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.


Very Personal Ads #38: fair seas

very personal adsPersonal ads! They’re … personal! Very.

So my itty bitty personal ads made me realize that it’s time to make a regular practice of trying to feel okay asking for stuff.

Even when the asking thing feels weird and conflicted.

Ever since I posted the first one asking my perfect house to find me, which united me with Hoppy House, I have been a fan of the madness that is personal ads.

And now it’s my Sunday ritual. Yay, ritual!

Let’s do this thing.

Thing 1: rest

Here’s what I want:

I’m feeling completely worn out.

So far everywhere we’ve been for non-emergency super-strategic vacation has been noisy and stressful and annoying.

I want sleep. Good sleep.

Lots and lots of it.

Ways this could work:

Well, I expect everything will be better once we run away to my uncle’s house in the woods, which was the plan anyway.

But I’m also packing schleepy tea.

Too tired right now to figure out the rest of it, but I’m sure that as soon as we’re away from the city, things will clear up and I’ll know what’s needed.

My commitment.

To notice when I’m feeling irritable and remind myself that quiet and rest are useful.

To write little notes to myself.

To do my evening meditation thing that gets lost when I’m on the road.

Thing 2: something about home and belonging

Here’s what I want:

All the moving around from place to place is bringing up my stuff.

Feeling disconnected and … not right somehow.

Ready to get back to feeling that sense of home in myself.

Ways this could work:

I can write a letter to Hoppy House.

I can write a letter to myself.

I can do a session with Hiro, which always makes everything better.

I can give myself permission to be in the hard and the stuck for now, and let things unravel.

I can remind myself that given my history (moving countries three times, having no place to live, blah), this is normal. Still. Even though I really want to be done with it already.

Still a thing. And that still makes sense.

And of course, what this really needs is some Shiva Nata, so I can connect to whatever insights, epiphanies and understandings will bring me to the next step.

My commitment.

To dance, dance, dance.

Well, once I get some sleep.

In the meantime?

Five minutes of Dance of Shiva.

And then?

To ask. To question. To wonder. To write. To dream. To find out what’s needed. To try stuff.

Thing 3: to finish a project that’s hanging.

Here’s what I want:

This thing is almost done.

It needs very specific amounts of time and love, in very specific ways.

I can do it. I want to do it.

The time is now.

Ways this could work:

My gentleman friend could sit with me on this while we’re resting in the woods.

I can write a love letter to the project.

And make a list of all the things that might be stuckified around this so I can talk to them.

My commitment.

To be as kind to myself as I can stand.

To recognize that avoiding something you want is often a sign that you really want it and that it scares you.

To do a lot of writing and processing around the project and not just in it.

To ask for help.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

Just to update you on what’s happened since last week.

I wanted smooth sailing in my business while on Not-An-Emergency Vacation.

And that’s happened. But I also wanted rest and clarity, which totally haven’t.

Luckily there’s still a few days of holiday left so I’m going to reformulate that ask.

I also wanted a way to keep the blog happy with posties, which has been way less complicated than I’d imagined (forgot about the huge pile of mostly-completed posts).

And I also wanted insights on my various projects.

It’s been more mini-epiphanies (“lil Piphs”, as Kimberlee named them) than gigantic knock-down moments of bing, but they’ve all been extremely useful.

Expect an update on that soon-ish!

Comments. Since I’m already asking …

I am adding to my practice of asking for stuff by being more specific about what I would like to receive in the comments.

Here’s what I want (just leave them in the comments):

  • Your own personal ads, small or large. Things you’ve asked for. Or are asking for. Or would like to ask for. Or updates on last time!

What I would rather not have:

  • Reality theories. The focus here is the process of getting clarity on what you want.
  • Shoulds. As in, “You should be doing it like this” or “That’s not the right way to ask for things — instead it should be like x, y and z”
  • To be judged or psychoanalyzed.
  • To be told that the thing I want is not actually what I want. Not helpful.
  • Advices.

My commitment.

I am committing to getting better at asking for things even when asking feels weird.

Thanks for doing this with me!

19 Responses to Very Personal Ads #38: fair seas

  1. jessie
    Twitter: roomtosmile

    vpa-day! whee-ha!

    my vpa:

    thing i want: a dread-free, anxiety-free sunday. i’ve developed a habit–of pushing mostly administrative work, like grading and worksheet creation, etc–over till sundays, and then spend most of sunday at the office, instead of having a weekend break. no matter the amount of work i have to do, i always find myself waking up with pangs of no-doing-the-right-thing-itis for all of sunday.

    so, yeah. i’m kind of over that. so i guess i’m also adding: i also want clarity and insight into this pattern of creating unpleasantness for myself, not dealing with dread and not letting myself have time off. AND now that i think about it, a new strategy or system for dealing with work and time management in general.

    sheesh. that turned into a lot.


    ways this could work:

    –i could shiva nata on this issue and try to see where any space for untangling might be made.

    –i could make a list of what actually needs to get done and try and focus myself before i leave for school. OR i could make a list of what would actually please me if i got it done, and try to focus like that.

    –i could find ways to work more effectively at home.

    –i could be more gentle with meself—i sense some shoes being thrown at me every sunday…the whole habit stems from my first year of teaching, where i had so little control over my life and my experience that i took to working every possible second, thinking that somehow i’d get control back if i did that. now that i’m not at that same river (thank all good things) i still beat myself up when i’m not working at that frantic pace. i could recognize the difference between what i THINK i have to do and what i HAVE to do.

    my commitment:
    –i commit to checking out the source of this shoe-throwing. i think that might be the most important part of this thing.
    –i also commit to making a list of things that would make me happy and secure about tomorrow, and focusing on those as immediate, done-today priorities,
    –and i commit to recognize that time off, to vegetate and rejuvenate and tidy and grocery shop and workout and read is ALSO a matter of priority, even if my stress-monster doesn’t think so.

    sheesh! the longest vpa in human history, i think!


  2. Beth says:

    Update on my VPA from last week (looking for summer housing not at my relatives’ house, in Omaha or Des Moines):

    -Some research done. Some posts put up on housing wanted pages. Some phone numbers found to call and ask about short-term leases. Working up the courage to call some acquaintances and see if they have other ideas. No solid leads yet, but I have time.

    -Patience and being clear about what I’m looking for are happening. Yay!

    -Some backward stepping on guilt issues (of the “I shouldn’t be asking for this, this will cost money, I shouldn’t be spending money!” and “how can I hurt my family’s feelings like this?!” kind) and shame issues (of the “if I have to do this I am somehow a failure!” sort). But it’s getting better, because I’m becoming more convinced that this is really something of a need, and that it’s even an acceptable need that is worth spending on. And I love my family and know they’d love it if I lived with them this summer, but I’m increasingly doubtful that it would be a helpful situation for me, and increasingly certain the unhelpfulness is not actually my fault or a failure on my part, no matter what those little monsters say.

    New VPA:

    What I’m looking for: Getting my time back. Seriously. What happened and where did it go?

    Ways this could work: I could stick to the laptop time restrictions that I promised myself a month ago. (There may be a lot of pondering on why I haven’t done this, because I enjoyed it, but just sort of stopped and haven’t found the motivation to start again…) I could also do more with deliberate classification of space, because being in the same place to work, play, etc. doesn’t work well for me. I could also try finding a better way to enlist my inner obsessive to-do-lister (she LOVES lists and schedules).

    My commitment: To be patient with myself and not make this a guilt thing, because that has not helped. To find gentle ways of restarting habits that are helpful, and losing habits that aren’t. To dance. And to think about enlisting a trusted friend to help encourage me.

  3. […] as Havi says that moving brings up her stuff and Elizabeth talks about how helpful a change of scenery can be; I find my freedom in being at […]

  4. Rose
    Twitter: celestialrose

    Here’s what I want:
    I want to heal.
    I want to find out what’s best for me and to find the courage to DO it. To act in that best way. To be strong and confident and disciplined in carrying out that plan of action from start to finish.
    Ways this could work:
    Rituals. Asking others for help*. Affirmations and Faith: Self- belief. Courage.
    (yes, scary word; scary thing. To ask for help)
    My commitment.
    I will listen to myself. I will talk and listen to Kitten. I will want this. With ym heart as well as my head; I will desire this healing.
    .-= Rose´s last post … Decisions =-.

  5. Deanna
    Twitter: DeannaLohnes

    VPA! The update edition.

    First – big hugs and thanks to Havi for giving my monsters fruit drinks. Its impossible for them to be menacing when they are using a straw to drink something that has an umbrella or plastic sword in it. I’m sorry your vacation is disappointing so far. Enjoy the woods.

    Since we last VPA’ed, I got Thing 1 to the point where it is ready to go to the copy editor. YAY!! Was not the plan, but Thing 1 would not be put on hold.

    I realized that I’m not looking for a replacement Day Job. What I need is to lower my expenses by selling my condo (sad). Then I will be able to move to a place that energizes me (thrilling). I will work part time while focusing on my Things (scary yet liberating).

    The How of this plan is still elusive, but I’m not worried about it. The worrisome part is the barrage of shoes that will likely fly when I announce this to my family.

    Next week’s VPA’s will likely be a specific ask about some part of this plan. For this week, its enough to have a plan.

    Fruity drinks for all the monsters who want them! On me!

  6. Elizabeth
    Twitter: corsetlib

    I checked with Her Ditzy Companion, and band auditions will soon be held. Everyone’s in, but the more kitty treats you bring, the closer you get to stand to the original Companion. The Very Old Lady disdains the whole procedure from her front row seats nearby. Which only makes sense if you want to join this particular Fantasy Band Name conversation.

    More to the point, an update on my last VPA. I’m still practicing the “being patient” part of my commitment. But lots of requests are out and about, and I feel like it’s exactly the right Thing to be investigating. Here’s to houses that need sitting in towns near my parents. Bonus. Mountains plus summer.

    For this week, a VPA about calmness. After the parent health crises and the impromptu writing retreat, I’d like this week to be full of getting-my-feet-back-under -me energy. But I’d also like it to feel like I haven’t forgotten the big important Things while I’m doing it.

    Ways this could work: ? Well, I could block out some Friday writing time. Hmm. I could give myself permission to be scared about this. I could trust that a week is just a week.

    My commitment: Five or ten minute walks in Austin spring time for each two hours of work in my distinctly stuffy office. A play at the end of the week during which I laugh with my friends. To write field notes on the week.

    Havi, I hope the sleep is deliciously sleepy. Jessie, I had exactly that Sunday myself, so good wishes for your VPA. Everyone else, here’s to a week that is exactly what you need right now.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last post … Imprisoned!! =-.

  7. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    A quiet house in the woods sounds lovely. I hope your vacation gets much better very soon, with plenty of sleep and peace!

    I had a bit of an epiphany for today’s VPA. I have my two remaining preliminary exam projects to complete — hoping to get one of them sent off for feedback by tomorrow, and the other by the end of this month — and then I need to do my final editing on all seven projects and officially submit them to the faculty by April 14. I don’t think there are going to be any deadline extensions this time; it would seem to be now or never. So, naturally, I wanted this week’s ask to be about the prelims, but I wanted it to feel different from the other times when I’ve been determined to get them done and have tripped and fallen headlong over myself, into buckets of shame and frustration.

    Today, it suddenly dawned on me: I am asking that it feel safe for me to work on my prelims. Safety. That’s what I need now.

    I want to feel safe doing deep creative work while my family pick up some of the slack, want to know that they won’t fall apart or be mad at me. I want to feel safe taking the risk to submit work that may well not be finished or flawless right off the bat, want to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and be confused and need guidance. I want to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that if I do my best and fail, the world won’t end and I will not be unloved, rejected or abandoned — and that if I do my best and succeed, I will have ongoing support as I face the challenges of (finally!) entering the next phase of my doctoral program. (Honest to goodness, I truly do not know at this point whether I am going to succeed or fail in this endeavor — but by now, that almost isn’t the point anymore.)

    I have been stuck and struggling and very anxious about the prelims for such a long time now. Why did it never before occur to me that, right now, for me, the opposite of anxiety is safety?

    How this could work: Well, feeling freshly enlightened is bound to help! I can also enlighten my family, and even my adviser; I can ask for what I need.

    My commitment: I will stay the course, even when it feels hard and scary. At the same time, I will use every self-care strategy I know to keep myself in the flow. That includes Dance of Shiva, journaling, staying well fed and hydrated, and taking time to rest and recharge.

    Stay tuned — and my very best wishes for everyone’s VPAs!
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … An open letter, from me to me =-.

  8. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    P.S. I’ve just realized that now I pretty much have to use “Safety Dance” for my next Shiva Nata practice. ;)
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … An open letter, from me to me =-.

  9. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    Wishing you restful rest for the rest of your vacation, Havi, and smooth answers to everyone’s asks.

    This week, what I want:

    Eager buyers for my work on Thursday when we present to the Bureau of the Public Debt. I have been working hard making small affordable pieces that I love, and I am getting to the point of “what if I’m too close and they aren’t as cool as I think they are?”, aka resistance at following through and completing the transaction of “I make art, then I take it out into the world and it finds new homes with people who love it as much as I do.”

    How this can happen:
    I can show up (I am starting to panic at the idea of even going there, a mini-ask for peace and calm about it)

    I can continue to make more work with the love and joy I’ve had making the current work.

    I can have images ready to upload to my Etsy shop on Friday for the leftovers.

    I can get up early on Thursday and do Dance of Shiva so that my energies are stirred up before we head out to present.

    My commitment:
    To put love and joy into each piece.

    To show up.

    To breathe.

    To hand out my awesome MOO business cards and get the leftovers up at Etsy on Friday so that anyone who had to “think about it” will be able to find the work the next day :)

    I think that’s enough for this week.
    .-= Andi´s last post … In Process =-.

  10. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    hey guys!

    Happy VPA-ing. Hooray for personal ads!

    I am extremely pleased to report that I spent THE ENTIRE DAY in bed, which completely made everything better.

    Your ads are lovely.

    Wishing all of you the strength/courage/support/hope and whatever else is needed for this stuff.


  11. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    Sounds like an excellent way to spend a day, Havi. Now that’s a vacation. :)

    Fair seas, smooth sailing, and some 3rd water/boating metaphor I just had but lost all sound like good aims for this week. Some ease after last week.

    To that aim, I’ll breathe and work out and try to tap that calm inner cool I know I’ve got within when stress pops up.

    If I notice my pitch go up, maybe I’ll remember to think of my radio/telephone voice. Not that it’s so different from normal, it just feels and projects groundedness, confidence, and professionalism no matter what I happen to be wearing.

    I’d really like to come to a decision I’ll be happy with. I’ve run through so many pros and cons over the past few months, I’ve discovered new depths of pros and cons and fears; the ambivalence is getting to me.

    Should I stay or should I go, essentially. Good reasons for both.

    No idea how this could work, what would tip the scale either way. Maybe I’ll look at the fears and see which are about the trip/blogger meetup and which are just the fear of making the wrong decision…

    Patience, kiddo, and keep breathing. There’s still time.
    .-= claire´s last post … Sketchbook, page 14 =-.

  12. Ingrid says:

    Fair seas and smooth sailing!
    Yay for hanging out in bed getting good rest!

    Big VPA’s for me for the coming 2 weeks-
    Spring break is the week after next- should be exciting, and I also hope relaxing and clarifying!

    So thing #1-
    A relaxing, clarifying, and exciting spring break.

    How this could happen- Letting this one be *alllll* up to the universe. Recently, the things that have needed to happen have just swirled into place organically, in astounding ways. So, yeah, universe- clearly you’ve got it covered. Guessing you’re going to dish up something good- If I could put in a request- sprinkle with lots of Love, and rest, and fascinating, beautiful experiences.

    I promise to listen and accept the gifts of the universe (You know I’m doing better at this! :) ) even if I’m really, really, really scared. I promise to do my best to be honest to myself and others. I promise to be open to experience. I promise to take deep breaths and let go whenever I can! I also promise in the coming week, I will do a little at a time to get all my ducks in a row before I leave, so I can leave with a light heart and no worries. I promise to try to create some clarity and rest before hand!

    That’s all for right now, plus any good stuff and/or VPA’s in progress! :)
    xoxoxoxoxo to all!

  13. Lindsay
    Twitter: gurubody

    Yay for all day in bed! I just spent most of my weekend in or near-to-in bed and it works!!
    And here’s to peacefulness in the woods and deep, deep rest Havi.

    Update on my first (and only) VPA to date : I discovered that my Heart has a lot more courage than the rest of me, which is what it was trying to show me by taking me to places which caused stress and distress. And having heard it, I also got to learn the stuff these places were teaching me. So lessons learned, directions changed and soothing of stressed/distressed parts of self are underway. Result! (The long version involved intimate relationship ending, disturbing burglars in my house and a host of other unexpected adventures, all in one week!)

    My Ask for today is about finding my perfect room to work in when I travel to Scotland in mid-May. Actually two rooms, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh.

    Dear Room, you are light and airy, spacious, warm, friendly and have the perfect massage couch/chair set-up for Body Harmony work. Easy access, resonant cost and happy, clear caretakers are just part of who you are.

    This could work by
    – me hearing about you from a friend or existing or new client
    – I could come across you quite casually online
    – someone here could miraculously sprinkle fairy dust on our days and come up with your contact details
    – some completely unforeseeable magic could bring us together

    My commitment
    – I will feel excited and happy about meeting you
    – I will stay open to listening to and talking with any monsters who might be standing between us right now
    – I will get clear about exactly when I want to be hanging out with you and even book flights from Spain
    – I will get clear resonance on the costs
    – I will flail with all the chaos I can muster so that we meet each other soooon

    Yay. Ok!

    Happy, smoothe VPA results for everybody… may Spring spring for us all !

  14. Kirsty Hall
    Twitter: kirstymhall

    MY VPA

    Clarity and Hot Buttered Epiphanies around money

    How This Could Happen

    Properly starting the exercises in the Overcoming Underearning book, which I’ve been procrastinating over

    Making some new affirmation cards around money

    Writing, writing, writing

    Phoning my awesome best friend and having a good talk with her

    My Commitment
    To do the first three exercises in the book before Friday

    To accept that this is not an instant process but keep reminding myself I’ve already made some very significant steps

    To phone my friend


    Previous VPA: To get back to my healthy routines

    How it’s going
    Still a work in progress but I’m in a much better space with it. After a period of struggle I’m back on my healthier eating plan with enthusiasm. I’m also getting a bit more exercise and feeling much more aligned with myself generally.

    Previous VPA:? That I not go super-crazy-art-mad & attempt to make brand new work for the exhibition that has suddenly come up the end of March

    How it’s going
    I’ve been procrastinating like crazy on this one. Need to sort it out this week because the exhibition is *eek* next week.
    .-= Kirsty Hall´s last post … 8 Excuses Artists Make For Not Having A Website =-.

  15. Marcy says:

    Update: I posted a VPA/open letter to my new job: I promised it cookies, and hoped it had challenges, room for growth and opportunities to do math and geek out while working for a cause I believe in. Monday (last Monday) I was offered that very job, and after just about 8 months of unemployment, I’m working again, thinking again, feeling busy and challenged again and it feels great! Plus, now my husband will be able to leave the job that he hates to pursue work that he is inspired to do. And we will still be able to pay our bills! I’m so thrilled, though I admit I’m still a little overwhelmed about all of it working out. Havi, I wouldn’t have been able to get through my unemployment and job search without you. Thanks for the awesome posts!

  16. A follow up from my last Very Personal Ad.

    I’m still looking for my perfect job: A great saving the world, make a difference, social or environmental justice styles, web development job near Birmingham.

    I’ve had few offers of freelance work, or full time mostly working from home but not full time and with an office in a convenient place.

    I could accept freelance work or a position working from home – but this feels to me a bit like settling less than what I want.

    So I really want a perfect position to turn up, and certainty about it being the right position.

    How this might work: Not really sure.
    A perfect job could show up. I could get more info on the offers I’ve already had and it could turn into thats fits perfectly.

    My commitment: to keep looking, to keep being open to something perfect, to hold the possibility of a perfect job open. To keep putting myself out there. Not to give up. To look at my options and what will work.
    .-= Robbie MacKay´s last post … Bring your enthusiasm =-.

  17. Juliet
    Twitter: julietk

    What I want for this week: to sit back and not interfere with my partner’s thoughts about his job. Or if he even has those thoughts. (Unless he actively asks me.) (even though I genuinely think that it’s damaging him mentally, physically, and ethically.)

    How this might work:
    I could trust him to make his own decisions.
    I could remember that I do have other options available if I can’t cope with those decisions.
    I could remind myself about my own boundaries & choosing what is my responsibility (clue: this isn’t :) ).

    My commitment:
    Not to beat myself up if I can’t help but say something.
    To listen to him without putting my oar in if he wants to talk about it.
    To think about my boundaries in my daily morning pages practice.
    .-= Juliet´s last post … 1 free bike, 1 non-free bike =-.

  18. Leslie M-B
    Twitter: lesliemb

    My VPA ran long, so I’ve posted it–with a background explanation of why we had to give up our beloved dog recently–in its entirety on my blog. But here’s the gist of my ask:

    Here’s what I want:

    A medium-large, friendly dog without a bite history. I’m open to many breeds, but because we rent and because many rental companies are biased against certain breeds, we can’t at this time take in any dog that looks as if it’s of pit bull, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, or Shar Pei stock, nor a purebred German Shepherd (though I love me some German Shepherd). I know these aren’t necessarily the most violent or bite-prone breeds of dog, but I do know they show up regularly on lists of banned pets in rentals.

    My ideal dog–while I’m asking–would inhabit an intersection among Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, and maybe even Gordon Setter. These are crazy active and in some cases crazy smart dogs, but that’s what we want.

    Because we went through the geriatric dog business relatively recently, we’re looking for a younger dog. My husband would like a very young puppy so that we can be sure it hasn’t been environmentally programmed in some unpleasant way, while I’m more open to juvenile and young adult dogs.

    I want a dog who will grow up with my son. My husband wants a dog with whom he can go gray. I want a companion for long walks and–gasp!–maybe even jogging.

    Ways this could work:

    I could check Petfinder occasionally (but not obsessively), scanning for dogs that fit the profile we’re looking for, then contacting the rescue organizations to talk about what kind of dog we’re looking for and about what kind of home we could provide.

    Someone in the Sacramento region or Bay Area or, heck, even central or Southern California could read this post and contact me (trillwing -at- gmail -dot- com or @lesliemb on Twitter) about a dog they suspect would be good match for us.

    My commitment:

    To provide the next dog with the best possible care. Top-quality food (as we did with Woody and Obi). An excellent holistic vet. A terrific kid to play with. Long walks, sometimes in open fields. Socialization with other dogs at local dog parks. Lots of toys, even if he or she is prone to tearing them apart. Training that focuses on reward instead of punishment. A bag of treats always on top of the fridge or in my pocket.
    .-= Leslie M-B´s last post … Very Personal Ad: The Next Dog =-.

  19. Peg
    Twitter: mogland

    Update on my VPAs. My *thing* came through that I’ve been VPAing about, and I’d like to thank this space for allowing me to put it out there.

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