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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.


An itty-bitty personal ad.

Confession: my obsession with writing personal ads for things that no one would ever write a personal ad for is spinning slightly out of control.

First I wrote a personal ad for my ideal home… which is how I came to live at Hoppy House. Hoppy House! I love Hoppy House. Plus it has blueberry bushes.

Then Kelly wrote a personal ad for a copywriting assistant… and I ran it for her here and that ended up completely transforming her business.

But then lately I’ve been writing really, really little ones and not putting them up on the blog. Not even telling anyone about them. And here’s the weird part. It’s still working.

I don’t get it.

But I also don’t really care because hey, look at that, it’s working.

And so I’m writing personal ads.

That’s how I found a really great dentist who is smart and sensitive and caring and considerate (all the qualities I asked for).

And a dermatologist who is sensible and down to earth.

And a great space for teaching workshops.

And it’s not just me.

My clients and students and Kitchen Table participants are knocking me over with the way they are finding what they need while using this extremely unlikely and “soft” technique.

Houses. Jobs. Relationships.

But also smaller things… like a home for a puppy. Or a good book to read on the plane.

So I’ve decided to start writing itty-bitty personal ads for things I need and want that aren’t big, crazy things to ask for.

Just to see if the process of finding them can be made that much easier.

A tiny personal ad for hangers.

I am a person without a lot of stuff. I don’t have a car. I don’t have a desk. I have two pairs of shoes.

So simple living suits me. And at the same time, I somehow don’t have enough hangers in my closet.

Here’s what I want:

Sturdy clothes hangers, made of wood or metal. Some of them should have clips for hanging skirts on them.

Here’s how I want to get them:

I am more than happy to pay for them. I just don’t want to have to go look for them.

And I prefer used to new, to not have to be part of that endless cycle of more crap being created.

Ways they could come to me:

  • A friend or neighbor could want to give them away.
  • Someone might see an ad on Craig’s List or Freecycle and tell me about it.
  • I could happen upon them somehow. (This makes me think of Mr. Micawber and his waiting for something “to turn up”!)
  • Any other possibility. I’m willing to be surprised.

My commitment.

I will treat these hangers well. I will appreciate them. They will be loved.

A tiny personal ad for a place to donate old clothing.

Again, I don’t have a lot. But some of it is stuff that no longer needs to be with me.

I’ve gone through my closet and asked “Is this something that the Pirate Queen or one of her consorts would be happy wearing?”

And now I have a bag of stuff that isn’t. And it would like a good home.

Here’s what I want:

I want to know where to take this bag of clothing, without having to do a bunch of time-consuming research, or calling everyone I know to ask.

Here’s how I want to receive the thing I want:

  • Someone reading this could leave a comment here with a useful suggestion.
  • The next time I’m hanging out with a friend, I just remember to ask and they have the exact right answer.
  • I type my question into a search engine and the first thing that comes up is perfect.
  • The right answer just comes to me.
  • Any other possibility. I’m willing to be surprised.

My commitment.

I will take this bag of clothing to the right place once I find it. I will give these things joyfully and appreciate the new space in my life.

And … I’m out of personal ads for now.

But I’m sure I’ll think of other things I want to ask for.

I really like the clarity that asking gives me. I like the ritual of it.

And I like the idea that a personal ad doesn’t always have to be for some big life-changing thing.

That it can be tiny and hopeful and personal.

That’s what I’m going for.

And since I’m already asking …

I am going to also try asking today for what I would like to receive in the comments, and that way, if you feel like leaving one, you’ll be part of this experiment too. :)

Here’s what I want:

  • Stories of things you’ve asked for. Or are asking for. Or would like to ask for.
  • Helpful thoughts and ideas you have about the two things that I have asked for here.
  • Ways that you’re thinking about this concept and how it could be applied to interesting things … or questions you have about it and how to apply it.

What I would rather not have:

  • Theories about why it works.
  • To be judged or psychoanalyzed.

My commitment.

I am committed to giving time and thought to everything that people say, and I will interact with their ideas compassionately and honestly.

What I’m noticing.

How weird/hard it is to just say what I want.

Really interesting.

That’s it!

p.s. Thanks for doing this with me. I really appreciate it.

117 Responses to An itty-bitty personal ad.

  1. […] to write up my 2010 word of the year, I’m borrowing the idea of an Itty Bitty Personal Ad. Although choosing one word to guide an Entire Year of My Life isn’t really all that itty […]

  2. Peg
    Twitter: mogland

    I’m going to try this!
    I would like the perfect apartment to show up, with kind landlords in a wonderful area. I would like our lack of credit to be no problem, and I would like to move in by Feb 1st 2010. I would like it to be hassle free and to feel warm and cozy. I will make this place so happy and treat it with the utmost respect and love.
    I would also like kind and helpful insight to start showing up all over the place
    And I would also like to find a neat, supportive, funky community in this new city I’m in. Without too much effort – just for it to happen “naturally”.
    Thanks Havi – I needed this. xo

  3. […] it was the conscious, deliberate act of writing them down that caused them to happen. Just like Havi’s personal ads. In the comments, I referred to myself as “the girl who needs serious lessons in asking for […]

  4. […] 11, 2010 · Leave a Comment Formulating/Cultivating an ASK (a modified VPA).  The general idea behind this is to ASK for what you want, to put it in writing, say it […]

  5. Liz says:

    That A & D.W. receive kindness & proserity that reflects all that they so unconditionaly give away.

  6. Liz says:

    posterity, not proserity.

  7. […] the tradition of asking for what you want my first itty bitty personal ad. Please forgive I’m not good at asking for things or even knowing what it is I […]

  8. Herb
    Twitter: MDarcy

    I just wrote my first one…it’s amazing how hard it is to just write and post it. I’ll admit I feel stupid and self-centered doing it.
    .-= Herb´s last post … The Personals Ads =-.

  9. […] *VPA=very personal ad. […]

  10. […] Thanks Google Reader for always saving the good stuff for when I remember. Thanks Havi for being. You’ll find her stuff on personal ads here. […]

  11. […] my prior Very Personal Ads here and read more about the technique and its many variations over at the Fluent Self blog. Very Personal Ads are awesome! And useful! They get stuff […]

  12. […] particular brain squirrel, having been questioned and now under new management, has written a Very Personal Ad: I want to train so as to better show the real me, my heart & soul. I want to be a better […]

  13. […] on October 12, 2010 by colourfulcoach| Leave a comment Okay, this is an experiment based on the Very Personal Ads that appear on The Fluent Self Blog, which I have just fallen in love with. The idea is that you […]

  14. […] idea of the Very Personal Ad is stolen borrowed from Havi, who posts a bunch every week. This isn’t my first attempt at a […]

  15. Kate says:

    Way, way late to the party. Ain’t nobody gonna read this this late! But I think it’ll be useful anyway, if only to articulate to myself what I want.

    Here’s what I already have:

    A really great line of bath and body stuff that I love making and believe in.

    Here’s what I want:

    My ad writing is kinda not great. When I advertise a sale I write the same old tired things and, well, I don’t catch people’s attention. I’d like to be able to do a better job of expressing the awesomeness of my stuff in words.

    Ways this could come to me:

    * Some kind soul could write some things I could use and learn from.
    * I could find an online tutorial or howto in ad writing that really, really works for me.
    * Inspiration could strike out of the blue, much like lightning or at least a sonic boom or something.
    * Any other possibility. I’m willing to be surprised.

    My commitment:

    I will keep using the highest quality ingredients. I will keep making really, really good stuff. I will keep writing about my products with absolute honestly. I will avoid any sort of inaccurate, misleading, dishonest or otherwise full of crap methods of getting people to try my stuff.

  16. […] it was the conscious, deliberate act of writing them down that caused them to happen. Just like Havi’s personal ads. In the comments, I referred to myself as “the girl who needs serious lessons in asking for […]

  17. […] it was the conscious, deliberate act of writing them down that caused them to happen. Just like Havi’s personal ads. In the comments, I referred to myself as “the girl who needs serious lessons in asking for […]

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