each week I write a Very Personal Ad (aka Vision-Possibility-Anticipation) to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. Sometimes wanting feels conflicted or just plain hard, and that’s okay.

At the very least, useful noticings about my relationship with wanting. It all counts.

Some thoughts on the nature of wishing…

This is my two hundred and forty sixth consecutive week of this ritual: uncovering a wish, processing it with words, sharing it with you.

That’s a lot of weeks. I have learned some things:

Wishes are exquisitely vulnerable, and so is wishing. Even wishes that seem like simple logistical matters. Wishes are tiny, sweet things. They require shelter and protection, time to grow and expand and reveal themselves. This revealing needs to happen in a way that feels safe.

Wishing, desiring, wanting. It isn’t just about vulnerability. This is a deeply subversive practice, what we’re doing here together.

I don’t know anyone who grew up having their wishes welcomed and adored. Our culture doesn’t really work that way. We are told that we are greedy for wanting, or that our wishes are inappropriate, too much, impossible. Wishes get trampled on early.

We don’t have built-in mechanisms for meeting someone’s wish with spaciousness and acceptance. Or even admiration: “wow, what a beautiful wish”. We find ourselves telling people why their wish isn’t reasonable, in an attempt to keep them from the pain of finding that out on their own. Or we resent other people’s wishes, because they remind us of our own wishes, the ones we have squashed down, made ourselves forget.

Wishes are like the line in the Natan Alterman poem… That melody still returns, the one you tried in vain to neglect…

So we are here to create safety. Safety and sovereignty.

What do I want?

Part of the rule of Safety First means protect your wishes and the process of wishing.

Sometimes I do this through writing in secret agent code. Sometimes I do this with metaphors and proxies.

Sometimes the practice is the safety. My wishes are held in this weekly ritual, this community of people who are kind, curious, patient, self-aware.

What am I noticing?

This week there are lots of wishes bubbling up, and I haven’t felt ready to write them down.

Partly this is because of a new craving for safe ground. There are people in my life (as well as people I don’t know at all) who go into their Stuff over things I’ve written, and don’t have the tools yet to process the Stuff, so they hand it to me. Wishes are fraught enough without that added layer of complexity.

I’m noticing how much I want to write about my wishes, and how I have not felt ready to bring them here this week. They need extra safety right now. Extra support. Extra appreciation. Extra love.

What do I want?

So of course I know exactly what I want, I just said it.

Safety. Support. Appreciation. Love.

This is the heart of the practice of wishing anyway: What are the qualities of the wish?

Because so often it turns out that you don’t actually want the thing you think you want, it’s the qualities. Often they can come to you in a different vehicle than the one you were dreaming about, and that turns out to be the exact right thing.

Plus qualities live inside of you, so they are something you can give to yourself. I can remember them, connect to them, breathe them, write them, talk to them. This takes practice too. And that’s okay, there is time.

So if I want more Safety, Support, Appreciation and Love, it is time to be curious about where and how I am not giving these to myself. They’re there, so if I’m feeling disconnected from them, that is a useful clue.

What am I noticing?

Just had a little catch in my throat, a moment of worry that my wishes this week will get lost.

So I think I’m going to write a sentence or two about each of them, so they can be heard. And to create some extra safety, I will let the processing of these wishes happen in invisible ink. Or on the Floop.

What do I want?

Another Jens.

Jens showed up in my life at the exact moment when I needed a Jens. My German was self-taught. Fluent enough to read a novel without the help of a dictionary, but I didn’t feel comfortable having a conversation. I didn’t have money for a tutor, and I didn’t know how to solve this.

One day Marius, the South African kid who worked at the nearby hostel, walked into my bar and said, hey this German guy wants to learn Hebrew, but he doesn’t have money, any ideas? I said, oh I’ll teach him Hebrew if I can practice German with him. By the time I moved to Berlin, my German was excellent and I felt completely comfortable.

And then a week after I arrived in Berlin, I met a second Jens (Jens II) who basically fulfilled the same role as the first Jens.

I want the dance equivalent of a Jens. The qualities of this wish? Play. Presence. Support. Trust.

What do I want?

Unconditional forgiveness of past me, at all moments in time.

This is going to require writing, time and a bunch of safe rooms. Qualities: Shelter. Support. Appreciation. Loving-kindness.

What do I want?

Operation Bell View.

I need to talk to someone who has done this (or done something like this), preferably a woman, and find out what I need to pack.

Qualities: Readiness. Support. Play. Adventure.

What do I want?

The Book of Xs and Ys.

This is my current mysterious project. I want writing time, thinking time, dancing time.

Qualities: Reflection, Presence, Trust, Appreciation.

What am I noticing?

The qualities I want are all related, a lot of them are the same.

All of these wishes are a combination of “I really want something” and “I’m not really sure how it works”. There is a lot in here about trust, patience, perceiving that I am supported, knowing that I am appreciated, being present, getting to play.

What do I want?

To let go of any stories about how people in my life are not supportive.

I can wish for that as much as I want. Of course external support is an amazing thing, and it is okay for me to want it. Ultimately though being supportive of my wishes and dreams is my job.

So if other people want to join me in meeting my wishes with joy and tenderness, they are welcome to. And if they can’t, then the main thing is that I am making sure my wishes have an environment of safety and spaciousness where they can grow and thrive.

How can the month of Strength help me with this.


This is the month of Strength — and seeing the strengths I already have.

So I already have the strength of Support, the ability to glow support for my wishes.

I need to keep doing that, more of it. Keep making space for my wishes, being curious, finding out what they need, providing canopies when needed, being a source of shelter, radiating sunshine, nourishment and sustenance…

I can ring the bell of support, the bell of sustenance. I can be the bell of support, the bell of sustenance.

Where do I want to start?

Interviewing Incoming Me. Skipping stones. Conducting. Dancing. Waiting. Praise and time.

Qualities of my wish:

Sustenance. Trust. Presence. Grace. Steadiness. Warmth. Glow. Receiving.


I asked my dance teacher if she could tell me when I wasn’t doing [X] because I sometimes forget to [X] enough, and she said, “If it’s easy, you’re doing enough [X], if it isn’t easy, you need more [X].

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat dreams. Things I’m working on, or might be, someday…

  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I go out dancing at the ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • Hawaii.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • This week’s op: Operation Bell View and Operation Pop It Up.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka it is real and it isn’t…

Silent retreat on this for now.

Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. #9825;

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads. In any size/form you like, there’s no right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play.

Let’s throw things in the pot! And: Amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.


35 Responses to Wish #246: Some thoughts on the nature of wishing…

  1. Caribou says:

    Whispers of sweetness and safety for the wishes, all the wishes. And blowing iridescent bubbles of surprising strength, like when you put superglue in the dish soap. (Although I have no idea if that actually works; I use it as short hand for “this seemingly fragile thing has a lot more strength than I might think, which would be a good puzzle to investigate right there. How is it so strong? Why?)

    And thank you for mentioning that it might be the qualities rather than the tangibles that I want. I’d forgotten, and that was a small jolt of happy reminder.

  2. Åsa
    Twitter: asaplesner

    Here’s one thing I’ve learned from you, Havi:

    I too had this unconscious belief that all wanting was the kind of wanting expressed by tired 3-year-olds in a grocery store. Greedy, impatient, needy, egotistical. But in fact wishing and wanting is completely different from expecting, demanding, or requiring.

    There is space between the desire and the outcome. Sometimes just a tiny space, because magic. Sometimes an enormous space that holds a bunch of things you never knew about and need to spend years getting to know.

    And whenever I make a wish, I am moved along to the next thing. Maybe the outcome, maybe a giant chaotic space, maybe a rabbit hole. Either way I’m fine and my wish was fine and legitimate.

    Why is this not common knowledge? It’s a mystery to me.

  3. simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    Raising a pirate flag to everything Havi said here!

    I kind of want to write a magna carta thing that starts with “We the Wishes….”

    Here are mine.

    + Drop the sack of poop, do not be surprised when I stop stinking, and walk towards things that smell better. Like flowers. And mountains. The ocean.
    + Keep walking… And remember, when you stink, it’s not you, it’s the sack of poop you were carrying. Take a shower. The smell will dissipate in no time. (It’s physics!)
    + I wish for forgiveness. Forgiveness for all of the past me’s and versions of me. Safe rooms and warm tea and hugs for all parts of me that are not ready for forgiveness, which resist forgiveness, which need additional layers of trust to open to forgiveness.
    + I flooped about my new idea of ‘strength’, which is leaning into my softness and loving my reed-like (as opposed to tree-like) watery supple nature. And today, I realized, an associated superpower of this kind of strength is that I can change really easily. Water does not need breaking or force in order to change course. it just needs a new path. Water will drop from high to low. It always goes where it is supposed to go. Toward the ocean. I will always go ocean-ward. I wish to remember this, and embrace change-course being easy and in my nature.
    + I want want want want want and wish for more openings.

    I encountered this idea that would have rubbed me the wrong way if I had been in a different mood, but I felt myself open to it: “align yourself with the energy of the thing that you wish for.”

    I also wish to do that.
    I wish to align.

  4. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Safety. Oh, safety! I cherish this so much. Thank you. Thank you all.

    Still securing the Loosest End. Asking for fair winds, smooth sailing, and as many miracles as it takes. Also: if anyone reading these words feels moved to do so, please hum some good vibrations in my direction. Thank you. <3
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… The world needs cool grownups.

  5. seagirl says:

    I love what you wrote about the quality of wishing. And I read it and thought “i will wish!” and then I wished and immediately thought “well that’s a dumb wish you have to work for that, not wish it.”

    So first I will wish for peace with the wishing, and daring of wishing.

    Then I will wish for the finding of the perfect space for my practice, wherever that may be, and with whom. This is a safe wish, because I am already working for it.

    Then I will wish for an open-heartedness that was maybe trying to be, and I will wish for it to keep growing. Blowing on it gently like embers.

    And I will wish that my little boat that seems at last to be headed towards calm (but beautiful and interesting) waters keeps heading in that direction, and picks up perfect provisions and passengers along the way.

    And I will hum a little hum for everyone’s wishes. Even those not spoken.

  6. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    <3 <3 <3

    Wants, wishes and desires…

    * more blessings. I am blessed, fortunate, lucky. I have beans. I want more. I want plenty. I am worthy. I want more. Blessings multiplied from what already is, not subtracted. Growth, not zero-sum.

    * patience, trust, safety, a felt sense of safety, even in the dark, while the ten feet ahead of us that we can usually see is currently only the two feet ahead of us. The path hasn't changed, only what the light/intel/lumen is revealing right now.

    * the puzzle pieces to resolve themselves, with a delightful clickety-clack sound as they all fall delightfully into place.

    * calm, order, spaciousness, puttering, kindness and non-judgement. Support and appreciation. Caring and active love.

    * wisdom, power and courage. Discernment and the just-right words. Nobility, glamour, relate-ability, standard-bearing, inspiration and en-courage-ment. All holy qualities when embodied with humility. Who am I *not* to? Here I am, Lord.

    May it be so.

    <3 <3 <3 and *fairy dust*

  7. VickiB says:

    This! Safety. Support. Appreciation. Love.

    Yes! I wish for these qualities too.

    Safety, support, appreciation, love. I can add another A, acceptance. I can rearrange them to make an acrostic, SALSA.

    I can get some salsa, and every time I use it, I will be giving myself Safety, Appreciation, Love, Support, and Acceptance.

    I can listen to salsa music and be reminded that others can be a source of safety, appreciation, love, support, and acceptance.

    A clue for me in Havi’s wishes: This doesn’t require my input!

    A clue from my own Flooping and from a convo with my doctor: Pita chips!

    A wish: for *this* to work.

    May it be so.

    • Karen J says:

      Tthe salve of Safety, Support, Appreciation, Love and Acceptance – in the form of {tah-da-de-DAH} salsa!
      Yes please, and Thank you, VickiB! <3

  8. brooklynchick says:

    I was reading…subversive? I’m not sure. And then you explained and YES it IS subversive. Wow. Learned a LOT about wishes from this post. WOW-WOW-WOW.

    I am so, so glad I have the calendar. I don’t really look at or use the days, just at the picture. Strength! It helps so much.

  9. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels

    Ah, big hand-on-heart sigh for everyone’s wishes. May they all come true in the best possible way, for all of us.
    Max Daniels recently posted… Wayfinder’s Quest Post #103: Cover ID, secret mission, and a hanging

  10. Spike says:

    Wishing a greenhouse for the wishes — a safe place, with everything needed for the tiny and vulnerable to grow until they can grow on their own.


  11. ML says:

    Mmmm…thank you for this post on wishes, Havi.

    These things especially resonated with me:
    – fear of wishes getting lost
    – the idea of protecting my wishes (and the image of Spike’s Wishing Greenhouse)
    – also protecting my wishes by speaking in code (like Claire and her beans. Me too, me too!)
    – being told I was greedy for making wishes when I was little (even when I was told to wish for something!)
    – people squishing my wish and hurting me *now* in an attempt to prevent me from being hurt later. (Ummm. Hurt is hurt whether it’s now or later.)

    Also, the phrase: “Wow, what a beautiful wish” is so….lovely. The sound of it. The meaning. The way it makes me feel. I’ve never heard all those words together in a sentence like that until you strung them together just so. I love it.

    So what do I wish right now?

    – I wish to be respected by my inner circle. Please.
    {Wow, what a beautiful wish!}

    – I wish to process anger without shame. (Sol Seppy song lyrics: I want to be shameless like the sun…)
    {Wow, what a beautiful wish!}

    – I wish to run away and only be with me so I can reestablish connection with myself which is so so so so difficult for me when I am in close connection with one of Them.
    {Wow, what a beautiful wish!}

    – I wish I felt like I used to feel. (queue immediate outburst from Negative Self-Talk about how this is a terrible, stupid, impossible, naive wish) Hush, hush…this doesn’t concern you NST.
    {Wow, what a beautiful wish!}

    So, I wrote the wishes and then I went back and labeled them as beautiful…and that was the best part!

    I am a Beautiful Wisher! A wisher of beautiful things! What I wish for is Beautiful…because I wished it! My wishing even *makes* things beautiful that before felt stale and old or other such sucky things. But then I wish them and breathe a bit of life into them and voila! They are now beautiful.

    I will remember my little friend S and how he has so many wishes and how I think they are all precious and beautiful. Mine are the same.

    So now my overall wish is to see the beauty in my wishes. That feels like a wish that I can hold onto and be with and keep close to me.

    Thank you, fellow wishers! Your beautiful wishes and beautiful wishing has inspired and uplifted me. Wish on!

  12. Chandler
    Twitter: AnagramPress

    Thank you, Havi, for your wishes. For this ritual you’ve created, for the safety you’ve conjured for all of us. May you find as much safety and salve as you need, here in this space you’ve made, for your wishes to grow into the glorious realities I know they’ll be one day.

    I usually silent-retreat my wishes each week (I think it may be because of all the Stuff surrounding wishes you talked about), but I have two burning, glowing, searing, pulsing wishes that I carry with me everywhere. They want a space to breathe outside me, so here they are:

    1. I am trying to create a shift in my work. Maybe “shift” isn’t the right word—I don’t necessarily want to abandon what I’ve done in the past. Instead I want to expand my “territory,” while at the same time hone my “story” into a more cohesive thread. This feels both contradictory and completely plausible to me. And it has come with all sorts of Monster-Talk and Ludicrous Fear Popcorn, about how that’s too much to ask, and how I’m not capable of that, and how nobody will even notice if I do manage it, or that I’m not allowed to occupy the same *type* of space that some of my peers occupy (even though many of them have moved into similar territories as my own). This was made worse by a shoe thrown at me last week, which hit me in just the right vulnerable spot. So I’m asking for safety for whatever this Tiny Sweet Thing is, permission to trust my instincts, and the strength to be the most “Me” I can be while I try to find this new/expanded ground.

    2. The Tailor and I are looking for a new Burrow, and we are hoping to find it by the end of the summer. We have many, many wishes on this score, but what it really boils down to me is this: I wish for it to hum with potential for my work. And this: I wish for it to be beautiful. All of our other wishes dovetail into these two *huge* things. We have received ridiculous amounts of unsolicited (and often ludicrous) advice on this subject. Our vision is very strong, so we’ve been able to stay remarkably sovereign in the face of the advice so far. But every time we’ve enumerated our wishes when it comes to the Burrow that we *know* is out there somewhere, we’re met with all that cultural Stuff (and Nonsense) along the lines of That’s-Too-Much-To-Ask, You’ll-Never-Find-All-That, Don’t-Get-Your-Hopes-Up, You’ll-End-Up-Compromising-Everything-In-The-End-Just-Trust-Me-On-That, etc. So I wish for us and the Burrow to find each other, at the right time, and for the trust to know that it *will* happen, and that it *will* be the right time.

    Sending you all a warm glow and safe waters for all your beautiful wishes. Actually, I accidentally typed “fishes” at first—and I’m sure all your fishes are beautiful, too. Safe waters for them, as well.
    Chandler recently posted… Basin & range

  13. Marialena says:

    Like so many, I am deeply reluctant to voice my wishes. Your post shows me why. It is subversive to wish and even more to voice the wishes. So many layers of guilt and shame and so many voices that put the wishes and the wishing down. It’s a struggle. I can barely say (even to myself) the biggest wish I have right now. It seems so forbidden, so out of reach. It’s as if saying it will make it implode like a bubble.

    So I’ll wait to learn the outcome. And I’ll treasure and protect the wish, the tiny little thing.

    Meanwhile, I’m humming safety and fruition to all the wishes.
    Marialena recently posted… Wordless: cara blanca

  14. vvviva says:

    Thank you for the epiphany seeds planted here!

    1-I was reminded how much I love the qualities in the Playground calendar. I have gotten into a rut of wanting to fill up my calendar (and then getting annoyed at these little filling-up-space tasks). What if…I need to *listen* to my calendar? I have the strength to listen!

    2-Then I read that self-fluency is hard enough; we also need to interact with the critical voices that prevent exploration. I just remembered that I like exploration! And I thought that self-fluency was just about listening to monsters. Turns out there is more! And it’s probably more fun!

    So, I learned to listen and to let the listening support my need to explore!

    Much appreciation! Much support for continuing this amazing substrate for connections.

    • vvviva says:

      P.S. Note how I completely avoided commenting on wishes. Hmmm. What beautiful wishes, everyone! (I love that that statement is so pure, free of concern about the feasibility of the wish. Business plans need feasibility, not wishes, not dreams, not quirky fun qualities embodied as little creatures.)

      My wish is hiding in the corner because I’ve trotted it out so often, without really embracing it, that it’s afraid I’m bored of it. What if I get a stronger, hotter wish? Poor little wish doesn’t know that it’s like the ugly duckling and is growing into being that stronger, hotter wish!

  15. Questing Lee says:

    Wanted this week:
    A big, gooey cinnamon roll with raisins for first break. And a Heckler yelled, “You’re not supposed to want a stupid cinnamon roll just off the top of your head like that! You have to follow the process!”

    And I thought, “Thank you, because I know you just want my Play to be The Best and not bomb.”

    And then Havi asked, “What are the qualities behind the want?” Oh, lavish indulgence in the smell, flavors and textures. Remembrance of cinnamon rolls with raisins past, good things in the past that can happen again. Happiness. Sustenance. Of course with no calories or sugar to hurt me. Love. Taking care of myself.

    The report on last week’s wishes is in invisible ink.

    Like all the other wishes, beautiful. And Just Right.

  16. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt

    All the love to you and to your wishes, Havi.
    Kathleen Jowitt recently posted… Stopping It In Its Tracks

  17. Karensu
    Twitter: light_of_summer

    Wow, I SO much needed to read that, tonight. Thank you, Havi!

    May I offer you a big pink peony of hope-blossoming via the link below?

    *Hand-on-heart sigh of gratitude*
    Karensu recently posted… Pink Peony in Sarah’s Garden

  18. Vic Darling says:

    Stepping softly and timidly into the new light…

    +I wish for all the seeds I sowed with love to peek over the fence and say, “Hi! Wow! You’re doing GREAT!”

    +I wish for space on the delta, where I’m safe and in awe at the beautiful rushing-toward-me river of goodness.

    +I wish for more respect of the bazillion-ness of my project ideas, and not kick them when they don’t gain their new-foal footing until THEY are ready.

    …now scurrying for the cocoon behind the drapes!

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