Personal ads. They’re … personal! Very.
I had an interesting experience/realization/epiphany Saturday morning, and I started writing about it and then stopped.
I wanted to tell you about it, to come here and talk it out, like I do, because maybe that will help me understand it better, because companionship is a lovely thing.
Except then I didn’t write about it because it was the Fourth of July and that evening explosions happened and kept happening, and I was hiding.
And then I didn’t want to come back to anything from that day, because it hurt too much.
This past week has found me mostly in the basement. Easing and releasing.
Partly-mostly for the cooler air, and also to make progress on the enormous project that is clearing out the basement so that we can maybe-eventually sooner-rather-than-later rent out the house.
I’m excited about this change, and yet the basement project — Operation Subterranean! — has been hard and frustrating and kind of awful, really. For a number of reasons.
There’s the pain of not seeing results…
It took six full days of blood, sweat and tears before I even made a visible dent.
At times, even after emptying so many boxes and filling the municipal recycling bin to overflowing, the basement actually seemed to be more of a disaster than it had been before.
Of course it was. I just forgot that sometimes — often — chaos and disruption is a vital part of the releasing, not a sign that releasing isn’t working.
The part — ha — where I massively underestimated everything.
Here’s what happened. I made some extravagantly off-base guesses about the scope of this project, based on nothing? Based on the dismissive mutterings of my monsters?
For whatever reason, I’m not sure when or how or why, I apparently just decided at some point that clearing out the basement should take a week.
In fact, that’s kind of why I’d never attempted it. I mean, who has a week to devote to going through stacks of boxes.
Except I came back from Portland to escape the heat of Escalante, Utah, and I did have a week and didn’t have air conditioning so I had to hide in the basement anyway, and it turns out that my estimate was fantastically inaccurate.
It’s not a week-long project. Even now that I’ve hit a huge turning point, there’s no way I’m even close to halfway through.
Some of you know this and some of you don’t, but I used to have a retreat center here in Portland, and it was absolutely breathtakingly magical, and also very successful.
When an opportunity fell into my lap to expand, it felt like my heart expanded with it: like my heart was a hundred times bigger, I was this vessel of love and potential, it was thrilling and overpowering and I was ready to bring the culture we have here into the big, wide world.
We went full speed ahead, and it crashed and burned, and I lost everything-everything-everything including this feeling of Big Heart, including my ability to trust my desire to create things. It was all gone.
So, over the past few years, six thousand feet of furnished space had to be dealt with, not to mention endless paperwork, boxes of notes and binders from bringing it into existence to calling time of death.
This week felt like an endless walk through a maze-like museum of loss and pain.
And then something happened.
Well, a couple things happened.
First: VISIBLE PROGRESS. Two rooms now look totally transformed, and even though yes, they are still full of crap, it looks intentional, not like the aftermath of a tornado.
This feels so good.
And then I had this sudden lightning bolt of a realization: What if all this stuff is evidence of love instead of evidence of shame?
WHAT IF ALL OF THIS STUFF IS EVIDENCE OF LOVE INSTEAD OF EVIDENCE OF SHAME.
I mean, I have been seeing all of this stuff in the basement as “the overwhelming evidence that I failed, I screwed up, I let everyone down.”
So of course going through it all has just been so much guilt and shame and grief and agony.
What if I was looking at it all wrong though.
What if all of these things are signs that I LOVED and CARED and WAS INCREDIBLY PASSIONATE.
And what if — monsters freaking out over here just at the thought of typing this — what if it is not my fault that I lost this, that I made something and loved it more than anything, and it died and I couldn’t save it. What if none of that is my fault.
That is a thing that can happen in business. And anyway, what if crashing and burning is was what it was there to do, what if nothing is wrong, what if I couldn’t have saved it anyway, what if all my choices were legitimate instead of disastrous, what if I was just a person filled with love who acted from love and wanted to fill the world with love?
What if I was just ahead of my time, which, probably, yes, that too. What if I needed to direct that love other places but love was still the right ingredient?
What if it’s all love…?
What if it’s all love.
Nothing but signs of love.
I loved and loved and loved and loved.
Look at all this beautiful love.
That’s what this basement is. That’s what my entire past is.
And then laughter.
I left the basement and came upstairs, and in the kitchen I saw the Fluent Self calendar on the wall and laughed my face off because we are now in July, the month of LOVE.
We made it. To LOVE. After all that letting go. After the molasses-slow slog that was the month of RELEASE.
Love follows Release.
Do you see?
Releasing and then: Love..
Transition between the months/qualities isn’t just Releasing into Love, though that is a wonderful way to release.
And it isn’t just doing the work of releasing so there can be more Love .
And it isn’t even just releasing my need for Love so that I can be Love.
RELEASING ALLOWS ME SEE THAT EVERYTHING I WAS RELEASING EXISTED BECAUSE OF LOVE.
It’s all because of love.
Everything in my basement is there because of love, and I’m letting go of it because of love. My big heart: it’s back.
Releasing makes room for me to experience love. Releasing allows me to find the love.
It’s right where I left it.
Here. In the basement. Here. In my heart.
What is my wish?
To let go, let go, let go, let go some more.
To see love where it is. To see love where I forgot to look. To see love where I’m sure it’s not there.
And, as always, Safety First.
To take exquisite care of myself to the best of my ability. To remember that nothing is more important than this, even though I often seem to think everything is more important than this.
To say WHOOSH GOODBYE to what is done, and to wave goodbye, with love. From love to love.
You are invited to share many !!!!!! about this big realization, to muse on the possible connections between love and releasing, releasing and love, to share in the joy of how marvelous the Calendars of Qualities are that we make each year, to say “oh wow, what beautiful wishes” to me and to each other, to wish your own wishes.
GUESS WHAT ELSE! Fluent Self Care packages!
I was putting a care package together for my friend M. And then I was laughing because I need to send myself self-care packages. And then I have all these wonderful things left over from my center, so it’s fluent-self-care packages! Multiple meanings.
I am going to put some together for us. If you want a surprise Care Package of wondrous Fluent Self things, and you also want to give $50 or more to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund this week, I will put together the best care package ever just for you!
My housemate is upstairs, puttering and pacing. The neighbors are working on a project in the yard. The washing machine is rattling a bit. It’s nice, after the past week and a half of being alone in the house, surrounded by boxes in the basement.
The mood of mourning is lifting, this project is starting to feel less like emptying and more like spring cleaning.
I wouldn’t say that I feel energized, exactly. But the fog is clearing, and I am ready to see love in the corners, to bring love to the corners.
All the superpowers of that: may it be so, for all of us.
What does Slightly Future Me have to say?
Ze: You opened [the place that died] because of love, and love is still here. Try on that filter and look at everything you have ever done, tried, experimented with. Your whole life is just rotating molecules of love.
Me: I don’t think I’m ready to handle that yet, actually.
Ze: No worries, my love. Let’s just drop it, we can drop like a pebble in the water, forget the pebble for now, and just breathe with the ripples. Safety first, always.
I found a bottle of sparkling apple cider that someone left at my chocolate shop six months ago, and decided that today is the day to drink it.
I was afraid the popping noise of the cork might set things off after I am finally calming down from the firework explosions, so I asked my housemate to open it for me.
I waited on the stairs, and there in front of me was a tiny anchor that I brought back from the center when it closed.
Anchored. And also sparkling.
The superpower of this is a badass way to live.
This — this — being in my love-heart, this is a badass way to live.
And I got here through releasing more, so I am going to keep releasing.
Things I find helpful for intentions and wishes…
Adventure. Rest. Horizons. Security. Passion. Sweetness. Clarity. Presence.
Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.
So. Last week aka easing and…
I wished for ease with releasing, and — holy shit, it happened. I mean, first I got a lot of not-ease with releasing, but that’s how wishes work. You bring things up to the surface, and you see things you didn’t want to see, while in the process of transforming, healing, letting go.
Here’s to two rooms cleared out! Here’s to setting a date for a yard sale! Here’s to emptying out my belongings from the camper where I have been living with my lover since March. Here’s to this new moment.
And of course subterranean turned out to be exquisitely layered in meaning, and that is not a bad thing at all.
Thank you, process of writing about wishes. Thank you, me who asked.
Keep me company! Or just say hi!
You can deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads, superpowers, qualities, seeds, secret agent code, whatever you’d like, there’s no right way! Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is sharing anything sparked for you.
Comment culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play and throw things in the pot! With amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.
Here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.