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

 

Wish 313: subterranean

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

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

Maybe.

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.

Basement.

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. 

Background: I’m mostly on the road, on a sabbatical experiment, my housemate is at his girlfriend’s most of the time, change is in the air.

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.

This is a theme in my life, as you know.

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. 

Sadness.

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.

 
Whoa. 

New evidence.

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.

Love.

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.

It’s this:

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.

Invitation.

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!

Now.

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.

Clues.

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.

July - Love MoreJune was RELEASE MORE, with the superpower of I am stronger than I think, and now July is LOVE MORE, because 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…

Nap, dance, write, play, labyrinths. Get quiet. Sweet pauses, yes to red lights and purple pills, thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Skip stones. Body first. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths in eight directions:

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.

Ongoing Wishes. Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere. Ha, this doesn’t require my input! My business is thriving happily without me. I think like a dancer. It’s so perfect it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS. I have what I need, and appreciate it. I am fearless and confident. I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, no big deal. I claim my superpowers. Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more.

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.

xox

Chicken 362: you forgot to be a giraffe

Friday chicken

A look at the good and the hard in my week, a ritual of reflecting.

It is Friday and we are here.

{a breath for Friday, for this space, and for being here when we get here.}

What worked this week?

Asking friends to keep me company.

Both virtual and IRL.

Companionship was a big deal this week.

Next time I might…

Run away.

Okay, two years ago I made a promise to myself to get out of town in July, and avoid the explosions and trauma of fireworks on and around [that holiday].

Last year I was somewhere quiet and peaceful and beautiful, and it was heaven.

This year I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s awful. Fireworks every day, all week, and we’re not even at the Fourth yet.

Let’s keep planning ahead, my love. And remember that it’s not just the one day, it’s more like ten days.

And the title of my upcoming Biopic if it were based on this week…

That Seems Like Way Too Much Work, Never Mind. The Havi Brooks Story.

If you feel drawn to leave comments on aspects of my week, I will take love, hearts, breaths, pebbles, I do not need advice or cheering up, though presence and sweetness are appreciated. Hearts or pebbles are great if you don’t know what to say, often I don’t know what to say either so we’re in the same boat.

Eight breaths for the hard, challenging and mysterious.

  1. This was a challenging week, and really, that’s kind of all I want to say about that, so let this be a placeholder for [Silent Retreat] on things being difficult for me. A breath for remembering that I am allowed to find challenging things challenging, and all the superpowers of that.
  2. This heat wave is ridiculous and seemingly never-ending, and it’s nearly a hundred degrees (if not more) every day, and it is reminding me of the worst summer of my life and I am having a rough time of it. A breath for me.
  3. Body is unhappy. Not sleeping well, or, for that matter, doing anything well, because of the heat and sunburn and early fireworks going off and the neighbor is doing something that involves 8am jackhammers, and also I am dealing with [situations]. A breath for acknowledgment, legitimacy, permission, meeting myself with love.
  4. I am spending my days in the basement where the air is cooler, going through boxes upon boxes, and letting things go, and it hurts so much, and I am uncovering things (in the boxes and in me) that I did not want to see or remember or encounter, and all this letting go is the worst. A breath for easing and releasing.
  5. There is a version of me, I call her Volatile Me. She’s in her early twenties, I think, and she lives to make trouble, and she is so hurt and so angry, and she is hellbent on destroying everything in sight and doesn’t care who else gets taken down in the process (hint, it’s always her), and she is really angling for us to go on a Stupid Streak, so she can watch everything burn. I love her, I recognize that she wants to protect me, I want her to feel heard and acknowledged, and I am not okay with her going to the front of the V and taking command. A breath for these old, old patterns and all the fun-sounding but ultimately self-destructive things I want to do when she’s in lashing out mode, a breath for making new choices.
  6. Ohmygod this country. Black churches are burning every day and the news is like, lalalalala this doesn’t exist. The cognitive dissonance of that, how extreme it is. People are being terrorized, and it’s essentially invisible except there it is, happening. A breath of grace, please, for seeing, for naming things, for everything that needs to change.
  7. Two weeks without my lover, who is too busy and/or out of cell range to talk to me, and has basically really just gone AWOL, and and half the time I crave his company because I miss him so much and also just because I want someone to talk to, and the other half of the time I want to shut him out and hurt him for not being there for me (see: Volatile Me), but I can’t shut him out anyway even if I were going to, since he’s nowhere to be found. A breath for every single part of this, and for remembering that the story I’m telling is not truth. Truth is that I am safe and loved and held in grace, all the time, whether he’s in my life or not. And truth is also that he is crazy about me, and none of my monster-stories are even remotely-accurate. So let’s stay in truth, babe. Let’s come back to truth.
  8. Inhale, exhale. May all misunderstandings and distortions, internal and external, dissolve in love if not in laughter. Goodbye (and thank you), mysteries and hard moments of this week. May I choose to trust-more love-more release-more receive-more.

Eight breaths of good, reassuring, delight-filled.

  1. Had another miracle week of not being in chronic pain most of the time. A breath for everything that is working.
  2. BEACH DAY! Julie and I went to the coast, where it was 73 degrees as opposed to 97 in Portland. I thought I might have some feelings, since we went to a place I used to go with The Spy, but it was easy. Oh, the Pacific Ocean. Oh, cool breezes and wearing a scarf, and writing. I need to spend way more time at the coast. A breath for happiness.
  3. Before the sunburn and other body stuff, I was MOVING MY BODY and it felt so good. I mean, I was mainly doing that because my dance studio has delicious amounts of air conditioning, but movement was wonderful. And I went blues dancing, which is incredible, because I haven’t felt motivation or desire to dance in a long time. I left my house! I went out dancing! Had some beautifully creative dances. A breath for joyful movement, for connection, for creativity and play.
  4. All this releasing is good for me. Processing all this emotion is good for me, even when it’s not fun. I can feel the truth of this. I have the tools to do this. Thank you, patterns, for revealing yourselves to me so clearly that it’s obvious what’s going on, and I can find ways to interrupt them. Thank you, wisest me, for reminding me that this is a useful experience. Thank you, internal scientists, for showing me evidence that yes, I have a tendency to get kind of pugilistic in high temperatures, yes, heat puts me back into Tel Aviv flashbacks, and I get really reactive, and that this isn’t the wholeness of me, it’s just a reaction to externals. Thank you. Thank you. A breath for taking care of myself.
  5. Agent Origami and I are doing a secret Rally right now, and it is THE BEST thing in the entire world. I am writing. This is good. Everything is part of Shmita. I have superpowers and a container for processing. Oh, and I went to see a psychic, accidentally on purpose, who was wrong about this one thing that all psychics are wrong about but man was she on target about some other things: she saw right through Volatile Me, and named the situation I had just spent two hours describing in my journal. A breath for trusting the process.
  6. Naps = magic. A breath of love for the healing power of napping.
  7. A few years ago I would have either repressed Volatile Me or let her take over completely and then regretted it so hard. Now I’m able to sit down and hash things out with her, take her dancing, listen, learn. And then I was able to take that intel and talk to my lover about [feelings], and this went really well instead of the way it would have gone back in the day. So. This is big. A breath for conscious interaction, for being present with the hard stuff, and for remembering how to play.
  8. Thankfulness. So much is good. Cold washcloths. Spray bottles. Frozen dates. Frozen bananas. Netflix. I found some things in the basement I’d thought were lost forever. A thing at my ballroom that could have gone horribly, tragically wrong ended up being fine. Still happy about Operation True Yes. My lover is on his way to me in four days, and I can feel him glowing sweetness towards me and smiling that smile I like so much. I dreamed a healing. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong, even when I think it is. Now is not then. All Timing Is Right Timing. Thankful for this grand adventure. A full breath of deep appreciation in my thank-you heart.

Wham booms, wisdom, superpowers, salve and FBOTW!

Operations completed. Wham boom!

Whoosh Ha Mastodon Boom is secret agent code meaning: this thing is done! Shortened to wham-boom.

I sorted through ELEVEN GIGANTIC BOXES full of papers. I found scribbled post-it notes from my mother. I cried my eyes out. I recycled things that I was scared to let go of. We can call that a successful mission, and I now award myself a billion sparklepoints. Wham Boom.

Superpowers I had this week…

I had the superpowers of Realizing What I’m Actually Upset About, and Giving Myself Permission To Do Less.

Which is kind of perfect, since last week I asked for the superpower of trusting in the powers of doing nothing.

Powers I want.

I want all the superpowers of Self-Care Is My Extreme Sport.

The Salve of Self-Care Is My Extreme Sport.

These invisible salves are distributed here by way of internet magic. Help yourself! Take it in a bath, as tea, a cocktail, whatever works for you. Not only is there enough salve, there are also enough ways to receive it.

When I put on this salve, I treat Taking Exquisite Care of Myself the same way that an athlete in an extreme sport approaches shredding it.

I rest like it’s going to be videotaped for posterity, and an entire generation of kids will stare open-mouthed at my balls-out fearless mastery of things like giving myself a glass of water and going back to bed.

This salve combines Strength and Courage with Sweetness and Play. It goes well with the new calendar page for July (LOVE MORE) with its superpower of This Is A Badass Way To Live.

This, yes this, is a badass way to live.

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

My brother and I make up bands, which are all just one guy. The Meme Beach House is the venue.

This week’s band is from a drawing I found in the basement. It was a page from the Monster Coloring Book and the monster was upset because I forgot to be a giraffe. That’s this band: You Forgot To Be A Giraffe. Their latest album is called Don’t You Even Care, they play funk elevator music and are actually just one guy.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I am recommending the Emergency Get Calm, Quiet And Steady techniques, aka the thing that keeps me from falling apart. This got me through the 2am panicking again this week!

How was your week?

Come play in the comments. Share something from your week, take a breath, or just say hi! No rules, my format doesn’t have to be yours, we’ve been doing this every week for years now 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 — jump in whenever you like. Blowing kisses to the Beloved Lurkers too!