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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 Flow Chart of Spaciousness

This is something that accidentally got invented at the Week of Biggification program in Asheville.

I said a thing, probably in response to a question. Then Frank drew it as a flow chart.

Then we all decided we needed to get it tattooed onto our foreheads.

Which didn’t happen because we had a board meeting which turned into a plank meeting which turned into a late night boozefest, and then we all fell asleep.

But I got Richard to make it pretty for us, and here it is.

It’s a flow chart. Of spaciousness.

And that’s where I’m headed.

Anyway, as I close out the year, and the pirate ship that is my business is in Dry Dock, I’ve been thinking about what I want this coming year to feel like.

About what destinations I’m thinking of. What beacons I’m following. But mostly: how does it feel?

And the Flow Chart of Spaciousness kind of sums it up.

In fact, I spent a good part of yesterday plugging things into this, giggling hysterically and discovering that this actually is a pretty good way to make decisions and assess what is needed.

So enjoy. And use. And play. And tattoo wherever you’d like, or not.

24 Responses to The Flow Chart of Spaciousness

  1. Do Mi Stauber
    Twitter: dmstauber

    I love it!

    Now to figure out how to apply it to the Things I Don’t Want to Do. Iguanas?

  2. Heather says:

    This is fantastic! I am making 2011 my “sleek year”, focusing on making my life as elegant and streamlined as I can. This flowchart is going front and center on my bulletin board as a reminder of how to make that happen.

    Many thanks for your exquisite timing in posting this. :)

  3. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    I love the Flow Chart of Spaciousness. Among other things, it just sparked this conversation with one of my fuzzy monsters:

    Monster: Oh come on, that can’t be right. Everything can’t be restful and supportive! Some things are supposed to be hard! Hard work is good for you! It builds character! Puts hair on your chest!

    Me: Actually, I don’t really want hair on my chest — though I like yours, it’s very pretty —

    Monster: Oh, you know what I mean!

    Me: I think I do. I think you’re saying that some things “should” be hard — that you want there to be challenge, yes?

    Monster: Yes! Challenge! Challenge is good for you! It’s good for the soul!

    Me: Okay. Could be. So, how about that bit in the flow chart where we get to mess with a thing to make it restful and supportive? Because that sounds like an excellent challenge. Yes?

    Monster: Wait a minute, what? What?!

    Me: (tiptoes away)

  4. Anna Barnett
    Twitter: annabarnett


    Desktop image! Possibly for my literal desktop, blown up to 3′ x 5′.

    Thank you for this and all it represents. Happy dry dock!

  5. cindy
    Twitter: rawprincess

    I’m laughing because I was planning to leave my BF but I have to pack and drive away in the snow and he’s so nice and it’s so cosy here.

    If it becomes restive and supportive to leave him I will. ;)

  6. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    Inner brain syntax mis-“heard” assess. LOL

    Hair on my chest! One of my dad’s favorite reasons why. No wonder I had gender identification issues! ;)

    And yes, this is going on my fridge and studio door and front page of my journal.

    yay Spaciousness!

  7. Jessilicious
    Twitter: alljessilicious

    Oooh, I love this flow chart. Turns everything on its head so nicely! Definitely going to keep this front and center! :)

  8. Ren
    Twitter: llamaren

    @Kathleen Avins: THIS! This is (well, almost) exactly what went through my head! So many monsters, so much should. Terrified that rest = failure. Terrified that some of the things I want to do won’t meet those expectations and that I’ll have to give them up.

    I think my monsters should try out for Hollywood sometime…

  9. Andy Dolph
    Twitter: acdolph

    oh my, this is amazing!!!!!

  10. Shannon
    Twitter: clover

    Love. It.

  11. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha


    So @Kathleen I had the same quiet conversation with my monsters and I didn’t even hear it until I read your post.

    And this concept of spaciousness is exactly what I was going for when I started talking about stress to joy ratios. For the last 10 years or so, if the stress:joy ratio >1, then I don’t do it. mostly. Unless I absolutely must.

    Spaciousness is such a great word; it’s what I feel when I work with my best clients. There’s more space than I ever imagined every time I am doing the right work with the right people. It’s only when I get off track that things feel cramped.

  12. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    Frank, my dear, that is pure genius! *love*

  13. Maya
    Twitter: animalswisdom

    I am soooo appreciating this post!

    Thank you, Havi!

    Am printing/copying now…

  14. Meg
    Twitter: khunmeg

    Woah! I’m seriously IN LOVE with that flow chart, Havi.
    IN. LOVE. <3 It could easily become my personal manifesto as I move into 2011. Goodness knows, I've pretty much done the exact opposite of what it illustrates for 40 years and run myself ragged. So yeah, I'm totally up for it.

    P.S: And thank you, Frank! :D


  15. Ande Waggener
    Twitter: andewaggener

    Flow charts generally make the “EEEK-run for the hills” part of me come out. But this one’s different!! This one lets the giggles out. Thanks!

  16. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    I’ve been wrestling with this one. I’m reading “The Not so Big Life” right now, and I’m in love with it. And yet, I can’t yet see how to let go of the things that weigh me down, but I see as necessary. Taxes. Toilet training. Vacuuming.

    Perhaps I need to flex my play muscles a little more. Then, maybe, I would see a way to make taxes restful or playful or not entirely oppressive. As it is, though, they’re sadly not my idea of a good time.

  17. Do Mi Stauber
    Twitter: dmstauber

    @Kathleen: love the monster conversation!!

    @Amber: I’m also reading “The Not So Big Life”! Bought it because it uses the same house analogy that helps me with my scanner identity (that’s why my blog’s called My Whole House) and love her approach.

    Yes, jobs to do. I’m going to try to make them restful and supportive–a good challenge!!

  18. Juliet
    Twitter: julietk

    I love this. And it is very apposite & helpful for my plans for today: working on Stuff For Next Year.

  19. Ouichi
    Twitter: Ouchi

    Did you hear that lovely click? That was my brain and heart connecting (finally/fully/wonderfully)…I love love love the Flow Chart of Spaciousness. Thank you so very much.

  20. Esther says:

    How totally awesome it would be, to figure out how to do the temporary tatoos?

    Of course, doodling on myself in Sharpie, that works, too, but it would be more restful to simply be able to slap the graphic on. Then doodle around it….

  21. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    Temporary tattoos from your laser printer (I’ve never tried this, but what fun!)

  22. Shanna
    Twitter: shannamann

    Don’t you love how a flow chart will take a SUPREMELY complicated and REALLY HARD concept and make is d’oh simple?

  23. Claire
    Twitter: making_space

    Do you know that Frank is now my big sister?

    Not the Frank that made this flowchart, but my Frank would totally approve of that Frank.

    No, my Frank is a creation of playing with Metaphor Mouse! Hey yeah he really is all that. He gave me a big sister. Awesome.

    I was looking for another word for “authentic” and landed on Frank.

    AUTHENTIC speaks to me of
    – Sucky, new-age, self-help crap
    – Being true to your self
    – Being unafraid of judgement
    – Because you LIKE who you are
    – In fact, you like who you are so much that your enthusiasm for who you are spreads to people you come in contact with. Yay charisma!

    Sooooo, mostly good. Except for the sucky new age self help crap….. Taking that out, another word that means the rest of those things include

    – Genuine
    – Faithful (leads on to Loyal, Trusty, Staunch, Committed all of which I like too, especially if I can apply those qualities to MYSELF)
    – Frank

    Maybe I can be more Frank. Maybe Frank is one of the characters on my bus (Bus = my Head, like Herman’s except noisier and with more people and some of them aren’t even people, yes monsters looking at you!).

    Frank is awesome! Who is Frank?
    – Genuinely herself
    – Funny. Likes to have a boy’s name even though she’s a girl
    – Happy
    – Friendly
    – A lovely person
    – Honest
    – Loyal
    – Trusty
    – Reliable
    – Faithful
    – A STAUNCH ally and defender
    – Bold, daring, plucky
    – Committed to the truth, to the good, to ME and my wellbeing.
    – Will tell me off when I’m being useless and encourage me to get back on the right track
    – Will take charge of things to make sure I’m looked after
    – Will deal with the people who want to throw shoes at me just because I’m looking after myself. Including my monsters.
    – Will help me set things up so I can do my thing.(thing!)
    – Will encourage and praise me for doing my thing, or setting things up for my thing, or taking care of myself so I can do my thing, or at least find out what my thing (thing!) is….

    Thanks Frank, you’re a good friend. You’re my best friend, and protector. I think you’re my big sister.

    That’s who Frank is, she is my big sister. And she’s taking me out with her into the world and helping me find my way.

    Yay Frank. You are restful and supportive, so you’re IN!

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