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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.


Friday Chicken #269: the glorious return of the wham boom!

Friday chickenWhere I cover the good and the hard in my week, visiting the non-preachy side of ritual and self-reflection.

It is Friday and we are here.

With the glorious (glorrrrrrrrrrrious!) return of the wham boom.

What worked?

Change your place, change your luck.

As we always say at Rally (Rally!). It works.

Switching chairs at the cafe. Noticing when I am physically uncomfortable.

“Let’s not make assumptions, my love.”

This was my guiding phrase this week.

It was way harder to live by than I’d anticipated, but it was incredibly useful.

I spent the entire week noticing my assumptions and dropping assumptions.

I don’t know what this person’s experience is, I don’t know what this person’s story is, I am not going to assume.

It was like a secret compassion practice, a secret thankfulness practice. Noticing where I assume, pausing with love, not assuming.

And since the thing I hate the most is when other people make assumptions about me, it felt like I was giving a tiny gift to myself and everyone I met.

Next time I might…

Not go to brunch.

There should be an entire chapter in the Book of Havi about not going to brunch. Going to brunch is, for some reason, for a million reasons, never the right decision (for me, other people can go to brunch as often as they want), but I did it anyway.

More entry for the transition.

More time noticing-in-advance: what my expectations are, what I desire and what about it is important to me.

Eight breaths of hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. Coming back from my two week writing retreat, and how hard it is to step back into daily life. A breath for that.
  2. Coming back to an avalanche of work. That’s what it felt like, slipping and sliding and being carried away in a terrifying rush.
  3. While I was away I wrote every day, napped every day, walked every day, had yoga every day. I promised myself I would bring these back, even if just for tiny ten minute tastes. Of course they did not happen. Work happened. A breath for desire and integration.
  4. Hard homecoming. I hadn’t realized how attached I was to being met a certain way (excitement! adoration!) until I came back and turned on my phone and ran into someone else’s stuff. A breath for not getting what you expected.
  5. Oh man, PTSD-triggered so hard Wednesday morning. I read a tiny book review, half a page, in O Magazine, which I don’t read often but seems like a safer place to read a book review than, say, the New Yorker, and oh, man. That was at 8 am, and suddenly it was an hour later and I was still sitting on on my bed, deep in dark thoughts and pain. The problem with trauma (hahaha, that phrase, yes, there are problems with trauma), is that you can get thrown so easily. A breath for uncomfortable suddenness, and a safe room.
  6. Big emotions. Shame. Hurt. A difficult decision. A breath for releasing.
  7. Expectations, again, mine and other people’s. A breath for letting go of everything that I do not need to carry or hold onto.
  8. Inhale, exhale. Goodbye, mysteries and hard moments of this week.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. The hard homecoming turned into the Most Beautiful Homecoming when an Agent, who knows that flowers make everything better, showed up to meet me with two dozen roses and a notebook (I love notebooks). A breath for sweetness and good surprises.
  2. I found two new great spots to write in! A breath for expansiveness and possibility.
  3. Being madly adored. A breath for how wonderful this feels right now and what a big deal it is that I am able to let myself receive it.
  4. It is fall! And fall means we can close the windows and not hear the endless screaming tantrums of the three year old next door. Well, we can still hear but it’s less intense. A breath for the blessed quieting of noise!
  5. Writing writing writing writing! So much writing. A breath for appreciating this.
  6. Despite the ptsd trigger, I still managed a full day of focused, productive work. Two years ago that would have been a lost day. A breath for movement and moving forward.
  7. Maybe the happiest moment of this week for me was sending out a new Y.E.A.R.book to the people in the Year of Emptying And Replenishing. Wham boom!
  8. The glorious return of the wham boom! So many ops. So many things done. So much progress. Wham-freaking-boom.

WHAM BOOM! Operations completed:

The phrase Whoosh Ha Mastodon Boom is secret agent code that means: this thing is done! It is often shortened to wham-boom. You may also shout (or whisper) other joyous words if you like.

Operation State of Grace
Loved Little Thing, Take 1
Mission W.H.A.M.
Operation Chicken Has Wings
Operation Decorate The Cupcake
Operation Activate Flow Chart
Operation Love The House (That Jack Built)
Operation Afterparty aka the Great Unpacking



A superpower I had this week…

Ooh, some great superpowers this week. Like the superpower of not getting thrown by someone else’s stuff (I only had this once, but it was pretty great). And the superpower of recognizing that someone else is right and that you’re not ready to hear it, so filing it away for later with love.

I asked for the superpower of “I know what to do to make myself comfortable”, and it worked.

And a superpower I want next week.

The superpower of knowing — really and truly knowing — that seemingly conflicting desires are not in conflict at all. I can have ritual and adventure. I can train for the Olympics and not care about them. That’s a proxy.


The salve of Everything Is Slightly Better Now.

This salve is exactly what it sounds like: it is subtle, gentle and it is full of kindness. It doesn’t rush you into anything, it just smooths out the edges so you can find your way.


This salve calms the erratic energy of change. Put it on and things are slightly better. Maybe they already were slightly better, and now you can feel it. Or maybe everything is changing at just the right pace. This salve gives me hope.

These salves can’t be seen, but the production factory delivers enough for distribution by way of the magic of the internet, so help yourself. There is enough.

Playing live at the meme beach house — the Fake Band of the Week!

Background. Ez and I make up bands. Stu (retired Bolshevik-fearing voice-to-text software) once invented hanging out at the Meme Beach House“. It’s just one guy.

This week’s band is brought to you by the auto-correct on my phone and it’s called:

Wig Chemistry

I imagine that Wig Chemistry puts on wild shows, with elaborate scenery and many, many costume changes.

And yes. It’s just one guy.

Opening act is Tub Magic, which is how my phone says “you are magic”. Tub Magic, people. Tub Magic.

Hallo Hallo! I am saying Hallo Hallo. ANNOUNCEMENT.

You guys you guys you guys!

There is a Rally (Rally!) happening in TWO WEEKS.

October 1st-4th.

That is really soon, and it is going to be the most amazing Rally because it is part of the Alphabet Carousel, and there are at least eight reasons why Rallies from now on are going to be even better than they used to be (more about that to come).

You should come.

Also if you know people in Portland and you can help spread the word about our Open House for the Red Rose Ballroom, that would be hugely appreciated!

That’s it for me …

Join my Friday ritual in the comments if you feel like it. Or call silent retreat!

We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. And we don’t give advice (unless people specifically ask for it).

Wishing you a glorrrrrrrrrrrrious day, a restful weekend and a happy week to come.

Shabbat shalom.

p.s. It’s fine if it’s not Friday anymore. There’s complete chicken amnesty — join in whenever (or not) and it’s no big deal.

18 Responses to Friday Chicken #269: the glorious return of the wham boom!

  1. Mary Tracy
    Twitter: MaryTracy

    “LIVE YOUR MOST AWESOME EPIC LIFE RIGHT THIS SECOND AND BE DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY ALL THE TIME LET’S DO IT RIGHT NOW WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR” Cannot stand these websites! I would like to make my own website an antidote to those “live your epic life” websites. Also, it’s too much “Oprah-speak”.

    *helps herself to some “Everything Is Slightly Better Now” salve*
    Mary Tracy recently posted… Working with “Aesthetically Challenged”

  2. Rhiannon
    Twitter: rhiannonlaurie

    I would like to pop in to say a big thank you for the Y.E.A.R.book and for you, Havi Bell.

    Planting a gentle wish for the superpower of “change is happening at exactly the right pace.”
    Rhiannon recently posted… 4 Terrible Mistakes I Made on my Spiritual Path and What I Learned

  3. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium

    Friday! Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriday! *trills*

    What worked?
    * being waitful
    * consulting SFM about how upset she’d be if I gave away [this] or deleted [that] or didn’t bring along [z]. Turns out SFM is more mellow than I would have guessed.

    Next time?
    * carve out more time to myself for entry
    * plan on needing more time to exit

    Eight breaths to release the dark and the tight:

    1. Shoulder/neck flareup. During yoga class. A breath for healing.
    2. Feeling badgered/conflicted/distracted/exasperated/frustrated/grim about perceived demands. A breath for sovereignty.
    3. Anxiety kernels about post-vacation schedule.
    Mechaieh recently posted… studies, 1992 and 2013

  4. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium

    (breathing out the hard, continued)

    3-breath. A breath for capacity.
    4. Wardrobe: so much of it seems tired and ratty and just-in-case. A breath for finding the right fit.
    5. Something’s tunneling around my yard, but I’m not feeling like contending with it. A breath for co-existence.
    6. Feeling so disappointed in some people. A breath for revising (or even abandoning) expectations.
    7. Lots of local layoffs in an area I’d been studying toward. A breath for security.
    8. Fresh grief over old missteps. A breath for making peace with Past Me’s mistakes.

    Eight breaths of (de)lightful and helpful:

    1. That moment of recognizing [F] as The Right Answer. A breath of delighted relief.
    2. Lagniappe in the form of coffee and a cookie. A breath of feeling cared-for and appreciated.
    3. A present was well received. A breath of reveling in the creation of something special for someone special.
    4. The hollyhocks are looking good behind their dog-hair moat. A breath for gently effective defense.
    5. My vacation is imminent, and the timing is pretty much ideal. A breath for things working out beautifully.
    6. Feeling secure enough to toss out old notes and expired meds. A breath for moving on.
    7. Yesterday’s massage. A breath for skilled bodywork.
    8. Fresh water. Delicious Alsatian wine. Soothing tea. Stimulating coffee. Restorative juice. Decadent hot chocolate. A breath for hydration.

    Superpowah in da haus: respecting present limits. Past Me would be making herself sick trying to be, well, superwoman.

    Superpowah, ISO: I’ve been revisiting some of the stuff I made around 5 years ago, and there’s a snap, crackle, and pop to it that hasn’t been around lately. That’s okay in itself (different community, different genre, different melange of obsessions) but I would like that snap-crackle-pop to inhabit who I am now, in a way that co-exists with the physically and mentally healthier me I have become.

    And, since I will be traveling, I am also calling on the superpowers of Gliding Through Security, Floating Beyond Bureaucracy, and Selecting the Right (and only the right) Souvenirs.

    Toda raba for the salve, Havi. Warm wishes to all y’all.
    Mechaieh recently posted… studies, 1992 and 2013

  5. Claire McAll
    Twitter: making_space

    Cluck cluck. Unenthusiastic clucking but holding on to my experience that chickening is Often Helpful for General Defunking. (Ha. General Defunking, YASSAH!!)

    Hard shtuff….

    – STUFF. And the having of it. As well as defence and coping mechanisms that help shield me from the pain of the Stuff but not the pain of External Life Going Not So Well.

    – The Golem. The Dweller on the Threshold. If You Add Another Thing To Your Plate It Will *Force You* To Get Organised! No It Won’t And You Can’t Make Me. And other excitingly unhelpful and outdated strategies!!

    – Parenthood and household management and the amount of boringandtediousbutnecessary tasks associated with it. I’m not a wimp, I’m just all full up with boringandtediousbutnecessary so can’t really take on any more of it right at this minute. Soz bout that….

    – Society and its screwed upnesses. Gah!

    – Australian politics. No amount of medicinal liquor can see me through the next three years. Ugh!!!!!!!! Not only has he appointed a cabinet with only *one* female in it (fewer than the Afghani cabinet!!!!!), appointed himself (!!!!!) Minister for women’s affairs (please google ‘Tony Abbott women problems’ for context as to why this is absurd and infuriating) and shut down portfolios including disability, climate, energy, SCIENCE, aged care and others you would think would be a *little bit* important, within 24 hours of being elected he signed the paper that says hi Big Mining, please come and trash our World Heritage Listed UNESCO protected unique in the world natural treasure Great Barrier Reef because hey we need to get all that environmentally destructively extracted coal and gas out for sale so we can ruin the planet *even faster*!!! Thanks my fellow Australians for voting in this motherearthandeveryonewiththetemeritytohavelessthanamilliondollarsfucker as PM! Way to go! Don’t forget to vote in the X-Factor finals and watch The Bachelor as well!!! The important things!!

    – the above is worth about five entries in the Hard Stuff category because, SERIOUSLY?????????? Yes. Seriously. UGH!!!!

    – relationship reconfiguration and changing boundaries and microaggressions and goodreasonstodoit and stillfiguringouthow blaah.

    Exhaaaaaaaaaale!!! More! Exhaaaaaaaaaaaale.

    Good shtuff included….

    – finally being able to speak to the Golem. There *are* words in its head after all and they say You Can’t Make Me. Well, it’s better than running into it headlong with a *clang* because it seems completely shutdown altogether.

    + Wonderdaughter remains wondrous. Eighteen months going on three and a half. Little Lad is going to turn seven this weekend and he really IS doing fantastically well. Thank you angels who found us this school. Thank you thank you thank you.

    + Thinky-thought mind recognises it has brought us as far as it can. We have an appointment with a weird and wonderful hippie woowoo healing arts practitioner on Tuesday.

    + I have friends in this town! Yay.

    + All the Stuff I have is being revealed so that it can be healed. Hello, hello, welcome painful Stuff. Come in, come in, come in.

    + Y.E.A.R. books. I feel a call to take these wondrous words, print them, cut them up and paste them onto big sheets of cardboard and discover what I didn’t know I already knew. (Look at me feeling arty!)

    + friends who stubbornly persist in insisting that there is {ART} in me too and, like, woah, the internal protests are getting slightly more disorganised. Huh.

    + food, water, at least we’ve got the vote, universal healthcare, maternity leave.

    + bell hooks. THANK GOD FOR YOU. <3

    Exhale. Inhale. Aauuuummmm… Yes. Feel better post chickening. Again. There you go.


  6. Leni says:

    Oh how I love to see all that wham boom! so inspiring!

    -the hell-cold that came and went with monstrous rains and floods
    -anotehr 500 bucks in car repair, from a total bonehead manuevre on my part
    -continued angst with ElderKid;s school causing me to come up with new solutions
    -continued discomfort with the continuing discomfortable thing

    what worked this week: not-yelling, humming,remembering to stay positive in my thinking (such a lame cliched phrase but i know what i mean), Exiting, Calyx in the PM.

    next week: More white flowers. more mat time.

    so much sparkle:
    -beautiful weather the past few days. a blissful end to summer
    -mixing Fluent self tools with my Craftwork. super-juice!
    -making a Compass for the lunation and coming back to it many times daily and omg does that work
    -beign aware of ritual and all the rituals i do, being aware of whihc rituals are fucntional and which arent.
    -healing fast from Hell cold
    -elegant solutions popping up everywhere
    -as well as unexpected gifts
    -not making a plan or project to cook more and eat better, i just kinda started cooking in the evening and wow it became a thing very quicky. this is also the result of another eegant solution so yea
    -feeling very in sync and happy with my husband. we are doing well toegterh and i am very grateful.
    -one thing i loved about the latest YEARbook is how much gratitude is in there. i have been feeling deep gratitude lately and it felt very synchronous toread that.

  7. Katie Hart
    Twitter: yogiconomist

    Cheers, Chickeneers!

  8. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    As always, the salve is just what I need. Thank you.

    A thing that worked: giving priority to the little practices that give comfort and meaning.

    Next time: I want to drink more water. It’s all too easy to forget how much that helps.

    A hard thing: Uggghhh, feeling sluggish and avoidant — and the monsters are getting restless.

    A good thing: Sushi. Deciding that I could treat myself to some sushi, and then *doing* it.

    This week’s superpower: recognizing the monsters behind the masks.

    Next week’s superpower: standing in my light, and steadily shining.
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… The bookends that make everything better.

  9. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Oh! Another good thing: the YEARbook! I had *just* been thinking that I might get to see it soon, and there it was! Ahhhhh. Happiness!
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… The bookends that make everything better.

  10. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt

    Hard: Schroedinger’s cat. I don’t know whether I should be digging a grave or installing a cat flap, and it is so hard not to get too attached to either outcome. Obviously I would prefer a live cat, but argh.

    Good: My manager and my best friend, who between them came up with a series of alternative cat-possession possibilities.

    Good: I bought the best birthday present.

    Good: buttons. I know buttons are not good for everybody, but they are helping me no end at the moment. They tend to come in fours or eights, and I can fasten in the qualities for the day when I am getting dressed. The ones on my waistcoats are the best buttons, because, you know, waistcoats.

    Hard: my book is jealous of my day job.

    Things that worked: the labyrinth. Mindful getting dressed, like I was putting on armour, except not for a fight. (More: I am wearing this necklace that I bought with the voucher my colleagues gave me for my birthday. This is like wearing the love and support they have been giving me.)

    Next time: I want to make this: http://liturgy.co.nz/wreath-of-christ/16687
    Kathleen Jowitt recently posted… And all manner of things wibbly woo

  11. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahneedles

    Goodbye week!
    Sarah recently posted… This is What Gen-Y Looks Like

  12. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahneedles

    What worked this week: Having impossible, stupendous levels of courage (while simultaneously shaking in my boots). Gold stars!

    Next time I might: Trust my inner timing-device even more.

    Hard things:
    – Doing two very frightening things two days in a row. The kindof scary where I had to close my eyes and dial the phone at arm’s length, or focus on my shoelace while in the doctor’s office to avoid dissolving.
    – Adjusting to lost of rain. Hello fall!
    – Not having the right clothes. Wanting them, and not having enough money for them.
    – Reaching the bottom of the well.
    – Starting along a new, longer path that is hard and scary for its own reasons.

    Good things:
    – Doing the two scariest things meant that a) a major source of drama in my life simply dried up and disappeared. The person I was so scared to call had the BEST reaction they could have had under the circumstances, and we had one of those heart-to-heart conversations that brings people closer as a result, and b) The sneaky bug of pain (inside and out) that has been plaguing me for a year has been identified and squashed! I started feeling better with 24 hours of leaving the doctor’s. Whoo!
    – Walking through a downpour and seeing a full double rainbow at the end of it.
    – Rain means fall and I love fall!
    – Opportunity to put my house smudging skills to work for someone who just moved into town.

    Cheers Chickeners :)

  13. seagirl says:

    Oh what a week. Chickening on a Sunday, no less.
    The Hard & Mysterious & Challenging:
    The tide sucking back out to sea and the waves crashing back up. Sucking and crashing and wondering why I wandered out into the surf.
    Alone, alone and always alone.

    The Delightful:
    Vacation with all the family. So lovely.
    Horse snuggles.
    Hiking just to where I wanted to be and then back down.
    Coming home to cat snuggles.

  14. VickiB says:

    This week was the longest week… it feels like it’s been nearly a month since the last chicken.

    Hard things:
    I took birthday gifts to my friend J and she was too ill to see me.
    Tired all the time.
    And then I got sick.
    Too much to do before our trip, so I have to make drastic changes in my plans for getting ready.

    Good things:
    Letter from Doctor that all my lab tests came out okay. That lump in my breast is a globule of fat surrounded by breast tissue.
    My classes. I love to teach.
    MrB felt like going out the other day, so we did errands together and spent some time at my favorite cafe.
    The new sleep plan that I invented for MrB is helping him ant that, in turn, is helping me.

    The salve of the week reminded me of a button that Havi linked to in the blog several years ago, the magic button that makes everything okay. Here’s the URL:


    If I knew how to make it live, I would. The site is still active; I was just there.

  15. VickiB says:

    Oh, cool, the link went live when I posted it. Yay, thank you internet magic.

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