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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.


The Book of You

So. I get cranky when I don’t get a walk in the morning. Yes, that would be today.

If Selma and I remember to make the bed (a thing we got from Gretchen), everything about the rest of the day is better. Even though that makes no sense.

If someone says “really, there’s no sugar in here”, it’s good to smile, say thank you and DON’T try it. Because if there is sugar or honey or agave or something (and usually there is), my head will explode the next nine hours are shot to hell. It’s so not worth it.

All this?

Information for the big book of me.

What goes into the Book of You:

Anything that’s useful.

All that stuff you think you’ll remember but actually you don’t.

A working hypothesis you’re currently testing (“Is it true that I feel better when I go to bed before ten or is that only true when I’m over-worked?”).

Or an aspect of yourself or your life that’s currently under investigation (“What do I know so far about what happens to me when I’m in a crowded space?”).

Why it’s helpful to have a Book of You:

It’s kind of like the dammit list.

It reminds you that you are in the process of working on your stuff. And it shows you how much you’ve already implemented.

It helps you keep that experimental scientific outlook.

It’s a mindfulness practice that isn’t annoying.

And it helps you come up with better red velvet ropes, and track your mini-epiphanies.

Some useful guiding principles for the Book of You.

People vary.

That’s why it’s the Book of You and not the Book of Humanity In General That Is Also Known As The Book of All Things For All People At All Time.

All the biggified people on the internet shouting about how you have to write in the morning and you can’t have more than three projects and how you always have to do X to get Y?

They’re not talking about you. They’re talking about themselves. They are sharing some of the information from that big Book of Them.

In fact, lots of things vary.

Just because something is true for you right now doesn’t mean it’s always going to be true for you.

The Book of You isn’t about absolutes. It’s about taking various factors into consideration, and figuring out what you can extrapolate from what you know. And then testing.

How you might set up the Book of You:

That depends.

Some of my clients and students like to have a pretty book to give it some formality. Some of them like a messy one with lots of scribblings to remember that it’s a work in progress.

Some of them keep a binder so they can tuck pages in and take pages out.

See what works for you. You can always start a new one. I mean, it’s your book.

Personally, I like to keep one item to a page.

That way I can add notes and exceptions. And questions.

For example, I have a page that says something like this:

“Sweetie, you are so much happier when you get a morning walk. The entire day goes better. This has been tested. Seriously. Just do it.”

But then I’ve added all sorts of things to this page. Like this:

“Okay, but what if it’s pouring rain in the morning because you live in stupid Portland? Does it help if you sit on the porch swing and watch the rain, so you’re at least outside?

Or is it better to do some bouncing to at least get that aerobic effect thing? Or is it better to just pull on rain pants and go jump in puddles for a couple minutes? I mean, what are the aspects of the morning walk that are most vital here?”

And then I experiment. And take more notes. In the big Book of Me.

And a couple other things to keep in mind.

Test things.

Does eating mango always make my arms itch? What exactly is it about Dance of Shiva that clears my head? What happens if I reverse those steps? What happens if I bring in Metaphor Mouse?

Something I try to remember: part of destuckifying is having a conscious relationship with yourself, so you can bring more awareness to your patterns (detective-style).

And no, you’re not arrogant or self-absorbed if you make a commitment to learning stuff about yourself and taking notes.

That’s it. Play with me!

You don’t have to know anything about what goes in the Book of You to start.

Most people start by just taking some notes. Whatever comes into your head.

Then you see what it’s like to go through your day as if researching the Book of You was your job.

You see what’s surprising. And what isn’t.

Comment zen for today.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff.

So. If you want to throw out anything you’re working on, noticing, observing, messing around with, that’s lovely.

If you’ve been working with this Book of You thing (or want to), yay!

You can also throw out general suggestions based on stuff that works for you — as always, we try to keep it to personal experience instead of advice.

Big love to everyone (and Jessica Rabbit kisses to the Beloved Lurkers).

92 Responses to The Book of You

  1. […] How to create a Book of You. I think Havi’s onto something BIG here. Big big. I can see a worldwide revolution on the horizon. […]

  2. Jesse
    Twitter: persnicket

    Hi Havi,

    I just found your site today, after you (or your helpful assistant?) added me on Twitter. Not sure what led to that but I was at first quite flattered, but then really intrigued and excited by your work. But reading through a bunch of your posts has made me feel a tiny bit envious that I’m not one of those Right People that knows what their Big Thing is. I wish I did. I wish I had a Big Thing that I could embiggen, but right now I’m searching. And it’s inspirational to know that there are amazing, body-mind integrative things to try that I’ve never even heard of before. I can’t go into the weird long personal story of why the connection between writing, Shiva Nata, and roller derby is blowing my mind, but just so you know, it is. I’m still thinking about it. It’s one of those things that makes me want to cry and laugh and keep exploring down that rabbit hole until I figure it out.

    Anyway, I don’t know what my Big Thing is, but after hopscotching around I’m thinking that this post is an excellent place to start. I want to start a Book of Me, and that will help me figure it out. Maybe my Big Thing will be a revelation about how all my little bits fit together? I just hope it will lead me somewhere.

    Thanks for this.
    .-= Jesse´s last post … persnicket- -jrewing That sheet of Lindsays handwriting is oddly compelling Definitely reveals a hidden- neater side of her =-.

  3. […] The Book Of You – Havi Brooks, The Fluent Self. […]

  4. […] with this, I’m following her suggestion of writing ‘A Book Of You’. She explains it better than me but it’s basically a self-written operating […]

  5. […] to somehow change panic mode to problem-solving mode. I took one of Havi’s ideas for the Book of Me and compiled lists of methods, quotes, ideas, questions, etc. that I could use when I needed a […]

  6. […] these kinds of situations from happening, I can learn from this one and add a new item to the Book of Me: bad moods require more pain […]

  7. […] are all notes from my Book of You. The Book of You is a technique Havi Brooks uses for destuckification.  Have I mentioned that I […]

  8. Sarah Lyford
    Twitter: mamabred

    Oohhh I love the book of you. I do this, I guess, have always done it, but I think from now on all my notebooks need to be labelled this way .. The book of me!

    My blog is kinda an out loud version of the book of me and your blog is kinda like the out loud version of my imaginary, perfectly human and wonderful best friend ever! I have been reading your posts whenever I get that omg-Im-writing-out-loud-in-public fear wash over me and I can always count on something in the fluent self to pluck me out of that sea and pop me back on dry land where I am safe. Look at this, Im doing the metaphor thing in deference to your awesome way of expressing yourself, Im THAT enthralled by everything you are writing.

    LOVE it!

  9. So Sweet. So Wise. :-)

    Lately, I’ve been playing with The Brain, a mind-mapping software thingie. Fun! Deep… Cool :-)

    Kind of like playing with the ideas that might go into my Book of Me…………………….

  10. […]  Or you can give it a try.  Or use it as a jumping off point to figure out what works for you (and then write it all down).  How badly do you want to feel better, […]

  11. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    I’ve known about this for a while, but just this morning started (in a google doc, because, well, I’m a geek like that). How lovely! Surprisingly comforting and effective, and all kinds of fun.

  12. […] Book owes its existence to a multitude of sources. It’s part Book of Me, from Havi Brooks’ excellent blog The Fluent Self. It’s part Zen to Done, from Leo Babauta. And […]

  13. […] when we see others around us getting by on little sleep too. I like Havi’s idea of creating a Book of Me where I record my unique needs and limitations as I discover them. This not only makes it a […]

  14. […] sadness. I’ve been learning more about myself, and adding things to my Book of Skaja. (note: More info about the Book of You on Havi’s website.) One of the things I’ve noticed is that if I choose to withhold my emotions, they eventually […]

  15. […] they don’t sound nearly as fun as what other people are doing. To finish working on my Book of Me and more importantly, to start using […]

  16. […] And because Havi has taught me all about how Future Me can send me messages and reassurances. And because I wanted a mini Book of Me. […]

  17. […] Oh, hello my dear House of Seeds. Guess what? I need to tell you about something that happened today. It was so beautiful, I had to capture at least a tiny corner of its beauty so I can come back and read this later — a seed, an entry in the evolving Book of Me. […]

  18. […] want to start a Book of Me. This is something I read about some time ago on a blog I occasionally follow, The Fluent […]

  19. […] week was the week of finally cracking the code of me. I feel like I have enough collected in my Book of Me to be able to navigate the playing field. It feels good. I am thirsty for […]

  20. E
    Twitter: pavethecushion

    I was so excited by this idea that I started a Book of Me before I even finished reading this page! See how nonstuck (is that correct usage?) I can be when I’m excited about something and not afraid of any aspect of it?

    Very happy to have stumbled upon you today : )

  21. Alyson
    Twitter: alytags

    I came across this post months ago and hesitated with starting a Book of Me. I didn’t think I had much to write about myself. I finally wrote down one thing last night. The next thing I knew I had pages filled and was firmly telling myself to go to bed. (Remember sweetie, sleep is necessary to feel like a functional being. At least 7 hours is required, although 9 is best.)

  22. Just stopping by to let you know how much this has helped me in my journey to healing from fibromyalgia. So much so that I’ve used it in a blog post today telling others. I’m sure you’ll get the trackback. =)

    Thanks for your awesomeness! <3
    Tami Stackelhouse recently posted… Honoring Your Body- Getting to Know YOU

  23. […] forward to today, I decided to open this blog again. I borrow the idea of “The book of you” from Havi Brooks. I have been reading up on the topic of happiness and how to be happy. I watch […]

  24. […] steps are brilliant. If we ever sit down and start a book of you, right at the start will be a long bit about the importance of baby steps. I know that now more […]

  25. […] fluent self” and one of her blog posts that made me think a lot was the one about “The Book of You“. You’ve got to read that blogpost yourself, but what I took out of it was to very […]

  26. […] in an acknowledging + reviewing + closing ritual sort of way.    A kind of weekly chapter in the Book of Me that I’ll be attempting to do every Sunday, in an attempt to learn useful things from the […]

  27. […] note…a few great related posts on this topic: Are You Too Tired to Dream? from Jennifer Louden The Book of You from The Fluent Self The Beginner’s Guide to Being Congruent by Scott Dinsmore […]

  28. […] her future experiences with a place, event, person, etc.  You can read more about it in her post The Book of You, although if you search her blog for the phrase “book of me,” you’ll find quite a […]

  29. […]  Or you can give it a try.  Or use it as a jumping off point to figure out what works for you (and then write it all down).  How badly do you want to feel better, […]

  30. […] Havi writes about destuckification and biggification. Sounds good to me! I came across a post on the Book of You: a book or notebook or computer file or whatever in which you take notes on all the useful stuff […]

  31. […] and keeping track of my projects for the year. It’s also inspired by Havi Brooks’s Book of Me concept, and since my name is Mel I came up with the highly original title of Book of Mel. This is […]

  32. […] fact as i was working on the book of me at the last rally i had an aha moment where i realized what was missing was a connection to all i […]

  33. […] Friday, please:) Posted by Andriana under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  o tiroliana peste stanci:  http://thefluentself.wpengine.com/blog/stuckification/the-book-of-you/ […]

  34. […] #2: The Book of You. I’m learning who Havi Brooks is, thanks to my friend Yael, and so far I like this chick with […]

  35. […] they don’t sound nearly as fun as what other people are doing. To finish working on my Book of Me and more importantly, to start using […]

  36. […] what is really important and valuable to me.  I recommend writing one of your own. [Taryn likes Havi's The Book of You which she says is similar to my manifesto Making Space for My […]

  37. […] Brooks talks about The Book of You. I call it the Me Manual. You can consider it your Emotional/Psychological First Aid Kit. But the […]

  38. […] been working a bit with the concept of the Book of Me (thank you, Havi), and this past week I added an entry about sticking with what works (until they […]

  39. […] also a fan of Havi Brooks, at The Fluent Self. In this post, she provides some tips for keeping ‘The Book of You’, as she terms it. This particular journal / binder / collection seems more of a playful journal […]

  40. […] about it (or devalue it) in the press of daily life. I’ve read about the idea of creating a Book of Me where I can record all these things that I learn along the way so I can remind myself of what I […]

  41. […] Enjoying the beautiful journal that one of my friends gave me for my birthday.  It’s a really beautiful journal and I realized this week that I didn’t have to save it for something “special”, so I’ve been using it to record the Book of Me. […]

  42. Amber says:

    This is perfect and so helpful, especially now because I’m desticking so many things in my life and it is quite painful and your site always helps when it hurts too much. It’s my salve. I love you for that! Thank you!

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