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.


The Collected Works / Nothing Is Wasted / Courage Is Coming

Majestic Sails

An explanatory preface because we are doing something new today!

There are three posts in this post.

The Collected Works / Nothing Is Wasted / Courage Is Coming

You could also say there are no posts in this post, since the first is an invitation, the second is an edited reprint of a post I wrote seven years ago, one which didn’t make it into the ebook of Collected Works, and the third is a sort of preview for the next post, along with another form of invitation.

But this is the form that wanted to come into being, and these are the things that I want to say right now, and here we are. I used blue boxes to differentiate between the three sections, and also named them accordingly. And I am thinking of this like a matinee of small shows.

May it be received with love…

Collected Works, Majestic Sails (Part I)

I made an ebook of Collected Works, a beautiful, lovingly curated and edited collection of SEVENTEEN* of my all-time favorite essays from the Fluent Self blog over the past twelve years. The best of the best.

And I added Breathing Space pages in between for notes or clues, or if you feel inspired to do some stone skipping or any other processing of your own. Or use as a door to take a break and reset.

* Okay actually eighteen, because I combined two of my Writing To Walls posts into one, though maybe actually nineteen because I added the Flow Chart of Spaciousness, and anyway, 190 pages of good things.

Top ten reasons for why you should get this!

There are probably more, but let’s go with these:

  1. Reading this book is a healing, it was for me, and each time I read it different words appear like acupuncture needles in the exact right spots, something releases, something is undone, something is rewritten.
  2. This book is full of clues – each time I read any piece in here, I receive another clue, pointer or direction for my own healing and process.
  3. The scribbling pages, aka “Breathing Space”: a wonderful practice in resetting the etch-a-sketch, returning to yourself and integrating the material, a shavasana but for reading-yoga.
  4. These in-between pages also give you a container of space/time to process on your own, and do your own writing-and-rewriting. Of course you are all writers (and righters too) whether you know this down to your bones or pretend you don’t. I know there are a lot of people in both categories who read my blog, so I am glowing love for all of you, the writers, the righters, the ones who don’t or won’t or can’t yet identify as either.
  5. The post contain lots of links to other posts I’ve written over the past however many years, so if you read this online you will arrive at so much other goodness.
  6. You can print it out and have 190 pages of wisdom and love beside your bed!
  7. There are LOTS OF PUNS, like, seriously, a lot, and at least one of them will make you smile or want to engage in ridiculous wild wordplay with me, because this is one of the small but meaningful joys of life.
  8. I am currently dealing with [hard situation] and EVERY SINGLE POST held at least one clue for me, even though I didn’t plan it that way at all! As if past-me was leaving bread-crumb trails of wonder and delight, release and renewal, star paths. I realize this might sound at the very least overly intense, but I believe with my whole wild heart that whatever you might be going through right now, there are clues here for you. You will also seed even more clues for future-you, and that is a beautiful thing, self-perpetuating star trails of love and wisdom, a labyrinth to walk as many times as you want…
  9. Reading this may make you want to WRITE! It might make you feel JOYFUL and EXPECTANT AND TINGLY about writing. And writing/righting is both healing and revealing!
  10. I miss writing and posting on the blog, I want to return to that sharing process-and-legacy, and for that to work, the blog needs to be funded. So even if no other reason speaks to you, consider this a donation to The Fluent Self, investing in the continued work/play/treasure of self-fluency flowing into the world so we can deliver more magic.

This book is available for the first half of the month of Courage (August)


What happens next!

Saying yes to anything is a door, and so we pause and breathe, because that’s what we do at a threshold, entering as we wish to be in it. Then you press the beautiful button.

Then you will get an email from us with a download link to the book, which you can read at your own pace and time, because the superpower of All Timing Is Right Timing applies extra to magical things, and this is definitely a magical thing.

all the small-printables

  1. Here are my thoughts re buying stuff online: it is very easy to get sucked into the rigged-game world of frantic pressured decisions and accompanying doubt-panic-dread, so let’s not do that. That’s not fun for anyone and it is certainly not how I want to do business. Let’s do the *opposite* of that, let’s pause and breathe and remember what is important, getting back to ourselves and feeling our quiet warm yes of the moment. This way we can experience what it could feel like to buy something from love. This feels more harmonious and sustainable to me, more conscious, grounded and heart-centered, and I hope it’s also much less stressful for you.
  2. We don’t do refunds or returns here, and we have a page about the thought process behind why that is, in addition to the administrative aspects.
  3. We make everything with so much love, and we love that you want to be a part of our work, because these gift shop sales allow us to keep writing and sharing. Thank you. We love you.

Nothing Is Wasted (Part II)

This is an edited/updated reprint of a post I wrote in September, 2010, and it wanted to be shared today, so here it is.


Like most epiphanies, it sounds obvious and even kind of stupid when you say it out loud, but it’s still a gleaming piece of truth, and now it lives in my body as a source of comfort:

Nothing is wasted.

Nothing is wasted.

I spent five years as bartender in south Tel Aviv.

In some pretty dive-ey places.

I knew artists, writers, musicians, local celebrities, surfers, motorcycle gang members, counterfeiters, drug dealers, tour guides, cab drivers, Moroccan mafia, and people who didn’t come in without bodyguards.

Once someone tried to follow me home. Once someone took my phone and smashed it against a wall. Once someone threw a vodka bottle at me (I ducked). Once I nailed someone in the face with a stack of about fifty coasters and didn’t even get fired, that story is in the book of Collected Works that I just told you about…

I learned a lot.

I learned a lot about sovereignty. About not taking other people’s shit personally.

About right people. And how to run a bar.

About managing (people, expectations, experiences).

About creating setting. And specifically creating culture.

About ambience and the power of everything that happens behind the scene. And about beauty and power, safety and pain.

What I’m NOT saying.

I’m not saying these experiences were good.

I’m not saying that everything is for the best. How could I know that. I am definitely not saying suffering is a gift. Or that we should be more grateful.

I would never say anything like that, I would never imply that our experience is wrong.

Just that — for me — it isn’t wasted.

I don’t need to spend more time on regret for each moment that wasn’t spent taking better care of myself or having better boundaries or doing something “meaningful” with my time.

All those moments have meaning. And they all came together to put me here now and headed towards where I’m headed. Not wasted.

Once I had a gig as a choreographer.

No, really. For a children’s folk dance troupe that performed all over the midwest.

I haven’t thought about that in years.

Even though I probably use those skills all the time …

  • putting things (insights, projects, programs, ideas, words) in order
  • creating sequences for things to happen in my business
  • working with groups to make the impossible possible
  • awesome high kicks for when we do Ironic Aerobics (totally optional) at my writing retreats

That job — and everything that went with it — has nothing to do with my life right now.*

And yet.

Nothing is wasted.

*That sentence was true seven years ago, but it is a ridiculous thing to say today, now that I am a dancer who dances every day, isn’t that wonderful?

Once I spent ten months climbing trees.

I know about things that you can only know from spending a lot of time by yourself up in a tree.

Nothing is wasted.

Once I spent three months in bed.

Near-catatonic depression.

Nothing to wake up for.

Only loss and grief and blankness.

Now I know what that’s like.

I can identify with things my clients and readers deal with, but without being in it.

And I have a different relationship with both fear and emptiness because I KNOW them. And with surprise moments of grace, because now I know that eventually they will come, and I know more about seeing, I keep notes about what brings me out of the dark places.

Nothing is wasted. Stay with us, please, stay with us.

So many things.

Big ones.

I have loved and been loved.

I have lost and been lost.

I have done terrible, terrible things. I have experienced moments of redemption.

Nothing is wasted.

And so many small things too.

I bake bread, name moons, cry, laugh, dance, list things.

Sometimes I feel afraid or envious or filled with fiery rage. Sometimes I feel peaceful and wild under the stars. Sometimes I forget how to rest and then I have to remember again.

Nothing is wasted.

Where the stuck happens.

Inside of resistance, guilt and blame.

In the moments of “But whyyyyyyyy is it like this?!” and “But whyyyyyyyyyy is it not already like that?”

When I don’t meet myself where I am.

When I forget to give legitimacy to whatever it is I’m feeling.

When I believe my fuzzy monsters instead of being curious about what is really going on.

When I forget that I have support and so I forget to call on allies and negotiators.

When I need to be right, and forget about all the good stuff that happens when I’m wrong.

And all other forms of fighting with what-is, instead of remembering that we are allowed to not like how things are in this moment. Observing the process not-liking is already creating space and changing the pattern.

And yet. Nothing is wasted.

So I can stop and remember again.

And if nothing is wasted, then we can extract the wisdom and the love, and release the pain that is attached to it.

But long before that, it is enough just to remember.

And in the comment blanket fort today…

We all have our stuff. We are all working on our stuff. It’s a process. It takes time.

This is tough territory. And again, I would never say that you are in any way obligated find value in any of the hard, awful things that have happened to you. You aren’t, and anyway that would be condescending, obnoxious and honestly a kind of violent thing to tell someone about their pain

So use this idea of “nothing is wasted” in a way that does feel safe and comfortable for you. And if it doesn’t do that for you, then let it go and do what you need to do for you, because nothing is more important than that.

*blows kiss*

Courage Is Coming (Part III)

Courage is coming!

It is the month of Courage, and I did something so courageous
(in my personal life, not my writing life)
that I immediately threw up six times
and then cried so hard that I gave myself laryngitis,
which is why I am now drinking slippery elm tea with honey,
and thinking about what it might mean to have the superpower of
Effortless Not Caring and Glorious Indifference,
and Glowingly Powerful Boundaries,
appreciating how brave I have been
and how brave I am
to meet this new door.

I have written a beautiful August post for the beautiful August door,
and I will post it in a few days when
August and I (and Courage and I) have had a chance to
get to know each other better.

Courage is coming, and so is the post about Courage.

Courage is coming.

Courage is coming.
Courage is here.
Courage is being restored as we speak,
with great love for the month of Restoration which taught us how.

In the meantime, I have a request for you (dear reader!)

A request! For you!

If you have already invested in the ebook (that is, invested in yourself and in our community here and this space and this magic, through acquiring the ebook), I would LOVE SO MUCH if you could share something in the comments….

For example, just that you have it and are happy about that, or something you noticed or received or enjoyed, or something about how beautiful it is or why you appreciate it or a piece of treasure you have gleaned, whether from reading or rereading or not-reading-yet, or via the act of saying yes itself, or a favorite thing about the book, or really anything else warm and loving that you wish to share!

That would mean a lot to me.

And it could be a sort of welcoming tea party for this collection too, which is a lovely image.

Invitation: Communal space! Come play with me…

You are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here,

Or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading…

Safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving.

Everyone belongs. We let people have their own experience. We’re supportive and welcoming. We lovingly refrain from giving advice.

And of course it’s always okay to comment under a made-up name, whether for play and delight, or in the interest of Safety First.

We remember that people vary and my process doesn’t have to be yours, and this is a good thing.

Here’s how we meet each other: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes!

23 Responses to The Collected Works / Nothing Is Wasted / Courage Is Coming

  1. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    I have invested in this ebook, and I am *very* happy that I did.

    I notice…

    …that the Majestic Sails were experienced by me as a glorious invitation to voyage, as a friendly hand reaching from the deck of the pirate ship to where I stood at the dock at the edge of the water, waiting to clasp my hand warmly and welcome me aboard. I said *yes* without a word. I remembered, *yes*, I am a voyager and a pirate in my own right; yes, I am an Agent with Agency and a member of the Parachute Guild, yes, I am coming aboard!

    I have been reading the ebook quickly and eagerly, sometimes thinking “oh, ohhh, I remember this, how delightful!”, sometimes thinking “I know I have read this before because I have read *all* the posts before, but somehow this is fresh and new, what a marvel!

    And the journey continues. And so do we. And I am grateful. <3

  2. Peta says:

    I must have my right timing on, because I came here today and bought your book, and I found this line “For some reason, a long time ago, before memory, I agreed to
    store other people’s pain for them inside my body” and it means a lot to me right now.

    Thank you Havi

  3. Questing Lee says:

    Because. I downloaded the Labyrinth Compass but won’t be investing in the Majestic Sales. So there is Glowing Stuff in Barrington’s Discretionary aka The Foundation from me.

  4. Colleen says:

    Thank you, Havi. I have downloaded the Collected Works and am looking forward to reading it, and returning to it as I do with the Monsters Coloring Book and the Calm the Heck Down book. I do sincerely hope you keep writing and maintain this blog, or whatever format is best for you. Your words, articles, and stories of acknowledging and healing from pain, and your intentions to acquire and share skills to live a loving and positive life — these are so enriching to me, so affirming that it is possible to live a healing, happy life, and that there are others out there who want to live that way too. It is possible. It is accessible. You are helping. Thanks.

  5. Marilee says:

    I am a long long long long long long-time lurker mouse (nearly a decade) who has intermittently Said Yes to Havi offerings and invariably panicked and flailed and run about, hair on fire, monsters growling, not able to participate.

    But over the many many many many many many years that I have been sipping Havi Wisdom I did not know that it was percolating into me, through my veins, leaching through my bones and into my very marrow, so that the concepts (SOVEREIGNTY, COURAGE, BOUNDARIES) that seemed like magic-things-for-other-people-but-not-for-me-because-I-am-so-damaged could one day, very recently, infuse me through and through, GLOW THROUGH me.

    I didn’t realize the years and years and years and years and years were not wasted, that nothing is wasted, and that now I can be the person I never dared hope I could be.

    Thank you, Havi. Thank you for your steady presence, your not-teaching, your wisdom. It was an easy YES for the ebook, which (as I now know myself so well), I am lovingly sipping and savoring. Delicious.

  6. Wrenna says:

    SO much love for this beautiful creation! And such perfect timing, as I am about to embark on my own private Rally! in Montreal in two weeks. I know there will be so many delicious clues, so many sparks of joy for me in this book. Already I feel the internal glow of self-treasuring for just saying YES. Thank you for this Majestic Sail, and thank you for the brilliance you have shared for so many years now. Thank you for so much. Thank you for you.

  7. Angel says:

    I invested in the e-book the day I read the email about it because I knew, immediately, that it was for me. I am remembering how to trust my own yes, and this was excellent practice. Reading through it feels like a yes, and feels like connection <3

  8. Laura says:

    I am a recipient of this glorious ebook, and I did in fact print it out to have by my bed to read deliciously slowly. I first discovered you and your work when I was a tiny just-graduated-from-college terrified-out-of-my-mind sudden-panic-disordered young adult, and in the years since (8 of them) have found at many times of personal turmoil the value in combing through the blog archives and recognizing wisdom. That means this ebook is like an old friend who finds the perfect outfit for a grand party, and you look at them in wonder, seeing them with fresh eyes and marveling at their beauty.

    Whether the stories will be old or new friends to you, I can assure you, they are beautiful.

  9. Kate says:

    I love this book. After just a couple of days and some pages and clicks to more pages, it has sparked connections, questions, more connections, and joy for me already and encouraged me to get writing and playing. This is exactly what I need right now. I have declared my own personal mini retreat as I write. Retreat!

  10. Katie says:

    I have the book. When I opened the pdf and looked at the first few pages, a shiver went down my spine and I knew that I had to print it out to read ‘properly’. This will be a special weekend!

  11. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt

    I am reading the book slowly. I have read the posts before, but not in this form, not off the computer, not wrapped in my dressing gown with my feet up on the sofa and my e-reader balanced on my knees.

    I look up between paragraphs, between lines, between words, and reality seems to have shifted slightly every time. Many books can have this effect. This is most definitely one of them.

  12. VickiB says:

    This post has links to other posts that led to other posts, and following the links, reading the posts, receiving sparks, has whetted my appetite for more! I will be getting the book.

    I have spent the morning on the porch, aka the outdoor refueling station, with my laptop and the Fluent Self. I am dealing with big painful changes and there’s wisdom and comfort in so much of what I read here. Thank you.

  13. Pqw
    Twitter: fiadhiglas

    {If my laptop were working in its usual way, I would’ve purchased the e-book already. But my laptop is in a coma right now, and I don’t know if I’ll regain access to it.}

    On Monday, despite my laptop’s health problems, I still (hand)wrote and mailed the note that broke up with the friend I’ve been writing to for 16 months. My last standalone connection to the community I thought I’d coalesced on Twitter (Tw, which I left in mid-March, just before I broke my finger, which is still recovering.)

    Havi, I’ve recently realized that “abundance” seems to me to correlate with denizens of a mature temperate forest, surrounded by nutrient-rich possibilities in all directions. That stuff stresses me out, because where *I* am is a lichen, pioneering on bare rock. BUT… I can find & utilize nutrients, they’re just in such micro-amounts that no one else realizes they’re there.

    Havi, you’re not a micro-nutrient: no, you’re a fellow lichen. You’ve made beauty, grace, and hope from wherever and whenever you’ve been.

    Thank you,

  14. Anna
    Twitter: annadraun

    Oh this is such a beautiful moment. The power of Good Things Come at the Right Time. And Making Space for the Majestic Sails. I have just bought the ebook and I’m waiting for the link to arrive in my inbox, and this waiting is perfect. There’s joy in anticipating joy, and there’s the time to prepare for the party, and looking forward to welcoming old friends again, who will bring their own friends I don’t know yet. Thank you so much Havi, and so, so much love to you, to The Fluent Self, and to all the people here.

  15. Amanda says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for at least 10 years, dearest Havi, though I only rarely comment. I bought the e-book as soon as I saw your email. Long ago you inspired me to start a “Book of Me” that has helped me be more gentle with myself, helped me work with what is rather than trying to bend to all the “shoulds.”
    Your graceful willingness to share your process and consistently remind me that the game is rigged has carried me through many changes. Thank you.

    One ask: how might one purchase the book for someone else?

    • Havi Brooks
      Twitter: havi

      Thank you! <3

      And: That is a super sweet idea. If you buy one as a gift, you can enter your friend's email address (there is a space for that), though probably not the worst idea to send a reminder email to havi at fluentself dot com just to make extra sure we don't miss it. The other option would be to pay by paypal and leave a note there!

  16. Pqw
    Twitter: fiadhiglas

    Spouse was able to work some ‘man magic’ last night, and my laptop works again!

    I did purchase a copy of the e-book & am reading about cornbread (and laughing with delight) right now.

  17. Rosie Braeburn says:

    oh wow what a beautiful ebook. familiar – some of them are my favorites too – and oh-so-new-again. Thank you, Havi.

  18. Darcy
    Twitter: darxyanne

    The morning I woke up to seeing the email announcing the ebook, I thought, well, that is just about the easiest yes I have encountered in a good long while. It was so easy to say yes to the beautiful collection. I am loving the ebook and am so glad you reminded us to tell you how much we love it. I felt calmed down when I read the first couple chapters, and I am grateful for the reminder to go and read another section right now. I did find some clues in the bits I read so far that helped me, although they drifted out of view again in the time between reading them and now. But I know they’re still there waiting to be discovered again, and more besides. Blowing kisses of gratitude to you, dear Havi! xo

  19. Carina Sophia says:

    I bought the book. I’ve looked through the book, and it is so beautiful. Aesthetically – a breath of spaciousness, a path of stars. (As all your products are.) I’ve not read the book yet – because I know it will open me to change I’ve been resisting. (Your words always do.) The book waits, like a patient friend who knows me very well, to love me into the change, when I am ready.

  20. Spike says:

    Checking in as I do each midmonth and finding not just one but TWO new posts! A new book! A book of tbe best of the best with linkies back to the other goodies! At a time when money is tight — but due to the magic of Releasing, there is “found money” in the PayPal account.

    The joys of finding; the joys of yes, I can; the joys of permission.

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