But maybe a preview?
Some of my clients and students and other Right People out there in the world are feeling … oh, conflicted.
They want (or mostly want) to be writing Very Personal Ads* but they aren’t. And can’t.
*The Very Personal Ads are a practice where we ask for something we want in order to get clarity on stuff and also to practice getting better at asking for things.
It’s a kind of … personal ad paralysis. And it makes sense.
As one of my students said:
“I’m definitely very drawn to the Personal Ads and I also keep pulling away.
It’s like, I want to ask for things (or to be able to ask for things) but it sets off all my stuck and anyway, I can’t even narrow any of this down enough to figure out what I actually need, you know?”
I get it. And I’m also thinking, maybe we can make this whole thing a little less hard.
How about we start with this?
Don’t write a personal ad.
Seriously. You don’t have to. I mean, you feel conflicted.
So right now if you were going to write a personal ad, it would be one that asked for the ability to not feel conflicted about writing personal ads.
You’re probably not going to do that because … uh, you feel conflicted. About writing personal ads.
Which is absolutely legitimate.
So, instead of writing a personal ad (or a personal ad for a personal ad), what if you wrote a non-personal non-ad?
Like this. You answer these three questions.
Except they aren’t actually questions so it’s really more like you finish these sentences.
Selma and I will do the exercise too, so you have an example to work with. Though if you don’t like the non-questions, you can totally rewrite those too.
Non-personal-ad non-question #1:
Even though I don’t know what I would even ask for …
Even though I don’t know what I would even ask for … I really like the idea of getting clarity on something. So if writing a personal ad could shed some light on some of this stuff that would be pretty great.
Even though I don’t know what I would even ask for … I’m going to try this thing and find out what happens when I give myself permission to ask.
Even though I don’t know what I would even ask for … I wonder what would happen if I could just ask for something without necessarily having to think about whether or not there’s a possibility of receiving it.
Non-personal-ad non-question #2:
Even though I don’t believe that there is any way on earth that this would ever work …
Even though I don’t believe that there is any way on earth that this would ever work …what if it doesn’t have to?
Even though I don’t believe that there is any way on earth that this would ever work …what if it did?
Even though I don’t believe that there is any way on earth that this would ever work …what if it were enough for me to get a bit more clarity on what I want and need?
And what if that clarity could be a resource that I could call on when I needed it? What if it could give me that extra spaciousness?
What if that clarity and spaciousness could turn out to be the answer that I’m needing? Not something external but something internal?
Non-personal-ad non-question #3:
Even though I feel really, really uncomfortable when I just start to think about asking for stuff …
Even though I feel really, really uncomfortable when I just start to think about asking for stuff, I’m noticing that this is all about my sense that asking is greedy.
Even though I feel really, really uncomfortable when I just start to think about asking for stuff, I’m recognizing that I’m really … afraid that people will think I’m obnoxious or “entitled” or demanding stuff.
Even though I feel really, really uncomfortable when I just start to think about asking for stuff and this is setting off all my triggers about “deserving” and how money doesn’t grow on trees and stuff … I don’t have to do things that make me really uncomfortable.
I’m allowed to have issues around this. And I’m noticing that this is reminding me of [personal memory] and that’s really interesting.
And I’m noticing that I have big crazy resistance to the word “allowed”. Blech. I think I need to do more thinking/writing on that one.
Actually, I think I’m going to do ten minutes of Shiva Nata with my discomfort-with-asking as my theme/intention and maybe I’ll get an epiphany on that in the next couple days.
So, in low-key conclusion …
I guess what I’m recommending here is letting yourself not do the practice, but to go ahead and not-do-it in a way that lets you engage with some of the interesting bits of it.
In other words, you have permission to skip the stuckified parts but to still enjoy things like playfulness and curiosity and exploration.
Or whatever not-quite-as-cheesy words work for you.
Because who knows? Maybe this will open a door or two into a practice that’s a better fit for you.
Maybe it will supply some Useful Information about what you need.
Or maybe it will help you realize that doing it one way isn’t your thing, but there’s a different way of interacting with this that might lead you to something that is your thing.
And if the not-doing gives you a little more freedom to have fun with this, hooray. And if not, we’ll try something else.
My own Very Personal Ad for today?
Wishing for you (okay, and for me!) anything that helps you feel safe, supported and loved. And whatever you need to help release the stuff that says you “have to do it this one way“.
Because you don’t.
And that’s the great (and weird) part in this whole working on your stuff thing. You get to do it in a way that’s comfortable for you. I know! Crazy! Right?
But that’s another topic so I’m just going to trail off awkwardly now. Like this …