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.


Friday Chicken #287: held

Friday chicken

Where 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.

{a breath for Friday}

What worked?


This week had lots of PTSD triggers for me, and then terrifying nightmares.

I brought back some rituals for entering sleep, and asked the spy who loves me to invent one for me too.

I have no idea what it involved, because all I remember is the thought, “I smell sage, a word that also means wise…”

The next thing I knew, nine hours had passed and it was morning. I couldn’t remember a single dream, and I felt amazing.

No screaming, no waking up at all until sleep was done.


I finished a mission, and didn’t feel ready to tell people about it. Finished the Hat for all the things I’m doing in 2014, and didn’t feel ready to share it. So I waited.

I did a lot of waiting this week, and waiting was the exact right move.

Next time I might…

Trust the waiting.

I had a lot of Stuff (and all the time gremlins) about waiting.

Especially since I know lots of people are waiting for the thing I am not-announcing while I am doing my own waiting.

I knew that this was the right move, and I doubted it at the same time.

And then of course it was.

A wise thing a dance teacher said this week.

Applicable to all of life…

Susan: “Use the floor. Don’t walk on it. Use it. Partner with it.”

Eight breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. Waking up screaming. Nightmares and more nightmares. A breath for release and remembering that now is not then. And: A breath for not taking on the pain of the world.
  2. The Spy Who Loves Me was super in his stuff this week, and we had two nights of painful misunderstandings. A breath for presence and love.
  3. This whole letting go of W is still a lot of work. A breath for process.
  4. The spy who loves me threw a (metaphorical) shoe while he was feeling upset. A breath for loving someone while not putting up with shoes.
  5. Someone at the Floop had a shoe-throwing fit too, which is completely incongruent with the culture. Pretty tired of that thing when, in reaction to my intentional avoidance of pedestals, someone tries to simultaneously put me on one and knock me off. A breath for compassionate powerful boundaries.
  6. Deep indecision, which turned out to be a very clear decision that I didn’t want to see. A breath for change, and for trusting that All Timing Is Right Timing…
  7. Sexist bullshit driving me crazy this week, and in the unlikeliest places. I was at a dance class this week where the teacher (a woman, about my age), taught a move in Foxtrot by saying, “Ladies, imagine there is a shoe sale in the far corner, now point your head that way as the lead swivels you and say oh look a shoe sale, now come back the other way and ask the man for his credit card.” SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS. A breath for astonishment, and for hope.
  8. Inhale, exhale. Goodbye, mysteries and hard moments of this week.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. Lots of healing, and then two consecutive nights of sweet deep sleep. A breath for transition.
  2. When the spy who loves me was in his stuff, I knew it was not about me and did not make it about me. I let him be in his stuff, and I met it with love, and I was also clear about what is not okay. A breath for advanced practice.
  3. When the person in the Floop was in his stuff, I knew it was not about me and did not take it personally. I was also able to observe the skills my community has gained, as well as some pieces of practice that aren’t in place yet, which helps me make changes for next year. A breath for the teaching and the learning, and for gifts that don’t look like gifts.
  4. Dance dance dance dance dance! I skipped a samba class I didn’t want, and took the class I wanted instead. All my classes this week (with the exception of Crazy Sexist Foxtrot) were thoroughly enjoyable. A breath for dance solving everything, just like Incoming Me said it would.
  5. I edited and edited and edited, and got the Hat down to 1000 words, exactly. A breath for my smile when that happened.
  6. A huge realization about being Held, and that I am always Held. That it doesn’t matter if I set off on the voyage before having Solved All The Problems, because I am Held, and I have companions to help solve them with me. A breath for joyful laughter.
  7. So much delight this week. Secret spirals at Rally, with impossible choreographies. Texting with my former Partner In Crime in California. A breath for feeling safe and loved.
  8. This week is Rally (Rally!), and I had so many marvelous epiphanies and huge results. A breath for fractal flowers.

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.

My op this week was Operation Ready The Hat, and I nailed it.

Plus new events now happening at my ballroom.



Powers I had this week…

I had some more fire snake superpowers this week, and the superpower of Deeply Knowing That This Is Not About Me.

Superpowers I want.

Setting Boundaries Is Fun.


The salve of clean, clear healthy boundaries.

This salve softens rules. It infuses your space with protection. It makes the edges glow in such a way that you know where they are. It sets up a force field that lets in beautiful qualities, in just the right amount, and it doesn’t let in anything that doesn’t need to be there.

It is comfortable and comforting, at the same time. You put it on, and you perceive that you have more space. You have the superpower of Distinctions: this, not that. You have the superpower of trusting your edges, of taking up as much space as you need.

It suddenly occurs to you (and everyone else) that your space should be respected. Because it should.

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.

If you are not a salve person (today or in general), you can have this in tea form, pill form, as a bath, whatever works for you. Not only is there enough salve, there are also enough ways to receive it.

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 from Vanessa:

Kazoo Fueled Riot.

It’s a cello band, actually. And it is just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am so happy to let you know about Operation Sustenance, which holds everything I will be offering in 2014.

Password: fredastaire

Invitations for Operation Wings will be extended next week, and you can upgrade from Operation Keys if you like.

Come play if you like…

Join me in the comments. Some of us share hard and good, some of us say hi, or maybe we’re on silent retreat. My ritual doesn’t have to be your ritual. Whatever works for you. Almost three hundred weeks of this and there still isn’t a right way.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We don’t give advice.

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 you like, it’s no big deal. And I am blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers. I love that you are here too.

26 Responses to Friday Chicken #287: held

  1. Mary Tracy
    Twitter: MaryTracy

    I want wings! I want everything! I want to be part of the FLOOP and the fishing village, and catch winged fish!
    (don’t think the metaphor worked, will think of something better)
    Mary Tracy recently posted… Sharing My Story

  2. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahemily

    It is Friday. Love and a breath for Friday.

    I am singing Finishing the Hat. Because that’s what I sing when you talk about finishing hats. In case you were wondering.

    And the password is Fred Astaire. Which seems to be a delightful clue for me, right now. Related, I think, to dancing through life. Something I am very curious about at the moment.

    Also, tech week is finished. Love and a breath for tech week.

    Love and a breath for being in my stuff about money.
    Love and a breath about working on a play and wishing I were working on a musical.
    Love and a breath for theatre somehow makes it better even though it’s still hard.
    Love and a breath for I am held.
    Love and a breath for setting a boundary, taking time off from a show (for the first time ever), Mission Sub accomplished, and Mission Satellite in two weeks.
    Love and a breath for the Floop and everyone in it (and for missing the drama, apparently.)
    And Love and a breath for everyone here too.

    *hug-offers and deep appreciation*
    Sarah recently posted… We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

  3. Questing Lee says:

    The Good:
    Generously Receiving the following:
    “It is folly to assume that my awesome is dormant.”
    I am more than my job!
    Be at ease with the past.

    Finishing the Christmas Card from my Monsters during the monthly scrapbooking crop. A smile for the other two Scrap-eteers.

    Happy boy vamping me at the thrift store. Finding out about the Secret Society of Happy People.

    What was hard or mysterious?
    I think I got a load of MSG for lunch at work on Tuesday, because I have a headache.
    Out sick on Thursday.
    Anxiety regarding Havi’s new HAT, even though I’m covered with the salve of Generously Receiving and wearing my Stone of TRUCK. (It was a very low grade anxiety and is gone now.)

    What worked:
    First Proxy! Putting Abby Shutto from NCIS and the Addams Family over all Dead Words.

    Backups on my PC.

    What I might try in the future?
    Use the salve to Receive advice, especially from self-help books, Generously, either this week or in The Future.

    Seeing if King Anil the First of [place redacted] will be on my Crew, instead of being a Monster.

    Maybe I’ll name Chuck Norris my proxy in charge of Hard Words – because there’s no word so hard that Chuck Norris can’t make into a Useful, Friendly Word just by staring at it.

    Dropping a heart-shaped stone into Claire’s Gwishing Gwell.

  4. seagirl says:

    It is Friday.

    The Curious.
    It doesn’t bother me that I didn’t email the Spaniard back about a date tonight and instead went shopping for camping gear. And it bothers me that it doesn’t bother me. I am too comfortable alone.

    The Delightful.
    The things I need right in front of me at the perfect price.

    A body that carries me over hills and dales.

    The perfect new clients. They keep coming in, like waves. Waves always come, even if sometimes the tide is lower or higher.


  5. Karen J says:

    Please and Thank You for a big scoop of the Salve of Softening Rules and Remembering Healthy Boundaries.
    It may be sexist, but I now have a precise picture of that Foxtrot move, including facial expressions. How *does* one resolve that?

    • Åsa
      Twitter: asaplesner

      Picking up the “how does one resolve that” question. We’re smart cookies, let’s transform this.

      I’d imagine you could say something along the lines of:

      “Imagine something you really, truly want to buy over there. […] On the way back, imagine you forgot your wallet and go back to get it.”

      The assumptions that follows are ladies, that shoe sales are something you want, that there is a man with a credit card that controls your purchases, seem completely unnecessary to me. Also the assumption that sexism is funny and a good teaching tool.

      Advanced practice: find a way to describe it without assuming consumption! I leave that challenge for whoever wishes to continue this as a game :)

    • PhilH says:

      I thought the same thing, and I too wish I knew how to resolve it.

      There is a rabbit hole here that I toppled into some time ago and haven’t found my way out yet. It’s somewhere in the charged and difficult place between sexist and sexy.

  6. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    I am doing a painting meditation workshop through facebook, and I am having fun with the watercolors. Also, last week I won the kit for the workshop, and the way it happened there was no doubt that this was a gift for me. So that was cool. And I keep reminding myself of that.

    Michael Lutin said there would be a speed bump this week. But that’s all it would be. So my mantra this week was “this is just a speed bump”. And that worked.

    The sweetest kitten was dumped at my house at the end of July, and we kept him, and this week he pushed me to go to the studio and then to paint. He’s worse than a boss :)

    I am eliminating wheat to see if I feel better and so far it is working. Except I miss pizza. So I made a red pepper macaroni and “cheese” from Isa Does It and that helped.

    Lavender syrup at Donkey coffee!

    My dad gifted me with my mom’s car (she died on May 31) and I have been relearning to drive a stick shift. This week was challenging with the snow, because it also has old school brakes. (May the Force be with you is my mantra for this one).

    And yay Sustenance! Lots of love to everyone.
    Andi recently posted… An Earworm for You

  7. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Oh, I am so thankful — for Sustenance, for salves, for community, for possibility.

    This week’s hard stuff: I had to field a few unexpected curve balls, some financial and some medical. I had to be patient with the crankiness of the people I am closest to, and that includes my own crankiness. I was very conscious of the fact that Operation Relocation, while not exactly complete, has reached the point where I need to seek new income streams. I feel rusty at that, and I don’t like that feeling.

    This week’s good stuff: I had a lovely artist date at a new-to-me cafe. I asked for guidance in dreams and actually received it, in the form of two deceptively low-key messages (I plan to blog about this soon). Also, I felt very much loved which happens pretty much every week, and *that* is amazingly fabulous itself.

    Lighting my candle now, and sending love to all the Chickeneers. <3
    Kathleen Avins recently posted… See you on the other side.

  8. Åsa
    Twitter: asaplesner

    Oooh, it’s a beautiful hat. Adoring the hell out of your Adaptation and Truth-seeking skills that (I imagine) went into the process its creation!

  9. Marialena says:

    Excited about the HAT and which of the hats in the hat fits best.

    A Saturday chicken here. It’s snowing again. This after a week of snow and all the cold. But also a week of returning home to movement and grounding. Good news from back at the ranch. Unexpected visits. A transforming writing day. The beginnings of hope. And a Friday wonder: killer homemade seitan.

    Happy weekend to all the Chickeneers!
    Marialena recently posted… Wordless weekend: brick, Albi

  10. Kaari
    Twitter: kaarib

    Full of wordless love and trust and excitement! Worth waiting for, yes. YES!

    And the salve is exactly what I’ve been searching for. In my latest episode of the pattern of DOOM, what’s missing (not entirely, but it’s been elusive for me to hang onto) is a piece of Sovereignty. Boundaries! CLUES!

    So much love and trust. (Those have become my words of remembering. Love and trust!)

  11. Sarah
    Twitter: sarahneedles

    Confetti and sparkles and theme music for the Hat(s)! I am so excited to try one on.

    The mysterious things this week:
    Being well enough to pass as a “not-sick” person, and therefore fielding the expectations/ responsibilities of a “not-sick” person when I’m actually not at that level right now. Ping-ponging between frustration and empathy with two people who share my space. An agent who has a history of proposing lovely plans that often fall through at the last second suggested another exciting idea this week, and I was in my stuff about [expectations] etc.

    The good things:
    The cats took it upon themselves to lie on top of me and purr healing vibes whenever I was on the couch. Lots of forward movement and progress at work now that I’m back. Last night was the first night without nightmares in two weeks (!!). I’m working through the stuckness instead of (er, in addition to) melting-down about my lack of writing progress. Also, it has been really sunny the last couple days.

    Happy weekend all!
    Sarah recently posted… Still Life

  12. Leni says:

    Oy what a week!!

    the sucks:
    -the worst of all, the ongoing medical crisis with my brother. horrifying in s many ways. breaths for guilt, worry, anxiety etc etc
    -a close second was an EPIC angry event with the hsuband, 3 doom filled days. things are better now, but maybe not. a breath for worry, anxiety and hurt
    -desperately needing a week of back to routine and not egtting it. a breath for hectic, for monkey wrneches and for changing it up on the fly
    -struggling to write. a breath for blocks, and for the lack-of-time&space
    -not nealry enough slep this week. not good. feeling like i’m sabotaging myselg when i do this
    -talk about old bad patterns: i was deeply in my stuff, was ruled by FEAR (false evidence appearing real), shut down and withdrew, formed reatcions and lashed out. totally abandoned all my EQ so yeah, having a hard time forgiving msyelf
    -allowing the Shiny Thing to make me drop my crown. ugh. the oldest pattern. phoo

    but bright spots in all this:
    -unexpected support, happy superpowers
    -the strength of mt practice really is the Foundation of it all
    -managed in all this to Show Up. big win
    -excelelnt Well tending this week. thank you for all the systems that Worked.
    -the writing relaunch. new projects, the new editing thing! joy and astnishment
    -new people to play with
    -getting ready for imbolc. fun.
    -magick stuff with A and K, online class being so very good.
    -fractal flowers
    -the Hat! Not sure where my role in {Sustenance} is but juiced and happy for it.
    -the new Incoming me! she has a lot to say. she comes directly out of a Gwish, nd is generating lots of energy and identty shfting. intriguing. Her name is Levanah and she wears violet water.

  13. ML says:

    I, too, am excited for the HAT and seeing which one is most comfortable for me, my needs, my own blodgett, and well…mostly just me and my heart. <3

    The hard from last week?
    – Again with the not enough sleep
    – Reminder of the deep body pains that can come when old stuff is triggered in me. Yikes. Hadn't felt *that* version in a while.
    – Exhaustion makes everything else harder.

    The good?
    + Tons of laughter!
    + Pancakes with bananas!
    + Making fresh pasta with my sister!
    + Movie night watching Chocolat and dancing in the living room to the soundtrack.
    + A renewed openness and willingness to tend to that which seems to remain after all these years
    + A sense of possibility and hope that chronic physical conditions can actually be temporary.
    + Deeper connection with my Love and excitement for our life together!
    + Safe travels on snowy roads and gratitude for my fuzzy-like-Elmo-jacket which is actually Skype blue…
    + A dance date made with my friend and her 6-year-old twins!
    + Painting party!

    Superhero I want this week:

    *I Matter Most*

  14. Katie Hart
    Twitter: yogiconomist

    Cheers, Chickeneers!
    Katie Hart recently posted… On Sleep

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