very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (or a vision of possibility & anticipation) each week to practice wanting, listening, getting clear on my desires

the point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), it’s learning about my relationship with wanting, 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…

this is the 359th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

here, now

some weeks I almost cannot bear to sit down and
hear my wishes
never mind write them down
because I feel so much and such passionate intensity
that I can’t even approach

afraid to pull on one thread
and see just how much there is to my desire
so maybe this is also a wish about that
in addition to being about
boundaries and bells


Jen is the only person who can tell me
to relax

or really,
Jen is the only person who can say it with the result that
I will in fact relax
and not want to punch her in the face

she says it about thirty seven times per song
when we dance together in our lessons
and for the longest time I couldn’t tell the difference
between relaxed-me and not-relaxed-me
I couldn’t tell how she knew
but now I feel when she says it

I feel

I feel how I have tensed up without meaning to and am clinging
and I feel how it feels to not be doing that
and I feel how it feels to
trust that one day I will feel all this before
she needs to point it out to me

what happens when I relax

shoulders drop
I feel more grounded
Jen says that she sees me soften but in that softening I have
more power and more strength
I am suddenly aware of the ways in which I was not relaxed
oh and my dancing gets better and also I’m smiling

the superpower of shoulders down

last week I rented studio space to practice for two hours
this might sound like lot of physical exertion
but 90% of dance is taking one step or maybe two
then squinting into a mirror or staring into space
trying to figure out what felt off

my two hours alone with the mirror didn’t help with
any of the things I thought I was there to work on
but it gave me one very key piece of information:
when I let myself drop my shoulders
(an act of releasing effort, not of more effort)
anything I do looks better
even if I’m still doing it “wrong”
it still seems more authoritative,
confident, graceful, powerful, intentional

I can’t currently afford to rent studio time as often as I’d like
and my basement still isn’t ready for use
but I can whisper to myself a thousand times a day
hey my love how about shoulders down
and that is my practice for dance/life


one of the ways in which the rigged game is so very rigged
is that our culture has no built-in mechanisms for

we are constantly encountering
unexpected or uncomfortable moments,
because life is full of these,
and we don’t have space to receive them, process them, figure out how we feel,
to let the moment land and let ourselves land in the moment

there is no agreed-upon word or hand-gesture to use
with friends and strangers alike
something that might mean
“I need to take a minute here to absorb what just happened”
or maybe “I am gathering myself and my thoughts”

possibly implied: in order to respond to the bizarre thing this person just said or did


on the plane to Detroit someone took my window seat
his was supposed to be the window seat on the opposite side
I shrugged and sat in the seat that should have been his
and then ended up on the receiving end of
unwanted attention and touching from the creep behind me
who of course denied it, in the tradition of creeps everywhere

I Am Okay and Nothing Is Wrong and I was brave
and tough and established boundaries and moved seats but also I wonder…


if some shared signal or ritual existed, if
taking a moment was universally acknowledged as healthy and okay
or if I made this my choice anyway
and stopped to reflect instead of just acquiescing
because social conditioning says don’t make a fuss
what could have happened instead

asking without blame, in the spirit of do-overs forever!

(1) I might have remembered something
when past-me chose my seat several months ago,
she specifically requested advice from Wisest Me, who
unhesitatingly said to take the window on the right side of the plane,
after which I might have taken a breath and
asked the guy to exit my seat,
letting go of the worry of
What If This Complete Stranger Thinks I’m Being Petty And Fussy And Entitled….

(2) I might have noticed the tightness
in my chest and the perceived need to hurry,
the flight attendant urging everyone to take their seats,
and perhaps also noticing the no
my body was giving me about the new seat,
respecting it without needing to know why it was a no….

all roads lead to…

my guess is that in all imagined situations
I would have had to stand up for myself to some degree
whether over seat-assignment
(when cultural conditioning says why can’t you just be accommodating)
or with the creep behind me
(when cultural conditioning says don’t make trouble)
or who knows, but I would have had to take a stand over something
all roads lead to boundary-setting
or to whatever my current life theme might be
and this is mine

there is no pass that lets me
skip this level of the video game
I am here to learn how to
take up space in this world
stand up for myself
layer on experiences of safety
claim space for myself
claim time for myself to get quiet and listen
(so that I can hear what I already know)
to trust my instincts harder than I ever have before
and not put up with bullshit

full-body no

it is the full-body no that wakes me in dark pre-morning hours
the full-body no that tells me
I need to back out of the thing I said yes to
because I don’t have the capacity
or there’s weird energy from someone
or maybe it just wasn’t my yes to begin with

it is the no that I would know
in the moment
if I took a moment
if I remembered that it is okay for me to take a moment
to reconnect with myself and my desires
drop shoulders (again)
be here now


my favorite part of a guided yoga meditation on my phone
is when the instructor suggests that I relax my jaw

I do and then she says “good, now relax your jaw again” and I laugh
every single time
even though I know it’s coming
because I never really relax the first time
it was just the beginning of letting go
and there is always more
more to soften, more to release, more ease
if I take a moment to get there

I want to drop my shoulders and then drop my shoulders again
I want to take a moment to breathe and then take a moment again
I want to say my no, and then say my no again
(whether to the same thing or to something else)

let this be my normal

I want this sweetness to become normal, habitual
granted to myself with generosity
of course there’s time to relax my jaw and relax my jaw again
of course there’s time to find out if the thing I thought was my yes is still my yes

thinking about small (in this sense)

I told Jen that instead of working on dance I have been
just relaxing my shoulders as I go through life
and she said,
“all the time you spend focusing on fine points —
whether you are in the studio or not, in front of a mirror or not,
thinking of it as dancing or not,
this makes all the difference in the big picture
and anyway slow and steady will serve your other projects as well
if you can trust the process
so relax”

she thinks she’s my dance teacher but really she’s my
relax about life teacher

thinking about small (in another sense)

oh the accumulated micro-aggressions, or unbridled jackassery
I shrug away each one because it’s just a drop
until the cup is too full
and I am suddenly hyperventilating in the bathroom and don’t know why

this is so important!
these not-okay moments that we are supposed to see as small are not small
these body-no moments are not small
these ignoring-my-no moments are not small
we are told that we should just let them roll off
but they have a residue
small adds up
small is not small at all

a conversation with my wishes

I had so much trouble writing about these wishes
so I asked them to tell me what they wanted me to know
and they said Trust Life More

then they told me that I am still really sad about
my mom and I need to let that be okay
my wishes said:
it is okay to be in big grief
you are just in a culture where there is no room for this
there is no model for what it even looks like to make/take room for this
and this is also related to boundaries because
when there is this big mismatch between culture and actual needs,
it is revolutionary for you to tend to your needs first
so tend to your needs first

they said:
cry, find a supportive environment,
eat food that feels good to you,
and please trust that when-and-how you write these wishes is correct

and then I passed a piece of sidewalk that said
“she knew she would get there on time”

first detroit epiphany

the trick to not being overwhelmed is Presence
the trick to Presence is pausing and taking a breath
the trick to remembering I’m allowed to do that is Sovereignty
the trick to Sovereignty is boundaries
the trick to boundaries is being willing to say Hey I Feel Uncomfortable
the trick to being willing to say that
(other than knowing the cost of not saying it)
is practice practice practice practice

and of course always Safety First

second detroit epiphany

turn up not on
in other words
when my boundaries and force field and panther grace are
already in play, I just need to turn up the volume
but if I forget they exist until I need them
then it’s begin again from zero
when I’m already exhausted, depleted, overwhelmed, scared, disconnected
time to begin from light
which means

relax my jaw, relax my jaw again
pause and breathe, pause and breathe again
drop shoulders
stand in my power

what do I know about my wish

being a bell (resonant, clear, cutting through space) creates a beautiful boundary
and it is also beautiful boundaries that preserve my bell-ness

in order to ring at maximum bell state
there are conditions that need to be in place
and that is what this wish is about, I think,
being someone who prioritizes those conditions so greatly
that I will not compromise them
being at my most resonant is both the kindest thing I can do for myself
and a great service to the world
I would like to remember this
even if it requires repeating it to myself several thousand times a day
until eventually I just live it

may it be so!


I texted Sarah about how I want her to
teach me cha cha as if I didn’t know cha cha and
as if she didn’t want me to know that she was teaching me cha cha
like, how would she go about tricking me into acquiring
the presence and body awareness required
to excel at cha cha?
but really when I said cha cha I meant being a panther
and then an hour later I was at the grocery store
staring intently at a jar of olive spread with a goddess on it
when someone whispered in my ear
“the answer is yes”
and it was her
(Sarah, not the goddess from the jar)
and then she hugged me and ran away
and this really happened
which is to say
this is a small sweet funny world that we live in
and why not believe in big joy and magic

the superpower of sexy fearless powerful presence

this month is WILD with its wild door, and sexy fearless powerful presence
thank you, past-me, for being such a good namer and calling this into being

I have been wilding hard, and this is right

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called who shines the light of this fierce independence

and hahahaha it was about boundaries and so many other things
I also got to be the Divorced Almost Forty Year Year Old
modeling joyful life at the wedding
which is important
I am shining the light of this fierce independence anywhere I can
in me and through me and into all the dimly lit spaces
and the unknown

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading, including any stories you wish to let go of, any adventures you wish to welcome

deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, intel, possibly in code

safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving

wishes are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing

here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: oh, wow what beautiful wishes

The Fluent Self