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.

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.

Operation Bells & Spells / What is Revealed?

Fluent Self July - the month of Revealing

Photo by Craig Fritz / @craigfritzeye, this is the skylight of our new retreat center, come visit!

19 minutes

I have been [taking] nineteen minutes a day to do [a something] that is quiet or pleasurable or reflective.

[Taking?]

Is that even the word? Is it taking or is it finding?

Finding or is it devoting?

[A something?]

Something that pulls me but for whatever reasons I do not let myself follow this pull.

Maybe something I long for, maybe something I always forget about and remember and forget again. Something that is not currently getting my full attention or something I am not usually able to prioritize. My nineteen minutes can be given to anything in this category.

Examples of a something…

Maybe reading a chapter of a book in my toppling TBR pile, maybe asking slightly-wiser-me for direction.

Maybe sitting in the garden and talking to the labyrinth-to-be, maybe getting on the floor and watching the clouds move across the sky.

Maybe I don’t know what my nineteen minutes are for and so I ask them. Maybe the nineteen minutes are for the question and for the listening.

Maybe I don’t know where to even find nineteen minutes and the practice is about exploring that and running experiements…

The experiment

Time for yourself without an agenda, time for BEING, is a big deal.

Triple-especially in this culture that only prioritizes DOING, and really only gives you any credit for doing when it’s in the stages of finishing. Everything is about accomplishing and word-count and ass-in-chair.

So this is an intimate, vulnerable practice just by virtue of not being about those things. This is the opposite of that. This is about prioritizing and treasuring process, letting ourselves be in process without an agenda other than can we observe what takes place inside of this container of nineteen minutes…

Harder than it sounds? Haha, yup, maybe, sometimes!

This practice falls in the category of deceptively simple, in the sense that things which are simple are not necessarily easy.

Pretty much everything about [19 minutes] can sometimes be more challenging than it sounds like it should be, at least for me.

For many reasons, including but not limited to things like WHAT EVEN IS TIME AND HOW DO YOU FIND ANY?!

Though also we have the very interesting question of WHAT IS JOYFUL AND DO I EVEN KNOW ANYMORE HOW TO JUST CHILL.

That’s the practice though, right?

That’s part of why I’m doing it. Because taking time for myself is subversive, and exploring what might be joyful is a worthy investigation.

Mainly though I’m doing it to see what is revealed. In me, in the practice.

And of course, observing this process is also revealing.

What comes up as I am IN THE BECOMING?

That is to say: becoming someone who prioritizes carving out space and calling in permission for presence and play? Maybe even becoming someone who can intentionally do some delicious nothing at any time without any accompanying guilt or panic? Hahaha. Who knows.

And if I can already do these things some of the time, what changes when I have this lovely container of Time, Space & Intention to call in what is next, to magic up the new and better?

The most important part of this (to me)

For me, the practice is not so much the nineteen minutes as it is engaging with the idea of it.

I can get as much or more useful intel on a day when I can’t seem to carve out nineteen minutes (or on a day when I notice myself beating myself up about forgetting the practice) as I do from taking the nineteen minutes.

The practice is not the doing or the perceived accomplishing.

The practice is the engaging-with and the noticing. The practice is learning about how I can meet myself with kindness when I get stuck, and figuring out what I might want to try when I can’t.

Revealing love with love

When I am feeling [perceptions of lost & stuck], I ask Incoming Me what to do. She always says the same thing:

“Let nothing be hidden, and have nothing that is not needed”.

Do you feel how this is the essence of revealed and revealing? I feel it like a heart-belly reverberation.

Revealed means you know what is there and you know what you need.

You know what is there (nothing is hidden), and you know what you need (because what you have is what you need, or you are ready to remove anything that doesn’t support your needs).

Revealing as the natural extension of gleaming

Revealed is what comes from Gleaming. Revealed is what allows for Shimmering.

Revealed is related to Fierce Purpose, the north of my compass, and to the superpower of clearing the path to clear the path. Revealing is a gift of last year’s practice of Further Reductions To Gain In Powers.

It also reminds me of this elegant Feldenkrais concept: “If you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want”.

What am I noticing about how I am doing what I am doing? Let’s take 19 minutes for that!

In Feldenkrais, you practice awareness through movement, noticing how you are doing what you are doing, so you can either do something differently to change your movement/experience, or stay with the same movement while adding grace, ease, pleasure, awareness.

This is what I’m aiming towards in this practice of 19 minutes. What can I notice in this container of time? Am I doing what I want to be doing? What would add grace, ease, pleasure and awareness?

Companionship (would you like to play with this?)

Something that has revealed itself for me in the past months of being a hermit in the desert is that I am craving companionship and community in the form of people who share my desire to play with these ideas.

I’m opening my practice to anyone who wants to play in community, so some intel below in case you want to join us, which is still possible through Monday!

THE WHAT

A container of time-space in the form of private intentional communal space for just about four months to mess around with this concept of nineteen minutes.

* Or your form of that, maybe it’s three minutes, or maybe what you want isn’t measured in minutes at all! Or maybe you’ll take a few months to work up to nineteen minutes, that works too.

THE WHEN

We just embarked last weekend and you are welcome to join in. We will go until September 23rd which is equinox (autumnal in the northern hemisphere, vernal if you’re on the other side) so just about four months.

THE WHERE

A private-access separate blog that no one will know about except this group. You run your own practice in as many series of comments as you like, and everyone else runs theirs.

This idea is to enjoy the benefits and superpowers of companionship and community, without the migraine-ey Endless Scrolling effects (for me at least) of being on FB or another platform. I’m doing this experiment of 19 in part to interrupt my patterns of Endless Scrolling.

Some benefits/superpowers of community include:

+ the weird wonderful thing that is collective energy and intention set into motion: even when we forget or get stuck, other people’s untangling supports our untangling, and our rest supports them!
+ the zoom effect of magically getting more done when someone is keeping us company
+ get inspired by other people’s insights and process
+ low-key accountability aka the kind that doesn’t make us feel terrible about ourselves

The Why

Because the work of seeding new habits or patterns is made easier when we have a form or a container to support this, and sometimes we need to invent one.

Because we will have so much more peacefulness in this complicated high-stress life if we have dedicated time-space to practice just listening and following instinct, and it’s easier to do this when our friends are doing it too.

(And the why of 19)

I don’t know, it just felt so right to me. Less than 20?

I imagine of course that other people will approach differently. Maybe someone will want a practice that is five minutes, and maybe someone else will want a practice that is not tied to time or numbers but something more like “each day I’ll read a chapter of a book for fun” or “I want to go for a short walk and breathe air!”

And other people might really feel pulled towards a frame of nineteen minutes but need to work up to it because life is doing life-things as it does, totally understandable. You can use this container for that too.

Re: working up to nineteen, if this is a thing that interests you…

If I wake up (or go to bed) one minute earlier each day, in less than three weeks I have an extra nineteen minutes.

If I wake up (or go to bed) ten seconds earlier each day, in four months I’m at nineteen minutes, absolutely NAILING IT, and who even notices ten seconds? Superpower of CUMULATIVE & FRACTAL!

The point is, there are many options, lots of ways to play. And if it takes us the full four months to carve out those minutes, that is both the right amount of time and also a useful experiment that will shed light on everything else we’re working on in life.

But in my experience, slow shifts can become fast shifts, there is a snowballing momentum factor that kicks in. In any case, the point isn’t to Do It Right, the point is to play, observe, learn, and change the experiment as needed because it exists to support us, not to be another thing we “should” be doing better or feeling bad about.

And what if the thing that pulls me isn’t pleasurable?

This keeps coming up for me because there are SO MANY THINGS I want to give nineteen minutes to, and some of them are more in the category of currently stuck-ish.

So I personally am not planning to use this time for iguanas (things that are stuck and need to be liberated) or for big scary exciting projects (write a screenplay?!) because I want to establish this practice of Devotional Minutes in my body-mind as something that is associated with feeling good. I am using it to cultivate joy.

Your practice is of course your own practice. I recommend starting easy and then making it easier, but that’s what works for me, and People Vary, and you know what works for you, and if you don’t, well, you can take nineteen minutes a day to find out…

And a word about fear of failure.

Again, to me at least, the practice is not so much the nineteen minutes as it is engaging with the idea of it.

There is no way to screw up the practice even if we don’t do it, because we are learning about ourselves.

Maybe some people will take the entire four months to slowly work up to nineteen minutes, or investigate the idea of it. Take as much time as needed to meet the version of you who takes time.

It’s all a grand experiment. And we will also benefit from everyone else running their experiments in the form of shared wisdom and sparks of insight.

The Un-FAQ

I was going to write some kind of FAQ but then got stuck on that because answering questions is itself part of guru culture, which is the very thing I’m trying to dismantle in my work.

As you know, I don’t want to be the answerer-of-questions, the one with the answers. I want a relationship of equals where we all explore until we arrive at our own wise knowing.

I could of course process some of the questions I’ve played with on my own. I can also trust that you have the ability to process your own questions as they come up. Feel free to use the comments section for that.

And GUESS WHAT! A SPECIAL PRICE for you, sweet faraway online friend

I am extremely excited about this four month adventure and also never wrote the page to announce it.

Can blame many things (house is a construction zone! I fell down some stairs and am covered in bruises! at war with a mouse!), but to be quite honest, maybe I didn’t want to write it. Maybe I will write a page for the next time we do it, if I ever want to run this experiment again, who knows.

You get some good news which is that I will give you the discounted pre-signup price ($77 USD as opposed to $167 USD) since I’m the one who hilariously never told you what it was or why you should do it. Good through Monday.

We will play together from now through fall equinox . Here’s the discounted sign-up link!

As always: breathe into your yes, the power of the collective will work wild magic no matter how much or often you participate or not! Usual boring policies apply.

Let’s play!

You are welcome/invited to use the comment space to share any !!! or anything sparked for you about any of these concepts, and the delicious word REVEALING which is giving me life right now as the kids say.

If you want to talk to any version of Incoming You / Slightly Wiser You about nineteen minutes or anything else, go for it. You’re always welcome to play with any of the concepts here, name wishes, call in some magic and superpowers, whatever you need. This is, as always, safe space for play and process, we meet each other with love and we don’t give advice.

And if you’re joining me for four months of 19 minutes, CONFETTI PARADE!

As always, please share with anyone who could use any of this. I love that you’re here with me.

xoxox
havi

Gleaming

Fluent Self April - the month of Gleaming

Photo by Craig Fritz / @craigfritzeye, taken on the grounds of the new retreat center!

Enchantments on the kitchen floor

“Babe,” says Circe the Enchantress.
“I know,” I say, “I’m gleaming the floor for you.”

Gleaming is Circe’s favorite word. Gleam and shimmer. Mend and tend. These are her words, her spells because Circe speaks in spells, but especially GLEAMING.

She wants everything to be gleaming, and she uses it as a verb. Let’s gleam this. The sink is not gleaming, it needs to be gleamed. Gleam all the surfaces.

“The pantry needs tending first,” says Circe the Enchantress, insistent.
“I want to finish the floors though,” I say, even as I recognize that arguing with a powerful enchantress who resides in a magical garden is probably the least wise decision I could make right now. And that’s in a month that has been characterized by pretty much nothing but increasingly poor decisions.

Noir

I swear I’ve reached film-noir-protagonist levels of regrettable decisions, aka when something — usually some combination of desire, desperation and just not paying attention leads you to do something you know is not right or at least iffy, and then the one bad move just cascades into seemingly unending consequences.

Haha, and here we are in some previously unknown and unimagined realm of some next-level Shit Hitting The Fan where everything is breaking, and why is everything breaking.

Hmmmmm

This might also be a monster-story.

In other words, this might be a false interpretation of the facts. Yes, an alarming number things appear to be breaking and exiting, crashing and disintegrating, but is that not just a continuation of the spell May All That Is Unworthy Exit Swiftly And Easily?

Maybe we just need a new spell of The New, Beautiful & Harmonious Lands With Ease.

Maybe we just need to look differently at the breaking, a shift in perception, how I choose to perceive. And is this not also a form of shape-shifting?

Either way, I remain somewhere between annoyed and panicked by all the breaking, while Circe the Enchantress remains Gloriously Unbothered by all of it, because that’s her entire thing, her defining characteristic.

As always

“It’s really not my defining characteristic,” says Circe the Enchantress.
“What’s your defining characteristic?” I want to know. “Turning men into pigs?”
“That would be turning them back into pigs, and if they don’t want that to happen then they shouldn’t try to cross me,” says Circe. “And no, that’s not it. You know what it is.”
“I don’t think I do,” I say.
“Then you’ll just have to pay more attention, babe,” says Circe, who is again, as fucking always, Extremely Unbothered by everything, which happens to be the superpower I desire with my entire being as well as the one I am completely unable to embody while everything is breaking.

Place.

I gleam the floor exactly the way Circe likes. First you sweep, then vacuum, then steam-mop, and finally rub peppermint oil at the baseboards as a spell so that all the desert creatures are reminded about their rightful place aka outdoors.

When I am finished with the floor, I want to make a goodnight potion. Except when I open the door to the pantry, you guessed it, a glass bottle immediately hurls itself off of the shelf and breaks into a thousand pieces, and I have to gleam the floor all over again.

“MOTHERFUCKER!” is what I shout, then I wait for an I Told You So from Circe the Enchantress, but she is unbothered. I’m the only one who is bothered, and I am extremely bothered.

Haha, that might be my defining characteristic at the moment. Saturated, maybe. Like to the point of worn down when absolutely anything can last-straw me.

Tired / Tires / Retired / Retires

I tried to make myself go dancing even though I knew I was too tired to go dancing, and then Star Car flashed the scary low tire pressure light, so I didn’t go. I chose rest, or you could say that rest chose me, and it was right.

The next day we discovered torn up bits in my front tires, and to be clear, I one hundred percent blame Border Patrol for this, but that is another story for another day, and also there are honestly way more terrible and horrifying things that Border Patrol does on a daily basis, much, much worse than driving fast and reckless on my tail on a winding, hilly, unlit country road in the middle of the night, until I bounced over some sharp rocks onto what I hoped was a pullout. But this is just to say fuck them — or is that hex them, they can all be turned into pigs too, after they are tried for war crimes, amen.

Anyway, $300 USD later, Star Car had two new tires, and I was like, augh to hell with everything why does nothing work. But Circe the Enchantress said, “NOW YOU ARE READY FOR ANYTHING. Don’t you just love the feeling of ready for anything?”

Let’s Mary Oliver this

So there I was, furious and frustrated, with Circe still Gloriously Unbothered, and I decided to play a game I call How Would Mary Oliver Experience This?

What would our beloved Mary Oliver notice, enjoy and find praise-worthy here? How much pleasure would she take in this now deliciously smooth ride? And would she not prioritize that pleasure over the temporal human irritability about expenses and the story of everything breaking?

Of course she’d appreciate the warm voice of the person who knew exactly how to solve the tire situation, she would feel the powerful deep exhale of hey this is solvable and we can solve this. She’d love these enormous Arizona cloudscapes, I imagine us laughing about how the sky here is like the sea, always changing, always wild.

My amazing co-conspirator Kat named more of these WWMOD (What Would Mary Oliver Do) superpowers, and can we take a breath for how perfect these are?

Transmuting Each Experience Into Poetry. Close Observation Grounded In Loving The World. Unflinching Truth Even When Sorrowful But Also Unimpressed By Seriousness.

This is the practice

Yes, this is what I am trying to do. This is part of my bridge to becoming Circe, to embodying her powers and her certainty, integrating her wisdom, learning how to glow-and-gleam that gloriously unbothered everything, to be in my steady quiet knowing that things are more okay than I think in my world, and I am okay, even when I am thrown.

And if I am bothered, this is okay too, it makes sense, really who wouldn’t be thrown by all this breaking. Understandable.

Not to mention all the breaking around us, the barrage of terrible and frightening news, the systems that aren’t working, the folks in danger, not knowing how best to serve and support.

Still here

The next day I got into it with a porch step, and a rusty nail sliced up the inside of my wrist, didn’t get a vein but a close call. Scary. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gotten a tetanus shot, but luckily I had powerful new tires ready to take me into civilization to get that taken care of.

And now I have an awesome and slightly terrifying scar to remind me that things will break and I am still okay.

Tend

I am trying to stay focused on the superpowers of EVERYTHING IS CUMULATIVE AND FRACTAL.

In other words, everything I do — a nap, breaking down, even breaking a glass and having to re-gleam the floors, each act of doing or not-doing, undoing or redoing, all of it is somehow mysteriously supporting my wishes and desires, moving me towards my goals even if it appears to be doing the opposite.

Small steps count exponentially. Perceived detours or obstacles are not taking me away from the path, they’re part of the path, they are next steps, they are asking me to make things more congruent.

Also, I am a star for persevering. Trying to remember this.

Math

I did the math and realized that depending on what you define as a relatively safe and dependable living situation, I have spent between 6.5 and 10 years of my life houseless.

I thought that arriving in a place, finally landing after these last few years of uprooted and wandering, would somehow solve a lot of things, and it absolutely did, but I am also re-learning that landing means finally having the space to properly fall apart, which is partly why landing is such a big deal.

And while falling apart was not part of the plan, it is allowed and understandable, and it will take as long as it takes.

So yes, if everything in my life needs to literally break to remind me that falling apart is a thing, then okay, I will pay attention eventually. I am paying attention now.

Reduce

“Babe,” says Circe, again. “The pantry.”
“We just gleamed the pantry three days ago,” I say.
“It has items you do not use and do not love,” says Circe the Enchantress. “You didn’t even use them when you were snowed in for days. Reduce reduce reduce. The hearth is for magic, not for cans of things you forget about.”

The next day the oven stopped working and then two days later the pantry needed to be removed, and soon the entire kitchen was volunteering its way out, and I had to fit the entire contents of the kitchen into one cabinet. Though luckily I had just done all that reducing…

Fuck!!!” I say.
“It’s a good thing, trust me”, says Circe the Enchantress.
“How is this a good thing?”
“You’re asking the wrong question, babe”, says Circe the Enchantress, and she is probably right, she usually is.

Denkmal

The German word for monument is Denkmal, which means THINK FOR A MOMENT.

Such a beautiful and perfect word, so compact and such a clear and direct invitation: pause please!

Can we stop what we are doing and just reflect for a moment on the how-and-why of what we are doing and is this how we wish to doing it? Can we breathe and remember?

The long scar on my wrist is a think-a-moment for staying present in the process of removing old boards from a structure that no longer supports me (cough, my porch is a metaphor), and the space where my cupboards once were is a denkmal for the question of what wants to be stored and what wants to be set free.

Tending

I asked Circe what a sorceress does in/with an enchanted garden, and she said TENDING, and then very abruptly exited the conversation as if to say, “okay babe you need to work with that concept for a while before we can talk about other things…”

She has a point.

Clearly TENDING is a base level principle that I need to get and don’t, many layers to tending that I need to explore, and that’s what I’m doing. Gleaming into shimmering. Tending in order to mend.

Tending with tenderness.

Nineteen minutes in the enchanted garden

Each day I spend nineteen minutes in the enchanted garden where I am clearing space for a labyrinth-to-be. You can see pictures of the slow and steady progress and breathtaking views on the a Fluent Self instagram if you want!

Pruning, digging up plants, moving rocks. Clearing the path to clear the path. Making space to envision. Working towards roundness. Learning to tend. Tend and intend.

I talk to the plants and trees, telling them about the labyrinth, what big transformative magic will live here for all the secret agents who come to retreat at the center. I ask for their help with the mission.

This is something I learned how to do twenty-five years ago while working in the orchards. Trees often don’t want their branches trimmed and they will resist, but if you explain that cutting away these bits will help them grow taller and in the right directions, you can feel them relax and ease up. They always like their new haircut, and I feel better because I didn’t have to work as hard. So maybe I’ve known about magic for longer than I think.

Space

An Extremely Obvious Epiphany while pruning and digging up plants:

Tending = how you make space for what you really want

You tend to things because it is what is needed, but the tending brings clarity and perspective. It shows you what is currently incongruent and disharmonious, but also what is possible.

When I don’t tend to things, they become iguanas (things I do not want to even look at), and then it is harder to come back to the tending rituals.

Shift

I was tending to a pile of papers because Circe doesn’t believe in piles, or junk drawers, she likes everything out in the open, clear and revealed.

I found a faded note that says SHIVA ANAGRAMS TO HAVI S, and I am Havi, but what is S?

S is shape-shifting. What does a Havi do? A Havi shifts shapes.

Shapes

What does it mean to shift shapes? To turn into, transform, transmogrify, reveal. To be flexible and playful, to let things change form and reconfigure as needed.

Interestingly, this is also what Shiva does, breaking things down to their elements to be rebuilt, and for sure if everything is breaking, that is Shiva energy.

And of course, this is Circe’s thing. It is her defining characteristic (ahhhhh, there it is) and why she is so gloriously unbothered all the time, because why fret when you know that anything can shift shapes, what seems to be a disaster is really just a shape that hasn’t shifted yet.

This is why she is asking me to Tend & Mend, Gleam & Shimmer. She wants me to be a shape-shifter like she is, and this is how you train for it.

What are the shapes that I shift between

A dancer shifts shapes in space, a writer shifts shapes through words, a sorceress in the desert is sometimes the ocotillo and sometimes the agave or the prickly pear, sometimes the mountains and at other times the light that turns the mountains purple.

Being & Becoming

When I become more of myself, when I embody the qualities of Incoming Me, I am shifting shape from me to even-more-me.

What is the shape of embodying? It is the play between being and becoming. Being into becoming. This is my suchness, my bell-essence, my glow-state.

Devotion

Circe the Enchantress can shift the shape of an experience, a mood, a reaction, shift the energy in the room, change things into other things and then back again, or not.

She has a garden of tiny wooden pig statues, each one a denkmal for We Are Done With That Shit: No One Can Mistreat You Or Lie To You Or Take You For Granted Now Babe.

Circe the Enchantress knows that gleaming the floor is much more than gleaming the floor, it is a devotional ritual to transform a space, as well as how you experience that space and what is possible to experience within that space.

Gleam & Shimmer / Mend & Tend

Small practices. Quiet rituals. The work is cut out and set up and waiting for me to say YES I AM HERE.

Gleaming o’clock.

I learn about how shifting works through listening and observing. What would Mary Oliver do? She would find something beautiful to praise. She would tend to the tending.

A breath too for Moshe Feldenkrais, another great observer of life: “You can’t do what you want unless you know what you’re doing.”

Into the Gleaming we go. That’s where the Wild Clarity lives.

Into the gleaming we go. Join me?

My enchanted garden aside, what else wants to be lovingly TENDED to for nineteen minutes?

Off the top of my head:

I could gleam something, talk to Incoming Me, skip a stone, interview a project, roll around on the floor, pick a book from my TBR pile and just read, tend to my body, tend to my space, go on a clue walk, put things where they go…

I am trying to give my minutes to what not particularly stuck, because I want to look forward to the daily ritual of nineteen. If something is [perception of stuck], I might devote my minutes to journaling with me-who-has-solved-it, or me-who-is-two-steps-ahead, ask them about the complete-willingness-units for getting started.

Join me. What do we want to gleam into?

Into the Gleaming we go.

I am opening up space for FOUR MONTHS of sharing this ritual of 19 minutes in community. Devote 19 minutes of Devotion to a ritual you’ve been craving or a wish-goal that is asking for attention, or switch it up (shape shift!) and see what calls you each day.

I’m calling this Operation Spells & Bells, you can call it whatever you want. ;)

Excitement to see what happens or changes, what magic will come over four months of ritual, devoting ourselves to loving attentiveness, curiosity and play.

And GUESS WHAT! A SPECIAL PRICE for you, sweet faraway online friend

I am extremely excited about this four month adventure and can’t wait to begin, and also have not written the page to announce it yet, and to be quite honest, am not even sure if I have it in me, so…

Offered with love: a significant discount ($77 USD as opposed to the full price which will be $167 USD) for anyone who signs up before I get around to actually promoting it. THANK YOU in advance for the gift of an early yes.

We will play together from May 30 through fall equinox, although if enough people sign up, I am happy to bump the start date to May 24 which also happens to be National Aviation Maintenance Day, and if that’s not a metaphor for something, I don’t know what is. Here’s the discounted sign-up link!

As always: breathe into your yes, the power of the collective will work wild magic no matter how much or often you participate or not!

Let’s play!

You are welcome/invited to use the comment space to share any !!! or anything sparked for you about GLEAMING or Circe the Enchantress or really anything I wrote about here (I know it was a lot). If you want to talk to any version of Incoming You, go for it. You’re always welcome to play with any of the concepts here, name wishes, call in some magic and superpowers, whatever you need. This is, as always, safe space for play and process, we meet each other with love and we don’t give advice. If you’re joining me for four months of 19 minutes, CONFETTI PARADE!

And of course share any of this with anyone who could use any of this. I love that you’re here with me.

Capers! Capers? Capers!

Capers?

Capers is the name I have given to anything in the category of “things we might try when things feel stuck”. Or when I find myself deep inside of the perception that Everything Is Stuck.

Things We Might Try is a big category (and should be) because Hey Let’s Try Things is what we do, it’s how we practice self-fluency.

Haha, wow, just linked to a post I wrote NINE years ago, wild, time is a funny thing.

Yes, I’ve been here for nearly fifteen years and this is something we think about a lot.

We try things.

We try things, we try things, we try things.

It’s what we do.

Then, if we want, we try other things.

We use what works for us.

If a technique isn’t our yes, we can toss it, or who knows, maybe it’s a clue for a future self. Maybe it’s someone else’s technique, and that’s great. Yay, people vary.

We keep the techniques we like, and we use them until they stop working for us.

Even a good technique for you is only a good technique for you until it isn’t.

Nothing is wrong with you or with the technique if it stops working for you — if anything, that’s a sign of positive growth. What got you here won’t get you there! Time for the next version of Hey Let’s Try Things!

We try and observe and play.

An important part of trying things is that as we try things, we notice what is working, and note what we might like to try next or instead.

And, this is maybe the most important part:

We remember that it is all a grand experiment.

This grand experiment of being a human in a body in this challenging, often-overwhelming world.

Back to this very fun word!

Some people call these “exercises”, and I do not, because exercise is not a word I find appealing, if anything it lives in the category of Something I Am Extremely Unlikely To Do.

I can’t remember when we starting calling these capers (I suspect Metaphor Mouse was involved), but it is a marvelous word. An activity or escapade, typically one that is illicit or ridiculous.

It is much easier for me to generate enthusiasm for an escapade, double-especially for an illicit or ridiculous one, than it is to do an exercise, which sounds boring and painful and To Be Avoided At All Costs.

In contrast, a caper feels like a light-hearted adventure, like Audrey Hepburn in an extravagant hat flirting outrageously. High jinx!

Play is healing.

I like to channel a playful mindset because otherwise my tendency is to not do the things that help.

And when things are the most [perception of stuck], that’s when I really need a technique or “exercise” to get things moving and help me shift perspective.

Of course, it’s also when I’m least likely to try anything at all that could help, because it’s so much easier to slide into default patterns, to disassociate, or somehow end up reading The Entire Internet.

So no guilt if any of that is a little too familiar. It makes sense that we avoid what is helpful. And this is also why it’s so useful to have some capers in our toolbox all ready to go.

You might even like to keep a list of favorites, maybe even as part of the Book of You. Mine is called Try This, Babe!

You do not need to call them capers.

You can call these whatever you like, it’s all just Possible Forms for exploration and discovery.

Anything we try is useful because we tried it, even if what we get is “okayyyyy do not need to do that again!

Not everything is going to work for us, and even though that can be enormously frustrating, it’s not a bad thing at all.

Our self-criticism monsters love to seize upon this as proof of failure: “See? You tried a thing and it FAILED MISERABLY, yet again, and that’s why you shouldn’t try things!”

Guess what, monsters, trying things is just a way to gather useful intel. If we try something and it doesn’t get the hoped-for result, it was still a useful experiment, and we get ten thousand points at least for being curious and trying something in order to learn more about what might work in the future.

A grand confetti parade in our honor for trying anything at all, seriously we are total stars for trying things.

A reminder for our monsters about the point.

The point is not any given technique.

The point isn’t even whether it works or not, again that’s just useful intel for our practice.

The point is trying [a something] with curiosity, intention & presence…

The point is everything that is revealed in the process of being someone who experiments.

What a loving way to care for ourselves, trying things. Sometimes this means creating extra safety. That’s okay too.

Here’s a secret.

Anything can be a caper if we make it conscious and approach with curiosity.

I don’t want to say that it doesn’t matter what you try, but it almost doesn’t matter. See what pulls you, and investigate.

There’s no wrong way to be intentional about how we interact with ourselves, it all counts, we’re just learning more about what works for us to best take care of ourselves.

Want to try a caper or two?

Pick a caper, any caper!

This post has been a very long introduction to some capers I like to play with.

You are welcome to make these yours, change them up, make alterations and substitutions, replace as needed.

None of these is a one right way. They are just clues, arrows in possible directions. The path is all yours.

These are offered with full trust that whatever brought you to this moment is important & worthy, whether you know what that is or are in the process of figuring that out.

Your reasons and adventures, just like your capers, don’t have to look anything like mine, being in process benefits us all! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Capers! Here are some I like…

Intention/entry/invoking

Time to pause and contemplate how we want to enter whatever it is we are beginning, invoking the qualities and superpowers we wish to invite in and embody, what do we know about how we want to be while we are in this process?

Cover story

We can invent a story about Why We Are Here, using the first thing that comes into our heads, then explore our cover story!

A recent retreat guest told me that she doesn’t get how proxies work but was willing to play with the project of “designing a marshmallow factory”, and oh wow did we learn a lot of extremely cool shit about designing a marshmallow factory, all of which turned out to be very relevant to everything else we were working on.

It’s such a good cover story that I am still working with it two weeks later!

Change your place change your luck!

Can I change my setting or some aspect of my setting? Where I’m facing? What I’m looking at?

Any shift in perspective in the physical is a useful experiment. This can even be a symbolic shift.

My special brain finds it hard to focus on most things, and having some blank space really helps. In order to type up this post, I moved a bunch of things into the next room so that all I see if I look up is a jar filled with flowers. I didn’t change my place but I changed my view.

Secret identity / try on aspects of an incoming self

What do I know about an incoming self, what do they want me to know about the mission, what are their insights & superpowers, what would they like me to try?

Go for a clue walk

Any form of look-or-wander through your space (or take yourself for a walk) with the mindset of noticing, anything that sparks or draws my attention is a clue.

We can also interview our clues by asking them what they know or have to show us, possibly related to a current project/mission or just in general!

Writing on the body! with a finger-tip or any wand-like object

I like to choose a word (READY!), quality (TRUST!), image (a CROWN?!) or a power phrase (I AM FIERCE!), and then write/draw it on my body and around my space, letting it echo and reverberate with intention.

Return to sender! Bye, energy that’s not mine!

Whoooooooooosh goodbye to other people’s energy, expectations, projections, anything that is not supportive of my clear calm internal space, give everyone their kittens back or just set the kittens free.

If it still feels like people are hanging out in my headspace, I imagine shedding my force field like a snake, then I call in a new one and give them the old one to play with like a decoy.

(And if this makes no sense, let it be a future clue to land later?)

Soothing / activate the parasympathetic nervous system!

Shaking, rolling, yawning, breathing DOWN to counteract the way we sort of jump out of our skin when startled, these are all good.

Anything that down-regulates the nervous system is good practice, get down on the floor and breathe for ten minutes or for a song, etc…

What else can we do to smoothe and soothe? There are so many techniques out in the world, what works for you?

Skip a stone

Stone skipping is my code word for journaling prompts, here are some favorite stones:

What do I need right now?
What needs to change in my kingdom/environment?
Where is the treasure?
what needs to be eliminated & what needs to be illuminated

Lately I have been doing a triple-skip situation where I choose one question and drop it into consciousness to be answered by Incoming Me, my current project, and the current theme of the month. Then I write down what each of them has to say.

For example, yesterday my question was “What do I not yet know about Reclaiming My Power?”, and I asked it of Circe the sorceress of the enchanted garden, the Month of Gleaming, and the project of Oh Wow This Is What It’s Like When There Are Are No Piles In My Space.

They might all have different things to share, or they might all say the same thing, and that’s useful too!

A plan for monsters!

This kind of intentional internal-investigative work is *likely* (cough) to bring out the many self-criticism monsters because a) it goes so strongly against cultural programming, and b) it is so easy to have shame/regret about how we are doing it wrong or not enough or fucking it up, so let’s come up with a plan to remind ourselves that all this practicing and noticing counts.

My usual monster-plan is to send them on an adventure or give them a task, or I will just have my Internal Scientists show the monsters The Science.

The Internal Scientists: “Ah, thank you, monsters! We have noted your objection to the cover story caper on the grounds that it could take too much time, and we absolutely appreciate your desire for speedy progress on the ops. In fact, this desire has the full support of the Institute for Havi Getting Things Done. And, OUR STUDIES HAVE SHOWN that a playful approach actually solves things for Havi faster, so we need you to hold off here to not compromise the scientific experiment in progress, thank you!”

For more support with monsters, we made The Monster Manual & Coloring Book!

Congruencing

What are five things that could be made more congruent/harmonious right now?

Tiny adjustments, literal-but-also-symbolic things like clearing the table, or physical shifts like postural adjustments, taking a break to recline on the floor with eyes closed…

What adjustments can we make in our internal or external space? What landscape shifts can we set into motion, either in the hard (IRL) or the soft aka the emotional, mental, energy, spiritual?

As Incoming Me loves to say, small shifts are big shifts.

Put it in a compass

Anything that is not working today, what happens when we put it inside a compass?

Playing with a compass is one of my all-time favorite capers.

Maya koshas

In yoga philosophy there is the concepts of the five bodies, in addition to our physical body we have:
+ an energy body (breath! prana! circulation! feeling body!)
+ a mental-emotional body (where we perceive and think and interpret and feel feelings)
+ an intuition/discernment body where our wise knowing lives, this is how we channel, through accessing our instinct, feeling what is true
+ a body of truth-spirit which is the truth of ALL IS WELL RIGHT NOW pure presence this moment here-now

Whether you are into this or not, we can use techniques that work on one level to influence other levels, we can choose which body to focus on, trusting that there will be good ripple-effects in and out…

Extreme self-treasuring: a practice of small increments

For example, sixteen breaths, what would our fairy godmother set into motion right now, small shifts in internal or external space

and if monsters about this because self-treasuring got back-burnered due to the stresses of life, what tiny things can I do to express love for myself right now, can I glow acknowledgment and legitimacy, can I make myself a snack, can I breathe and remember that self-care and self-treasuring can take many forms and tiny steps count

Investigating a mystery (or a proxy mystery!)

In something today is not working, how would I approach that in detective mindset?

How can I make things better for either me now or future-me based on the evidence at hand, if this feels way too close to home, I can choose a proxy mystery, like the mystery of Why Are Trees or a mystery related to any of the clues I have found, solve for X!

Exit as we wish to continue

Checking in at the end of a day, or a week or a segment of a project.

What have we noticed/perceived/experienced? Are there any notes we wish to leave to our future selves? How can we express APPRECIATION for everything we did and tried to take care of ourselves in this time, honoring our beautiful intention and loving hearts! <3 <3 <3

Review!

What’s been working lately?

And what might I try that is new and different?

Let’s play!

You are welcome/invited to share any !!! or anything sparked for you, play with any of the ideas here, name some capers you like or things you want to play with more. They can be from anywhere because, again, anything can be a caper. Or maybe you want to invent a new word for these!

And of course share this with anyone who could use any of this.

Also: QUESTION!!! DO WE WANT A ZINE OF THESE????

In the meantime, let’s do what we always do here and remember that people vary. We meet ourselves and each other with compassion here. We are on permanent vacation from advice-giving and care-taking. In other words, this is not like the rest of the internet, and that might be my favorite part of being here. Love you, friends! Love that you are here with me.

The Magic in Devotion / Devoted to Devotion

Fluent Self March - the month of Magic

Yes, that’s a bobcat outside my window…

It showed up at Rally! More about that to come. First some breaths for the quality and superpowers of Devotion!

Questions of Devotion

What am I devoting myself to?

(And why?)

(And is this my yes?)

(And is this current?)

(And what happens when I immerse in the devotion?)

Devoted to the question itself

What happens when I devote myself to devotion?

Can I live the question, to paraphrase Rilke, without needing to know what is on the other side…

Or maybe there is no other side, just concentric circles rippling out from this question as it drops into consciousness, a stone skipping in the waters of mind, in this body of water, this time period in which I am dedicated to the devotions of Devotion.

Unanticipated consequences (not a bad thing, just a thing)

In the month of Devotion, I also became the witchiest witch, a sorceress in an enchanted garden.

This was an unanticipated and possibly unintended consequence of devoting myself to devotion, but maybe also a secret wish, the witching-wish of the self who already sees herself as a wild witchy wonder.

Cat-like

Strange things happened this month, an unexpected snow-storm in the desert, a long crack in a windshield, a bobcat suddenly appearing and napping contentedly on my porch in the sun. A sign, or possibly a familiar, a pantalaimon-esque vision, hard to say.

It was a magical and wild moment.

A wild cat patronus to keep me company as I transform into a panther myself.

A striking moment (of magic)

Wild cats are strange and beautiful, fully embodied, self-contained.

Something else: they are striking (both meanings), and they are patient because patience is what leads to the striking, they know what they want. I often know what I want but I will hide it from myself.

This too is part of the devotional secret ops: patience and trust in patience, desire and trust in desire. And of course allowing the process of becoming to take as long as it takes.

Process (Devotion —-> Magic)

I didn’t have a plan or an agenda for what Devotion might lead to.

I was devoting myself to the Devotion itself, the experience of devoting.

But it turned out that Devotion was a form of magic, and that devoting myself to being in the magical experiences was the next indicated step of being someone who is devoted to devotion.

Asking these questions became devotional practice.

Naming my Complete Willingness Units became devotional practice.

Breathing, crying, cooking, walking outside to be in awe of the sunset. Devotional practice.

And the month of Devotion brought me to the month of Magic…

What needs to happen backwards?

This is another question for witches and also for engineers: reverse-engineering, working backwards, turning around (or upside down), walking backwards for proprioception, focus, epiphanies and memory.

When I go the other way (Widdershins!), I remember what I want, I return to center.

Opposites balance. Reverse to reconfigure.

Change your place to change your fortune.

Change the setting. Begin again.

Favorites

In yoga and dance and movement there is always a favorite side, one that just seems to work better. A yoga friend, Cynthia, calls this “the side that is a little more joyful”, ah hello joyful side.

In skateboarding there’s goofy and regular.

I once took a tap dance workshop for lindy-hoppers (I am neither a tap dancer nor a lindy hopper but I like cross-training and learning new things as long as they are in the category of “I don’t care enough about this to mind that I am terrible at it”), and the instructor said something like “now you’ll discover that one foot can’t learn choreo!”

But there is a trick for that. Kind of.

I don’t know if this trick helps me learn better but it helps with the frustration, and not being in my frustration helps me learn better.

Also I have a special brain that learns at its own very unique and non-linear pace that sometimes is not even recognizable as a pace, so I will take all the tricks I can get.

Getting tricky with this trick

Instead of thinking “good side vs bad side”, it’s JUST AS EASY to think about our favorite side and second-favorite side, and I highly recommend this approach because it leads to very good things like smiling.

It helps me remember that I can choose to approach the experience of being in my body as something that is interesting and playful as opposed to just constantly frustrating.

Trying things as a someone in my body is not always super fun. This month involved back pain and shoulder pain and sad-heart times.

But I am devoted to Curiosity and Presence, and I like learning more about my container, getting to know my favorite side and my second-favorite side.

I like rolling around on the floor learning about [embodied] and [here now] and [all parts of me are worthy of love even if sometimes this is hard for me to remember or act upon].

Switching sides

I spent a month sitting cross-legged in my second-favorite way (yes), and now it is my favorite way and also I am more flexible now.

Things change.

Or: Things can change.

Or: Sometimes some things can change.

It can be useful and interesting to play, observe, take notes, try things, try other things. If this brings us joy.

Many happy returns

This month I spent a lot of time with the concept of returning to center, and learned that a lot of return to center turns out to be return to sender.

Like when I get a sudden mystery-migraine and it is just the energy of the world, or someone trying to be in my head instead of using their words.

RETURN TO SENDER!

What a marvelous spell. All that is mine returns to me, everyone else’s energy goes back to source.

Ha, it is yet again a devastating day for my imaginary enemies (my current favorite phrase, via @iankarmel) as I am returned to my center, everything else has been returned to sender, and I am migraine-free plus my hair is perfect, ta da, a glorious day of successful devotional secret ops.

Some days of course less glorious than others…

But that too is part of the process of devoting yourself to devotion.

Sitting with [x] is not always fun, no matter the [x]. And it also isn’t required. We can change our approach, switch things up, play at the edges, take a detour, go the other way around, add magic.

Minutes

This month I devoted myself to Wild Clarity and being a sorceress (proxy, maybe).

Each morning I sat for a seven minute meditation: inhaling WILD and exhaling CLARITY, and then following whatever thread came up and breathing that.

I AM A SORCERESS / I AM A WILD CARD / LIGHT HEARTED / I CAN BREATHE LIGHT

The Devotion Sutras

I don’t know what this means but I found it on a note I wrote to myself in the middle of the night.

Maybe breathing quietly for seven minutes in the morning is a devotional sutra.

Sometimes when I am breathing these breaths, I feel the need to make a sound and always, exactly when I am done making sound, the bell rings.

Spells and bells.

I am a resonant bell, devoted to Reverberation and Clarity.

Entwined

It was that crappy day that rhymes with you-can-call-me-Al-entines day. Something-something Entwines Day.

To be clear: I like being solo, and also I insist on it. In fact let’s take that a few steps further; this is not about being content, although yes, I am content.

This is what I want. My life, on my terms.

And while I enjoy pretty much all aspects of The Life Solitudinal, especially being the sorceress of the witchy secret garden in the desert, I do not like this particular day. It is very much a return to sender sort of day.

So I devoted the day to investigating love, to discovering how I love.

More specifically, what does it mean to really and truly be the love of my life, to know and trust that I am my greatest love?

What does it mean to know and trust that I am always my greatest love?

What does wild self-treasuring (treasuring myself wildly, treasuring my Wild self) look like when I do not entrust this job to anyone else?

While lovers may come (they are welcome, hiiii) to treasure me and shower me with love and adore the form that holds me, that is different than the work of my life which is to cherish myself, to meet myself with the greatest tenderness and full-hearted admiration.

What does it mean to whisper to myself with love, all day long, and mean it?

You, my greatest love, my heart love, my bell of bells, this marvelous and fully magical being who is the container for this life.

The fruits of my devotion, and devotional fruits

What would Devotion look like if I were devoted to this Wild love of self?

Would I pile citrus fruits for my love who loves orchards and abundance? Would I buy her a bottle of wine with a name sure to delight her, smiling to myself, thinking of how she takes such pleasure in words and play?

Would I light candles just for her and whisper words of love? And what are words of love if not Devotional Spells?

My heart as a cauldron of love that is all for me. My breath a bell of reverberating love. My body as a vessel of love. All mine. Be mine, true self.

I kiss my palms and feel my own love radiate inward, outward. Devoted to cultivating this love.

Devoted to my magic

This is, of course, about the usual themes, even as it feels new:

Presence. Grace. Quiet.

The thrill of sky and mountains, horizon, possibility, expansive breath.

Remembering to pause, slowing my gazillion miles an hour mind-waves to sync up with body and breath (ah, the paradox of slow and steady is actually the secret to making speedy progress).

Creating sanctuary for myself while also committing to not hiding my sparkly essence from myself or the world.

Protecting my glow and my glow-state, everything that enhances my ability to access glow-state.

And of course trust in right timing, aka the superpower of What If All Timing Is Right Timing, which is the antidote to the monster belief that Everything Is Wrong.

Congruence

Congruencing is the word I use for any form of making things more harmonious.

Sometimes this looks like washing dishes and folding laundry. Sometimes this is changing my position (new favorite leg), or moving a book to a new location.

I love the feeling of Yes Everything Is 10% More Congruent.

I am very often not in the mood to do the work of Congruencing itself.

Approach

When I remember to congruence like a sorceress — WHY YES I AM THE WITCHIEST WITCH, AND ACTING ON MY CLEAR INDICATED INTEL IS MY ACTUAL MAGIC, it brings me so much joy.

And yet — and this is the reprogramming of my life, so often I approach it eiher as a chore (ugh I have to clear this crap up because I can’t focus), or I fall for an old monster-story that says I am “procrastinating”.

Reality though is that clearing the path to clear the path is an effective way of getting to the projects I think I’m avoiding. It’s creating a state of Wild Clarity & Receptivity & Enhanced Powers/Skill/Magic that supports both me and my projects.

Some wisdom from The Sorceress

“You are getting so much right. Your experiments are grand and good, especially in devotion and ritual. Your instincts are so good.

You often experience your visceral allergic reaction to incongruence as a negative, and you think that your ADHD is essentially this but misnamed.

You are not wrong, my love, and sometimes it really does feel like disruption is your kryptonite. However, the flip side of that is that you always know what needs Congruencing, and this knowing is your superpower.

Do you understand? You are an interior/energy design genius, your art is in knowing exactly how spaces should feel inside you and outside of you.

Can you trust your instincts, celebrate this superpower and act on it?”

Asking questions (of Devotion and Magic)

Me: Please help, I don’t feel witchy or powerful or anything at all, I feel so distraught and lost.

Slightly Wiser Me: Ritual is the path, babe. It’s what you and the Sorceress share. You do it because it’s calming and grounding and helps you with your mission of Return To Center. She does it because that’s how she lives, and also because that’s where the magic lives, in the meeting places of Repetition and Intention.

Me: I can’t feel anything right now.

Slightly Wiser Me: If you want resonance to do its work, rippling outward and inward, you need to gather and make a circle, strike the bell, hear the bell, reverberate and BE REVERBERATED, be belled, feel it move through you.

(Haha I typed “feel it love through you”, and this is even better)

Asking is/as Devotional process

Me: I still do not want to do what needs to be done. I care so much about my projects but just cannot seem to focus on any aspect of any of them and I don’t know what to do about this Perception of Stuck, aka my favorite band, it’s just one guy.

Wiser Me: One step at a time, babe. Keep returning to center. Keep breathing and brewing. There is good intel in the perceived stuck just like there is good intel in the perceived crisis. You’re allowed to feel frustrated.

Me: But what do I doooo!?!?!

Wiser Me: You’ve got this, love. You follow the next indicated step. Glass of water. Load of laundry. Listen to your breath, the ocean waves of your body. Ask for a clue. Look for a clue. Hold steady to the thread of truth: you *are* the witchiest witch, whether you can feel it or not, so what can you do to support your ability to be magic?

Wiser me was right, the magic returned

I just forgot how to let my own magic work on me.

My magic works through not trying to force it, but letting myself feel it.

And what are these troughs of depression/disconnect/ADHD brain fog if not a form of temporary amnesia? I forgot my own magic, I forgot about Devotion, I was trying so hard to generate excitement that I forgot to return to center.

Like the assassin in The Long Kiss Goodnight, or the protagonist in Memento, I forgot the mission because I forgot who I am. So now I leave myself notes at night to help morning-me remember.

And in these notes I also remind myself that the forgetting is normal, understandable, and temporary. The forgetting is part of the remembering, I learned this from Esther Gokhale, and forgot it, until right now…

To wake up and read about WHO YOU ARE

My morning reminder note looks something like this:

Good morning babe, you are a wild majestic Sorceress regaining your glow powers and your GLEAMING and your Wild Clarity, you are the first and only Havi Bell Brooks to ever be here on this planet and in this life, you are a wonder of aliveness, here is a list of the morning rituals and missions you are excited to wake up for…

Lately I don’t need the note, and this is exciting, but I like finding the notes.

A tiny story about magic

Every seven years since I turned seven years old, a family friend sends me the same present, no matter where I am in the world or what complicated logistics are involved in having it delivered to me.

This month I turned forty two, which is not only a multiple of seven, but also the answer to Life, The Universe & Everything. Anyway, it was a quiet day out in the desert, and then someone came down my dirt road and asked me to sign for a mystery box, and you guessed it. It was the gift of sevens. Like magic!

Some qualities of magic: Ritual, Receptivity, Attentiveness, Wonder, Remembering the Remembering.

The unknown

At yoga, C said, “Let us face this wildly uncertain future together, since this is the only kind of future there is.”

I laughed, and honestly I am the only one who ever laughs at her jokes, if they are jokes, haha who knows, maybe that’s just another word for Uncomfortable Truth Delivered Wryly.

But I receive these truths with humor, because laughing is part of how I want to face this wildly uncertain future with you and with myself, with the Sorceress, and with the bobcat on my porch.

Laugher for the magic. Laughter as a form of devotion. Laughter as invitation and initiation. Come play with me, friends, I could use the company, let’s practice self-fluency through being curious about what is and what could be.

Come play in the comments!

I treasure this space we’ve made for play and exploration, here’s how it works!

We remember that people vary. We meet ourselves and each other with compassion. We are on permanent vacation from advice-giving and care-taking. In other words, this is not like the rest of the internet.

You are welcome/invited to share any !!! or anything sparked for you, play with any of the ideas here, name some wishes or call in some magic and superpowers. And of course share with anyone who could use any of this. I love that you’re here with me.

And a pre-announcement!

It’s about a wish! I want to devote 19 minutes of Devotionto a project or goal that is craving my attention. And I want to see what happens or changes, what magic will come over three months of ritual, devoting myself to Devotion itself.

And I would like company and playmates and community, so I’m putting together a group offering for this, will send out an email soon if you are on the list. Let me know in the commments if this is something you are excited about!

Oh! AND! There is now a Fluent Self instagram account, so come hang out with me there if that is a place where you like to play.

xoxox

Visions / All That Is Envisioned

Fluent Self December - the month of Vision

Item Zero

First of all before anything else, let me say that if you are or have been dealing with an alarmingly strong case of the Inowannas lately, you are not alone, friend. It is extremely in the air, every single person I know is going through this right now. I’m on an extended tour of Inowanna Land myself.

A fortnight, at least, of The Inowanna Iguanas. The inowanna-ing is turned up to eleven, and that’s how it is.

So, blame it on the moon, blame it on the stressful self-perpetuating news cycles, blame it on the extremism in plain sight, in peripheral vision. Blame external culture for acting like January is a good time to Do All The Things, even though it’s dark and cold in this hemisphere, and time for summer fun on the other side….

All that to say:

Let us not blame ourselves if we are in a stuck spot or a challenging moment right now.

We’re in it together.

Let’s breathe acknowledgment & legitimacy for all forms of [not doing things or not wanting to engage, or not knowing what we want or not knowing what to do with all the wanting], whatever is going on for us.

A breath for right here right now, it is reasonable to be in Inowanna territory even when it’s not particularly fun.

If you’re in it too, leave a note in the comments! We’ll start a club!

(Rumi, Rumi, Rumi)

Maybe this is item zero though:

”Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.” — Rumi

Acknowledgment and legitimacy, again, for the ruins, the ruined, the perceptions of ruining and things ruined. How truly disorienting it is to experience something disintegrating.

Where there is ruin, when we are inside of the falling-apart, when everything seems wrong, chaotic, bewildering, messy and tangled…

That’s where we are, in the ruins, in the ruining. And maybe you too can hear the familiar monster cry of “oh noooooooo it’s all ruined, you’ve ruined everything, again…”

Where is the treasure? (What is the treasure?)

And just in time, while climbing through the ruins, here comes Rumi with the reminder:

In this space, this space of ruin, there might just find something that belongs to us.

That something is a form of treasure. And then there’s the hope for treasure, which is also treasure.

Sometimes even just remembering hopefulness is kind of a big deal tbh.

What else is treasure?

A beacon, a clue, a missing and surprising piece of wisdom or a dawning realization, a release, an undoing, a new pathway or perspective revealed, a glimpse into Wild Clarity.

Or one of my very favorite though also most annoying forms of treasure, the incredibly obvious epiphany which sounds completely ridiculous when you try to put into into words, but IT’S IN YOUR BODY NOW, you’ve experienced this super cliche-sounding thing in such a visceral way that the wisdom is now embodied.

It’s yours. Amazing.

The process of looking is itself revealing…

If you are looking for a powerful stone to skip, try this one…

Where Is The Treasure? What in this can I treasure?

Stone-skipping is what I call “journaling prompts”, because good god that is a remarkably cold and unimaginative way to describe a practice of magical transformative cool shit.

Try it, you can even play with this stone in the comments if you want to keep me company.

A quick reminder about process!

Of course, as always, we practice Safety First.

Here too is a place for remembering Acknowledgment & Legitimacy: we don’t need to be in a hurry to get to the treasure point.

We certainly won’t force ourselves to seek treasure if what we need first is recognition that wandering the ruins can be extremely not awesome, understatement of understatements.

If things are shitty right now, we meet the experience of [yes this is shitty] with as much presence and tenderness as we can muster in that moment, we make space for it.

We can even remind ourselves that it is completely reasonable and understandable to not want to look for the treasure. Speaking of Inowanna Season, not being in the mood to seek any treasure is legit.

Okay let’s talk about funnier things for a bit, even though yes, there are ruins and so much Inowanna. There are some funny parts too, I will tell you about them.

Wishes for Witches.

I’ve been having an extremely witchy few weeks, even while traversing the ruins.

Just odd little things. My brain was getting a little overwhelmed with retreat bookings (sidebar to say we’re booked end of February through mid-May but if you want to come in the fall, take a look and sign up as soon as you can, we still have entry prices up for a bit!!!), and I wanted a paper calendar. I work better when I can scribble notes everywhere and touch things.

So I wrote ACQUIRE A PAPER CALENDAR on a post-it and stuck it on the table, and then went to get the mail but there was nothing for me, instead there was a brown paper packet for someone else. I asked if I should forward it to Utah, and they said, no, don’t bother, it’s just a calendar, don’t need it.

Ta da! I wished a calendar and it appeared. And then this kept happening. Like an extension of being The Namer Who Names, I had somehow become the Wishmaker Who Makes Wishes, or the Witchmaker Who Makes Witches.

It was weird.

And it kept getting weirder.

Not to mention that I felt silly for not wishing more and better…

My friend (a theater person) was in town and they joked that it’s like that icebreaker game where you pretend everyone is going on a picnic for no apparent reason, and then you try to remember their name and what they are bringing on the picnic, except this is going on a picnic with the universe.

Witching hour / on a picnic with the universe

It became a hilarous extremely goofy game, and we played it everywhere we went.

I am going on a picnic with the universe, and I am bringing Panache, Steady Breath, Intention, Receptivity, Dedication, A Compass, Coffee and a Wish For Wild Clarity.

The universe is coming on this picnic and bringing surprise ease, really good solutions, tremendous luck, untangling, the just-right spatula, some bowls, an affordable handyperson, what is the degendered word for this!

And, eternal request ticket, yes please to lovers who can communicate (I know, what?!) and do so clearly and lovingly, who respect my hermit nature and want to buy me earrings. This is both a very general and very specific request, but it’s what I want.

And may all that is not useful, not relevant or unworthy exit my space and my life smoothly and swiftly, amen.

Haha okay, back to the picnic.

Anyway, friend and I were on this metaphorical picnic, we hiked in a wildlife refuge and recited picnic elements.

I took them to my favorite chocolate shop and it was closed, we ended up at a cooking supply store where I found the just-right spatula (hand-carved wood, local artist, simple, pleasurable to touch, unique). The next day a box arrived with the bowls: apparently past-me ordered some a long time ago and forgot.

My heating unit stopped working because pack rats ate some wires and then I nearly set the place on fire messing with the old thermostat, which blew the transformer, but the calm and knowledgeable good human who showed up to fix things introduced me to his buddy who is, you guessed it, an affordable handyperson.

Meanwhile three different people exited my life smoothly and swiftly, and while it was mostly unexpected and one of these exits was quite painful, this too was also clearly part of the blessing, the ask and the answer.

Next time I will specify smoothly, swiftly and without all the crying.

The tangled and the untangled.

I have been writing wishes.

And, as you might know, I believe wishes are about process, learning about myself through examining my relationship with desire. They aren’t about getting the thing I asked for, though that is cool and fun, and yes, I still want great lovers who buy me earrings and who can use their words like grownups please!

The point of naming wishes though, at least for me, is to be engaged in self-study as a form of self-treasuring, to reveal the treasure (and the qualities!) inside of the wanting, to bring playfulness and curiosity as I undo all the rules I have acquired that say it is bad to want.

Anyway, I’ve been writing wishes about my conflicted desire to hermit. After four years mostly on the road, all I want to do is cocoon. But how does that work, in practice?

What about all the [monster-objections] and practicality and loneliness and logistics and what about groceries? Etc.

At the gate.

Then a thing happened and I locked the gate to the property for the first time ever, and something else happened, and much agitation and again, tears, and all I want to say about that is:

There is some treasure for me in the ruins here, and it is the treasure of the reminder not to try to solve things while angry.

Anyway, embarrassing details aside, I locked myself onto the property and couldn’t leave, and I don’t know anyone (well, I did know someone but they were self-exiting per my earlier wish), and even if I climbed the gate, it’s still a TWELVE MILE WALK walk to a hardware store and back which might not even have what I need to get the gate open again.

And then, you guessed it, I had ten thousand panics and monster-fits about how I have RUINED EVERYTHING.

I slept on it.

A couple times in the night I woke up in a monster-panic about What If I Can Never Leave, and Everyone Will Know I Have Fucked Up Everything, and No One Loves You Enough To Come Find You.

But in the morning I sat with Incoming me and a notebook to skip stones. The answer was right there.

The writers of The Havi Show are so hilarious: I witch-wished to be a hermit but was too conflicted to commit to the wish, and then managed to force myself to actually be one!

What is more marvelously symbolic than accidentally locking myself in while trying to keep everyone else out, and yes, this is related to everything.

A spell for a spell?

If I wished/witched myself into this, how do I wish-witch my way out?

Through finding the treasure in the ruins, of course, and with a spell.

So I breathed a compass spell: I AM FIERCE I AM FEARLESS I AM POWERFUL I AM STRIKING I AM OF THE EARTH I AM WILD I AM GLOWING AND ALIVE.

And my friend wrote an Untangling spell, which I read to the gate and the lock and myself:

Oh Breath
settle the disturbance
unbind the knot
weave spaciousness
from wondrous Breath

Things open when they open.

The lock opened after about twenty seconds of playing with it.

All was well.

And I got to experience a different kind of hermit-time.

I also learned what is actually important to me inside of that hermiting-wish, the treasure in the ruin of realizing that I’d forgotten my wish was really about freedom.

And I learned some things about patience, breath, groundedness, and untangling.

Untangling is generally not one of my superpowers (my special brain is useful in the world of concepts but I am often mystified in the world of things), but what if wishing for Untangling was my introduction to this superpower?

A new precedent has been set.

I went to a yoga class and the teacher said, “Use blocks to help support this pose even if you think you don’t need them, it sets a precedent of self-respect in the psyche.”

SET A PRECEDENT OF SELF-RESPECT IN THE PSYCHE.

Inject that superpower straight into my veins, please. I want to breathe this and circulate this and know this completely.

What would it be like if a precedent of self-respect was set in my psyche, how would I treat myself, what would my boundaries look like, how would I respond to [situations].

Who am I when self-respect is just set as precedent. Mind-blowing. This might be my favorite clue from the month of Vision and Visions.

What if Wild Self-Treasuring begins with very simple declarations of self-respect?

Carve!

A scribbled clue in the form of a Martha Graham quote about “carve a place for yourself in space”, this to me is about presence and intention, claiming and reclaiming, being in relationship with space.

And of course, setting a precedent of self-respect in the psyche, because you have to decide that the space is there for you.

To make a you-shaped space in space means believing that this is something you get to do.

(Magic)

Carving to me has a magic to it, this is about making the space for the experience, making space for all of it: for the ruins and the treasure in the ruins, and all the possibility in between.

And it is about changing space (or the experience of the space) through breath and process and wishing and noticing and committing to the untangling.

This is the heart of self-fluency, the relationship between our internal and external space, and everything we do to play with one that influences the other.

The act of carving space…

What if space is waiting to be carved, for example, a path as yet unknown, called into being through being envisioned…

I was reading about German expressive dance, and someone describing a movement as a Leuchtspur (a spark or streak of light) in space, showing the path through creating the path.

Which of course is the superpower of clearing the path to clear the path.

Incidentally, this is why cleaning or researching is not procrastinating, because as writers and creatives, we clear space, it’s what we do, and procrastination itself is just a guilt-word, a tool of the rigged game.

Visions

I have so many visions for the year and can’t wait to share them with you.

Does anyone want to do a repeat of the two weeks of Wild Self-Treasuring group that we did last year to make it through Rhymes-With-Eerie-Canalentines Day?

Would anyone be into a group of [secret alliance of witchy wish-makers] and spend 19 minutes a day writing wishes or skipping stones or really doing anything at all that requires carving space (ha) in time for process and magic?

What about coming to center at the center for a week of meeting Incoming You while I meet Incoming Me and we co-chrysalis together?

So many ideas. Let me know in the comments if you feel sparks about any of these and we will see what comes into the field of visions next month, I’m excited.

We made it, friends. Thank you for your company. I love having you here.

Come play in the comments!

I treasure this safe space we have carved for play and exploration.

We remember that people vary. We meet ourselves and each other with compassion. We are on permanent vacation from advice-giving and care-taking. In other words, this is not like the rest of the internet.

You are welcome/invited to share !!!, anything sparked for you, skip a stone, play with any of the concepts here, share excitement for what is yet to be envisioned, or in the process of coming into form. And of course please share the post with anyone who could use any of this.

Love, as always, everyone who reads and comments as well as all the Beloved Lurkers and fellow quiet friends, you are all appreciated.

CONFIDENTIAL TO AG: thank you so much for the secret package and the beautiful letter, I am thinking of you fondly, wishing you all the most pertinent and joyful superpowers, and feeling honored and happy to get to see (and use) your craft in action, your light is big!