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

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. The point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and accessing the qualities. Wanting can be hard, it is easy to feel conflicted about it, and the reasons for that make this a surprisingly subversive practice…


My life is full of mysteries, mundane and fascinating, small and large, and everything in between.

The mystery of why my scalp starts to flake whenever [boundary issues], the mystery of what happened during the missing year that I can’t remember, the mystery of Allergic To Chapstick (total fake band!), the mystery of why there is no word for adult children when there is so obviously a need for this word, and all the mysteries of rumba, and why do I feel so passionate about it.

For starters.

Give me half a day and I could come up with a hundred or so interesting mysteries.

In daily life I don’t get to play with investigating the majority of these mysteries, because I am busy with life-stuff, and, for the past ten years I have been busy with this business.

Now I am on Shmita, my sabbatical time, letting the fields lie fallow. No input, no projects, nothing but nothing. Just less and then more less. I am on a mission of less.

Suddenly my mind has been given so much time and space to explore mysteries, and for the first nineteen days of Operation True Yes aka Six Month Road Trip, that’s all I’ve been wanting to do.

Except exploring mysteries is scary, so I turned it into a kind of noir game.


Here’s how it works.

I brought it two alter-egos to be proxies or stand-ins for actual me.

Roxy Bell is a noir detective. She’s brash and fearless. She loves adventure. She does ten kinds of martial arts and rides a motorcycle to her office. Which is in a tree house. 

She has dedicated herself to healing, sorry, solving the cases and mysteries affecting her twin sister, eccentric clairaudient secret-psychic on the run, Mlle Honeybelle.

Mlle Honeybelle has mysteries. Endless mysteries. Roxy Bell solves them. I observe and listen and take notes while all my mysteries get solved.

It’s been fascinating, eye-opening and super fun!

Until suddenly we hit the rapids and it wasn’t fun anymore. Which is why this calls for permission, and not just permission, but a very specific kind of permission.


We are invoking permission to Not Have To Solve some of these mysteries, because they do not need to be solved, or at least, they do not need to be solved right now, or they do not need to be solved in this way.

This permission slip is the beautiful permission slip of spaciousness: we don’t have to be on the case.

It is enough to say: thank you, Operation True Yes, for giving me the time/space to start looking into these mysteries, and thank you, Roxy Bell, for being so wise and so down to earth, and so thorough in the collecting of clues.

And it is also okay to not want to look at some of these mysteries right now.


What do we know about this?

A permission slip to take some time off from mysteries is not at all the same as calling Roxy Bell off the case.

Because doing that, in true noir fashion, would just make her more determined to solve it. We don’t want to come in as the suspicious southern belle in the gigantic hat with the flowers, tell her we’ve changed our minds and there’s no case anymore.

And we are certainly not leaving these as Closed Cases, because they aren’t.

They aren’t Neglected Cases either.

These are just cases that are receiving a huge permission slip of Hey, These Do Not Need To Be Solved Right Now.

These are the cases that are will need to be solved over time, through very circuitous investigations that involve the principles of 1) Safety First, 2) Fractal Flowers, and 3) the more proxies the merrier.

These cases get the approach of non-approach. We are going around them, not through them.

Actually, this is a very noir moment.

This is the part where the detective has asked too many questions and stirred things up, and now it’s time to pause, lay low, let everything settle, see where it lands.

Now it is time to stay at the very edges, wait in the shadows, observe and re-assess.

And if nothing happens, that’s okay too. We are going to build the best safe rooms ever, and layer on delicious experiences of safety.

Here’s another clue: What if the Mystery is actually the Clue?

Like, for example, in the Case of The Missing Confidence when it turned out that it wasn’t missing because actually there is no such thing of confidence, there is just an absence of monsters (thanks to things like good internal communication and the aforementioned layering on experiences of safety and comfort).

The point is, sometimes something we think is a mystery is not a mystery at all.

Safety first.

Some of these mysteries are being put on hold because the trail is old and cold.

With some of these mysteries, we suspect it goes all the way to the top, which means we need to proceed with caution, wait for some evidence to come our way.

Some of these mysteries can wait because Shmita means less input, more letting go.

Some are in this category because we are too close to big pain, and some are in this category because it just isn’t the time.

And some of these mysteries just need time to percolate while my mind rests up and this about other things.

All of these reasons are okay and legitimate, and hence the giant permission slip to put these mysteries in the file of Do Not Need To Be Solved Right Now. To be put aside for safe-keeping.

Because ultimately that is my job and my only job, to keep myself safe.

Safety first.

I am not at all someone who believes that it is necessary or even important to remember all the traumatic shit that happens to us.

I am a firm believer in the ability we all have to heal past pain without going into it or uncovering it.

And I do not belong to that very hollywood school of people who believe that in order to let something go you have to go into the memory and re-live it. Sure, that’s one possible way. It’s just not the only way.

The mystery Roxy Bell was investigating this week was the Mystery of Tisantaphobia.

Or, if you prefer, The Mystery of Why A Girl Who Loved Tents Is Now So Afraid Of Tents That Just Hearing A Tent Zipper Close Without Even Being Inside It — Or Even Just Imagining Being Inside A Tent — Fills Her With Unease, Dread, and The Desire To Get As Far Away As Possible As Quickly As Possible.

This week we uncovered several new memories, useful ones, and slightly vertigo-inducing ones, and then there is a wall, and that’s enough. I don’t actually need Roxy Bell to find out what’s behind that wall.

She might find out, and that will be useful. Or we may never know, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean we can’t do the necessary healing work for me-from-then and whatever she went through.

The Approach.

So it works for me to approach this mystery (and all mysteries) from the understanding of Safety First and Playing At The Edges, and Permission To Not Remember what may or may not have happened either in or related to tents.

I may work with a hypnotherapist on this, especially since my lover wants to downsize (see the Mission of Less) to a van with a tent-like sleeping area on top. And of course I will continue to use my usual techniques and do my own exploring, in my own time and at my own pace, with the help of Roxy Bell and all the allies who show up.

And either I will get to the point where tents are No Big Deal, or I will make my happy peace with the fact that hey, Havi is not a tent person, and then I will respect that and work around it the way I work around so many things in life.

Because, again, the most important part of my job as a functional human being on this planet is not solving all the things. Nope. My job is to take care of myself to the best of my abilities, and to meet myself where I am, right here, right now, with as much love, patience and understanding as I can offer.

Taking notes.

However, all that said, I am curious about this in a general way.

I mean, I went to summer camps for years and worked at camp, and slept in platform tents each summer. And most summers included a three or four day hiking or canoe trip, staying in actual small tents, something which I remember as being very fun.

So at some point that changed, clearly, because now I can make it maybe eight seconds inside a tent before fleeing in panic, and I would like to know when that shifted.

Roxy Bell was able to discount my previously held theories that this could be a holdover from Operation Resilience (homelessness) or somehow related to the weekly Saturday hikes in the Galilee that were a staple of my married life.

She also assembled a very impressive Timeline for me, and at some point when I feel more comfortable with this investigation, I will look at that some more.

I can compile notes and names of key people to interview, for this and other cases, if I feel up to it, not in the interest of solving them of course. Taking notes is not the same as investigating!

These notes are just to help the future detective, be that Roxy or some other Incoming Me, have all the current intel and memories up to date. Or I can also skip this part and trust that future me will be able to access vital intel in her own ways and her own timing.

I am taking this and my list Other Mysteries I’m Currently Not Solving, and dropping them off at the fountain, where they can be solved by love and by fractal flowers.

Ta da! Solved, by not solving.

What do I know about what I want?

I am enough. This is enough. Nothing is wrong.


My toenails are red. The beautiful boy just blew me a kiss. I am here.

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: Isn’t it fun kicking yourself off the case?
Me: I’m not sure, actually.
She: This is the perfect time to not need to solve things. Feel into the superpower of that, because it’s a good one. This is the next piece!


I took an improvisational jazz workshop with Kara Franzel this weekend, it was wonderful, and this was my favorite part:

She asked, What’s the opposite of Strong?

And the answer, get this, is Soft. It’s not weak, it’s soft.

The superpower of delighting in plenty

March - Receive More The quality for March is RECEIVE, with the superpower of delight in plenty.

I am open to receiving all the treasure of these mysteries, as well as all the treasure of not having to solve them.

I delight in the plentifulness of the mysteries, as well as the plentiful help and support that I have in Roxy Bell, Private Eye, and the kind, loving people in my life who love me just as much when I can’t go inside a tent.

Things I find helpful for intentions and wishes…

Nap, dance, write, play, labyrinths. Get quiet. Sweet pauses, yes to red lights and purple pills, thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Skip stones. Body first. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths in eight directions:

Adventure. Rest. Horizons. Security. Passion. Sweetness. Clarity. Presence.

Ongoing wishes.

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.

Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere. Ha, this doesn’t require my input! My business is thriving happily without me. I think like a dancer. It’s so perfect it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS. I have what I need, and appreciate it. I am fearless and confident. I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, no big deal. I am ready to come into my superpowers and receive.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka LESS…

I have been carrying less with me, sleeping more, smiling more, and today I chose to deal with something by intentionally not dealing with it at all because it is not mine.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

If you want a Playground mug with a pack of stone skipping cards inside it: $30 + $12.65 shipping = $42.65

Just send a note and we’ll set it up. Ask Richard for international shipping.

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 and throw things in the pot! With amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.

Here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.


The Fluent Self