What's in the gallery?

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.


Not actually a test.

I have been thinking a lot about exit strategies.

Not that I’m going anywhere. Definitely not at the moment.

But when Selma and I are done here …. or when we’re on Skabbatical

What do I really truly want my people to know? What types of things can I expect them to be able to do?

If there were a final exam that touched on some of the essential principles of everything we do at The Fluent Self, what would it look like?

Oh, there are so many things I’d put in there.

But just a few, off the top of my head, while I’m narrowing things down.

Starting with seven questions. I even answered them so you don’t have to. See? Nicest test ever.

And I tried to be as succinct as possible, which we all know is not exactly my strength. Brevity points for me. And bathtime and bourbon for Selma.

Destuckification Basics, Part I

Q: Why am I avoiding this?


I care so much that it’s painful.

If I go near it, the fuzzy monsters come out to play.

I have unresolved stuck that needs some love.

Avoidance is always natural and normal and legitimate. There is always a reason for it.

Q: Why am I scared? It’s stupid and there’s no reason for it.

Because this has meaning for me.

Because I don’t want to get hurt.

Because fear doesn’t need to be rational. No, really. It doesn’t.

Q: How come [all these other people] can do X and I can’t?

(Or: How come they can do it better / faster / more efficiently / with less whining?)

Because people vary.

Also: you have no idea what the background story is. You have no way of knowing how much has happened behind the scenes to prepare them for this.

And you have skills and resources that they don’t, just as they have things you don’t. That’s how it works.

Q: How is it that I can use my skills to help other people achieve X but I can’t make it happen for myself?

Because that’s how superpowers work. Most of us are immune to our own superpowers most of the time.

Being a source of light for others doesn’t necessarily mean you can always see your own way in the dark. This is why we all get to help each other, which is a good thing.

Destuckification Basics, Part II

Q: What doesn’t work with monsters, pain, fear, stucknesses?

Fighting with them.

Ignoring them.

Telling them to shut up.

Telling them to go away.

Trying to outsmart them in violent ways.

Q: What does work with monsters, pain, fear, stucknesses?

  1. Acknowledging the fact that they’re showing up.
  2. Legitimacy. Giving them permission to exist.
  3. Making space between you and them by remembering that they are only part of you, and temporary.
  4. Finding out what they need to feel safe, while being firm about how they may or may not address you.
  5. Letting them know what you need to feel safe.

And yes, those are steps.

Also, coloring them while you hash things out is lots of fun and extremely effective.

Q: Does anything trump the “people vary” principle?*



I’ll write that post some other time. Soon, I hope.

* hat tip to Paul Grilley for this phrase, which I adore.

Bonus Question!

Q: What is the difference between the first set of questions above and the second?

Take an extra ten thousand sparklepoints if you saw the monsters behind the curtain. All the questions in the first set were actually asked by your monsters.

The second set were just looking for information. No agenda.


I’m not retiring yet.

Still here. With my duck and the Schmoppet and ridiculous amounts of Extremely Important things still left to be said. Not to mention all the completely unnecessary things that are just fun to say. Like haberdashery. Or smock. Smock!

The main thing is this: I’d like us all to be up to speed on some of the basics (obviously everything in this post is just an introduction), because it’s time to start going deeper.

As always, we all have our stuff and we’re all working on our stuff. This really, truly is not a test.

It’s okay to exhale. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. And sparklepoints and imaginary muffins all around.

26 Responses to Not actually a test.

  1. Karen says:

    I had resolved to Do A Thing yesterday which included saying hi to my chakras and asking what they need from me to help me deal fairly and kindly with Avoidance, and it didn’t happen because a Health Thing decided to appear instead. So this morning, I thought that, hey, I didn’t need to Do The Whole Thing, I could just talk with my chakras.

    Then I clicked on this post, and the one below it. And I got all the answers and reminders I needed to do This Part Of The Thing today.

    Thank you :)

  2. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    Eeek! You can’t retire! What would we dooooo? … other than practice and apply the stuff you already taught us and just be extra fabulous ourselves … #ohwait #crisisover.

    Damn, you’re on a roll this week. The Why post was excellent too. I am a bit sad, though, that with all the monstering I do, I still didn’t win the ten thousand extra sparklepoints. Oh, well. I have imaginary muffins.

    Deeper. Hmm. Eager to see what that looks like.
    .-= Willie Hewes´s last post … Meditating in the face of Crazy Insane Itchiness =-.

  3. Riin
    Twitter: happyfuzzyyarn

    Mmm…imaginary muffins… Whole wheat vegan apple raisin muffins.

    I’ve gotten a lot better with the “How come [all these other people] can do X and I can’t?” one. I used to see someone doing some amazing thing, and I’d be like, “um, well, I can walk!” Now I think “well, yeah, but can they knit? Can they spin? Can they dye?” Sure, they can do some amazing things, but I do some pretty cool stuff myself. No one can do everything.
    .-= Riin´s last post … What I learned at my first fiber show =-.

  4. Kaleena
    Twitter: Kaleena

    I need this. I need whatever I can get. I’m getting sucked so deep into avoidance, it’s not even funny. I have a painting that’s due on Friday (tomorrow) and it’s still firmly lodged in the Land of Lame. It hasn’t even made it to Mediocre Town yet. This madame, is a two dimensional plane of Suck. It’s freaking me out because I feel like I’m over my head, but (you know what’s coming, right?) I desperately want it to be good.

    *inhales* I realize that those are my monsters coming out in full force. I will do my damnedest to do what’s best for Planet Kaleena. I will do some Shiva Nata, give myself a hug for caring so much, and do the best that I can with the time that I have left.

    *gently toes Iguana to the side*
    .-= Kaleena´s last post … Rabbiting =-.

  5. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    helpful, Havi, so helpful.

    I have suddenly gotten myself into three (3) accountability clusters (four? no, three) at the same time. These are groups of people who are helping each other not be stuck (see the why can I help others question, above). This means I get a lot of Homework.

    And one Homework, the first one I got, is clearly hung up on a rock the size of Gibraltar. (Hmm, that word has altar in it. I wonder…)

    I managed to wiggle it around a little, but I am SO FRUSTRATED about the stuck. I feel like the woman I saw yesterday with the nice Scion stuck on the lovely piece of granite and the beautiful view of the ocean must have felt.

    So I’m giving myself credit for the wiggling. And for the other NonStuck things that are moving forward. Like audio files! Who knew having a mic that makes me sound like me would make such a difference? So at least those are moving along. I THOUGHT those would be stuck, but they’re not much at all.

    and about that several posts ago about dolls? Rewriting the story makes me feel like crying. Very useful crying.

    now to do laundry. Because iguanas are easier to have tea with.
    .-= Leela´s last post … shopping =-.

  6. LaShae
    Twitter: LaShaeDorsey

    Mmmm muffins. Do schmoppets eat muffins? Do schmoppets eat?

    And sad me, I get no sparklepoints because I so totally didn’t even see that the first set of questions were monster questions.

    Dang and so here all this time I’m trying to write the answers and those were monsters. No wonder none of my answers were good enough. I see you monsters and I’m gonna tickle you for tricking me unless you don’t like tickling, then maybe a cookie or …

    And yes going deeper. Spelunking. Yay, so ready to Spelunk!. Such a word.
    .-= LaShae´s last post … Awareness of Choice- It’s all cake =-.

  7. mariko
    Twitter: marikooosceola

    Ping! aha moment!
    Giving legitimacy to your monsters is giving legitimacy to yourself.
    It’s easy to be delegitimized even by those who love you when you’re a kid, just because, you’re a kid. What do you know?
    To deny, harass, ignore your monsters is to delegitimize both of you.
    Love it. Thank you.

  8. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Deeper? Yes! Very excited.

    And no, I didn’t spot the monsters behind the curtain, not this time. Geez, my monsters are like chameleons this week. Chameleons and iguanas — can I start charging admission to this crazy reptile house of mine?

    Planning to work play more with the dissertation proposal tonight. Popcorn and cocoa will be available for any monsters who show up.
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … RE-re-invention =-.

  9. andrea
    Twitter: gocreativedream

    yes please!
    .-= andrea´s last post … ABCcreativity interview with chris guillebeau =-.

  10. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Ha! Sorry sorry sorry for not being clear.

    It’s not like you DON’T get sparklepoints for not identifying sneakified monsters. That would be silly! Of course you still get sparklepoints (and muffins if you want them). You know, for reading and thinking about this and working on your stuff.

    The whole point of sparklepoints is you take as many as you like. Those were just bonus ones. Extras. But take ten thousand from somewhere else. :)

    @Kat – a reptile house is a brilliant idea. Admission! Popcorn!

    @mariko – yes yes yes yes yes!

    @LaShae – Spelunk! I love it.

    @Leela – oh sweetie, hug for the hard and yay for the wiggling. Stuck really IS that hard. It’s an awful, awful feeling. Also, I can’t wait to find out more about the Gibraltar Altar (is it just one guy?)

    @Kaleena – Oh, many a vacation have I spent in Mediocre Town. Hugs and love for all the stressful hard. And maybe your iguanas can have tea with mine and Leela’s ….

    @Riin – nice! And imaginary clinking of glasses with the imaginary muffins.

    @Willie – ten thousand extra sparklepoints for solving your own crisis in half a sentence! :)

    @Karen – yay. And love to you.

  11. Kristen
    Twitter: write_spirit

    Havi said “Because that’s how superpowers work. Most of us are immune to our own superpowers most of the time.”

    Oh. My. God.

    Seriously? How did I not know this? It explains SO much and my monsters are now blinking at the bright light of enlightenment.

    *tears of joy*

    Kisses to you, Havi.

  12. Rose
    Twitter: celestialrose

    Thank you Havi for posting this. Totally printing it and putting it on my wall!!

    “You have no way of knowing how much has happened behind the scenes to prepare them for this.” – I automatically thought “wait a second. I can say that for myself too..” and then you said it :)
    “And you have skills and resources that they don’t, just as they have things you don’t. That’s how it works.”

    And then I got thinking about how I should remember that I am Capable [this is a major theme for me this year; noticing that my fears are all about not being equipped to deal with X or Y].

    “Everything I’ve experienced has prepared me for this”. I think it’d be good for me to remember this. Thank you for the indirect reminder :)

    “Being a source of light for others doesn’t necessarily mean you can always see your own way in the dark.” – again, something I know but don’t remember when I need to.

    And I’m eating a real blueberry muffin as I read/comment on this post. How awesome. :)

    Hugs to all.
    .-= Rose´s last post … DWL- Week One =-.

  13. Lydia says:

    You live on a totally different sphere then I do, but I’m really loving to read what you post. I love that you wrote that fear doesn’t have to be rational, it isn’t at all but is still there all the same. I will visit often, hopefully my journey towards earning sparklepoints can begin today, thanks.

  14. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    Here is yet another indication of your expertise as a teacher & business owner, Havi; creating systems by which your work can be sustained.

    I do hope it is a long way off, but I will say one thing–

    You will leave a legacy.
    .-= Rupa´s last post … A Simple Way to Determine Your Life’s Purpose =-.

  15. […] and try to move through it anyway, since there is that nag of a deadline. Havi’s post on the basics of destuckification is so apropos […]

  16. Kelly
    Twitter: copylicious

    Rupa just gave me the chills and eyeball wells. Yes, you will leave a legacy indeed.
    .-= Kelly´s last post … Is DIY for dummies =-.

  17. Shannon
    Twitter: clover

    It IS time. Oh yes.

    Thank you. <3
    .-= Shannon´s last post … Quick-and-Dirty Transit Roundup =-.

  18. solidgoldcreativity
    Twitter: solidgold99

    Great post! Thank you for your generous insights.

  19. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    The bit about being immune to our own superpowers? So awesome. And so revelatory.

    Also? I think I need to say revelatory a few more times, because while it’s not as good as haberdashery, I still like it. Revelatory. Revelatory. Revelatory!
    .-= Amber´s last post … Creating Your Space =-.

  20. Julie Tennis says:

    Niiiiiiccceee! :) LOVE this post!! <3

  21. Chloe Walker
    Twitter: chloewrites

    I want to get Part I tattooed on the backs of my eyelids. Can that be done?

    So excited to be going deeper. *dons flowery swimming cap*

  22. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    Yay! I get ten thousand extra sparklepoints ANYWAY! Ha!

    All the sparklepoints are for me! ME! ;)
    .-= Willie Hewes´s last post … OK- I’ve Talked to my Monsters and I’m Still Scared =-.

  23. Qrystal
    Twitter: Qrystal

    Hey! I DID pick up on the fact that part II was more ‘meta’ than the first, where ‘meta’ means the stuff about the stuff, not the stuff itself. But I didn’t realize that the stuff was actually monster vomit! That’s just like them, to spew all sorts of nasty stuff, but also to hide it so we can’t see it! They ARE sneaky, aren’t they!

    Hmm, but now I have the idea in my head that my poor monsters are sick and don’t want me to know, even though they need me to take care of them. They really can’t help what is coming out of them, but if they were feeling better, it would probably not smell so bad around here.

    So what can I do to take care of my monsters? Drinking lots of water is always my first prescription for any ills, so I’m going to go fill my water glass and then I’ll ask my monsters what else I can do to help.

    Thanks so much Havi, again, for the awesomeness you continually share.
    .-= Qrystal´s last post … Starting a New Dance =-.

  24. […] but just in being. And accepting. Who accepts their monsters -don’t we all fight them? This article she wrote recently really summed it up nicely so I wanted to pass it along. Because maybe your […]

  25. […] As much as I am completely unwilling to do anything right now, the internets did have some useful things to say. Particularly this, from the genius pirate Havi–most of us are immune to our own superpowers most of the time. […]

  26. […] even more important than the people-vary principle is the principle of non-violence (hat tip to Havi for […]

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge