What we do here:

Work on our stuff. Dissolve stuck. Play. Experiment. Rewrite patterns. We take sometimes-heavy things* and we make them more fun, playful, manageable.

I also write about my conversations with walls and monsters, and what it's like to work on a pirate ship. Good times.

* Sometimes-heavy things include: mindfulness and presence, pain and trauma, business-growing, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity

 

Constellations.

Content note: This post references suicide and a car accident. Grounded presence is recommended. ♡

The superpower of pre-emptive hugs.

I want to say something, except I don’t know what exactly, about two particularly uncanny and fortuitous hugs.

Late Thursday night Kaari contacted me, saying she suspected I needed hugs, and I liked how she acted on this thought, even though I wasn’t sure what this was about.

The next morning I ran into Carrie, a woman I know in a very casual way, and she came right up to me and said, “Honey, could you use a hug right now?”, which is not a thing that usually happens between us, and I said yes, even though, again, there wasn’t any particular sense of why this was important.

A couple hours later I arrived home to two pieces of very painful news, the suicide of a loved-by-me former student of mine, and a work-related situation/challenge which will require all of my presence, grace, open-heart-of-love-and-courage to meet.

So it turned out well that I’d been pre-hugged.

Thank you, powers that be, for setting me up with advance hugs. For the superpower of Uncanny and Fortuitous Hugs. The superpower of high-accuracy pre-emptive sweetness. The superpower of what I need is offered to me before I even know that I need it.

Thank you.

I’d like more of that. For everyone.

It doesn’t have to be hugs, though hugs are awesome. Hugs are just one possible form of administering love.

What I mean is this:

The beautiful thing that happens when what I need is immediately and readily available for me.

Everything lining up, constellations and configurations.

Grace.

I’ve thought, for a very long time, that there is no greater grace (for what is a superpower after all if not a moment of Grace) than having what you need in that moment of deep need.

Except here is something even more amazing.

The thing you need showing up before you need it, as if to say, “my love, you are so held, everything is ready for you, whatever you go through, you have everything you need.”

May we all receive what we need. Even, maybe especially, if it’s not what we think.

May we all receive what we need when we need it, and maybe even before that.

May we all have the wisdom to see with clear eyes, so that we don’t miss these moments of receiving, or how beautiful they are.

A moment.

Last week I witnessed a horrible accident. A woman crossing the street was hit by a car turning the corner.

She was carrying a bag of groceries, and it went into the air, impossibly high, in a slow motion arc, bananas landing on top of a car, a loaf of bread bouncing into the road.

She hit the ground, and then everything kind of stopped.

Pausing to notice miracles.

I do not wish in any way to diminish the horror of this moment, this awful experience, the agonizing pain this woman was in, and whatever she is dealing with now, if she made it through.

The way she was hit and the way she fell, for sure there was serious head trauma, probably a broken hip, maybe a spine injury. So when I talk about the miracles, please know that I am also breathing endless love for the unbelievable pain in this, for the tragedy of this, everything this means for her, for the people in her life, for the person who drove into her.

I want to pause, and I want to breathe in the miracles because that’s what I want to remember.

Not just her palpable suffering. Not just the helplessness of watching, how quickly she went into shock, the way her face contorted, her body beginning to spasm, reminding me instantly of the pumpkin cat. I want to think about the miracles.

Has anyone been here for that many years? Six years ago this week. I went through so much hurt over that cat.

Let’s breathe in the miracles. Let’s breathe in appreciation for the miracles.

Let’s breathe in the miracles.

Miracle. All the cars in the area stopped. No one honked. No one was impatient.

Miracle. The car that was closest to the scene had a license plate that said YOGA RX, and a trim dark-haired woman emerged briskly. She was calm, steady, grounded, knew exactly what to do. She called it in, she brought blankets, she brought steadiness.

Miracle.The guy from the car that hit the woman (not sure if he was driver or passenger) was on the ground, crouching next to her, holding her hand, saying the things that need to be said in a moment when someone needs love and presence. Not freaking out. Not making the moment about him. Just being with her.

Miracle. The ambulance arrived unbelievably quickly. Maybe five minutes? If that?

And Richard and I were witnessing, breathing peacefulness, glowing steadiness and love. Going right into heart-love. Not questioning that this was the right thing to do, the only thing to do. Committed to it with full presence. We got to be part of the miracles.

Constellations.

Six years ago, with the pumpkin cat, I wasn’t able to do that. I’ve been working on these skills since then.

I don’t know why this horrible thing happened, and I suspect that why is the wrong question anyway.

I do know that this woman had so many miracles showing up for her in the moment when she needed them, as if we were all drawn in to this constellation for this moment.

The centered, capable yoga therapist. The compassionate young man who didn’t fall apart but sat down on the ground and took her hand. The world’s speediest ambulance. The busy city street that somehow suddenly only contained people who were okay with not being in a hurry. As if the entire street suddenly remembered together that This Timing Is Right Timing and whenever we get there is when we get there.

And then me and Richard, two calm, quiet, loving-hearted people who know how to turn inward and become conduits for qualities. We were there, calling on peacefulness, calling on strength, calling in the allies of this moment, holding the strong edges of the circle.

Called in.

We were called into a moment, or at least that’s how it felt, and we were able to do the thing we know how to do for that moment, in that moment.

Six years ago I might have second-guessed all of this, gone into my head, worried that everything I was doing was wrong, not helpful, wished I was the kind of person who could help in more obvious ways, gone into shock, become lost in my own pain.

Now I can be the person who channels peacefulness.

I know where my skills are, I know where I am needed, I know where I do my best work, where I can truly contribute and be of service. From the edge of the circle.

I know when I am being called on, called in.

Speaking of unlikely angels.

When my little brother was five, he had appendicitis. It was terrifying, and he was tiny and fragile, he spent a lot of time in the hospital and an even longer time recovering.

I have this memory of being on a bus in Jerusalem, and he was in so much pain, the bus driver taking us on this mad rush through the streets so that we’d get where we needed quickly. The bus driver said something to my mother, something funny or comforting or sweet, I can’t remember what.

And later my mother said the bus driver had been an angel. Like, an actual angel.

For a lot of years I thought that was kind of a crazy thing to say, except now I know what she meant.

Actually, that isn’t true. I have no idea what she meant. I know what it means to me. The bus driver was in the configuration of people who were able to bring sweetness to a moment that required sweetness.

It’s not that he was an angel. It was that in that moment he had the option of being the angel when that was needed, and he stepped up.

Sometimes you gotta be the angel. Sometimes you get to be the angel.

It doesn’t mean you don’t still have your problems, your challenges, your patterns. It just means you say yes to being the conduit of comfort, kindness, compassion, humor, whatever qualities are needed.

Loss.

It always hurts when a former student commits suicide. I have my own stuff around this too.

My work, in many ways, exists for meeting pain.

Meeting pain, allowing pain, making room for pain, softening pain, listening to pain, understanding pain, undoing pain, making safety for pain, rewriting pain, revealing and receiving the treasures that come from experiences of pain, accessing truth-love in times of pain.

So yeah, my work naturally draws people who have pain, who are or have been in the dark places.

This means we lose some people. And it hurts like hell. This is the second time this year, and man, it’s just hard.

I know the dark places.

I wouldn’t be able to do this work I’ve been doing for the past nine years if I weren’t intimately familiar with them.

I know the dark places and I know the lies that live there. I remember the blankness.

I have mapped the territories of grief and of emptiness, of pure fear, and of the Nothing. I am not afraid of these places anymore, though for many years the dread of returning to them was my constant companion.

Light.

If I could whisper truth-love to all the hurting people, if I thought truth-love had a chance of landing, I might say this:

Even in the darkest places, you still get to be in someone else’s constellation.

You get to show up when you’re called and be someone else’s comfort, someone else’s moment of treasure, someone else’s moment of light, their reminder of truth-love.

And there are people who are ready and waiting to come into your constellations, to glow peacefulness and love for you, to hold the edges of the circle, to stand steady with lanterns as you find your way through the dark. We’re here. Even when you forget. Even when we forget. We’re here.

I know the dark places and I also know that healing and grace come in unexpected moments and unexpected ways.

Sometimes gradually over time. Sometimes swiftly in astonishing moments of opening and releasing. If we’re patient and intentional, maybe both.

Stay with us.

Stay with us.

Everything you are going through is legitimate, it makes sense that things feel this hard, that it seems like it isn’t going to get better. It sucks, it really does. I’m so sorry.

And you are safe, you are held and you are loved, and one day you will taste again and smell springtime and the flame will flicker again in your thank-you heart.

I’m breathing peacefulness for this right now. We all are. There are so many of us. Inhaling, exhaling.

Join in whenever you can.

My wish.

May we all remember to take care of ourselves, to rest and replenish, to do whatever we need to do to get quiet enough so that these moments of showing up are possible.

May we all have Uncanny and Fortuitous (Consensual) Hugs when we need them, and before we need them. The superpower of everything we need is right here: activate. The superpower of clear seeing: activate.

May we be granted unlikely angels whenever we need them. May we be present and engaged with life so that we can be the unlikely angels when the opportunity arises.

May we fill up on truth-love, pause for sweet red lights, make room for each other, make room for ourselves, listen to our secret desires, notice the vibrancy of color, the sweet smell of the earth, name the things around us until we find our way back to ourselves, so we can join the circle and strengthen the edges.

Amen.

How we play here. You are invited.

Safe space online is such a rare and precious thing. To make that work, we lovingly commit to two intentional practices: not giving each other advice and not care-taking.

We try to remember that we all have our stuff (pain, fear, doubt, grief, history), and we’re all working on our stuff, each in our own way and our own timing. It’s a process.

The things we are talking about today are not easy. So we tread gently. We don’t make assumptions about anyone else’s experience. We meet ourselves and each other with warmth, patience, presence and love, to the best of our ability.

You are welcome to share things sparked for you, to take some peacefulness (there’s enough), or to breathe peacefulness for everyone who needs extra. And of course you can leave flowers. I love flowers.

Love, as always, to everyone who is a part of this place, including the Beloved Lurkers, quiet passers-by and everyone who reads. Thank you.

Wish 274: the doing of not doing


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

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity on my desires. The point isn’t achieving the wish (though cool things emerge from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and accessing the qualities. Wanting can be hard, it’s easy to feel conflicted about it, and the reasons behind that make this a surprisingly subversive practice…

This morning.

This morning I woke up feeling almost euphorically peaceful.

Last night I had a good cry, I was held and loved, I drank orange-pineapple juice and the pineapple bit was extra-kicky.

I giggled, imagining Pineapple as a woman at a party who has more energy than I can handle. Then there was more sweetness, followed by sweet sleep, and then I woke up with what seemed to me to be an impossibly peaceful heart.

Peaceful.

I have put in a lot of hours getting to know the quality of peacefulness. Building intimacy with peacefulness.

People always remark on how peaceful I am, how peaceful my home is, how peaceful the Playground is.

What they don’t know is that this isn’t something that just is.

Peacefulness is something I’ve put crazy amounts of time into cultivating, because I needed it.

Making friends with peacefulness is my answer to PTSD, to the nightmares, to being a fragile, vulnerable, highly sensitive human being who finds many aspects of daily life pretty overwhelming.

Sometimes I’m right there with the peacefulness, sometimes we have to find our way back to each other.

Forget and remember, forget and remember, lose my way and return. I descend to the floor and breathe into it. Hello, floor. Hello, breath. Hello, quiet.

That’s what I need. I get quieter and quieter. I bring myself back. Peacefulness.

Peacefulness.

I do all this work so that I can exude peacefulness, glow peacefulness, give myself peacefulness.

The goal: meet each moment with presence so that I can either be peaceful with it, or notice my reactiveness and make space for that. Which is also a form of peacefulness.

Permission to not be in a peaceful place, understanding that in a given moment I might perceive that I have lost my access to peacefulness, these are gifts that come from peacefulness. Do you see?

This morning, again.

Normally in the morning I have to do things to get back to peaceful.

Often I wake up slightly-to-very overwhelmed about the sheer number of things that seem to need doing, and how they will be done and what if they don’t get done (again!).

I have trained myself to meet these moments, trained myself to focus on rituals of sweetness, the things I do in order to take exquisite care of myself. Partly so that I can function. And partly because that’s how I want to live. Living like this is one of the secret treasures of having been through so much hard.

This morning I woke up and enjoyed the sunlight dancing in the very green tree, the soft hum of the fan, clarity, sweetness, feeling fullness in my opening thank-you heart.

A day of quiet things.

I did a lot of very quiet things today.

Things I normally do not allow myself to do. Or things my There’s No Time monsters categorize as time-wasting.

Of course I have other monsters who say I don’t do enough of these either, so there’s that.

Here is what my day looked like, beginning from peacefulness.

I lit some sage and walked through the house, breathing peacefulness, asking all the things that are done to find their way out.

I smiled at things in my home that delight me. I blew kisses to parts of my home that don’t feel right.

I noticed some things about space, and about my space, and what I want and do not want in my space.

Agent Mueller had brought carnations home and left them in the kitchen, which was interesting. I adore flowers, and Agent Mueller knows this. When the garden has flowers, he brings them in and puts them all over the house, just to make me smile. However he doesn’t like to buy flowers. I suspect these flowers might be a thank-you for having resolved a sticky interpersonal situation the other day with a combination of skill and magic. Yay, flowers.

I much prefer FLOWERS EVERYWHERE to one big bouquet, so I divided the flowers into tiny bottles and vases, and put them everywhere I could think of. Superpower of Flowers Make Everything Better: Activated.

Then I did some bits and pieces of Congruencing, which is what I call organizing, since ugh organizing is the worst (for me), but I like it when things feel harmonious.

This included cleaning the mud from my red sovereignty boots, and dealing with the box of clothing that needs to be hand-washed. Slowly remembering that the process of Adoring My Garments can actually be sexy and fun, if I do it with intention, even though in my mind it gets categorized as a chore. Not a chore.

Then Agent Mueller and I did work-related errands, and then I wrote, and now my body is whispering that it is time for yoga. To the floor to breathe peacefulness.

To breathe love-more trust-more release-more receive-more.

What do I want?

More days like this.

Not just the peacefulness, though: yes please more of that.

More of the kind of doing that is following the instinctive pull of desire. More of this slow, steady, deliberate, appreciation-filled doing.

More of this doing of things that seem like not-doing but are actually changing the look and feel of both my internal and external space.

As I like to say: interior design. Very, very interior.

Awesome side note. I couldn’t find the post that I wanted to link to for interior design so I googled “turkish lady yoga interior design”, and it accidentally yielded one of the most wonderful image searches.

The instinctive pull. And the following.

I wrote above that I want to be following the instinctive pull of desire.

As I wrote these words, I knew what the pull was in that moment: to tell someone I was thinking about them.

I finished writing the section and then picked up my phone to do this, and there waiting for me was a text from this very person sent a couple minutes earlier:

“Thinking of you. That is all…”

So. What do I want?

More of this please.

More of this peacefulness. More of the doing of not doing. More alignment with what I feel, want and need in each moment. More intention. More of the all the superpowers of that.

What else do I know about this?

Acting from presence leads to more acting from presence.

Acting from panic leads to more acting from panic.

When I am on the panic path, it’s hard to pause and take a breath and allow myself to wander over to the presence-grace-peacefulness path. It can be hard to remember that this is even an option, that any moment can be a hop-skip over to where I want to be.

Not really a wandering over actually because (here is a wild secret!) it’s the same path. Or, they co-exist, so you can just say “Door!”, and there’s a door. I know, there’s no spoon. It’s nuts.

Here’s what I wrote last week:

I need my wide open heart of curiosity, presence and wonder.

I need to remember that the act of wanting, of being present with heart-desire, is enough. It’s another way I learn about myself and take care of myself.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. Practice.

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: This is the next step.
Me: Not taking steps?
She: Taking the indicated steps, even if they are tiny, or don’t seem to make sense. Presence. Being present with stepping. What comes next does not require leaping. It just requires paying attention.

Clues?

She’s catching attention like a flower in bloom / the night isn’t over until she leaves the room….

The superpower of trusting the voyage.

October-2014-Embarking
Last month was the month of receiving, and gracefully receiving gifts. Gracefully receiving my gifts.

Now we’ve turned a page in the calendar and it’s the month of Embarking, with the superpower of trusting the voyage. This feels big.

It also relates to ships, which I love, and which I use as code for the problematic word “relationships”, which I do not love. I like the part about relating. I do not like being in a box, and I do not like the expectations which come along with set forms. I like presence, openness, creativity, wonder, delight, trust and love.

So let’s have more of that. Let’s embark on that. I’m ready to trust the voyage. Ah, what beautiful wishes.

Ongoing wishes.

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I have the best time dancing in my ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things, I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, and it is not even a big deal, yay.
  • I am ready to come into my superpowers, including the superpowers of knowing that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, I Am Okay With Being Seen, receiving gifts that are winging their way to me. See also: The superpower of Everything Enhances My Superpowers. And adds panache.

Things I find helpful when it comes to wishes…

Set the intention. Nap on it. Dance it, write it, play with it, walk the labyrinth. Take lots of notes. Take deeper breaths, getting quieter and quieter until I hear what is true.

More sweet pauses, yes to the red lights, remember the purple pills, say thank you to the broken pots. Permission. Bright colors. Passion. Costume changes. Stone skipping with incoming me. Dance. Intensity. Writing. Lipstick. My body gets the deciding vote. And, as always, saying thank you in advance.

Give it to the compass: Eight directions, eight qualities, eight breaths.

Trust. Release. Love. Receive. Anchor. Crown. Glow. Boldly.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka what I want vs what I think I want…

This was a good week for me. I definitely noticed a lot of disconnect between some of my perceived surface wants and what was really going on for me. I also noticed a much deeper trust in my wishes. Letting the qualities of the wish lead me.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. ♡

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads. In any size/form you like, there’s no right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent 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.

xox