Hmmm. This is going to need some explaining.

Okay. I lived in Israel for a third of my life. And in Israel posted signs work differently than they do in Europe or North America.

Like, if you see a sign that says “entrance forbidden”, you’re still going to hop over the fence.

Everyone does. You know it’s just a warning. A … general warning. Not a warning warning.

A suggestion.

Absolutely absolutely.

This one time my ex-husband and I were camping somewhere and we disobeyed (eh, disregarded) at least three different signs. Until we got to the one that said ABSOLUTELY no doing whatever it was we wanted to do.

And then I stopped.

He looked at me like I was crazy. “Oh come on, only one absolutely? That so doesn’t count!”

And yeah. He was right. Once we got to the sign that said “ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY no entrance” though, we knew they were serious.

Two or more absolutelys are worth paying attention to.

Back to the Book of You.

Remember the Book of You?

It’s where you write down those useful things you’re in the process of learning about yourself, your stuff, and the relationship between them.

Mine is full of things like how going to bed late makes me kind of crazy, and what to do when I get a migraine.

And why I am not allowed to call an end to Email Sabbaticalever, just like I need to remember not to plan to teach a teleclass the day after a roller derby bout.


So. The Book of You is a constant work in progress. It pretty much has to be. I’m always adding notes to the enormous book of Me.

That’s because you and what you know about yourself is always changing. We are dynamic beings. Our bodies and perceptions and experiences are always in flow.

So it’s not like anything in there is written in stone. And despite all that, I’ve found it’s really useful to have some Absolutely Absolutelys in there.

A couple examples from my own life.

New Yorker fiction.

In my own Book of Me (which right now is a sloppy binder and a couple of documents on my computer), there’s an entire section called: avoiding things that make you crazy!

One of the entries is all about New Yorker fiction:

Here’s a thought, sweetie. Don’t read it.

The best-case scenario is that it will get on your nerves, and it just gets worse from there.

Aside from having no point and being a complete waste of time and pushing all of your but I can write so much better than this buttons, this story will almost certainly contain psychological violence.

You’ll spend days if not years clearing that stuff out of your head.

I know you think that this time you’ll find something meaningful and beautiful like that one time.

History shows otherwise.

But then the other week I had to add an Absolutely Absolutely note to this one.

No more “this is something I’m working on and it’s better to try and avoid this” — time to say seriously, it’s not worth it.

Life is absolutely absolutely better when I don’t read the fiction entry in the New Yorker. So absolutely absolutely don’t pick it up.*

* Unless it’s a David Sedaris piece. Or Haruki Murakami. Or your gentleman friend screens it for you and tells you it’s spectacular.

Pack a sandwich for the plane ride.

This one has been in the Book of Me forever. I’ve moved countries three times. And Selma and I teach all over the place.

Traveling happens. As does crankiness.

Having food with me helps. We know this. It’s a firmly established rule.

But when I flew to Vancouver this week, I broke the rule.

You know, what the hell. It’s less than an hour on a plane. I’d have to go out to get food when I already had a million things to do. Blah blah hassle. Blah blah unnecessary.

So I skipped it.

Then the plane was delayed. Twice. And we got pulled over at customs for the special “no, why are you really here” grilling session, which took forever. By the time I actually got to the hotel, it was too late even for room service.

Dinner at ten, which is when I’d normally be asleep. Cranky, confused, bewildered me. I know how this works.

That’s why the Book of Me is full of useful stuff about why and how my routines and rituals help me stay grounded and centered.

But I blew off one of the things I know because common sense said this time it didn’t matter. And it did.

So I’m sticking an Absolutely Absolutely sticker on that one.

My love, no matter how short your trip, your sanity and general well-being Absolutely Absolutely demand snacks.

Just trust me on this one, okay?

Having an Absolutely Absolutely doesn’t mean you can’t change it later.

All information in the Book of You is open to change:

Open to conscious experimentation, open to new information coming to light, open to being edited, altered or rewritten.

Because that’s what we do with patterns. We rewrite them. We break down stuff into its components and rebuild. That’s the essence.

What is true for me in this moment won’t necessarily be even slightly true for me a year from now. My relationship with myself will have changed. My relationship with my monsters will have changed.

Lots of things will have changed.

And, at the same time, there is value in taking certain pieces of information so seriously that — just for now — they get an Absolutely Absolutely.

It lets you experiment with the things that aren’t as precarious. To use the absolutely absolutely to create some extra padding, extra safety.

Comment zen for today.

People vary. Our stuff varies. We’re all working on our stuff in our own ways. We tread softly with other people’s stuff. We don’t give advice.

You’re more than welcome to share your own likely entries for the Book of You. Or stuff you wonder about, want or need.

Big love to everyone. And kisses to the Beloved Lurkers.

The Fluent Self