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.


Presents for future me.

Ah, the continuation to yesterday‘s public recognition of the pain that comes with realizing just how little I have paid attention to the needs of me-from-next-week.

Until next week shows up and then: oh right, I am her.

Yesterday was all about acknowledging grief and loss. Letting it exist, because that’s always the starting point for changing anything.

Today: transitioning into the next part (discovering what I know about the current patterns and how they could change).

What is working?

Well, I’ve gotten remarkably good — through years of practice — at caring for past me and making things easier for her.

It’s become gradually less challenging to remember to do sweet things for me-from-then.

And over time I’ve been able to really notice and feel how doing this helps me-now feel safer and more supported.

So there’s a blueprint of experience.

What else is working?

If I look back at six years ago when I started this business (or really, even just a year ago), there’s clear evidence of progress.

Thank you, Internal Committee of Scientists for your extensive studies on the subject.

I used to never think about taking care of slightly future me. Now I do all sorts of things for her.

Like my Anthology of the Pirate Queen — the binder that has everything I need for teaching, all in one place.

Or the fact that my Dressing Room at the Playground is no longer a storage room but an actual room for me to rest and recuperate.

All the things I do to prepare for voyages.

The various metaphors, systems, processes and rituals that I have developed for her.

Ha. I don’t suck at this after all. I still don’t know as much as I’d like about how to lovingly attend to me-from-next-week, but the “You Are A Disastrous Failure At This” monster narrative has been disproven.

What do I want to happen?

I think I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to learn more about taking care of me-who-is-arriving.

Not just in fits and starts but as a regular way of being in the world.

I want to be the person who leaves secret gifts in unexpected places.

Sneakily seeding kindness for later.

In fact, I asked for help with this in Sunday’s Very Personal Ads:

I want me-of-three-weeks-from-now to look back at now and say, “Wow. Thank you.”

Not to just practice self-forgiveness for all the ways I have not been able to take care of myself and her.

But to feel really and truly appreciative for the things I did do.

It’s like being a secret admirer! Or a secret santa (something I only know about from television). I can be sneaky and silly and have fun!

What does this new relationship with me-who-is-on-the-way give me?

Delight. Courage. Conviction. Sweetness. Power. Radiance. Support. Sovereignty. Presence. Play. Curiosity. Experimentation. Receptivity. Flow.

What would the Best Secret Admirer Ever do?

Actually I think I need to change that metaphor because it’s kind of creeping me out. Where’s the mouse? We need him.

Negative connotations to “secret admirer”? Yes.

[+unasked-for attention] [+vulnerability] [+not knowing]

Negative connotations to “secret santa”? Yes.

[+outsider] [+what if I’m doing it wrong] [+discomfort]

Okay! Good to know. That wasn’t the right question then. What’s the right question? Oh. Of course.

What do I know about the thing I do want? What does it contain?

I want it to include:

[+safety] [+permission] [+play] [+silliness] [+excitement] [+tingly anticipation] [+groundedness] [+taking notes about what works] [+curiosity] [+love] [+support]

Like a loving fairy. Or a non-creepy house elf. Ooh. A bunch of Helper Mice. A something something of Heinzelmännchen.

Except that what with time passing and living abroad and all that, they’ve become way more chill.

What did we decide the collective noun was for Heinzelmännchen? A Party? I’m going to go with Huddle!

A Huddle of Heinzelmännchen. Someone write that book, please.

Anyway, there’s a collective. Whose job is to care for me-who-is-coming! And I get to submit ideas and proposals because they need my help.

That way I get to participate but I don’t have to do all the work. I’m an adviser. Sneaky-sneaky!

And maybe sometimes I also get to go on fun present-planting missions.

And Presence-Planting Missions.

Is there a secret mission-behind-the-mission here?

Yes. Yes there is.

My real hope (which I’m whispering because the monster collective has issues with this) is that doing loving things for me-who-is-coming will help me be okay with taking care of me-now.

And by distancing myself from the process (being an adviser, doing sweet things for someone else), I can get closer to the experience of being cared for.

It’s like a safely mediated way of getting to feel what it’s like to be deeply taken care of — something I crave that also terrifies me.

What happens next?

Tomorrow I’m going to make a list of presents and presence.

Things I can do for her that I wouldn’t necessarily do for me.

And we’ll find out if there’s an easier way to get better at this. Because who knows, sometimes there is.

Also I might make this my mysterious project the next time I’m at Rally (Rally!).

Play with me!

Self-practice and the giant communal and commenting blanket fort.

Did that sound like a band name? Ahahahahahaaaaa. It’s just one guy!

Okay. If you want to play with me and think about this theme or ways to care for you-who-is-arriving, that is fabulous. Practicing silently counts too.

I am planning to use the comments today to leave tiny little notes to helper mice. About me-from-the-future.

Like this! Pssst! Havi loves toast. Make sure she gets toast.

Or: Havi can never find her slippers. Can you make a special slipper home for her?

Join in if you like with notes for you.

As always: we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff.

We make this a safe space to play by not giving each other advice (unless people ask) and by paying attention to what we need.


The November Rally is completely sold out. January is really close to full. See the Rally page for dates and details.

Because I want to eat pie with you. Except that I can’t eat pie. But I can sit with you, and we can giggle and plot craziness while you eat pie. It will happen. And it will be so much fun.

27 Responses to Presents for future me.

  1. Sarah Bray
    Twitter: sarahjbray

    You love toast, too? I had to come out of lurking just to declare my witness to that. Toast is the best thing in the world. Maybe I can sneak some apple butter to future me so that she will NEED some toast to put underneath it.
    Sarah Bray recently posted… A Small Nation is here!

  2. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    Oh! I had a thought. It is hard for me sometimes to take the time to cook a really good meal for me. But I am also doing it for Future Me, because then she can eat well too. Somehow, that makes it easier – like I’m taking care of someone else too. Someone who is also me.

    Pssst .. Elizabeth likes warm breakfasts. They make her feel loved and cared for.
    Elizabeth recently posted… being here now

  3. Helen
    Twitter: bchezza

    Oh! Thank you Havi. Me from last week wishes I read this post about two or three weeks ago when I was worried about a forthcoming trip and just kind of – bracing myself for it. Time to look ahead in my calendar and think of gentle ways to smooth out the bumps ahead…
    Helen recently posted… Are you a cog in someone else’s master plan?

  4. seagirl says:

    Psst, S. likes lamb stew. Thaw the lamb shanks for her.

  5. R says:

    Psst! R needs a good book to read for during the World Series!

  6. J'aime Wells says:

    *sort of wants to make Havi a sugarless pie now*

  7. Linda
    Twitter: lindiop

    Psst – L really loves having all her teaching stuff on her pen drive the night before, so she doesn’t have to rush in the morning or carry papers & have an achy back.
    Linda recently posted… Finisterre

  8. larisa
    Twitter: larisakoehn

    My little brother (who is 6’5″ with a wife and a daughter now but who’ll always be my ‘little’ brother) is awesome at this stuff.

    In college, for example, he LOVED jolly ranchers. Every time he bought a new bag, the first thing he’d do was throw a handful into the back seat of his car. And then promptly forget he’d done that.

    I happened to be with him once when he flung a handful over his shoulder and asked him about it. “I’m planting happiness for myself so that when I’m in a bad mood and getting something out of my car, I’ll find one and be like OH, A JOLLY RANCHER!! and everything will be better.” (he said this while giggling at his own brilliance, of course).

    This was *years* ago already and I still think about it and it helps me remember to do similar things for myself. He’s a pretty wise one, my little brother. :)
    larisa recently posted… The Thing I Never Thought I’d Do

  9. Rhiannon
    Twitter: rhiannonlaurie

    Hey, so Rhiannon really likes to wake up to a clean room. It makes all kinds of difference in her day. Just sayin’…
    Rhiannon recently posted… Celebrating the Versions of Us

  10. VickiB says:

    Pssst: take care of that thing NOW so everything will be easier for Vicki to come.

  11. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space

    Pssst…. Claire will feel slightly better about trudging to her yoga mat in the cold and brainfog of morning, declaring ‘I hate yoga’ and other blasphemies all the way, if you leave a breadcrumb trail of nice things for her. Slippers beside the bed, a jumper on the table, the kettle full, teabag in the cup on a clean bench, mat unrolled and waiting patiently. Etc. Nice things all the way along cos I suspect that by the end of the breadcrumb trail she’ll be sitting down on the mat and hating yoga a whole lot less. It’s a hunch….

  12. Melissa says:

    psst – M wants her ipod charged for thursday so she has something to read at the doctors and so that she can listen to music for the drive to la.
    Melissa recently posted… Six Sentence Sunday: Devil’s Detective

  13. judy says:

    flowers make Judy really really happy, buy some and put a bunch in the bathroom, she’ll be soooo surprised.

    If you’re in the mood – organize her socks ;)

  14. Andrea says:

    Love to hear all these things and it is hard for me sometimes to accept time to cook a very good meal personally. But I am also carrying it out for Future Me, because then she will eat well too. Somehow, that makes it easier – like I’m looking after somebody else too. Someone who can also be me.
    Andrea recently posted… How to Keep a Man Interested

  15. Whitney
    Twitter: whitneygrayrose

    I’ve set up the alarm to play a song that I know will make Whitney giggle in the morning, and make her want to get up and maybe do a silly dance. Now I’m working on a love note for her to look at in the morning so she knows what options she has for the day. (it’s not a To-Do list because she is allergic to those. it’s just a note of stuff that I thought up that she might like.)

    Whitney also loves toast, and I wish I had some to give her. With butter. Or jam. Or BOTH. OR NUTELLA OH MY GOD YES.

  16. Dusty
    Twitter: Hallowspite

    Dusty really likes having a clean room. So if you could pick up a couple of things for her that’d be great! Just make it a little less cluttered.

    Also, she likes it when she’s drawing and what she draws comes out well. So see if you can sneak in a bit of art practice here and there so she loves what comes out!

  17. Hannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah

    Loooooooove all he advice to the Collective of Heinchelmenschen.

    Also made me think of the book

    where the main 13-year old character wakes up in the morning to find a fresh set of clothes waiting for her mysteriously.

    I want that!

    Dear Collective of Helper Mice

    Hannah loves having her clothes laid out for her in the morning. She also likes some mystery and puzzling so if you could phrase her work in terms of an awe-inspiring questioing Sherlock-Holmes style – you’d do her a big favor.

    Oh and adoring writing spaces. She’d love some reminders of ‘it’s ok to write if you want to’.

    If you could send her a meeting with an interesting person every once in a while that would lighten up the load of thinking considerably.

  18. Creaky Girl
    Twitter: creaky_girl

    Creaky really doesn’t like the cold. It makes her more creaky. I bet she’d love it if the heating was set to come on of a morning automatically so when she gets up the house is toasty. It will make her feel so much better about getting up!

  19. Mary Tracy
    Twitter: MaryTracy

    “feel what it’s like to be deeply taken care of — something I crave that also terrifies me.”

    This. It rings so true all of a sudden. I need to find out how true it is for me.
    Mary Tracy recently posted… Added bonus: "The Problem with Favouring Women"

  20. Sarah Beth
    Twitter: SBShiplett

    I discovered the most wonderful thing today (not related to this post exactly but so related to the whole… everythingness of here…).

    Apparently, there is a Russian word for the time of pulling back/pulling away before engaging in something important. (I found this out in a conversation about someone who wants to get into performing their instrument but was in avoidance-mode about jamming in public for the first time).

    Of course because I have cotton candy for brains, I can’t remember what the word is. But maybe somebody knows somebody who knows Russian? I just thought it was so amazing that another language has a word for this (whereas in English it has to be something like… “that-time-of-moving-away-from-the-thing-that-you-want-but-that’s-totally-legit-and-necessary-sometimes-you-know?”

    Anyway. Yay! Words. Russian ones!

    Love to everyone.

  21. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Psst! Altars! Altars everywhere! Kat really loves having her personal spaces clean and clear, with her special things lovingly and mindfully placed. If you notice any clutter there, could you please deal with it quickly and sneakily, so she can have the peace and beauty she craves? Thank you!
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… Friday Fragments 7: the fragments are in my closet…

  22. Linda says:

    Pssst! Linda wants to feel the sand beneath her feet and wind against her face. Can you go the beach with her?

    As always, you sound fun and enthusiastic. Thank you the entertaining post.
    Linda recently posted… how to get a girl to like you

  23. Jesse
    Twitter: persnicket

    Two foods: jam and honey.

    Two clothes: house pants (house pants!) and that comfy purple shirt. Ready for after-work-changing.

    Pens: a box of her favorites.

    Ooh this is fun. Thinking about what I am delighted about, and have forgotten about before it arrives…
    Jesse recently posted… In medias res and in medias satis

  24. Risa
    Twitter: lichtstrom_

    What a great practice of mindfulness! Thank you forThinking about what Slightly-Future-Me would like and putting it out there :)

    Dear marvelous flurry of Helper Mice…
    Risa loves to have luxurious soaps when she is laundering, washing dishes, or washing herself, so she would LOVE it if you made some more when you saw she was running low.

    Risa also loves a calm and pretty writing space, so if you could do little organizational things to help her with that, she would be so grateful.

    I kind of want to “clink toast” with all the toast lovers, too.
    Risa recently posted… Strength Being Cowardice Being Strength

  25. Cherilyn
    Twitter: Bikeblisschick

    This idea of doing my future self a favor is my favorite procrastination dissolver! Thank you so much!!
    Cherilyn recently posted… I love it when I’m wrong: Biking in Kalispell

  26. […] how can I leverage planning and anticipation into more fun?  Havi Brooks talks about leaving little surprises and gifts to be found by yourself at a later time and I love that idea.  I’m going to spend the […]

  27. […] Is there anything else I can do to leave you little presents to make your day […]

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