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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.


77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck: 2010

I did this last year and the year before, so now it’s a thing. Tradition!

Backstory. I feel very uncomfortable with the various forms of culturally acceptable Forced Gratitude that show up this time of year.

And, at the same time, it really is such a beautiful and useful thing to stop and breathe and say oh about all the things that are working.

Appreciating the good and acknowledging the hard is the weekly ritual anyway (huzzah for the Friday Chicken!), but it’s nice to have a thing.

So we play the “I don’t have to like anything but I am also allowed to casually-but-earnestly appreciate things that are not horrible” game, also known as the Lentil Game.

How it works.

You have two cups. One is full of lentils.* The other is empty.

*Or something that is not lentils. The lentil part isn’t important.

The first time I did this there were seventy seven. So that’s how many I’m sticking with.

Each thing that doesn’t completely suck gets to jump over to to the other cup.

When the cup that was empty is full of lentils and the lentil cup is empty, you feel better.
Works every time.

(And it doesn’t matter if you forget some of the good stuff — it’s practicing.)

Havi’s current list of 77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck

In no particular order …

  1. The Great Ducking Out! Instead of suffering through Thanksgiving or furiously avoiding it, I win! I get to wear silly hats with smart, sweet, interesting people.
  2. Silly hats. All hats, really. God, I love hats.
  3. The “always looks good in hats” gene that I inherited from the Brooks side of the family.
  4. The costumery in the Treasure Room at the Playground where all the hats are.
  5. “Ohmygod”, the Playground. Everything that came together this year to make that happen.
  6. Roller Derby! Every single thing about Roller Derby, including drag names and pink mustache socks. Sponsoring the Guns N Rollers. Teaching coordination techniques at the Playground.
  7. Red flannel sheets.
  8. Hot baths with epsom salts.
  9. Grilled cheese.
  10. Also, pickles. Yes, please!
  11. Tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp on the tiny trampoline.
  12. Long walks.
  13. Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. Old turkish lady yoga and other forms of happily rolling around on the floor..
  14. Hoppy House. It’s extra-hoppy! I love living here so much I can hardly stand it.
  15. Home. It’s my home. Deep sigh of relief.
  16. My (extremely hot) red sovereignty boots.
  17. And my sovereignty ring.
  18. And the concept, in general.
  19. Superhero gloves, even though I don’t have any yet.
  20. The Week of Biggification and how much fun it was to spend an entire week running around a giant hotel brandishing our magic wands.
  21. Each and every time I realize that my baby business isn’t a baby anymore (five years and counting).
  22. Our awesome CPA who wears bowties and knows how to make me laugh and doesn’t at all mind being associated with a pirate ship.
  23. Ooh, having Drunk Pirate Council instead of “meetings”.
  24. Not ever having meetings.
  25. And, of course, Metaphor Mouse. He has gotten me out of all kinds of scrapes this year. And meetings. Bless him for that.
  26. Closing doors. And then some other doors.
  27. Nearly two years without email — I could not be happier about that.
  28. Rituals and transitions.
  29. Sunday Very Personal Ads.
  30. Friends.
  31. Like Hiro.
  32. And Michelle.
  33. And Cairene.
  34. And Shannon.
  35. Going to bed at 8:30 in the evening, because I can.
  36. Delicious uninterrupted sleep.
  37. The San Francisco Giants win the WORLD SERIES! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to express how elated I feel about this.
  38. Writing.
  39. Having a place to put all that writing.
  40. This wonderfully safe, sweet, loving place where we get to hang out that is so different from oh, the rest of the internet.
  41. I was able to explain about not going to Bolivia, and people got it, and it was okay. That was a beautiful and astonishing thing to experience.
  42. Shiva Nata.
  43. And all the shivanauts.
  44. Seeing your patterns and then not needing them anymore because you’re already bringing in the new ones.
  45. Brain-melting epiphanies.
  46. I cannot wait for the next teacher training. There are zap-filled things that will happen.
  47. Speaking of which, this crazy world of the future thing. People are coming to the teacher training from England and France and Australia. The internet. It’s magic.
  48. The amazing, thoughtful, kind, hilarious, fascinating people I have met through this blog.
  49. Like Sanders, my favorite storyteller (and one day he will have a website and I will point you there).
  50. And Jesse — I get to hug her today.
  51. And Maryann, who gives serious thought to everything, and also knows how to play and always has the best glasses.
  52. So many! I am the luckiest.
  53. Also, thank you, J.J., for making me do that thing. You were right.
  54. And thank you, Maria, for teaching me to answer questions by pretending that I’m five years old.
  55. The Kindle app for the iPhone. I have hundreds of books in my pocket. Childhood dream: fulfilled!
  56. Trust. Getting better at it.
  57. Giving myself permission to just sit and enjoy a leisurely picnic — when everyone I know is rushing past me to the top of the mountain. This is still one of the hardest things for me. But I’m doing it. Counts for something.
  58. The dammit list.
  59. The Nuevo Mexico food cart.
  60. Oh, Portland. I love you.
  61. Working from home.
  62. But having pirate queen quarters at the Playground.
  63. Amy’s hilarious and beautiful permission slips.
  64. Costumes.
  65. The fact that total strangers send me costumes! To the Playground! All the time! Incredible. Beautiful. Thank you.
  66. Snail mail.
  67. The giant box of thank you — letters people have sent to me and Selma. Just knowing it’s there makes the hard days less hard.
  68. Doing things my way.
  69. The world not falling apart when I do things my way, much to the surprise of all of my monsters.
  70. My gentleman friend.
  71. Who just so happens to also be the most amazing cook I know.
  72. Selma. My business partner is a duck.
  73. The crazed but charming Schmoppet. Schmoppet! I still do not know his name.
  74. Also the Schmurphle. And the process of schmurphling. I cannot explain what that is so you will have to come to a Rally (Rally!) and experience it for yourself.
  75. The insane amount of actual work as well as massive progress on destuckifying that happens at a Rally.
  76. All of the Rallions. Or Rallygators. Or whatever they are calling themselves today. Playmates! Secret spy ring! Co-conspirators in silliness!
  77. Possibility. Everywhere.

And I will repeat what I said last year:

Even though there are lots of things that I’m not feeling grateful for right now — some of which I’m even feeling seriously upset and resentful about — I’m glad that I have room in me for a variety of feelings and emotions.

And you. I’m glad you’re here.

That is all. Thank you.

14 Responses to 77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck: 2010

  1. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    I am wearing my blue velvet floppy Renaissance-y hat and my long stripy Sock Dreams socks, with my journal, pen, and a mug of chai close at hand, and I am thinking of you all. I’ll be baking a pie later, and I’ll still be thinking of you.

    I am re-reading your even-though statement at the end of this post, breathing, nodding, thinking yes.

    Physically, mentally, emotionally, I am not the way I’d like to be today, not the way I imagine I “should” be. That’s just my stuff, though. Deep down, at my core, I am me, and being me is the best possible way to be.

    Thank you for this beautiful blog, this special space where we are welcome to show up (and suit up, especially if silly hats are involved) and work on our stuff, and play with our stuff, and just be ourselves, and just be. I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and as far as I can see, it doesn’t suck at all.

  2. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Havi, my appreciation list is long, but here are a few things that make my heart glad today.

    You, and our friendship.
    This wonderful blog-space.
    Warmth and shelter on this very snowy day.
    The beauty of winter.
    My own precious life, and all the gifts of love and grace that bless and nourish it.
    My sons, and my daughters-in-law.
    My brilliant, magical, beautiful friends.
    That behind this sleety sky, the sun is shining.

    So much love to you,


  3. […] the lead of the wonderful Havi Brooks, I wrote out a list of 77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck. I had every intention of sharing them all here, but find myself feeling unexpectedly private about […]

  4. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    Things that don’t suck today:

    – being within walking distance of my kid’s school when it snows so I don’t have to brave messy streets
    – ice cream
    – a 2-year-old who repeats the things I say in a way that is totally hilarious
    – warm slippers
    – stopping by your blog. :)

  5. Ty Barbary
    Twitter: tybarbary

    This made me squishy and happy to read. Warm feelings, warm belly, so much gratitude, love, smells of home. Good culture, safe spaces. Good people all around, even if they never see me and I never say hi to them. (To spite that sentence: Hello everyone!)

    Ignoring today’s cultural specifics, I am happy to sit and listen and feel and be thankful.

    So, thank you, Havi. You have changed my life, and I don’t say that lightly. You’re awesome and wonderful. :)

  6. seagirl says:

    Things that were awesome today:

    5 mile Pumpkin Pie Power Walk (way better than the 5K Turkey Trot and I won!)
    No going anywhere. (except to get sushi)
    No one coming here.
    Sushi for dinner! New tradition I think.
    Deciding to skip Harry Potter.
    My dishwasher. I love it.
    My washing machine and dryer. I love them.
    Being in my new space that is not my old space.
    Legs that know they worked hard today.
    Being ok with being alone.
    Being ok with missing a boy.

  7. Sanders says:


    You just made my day! (And I was having a crappy one…)

    And you know what, I’m going to start that web site!

    Thank you!

  8. Willie Hewes says:

    Hi Ty! ^__^

    As a Dutch person I don’t suffer under this culturally imposed forced gratitude ritual, but I still enjoy the lentil game. I like the way it lowers the bar way down with “things that don’t completely suck”.

    My lunch did not completely suck. It involved strangely shaped organic tomatoes. And nice bread. Come to think of it, this entire week did not completely suck.

    Will there be a chicken today? That would not totally suck either.

  9. Beth says:

    I was so glad to have this happy thing to read yesterday… the “Oh! You have time off? Great, we’ve been waiting to do this for weeks!” cold put me mostly in bed. Darnit. But I did have my favorite nightgown and pink slippers, so it wasn’t all bad. And I played the lentil game, but with pomegranate seeds (and ate them rather than putting them into another cup, because I am just not patient enough to wait on the eating part…). Some things I came up with:

    Generally good health. My vacation. Technology to make my life easier and more comfortable (laundry machines, dishwasher, garbage disposal, ice maker, air conditioner, medicine..). Technology to make it easier to access interesting information and thoughts (this blog and others, videos, research websites, archives). Fresh flowers. Sunshine. Paid bills. A full freezer. People who are nice to me. Postcards, letters, phone calls. Reasonable grounds for hope that the heat will ease off again soon (come on, rain, you can do it…). My new pretty teapot and play-basket. Memory. Earplugs. My sewing machine. Dogs. Cold cream. Quiet. Peanut butter. Finished chores. My own private bathroom and kitchen (for the first time ever). Candles. Blackberry jelly on hot rolls. And hope that the next three weeks will pass quickly and successfully.

    And also hugs all around. Thank you for this place!

  10. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    Oh, I like the stopping-to-appreciate thing now. I despised it as a child. This way is much nicer, but I do understand the resistance.

    And? Your Boliva post was beautiful. It brought me here. And it made a new friend of mine cry because we had just been talking aboout .thatverything. and you put it so well.

    So I am grateful for the Bolivia post. Also for many other things which I will write out here. And for love and collaboration and (unexpectedly) Twitter(!).


  11. Terry Heath
    Twitter: terryheath

    Hi Havi,

    I haven’t visited for awhile, so I’m not up to snuff about stuff, but I didn’t find anything in your list about your voice recognition software. So, am I to assume either you haven’t had to use it or still haven’t fully come to peace with it?

    Glad to see you’re still here and still you.


  12. […] cups handy: one is empty, the other one has buckwheat grains in it. And this year, I am playing the Lentil Game (also known as the  ”I don’t have to like anything but I am also allowed to […]

  13. Jesse
    Twitter: persnicket

    Thing that definitely doesn’t suck: being one of Havi’s 77 things!

    Also: The Great Ducking Out, for saving my sanity and getting me out to meet a new group of wonderful people and do shivanauttery to fun taste words!

    Also: Havi, you yourself! I’m so grateful for you, and for everything that your writing and your events and your practices have helped me with in my life. For the clarity of patterns and rewriting them and monsters and bringing fun and play to the whole wild rumpus. I am blessed to count you as one of my very favorite teachers and writers.

  14. […] Things That Don't Completely Suck It is that time of year! The one where we play 77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck. Why? Because sometimes everyone telling you to be grateful makes you feel annoyed or […]

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