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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.



I am not very good at goals.

Mostly because I do not like them.

Navigating and mapping and adventuring are more my style, not surprisingly, because those are things that pirates like.

And I’m mostly okay with wishes as long as I pretend that they’re Very Personal Ads.

Anyway, I needed a word.

For the thing that is not a goal and not a wish.

And not a dream and not a mission. And not a project.

It’s a gwish.

Because it’s fun to say. Gwish gwish gwish gwish.

And because it isn’t as scary to talk about a gwish as it is to share a tiny, sweet thing that is vulnerable and in need of protection.

Gwishes make it through the cracks.

When you tell someone your goal, they might come up with all the reasons it could be a disastrous disaster to end all disasters.

Because they worry about you, just like your fuzzball monsters.

But they don’t worry about your gwishes because no one worries about gwishes.

Gwishes are buoyant and sparkly. They sneak past fear because fear forgets to take them too seriously.

It feels good to have a gwish.

It feels even better to get excited about someone else’s gwish.

At our day of shivanautical pattern-mapping and destuckifying in Sacramento, we shared all kinds of gwishes.

But we made them up. Silly, beautiful, unlikely, made-up gwishes.

We experienced what it feels like to share a gwish and have that gwish be met with unconditional love and acceptance.

We practiced radiating joy for other people’s gwishes, and saying whee! and right on!

We created a tiny, awesome culture of welcoming and belonging for the gwishes to hang out in.

Some of the gwishes we admired:

  • To hear the trees and know what they want.
  • To build a giant tree fort where you can sing songs — with a bathroom in the tree!

  • To create a cat circus.
  • To find a home for all who need one.
  • To be a ballerina.
  • To cure epidemics of belly button lint.
  • To be a fairy in a red crystal ball.
  • To live in a haunted house at Disneyland (with a singing graveyard, of course).

Some noticings about giving people room to have their geishas.*

* Edit! That was supposed to be “gwishes”, not geishas. But a typo that fabulous must stay.

It changes the room. The quality of the air is different. More spaciousness.

It’s easy to get excited about someone else’s gwish, even when it’s something ridiculous or impossible. That kind of creative, expansive joy is contagious.

Listening to someone talk about their gwish… my whole body is engaged. I am animated. I want to celebrate it and be a part of it and make it happen.

It is so much easier to be filled with loving-kindness over someone else’s gwish.

I can’t always do that with my own.

With someone else’s gwish, that hesitance and reticence is gone.

I see all the reasons for yes. Why it could work instead of why it couldn’t.

As if all your spine fluid essence was pure creativity. The life force as undiluted creative play. Yes.

It’s good for you.

Not just cultivating gwishes of your own, but actively letting other people have theirs.

Without trying to change the gwishes. Not needing to fix them or do anything with them.

Just giving them legitimacy. Room to exist.

What do my gwishes need to feel safe and supported?

Play and playfulness!

Time and space to emerge in whatever form they want.

Friends (like Hiro and Cairene and Michelle) to clap delightedly with me.

They want to be welcomed and rejoiced over.

They want their birth to be the most happy thing that ever was.

They want flowers and flowers and flowers, and a secret garden just for them.

They want more room than it seems like they’re going to need. And to know that they are loved.

What can I do to help my gwishes feel welcome?

I can listen to them.

And ask them what they want.

I can make destinations and landing spots. I can write signs and give them names.

And safe rooms! Places to live so that even when I’m not with them or giving them attention, they feel comfortable and at home.

Lots of Shiva Nata to help find the connections and figure out what happens next.

Dance. Movement. Trust. Walk the patterns. Map the patterns. Interact with the patterns. Untangle the patterns.

But mainly to say it:


Play with me! It is fun to make gwishes and to have them.

If you would like to play, you are welcome to.

  • To invent silly gwishes and get to know what it’s like to have them be welcomed and respected.
  • To share a real gwish, if you like and if it feels safe.
  • To ask any of the questions that I did, and see what comes up.
  • To welcome other people’s gwishes.

As always, we all have our stuff, and we’re all working on our stuff. We let other people have their stuff and their experience, because that’s part of this too.

65 Responses to Gwishes.

  1. […] We found a store on Alberta Street called Digs Inside and Out, which has a plentiful offering of gnome items. We procured a couple to help us with our gwishing. […]

  2. […] Havi Brooks gives us a word for that-which-is-not-a-goal-nor-yet-a-wish in “Gwishes”. […]

  3. Karen J says:

    gwishgwishgwish! Oh, it does tickle to run them all together!

    @Kyeli ~ I was pondering “how DO ya pronounce that anyway?” too – maybe jee-wish, like “gee whiz!”, only with a lithp?

    I gwish I didn’t have to ‘try so hard’ to relax into what I’m really feeling

    I gwish for permission to let the bubbling cauldron that is my creativity gwoosh out, any time it wanted to stretch, instead of believing it has to hide like that super-volcano under Yellowstone, until it’s just GOTTA blow up the world-as-we-know-it

    I gwish for a treehouse, too, where *I* can hide or dance or paint the walls a different color every day

    I gwish I knew where / how to simply and easily find the 400+ old video tapes my now-heavenly-Honey made, a happy new home -that isn’t in my house-
    (crafty-art supplies, anyone? western suburbs of Chicago) They’re ready to leave, but I don’t know which direction to point them

    I gwish happy-healthiness for everybody else and their gwishes ^^^ too!

  4. Ju
    Twitter: transcendancing

    My little silly gwish is to be snuggled like an adorable upsidedown kitty!

  5. Ju
    Twitter: transcendancing

    Also, I do lovelovelove the way it sounds to say gwish gwish gwish gwish all together like that! What a fabulous word!

  6. […] if I can’t see an obvious path towards a fun and easeful solution, I can at least make a tiny gwish in that direction and give it time to sort itself […]

  7. Cerise
    Twitter: rainbowspiritG

    …ehm, I might be a little late, but I just found this post and I just want to say that it makes me supersparklyhappy. I love the gentleness of your aaproach, havi, I am so with you that wishes can be so tender littele sprouts that need a lot of protetion but still need to break through the earth into the light.
    I am working on a family education programm and this is a lot about setting goals and what the members of the family want to see transformed. Your word “gwishes” reminds me that this process should be full of magic and sparkles and fun. I actually picture myself to wear a fairy tiara and a magic wand next time we have a “goal” setting session. And to use fairy dust and soap bubbles to create a fun and magic atmosphere… Makes me giggle inside out already. Thank you!

  8. Mone says:

    There are so many fabulous types of gwishes in here and I love them all! So, different types for different gwish-like things

    gwish – for me, its for the magic and fairy ones, looking for some wonderballs in life

    zwunsch – great thing for all the ideas that need some power and movement and something surprising as well (it reminds me of the german comic “Zisch” and “Wusch”)

    mönsker (sorry, german keyboard) is fabulously great for the really crazy stuff, where all my monsters start shouting immediately and I can just tell them: Oh guys, it’s really nothing important, nothing to fear, I’m just mönsking a little bit around…

    It is great, that they also work as a german verb (Ich zwünsche mir, ich mönske…).

    Thank you all for these wonderfull and helpfull things and for all this fabulous gwhishes you share here. Everytime I need a little bit of “Yes, it is great to gwish something and there are lots of people out there wishing great, great things” I come back to this post to read them all again.

  9. […] seems like an apt moment for a Gwish. I gwish for comrades and allies. Support. Inspiration. Wisdom-from-within (or -without, whichever […]

  10. […] It’s the place where all your projects, hopes, possibilities, things that might happen and gwishes are […]

  11. […] Actually, I’m going about planting my own little gwish garden. [Heartfelt gratitude to the lovely Havi Brooks for coining the term. Gwish gwish […]

  12. […] It starts with making secret wishes. Or something like wishes, but a bit more concrete. (This is something I learned from the wonderful Havi Brooks). And I give them time to grow and develop. Because things change, and Plans can be a bit reluctant […]

  13. Alyssa says:

    I have a c-suite job that is ridiculous like chief executive guru, ceg I won’t sit on a mountain but a big upholstered velvet couch and give my wise intuitive advice and get paid handsomely to do what I do best. Ohm…my gosh that would be cool

  14. Ted says:

    Thank You Havi,
    the connection to 40 days and 40 nights and it’s repeated reference in religious application is the period of time required for starvation. It is my belief, though I do not know this to be so, the experience on the 41 st day is not that of the 42 nd day, out to the 45 th day and the death experience. Thank You for your insight over the years, your break is well deserved.

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