(But first some words to acknowledge what I am not writing about today.)
I have thought my thoughts into words on the topic of living in the world we live in with the virus situation, and today is not the day I am sharing those particular words. Soon.
Today I am going with what felt indicated, and sharing a piece I wrote a few days ago, in the hopes that it helps us steady and center, return to ourselves, and remember: we are creative loving beings who can strategize playfully.
Let’s continue to do all we can to take exquisite care of ourselves and each other to the best of our ability. The retreat center is on pause until further notice; I will update on that too. Love to everyone who reads, I am humming a good hum for all of us.
REMINDER-ANNOUNCEMENT to join my course, early sign-up ends this weekend!
How to Communicate With Your Incoming Selves
Integration: How do we find, meet, communicate with and integrate a wise, loving incoming self, because having internal allies who love you unconditionally and tell you which clues to follow is honestly the best thing ever.
Also in these especially scary and challenging times, having access to clear guidance, next steps and a channel of reassurance is (understatement) extremely useful.
The course is mostly self-guided but we will also have a online communal play space for documenting what you practice, and I’ll be there communing with my Incomings as well, and I‘M ONLY DOING THIS COURSE ONCE.
We embark April 20 and go through August 16, and instead of doing a birthday sale, I have a VERY reduced early price of $180 USD, secure your spot here, low price ends soon!
Unless you are in my Sorcery or Agency 2020 programs because I have already comped you in. Alright. Onward to today’s essay? Onward. Let’s do this.
Dismantling the notion of [rhymes with glowplastination] and replacing it with something so much better
Before I sat down to write today
Before I sat down to write today, I…
washed dishes and dried dishes,
brushed teeth and set electric toothbrush to charge,
took vitamins and drank water with tinctures,
lit candles and took some breaths,
changed clothes twice,
folded other clothes, and hand-washed some others,
gathered up laundry and recycling,
found my missing slippers (ten thousand points to me!),
opened all the curtains and took retired flowers out to compost,
moved a bunch of items out of sight because literally anything distracts me,
applied sparkly eye shadow and put on my writing necklace (ace of swords!),
massaged hands and feet with kava oil,
added ALL my rings and wrote a tiny wish-spell, took some pictures,
and re-organized the cushions so that I can sit well and breathe well,
my imaginary dragon tail unfurling majestically behind me…
If I believed in procrastination as a concept, I‘d feel pretty terrible about myself right now.
But, fortunately for me, I’m not and I don’t.
Yeah, you know what, let’s say it again.
We’re saying everything twice today, which is the name of an ebook I wrote a few years ago called Saying Everything Twice (Saying Everything Twice!).
If I believed in procrastination as a concept, I‘d feel pretty terrible about myself right now.
And that’s honestly the entire point of the concept.
Procrastination AS A WORD AND IDEA exists to make us to feel bad about ourselves so that we will be motivated by guilt-shame.
(Even though that’s literally the least effective and least reliable form of motivation for most people.)
And even on the rare occasions when it does work or kinda-sorta works, getting things done from shame-motivation is definitely not a joyful or awesome way to live — I do not recommend it, zero stars! — but also it mostly doesn’t work.
But, and I will say this part again because it is so important, fortunately for me, I’m not someone who believes in procrastination as a concept, and I don’t accept the idea that I should feel bad about myself at all.
In fact, I bestow upon myself ten trillion sparklepoints and endless praise for doing so much beautiful and meaningful entry for writing time.
Good job, Havi Bell, you readied yourself. You planted seeds. You made your space inviting. You demonstrated what is important to you in both writing and in life: Clarity, Replenishment, Groundedness, Sparkle, Focus, Intuition, Play and Delight.
Do you see??
I had an opportunity — and monsters love this opportunity — to make myself feel terrible, but I didn’t take it, because I have learned three (haha, at least) big things in this life on the topic of Procrastination Is A Construct And That Construct Is A Scam!
Big thing I have learned THE FIRST!
One is that monsters (aka mechanisms of internalized culture that generate self-criticism) are relentless by nature, and will always find something to finger-wag about.
If I’d headed straight to writing o’clock, they would have just been equally furious that those other things didn’t happen. There is no winning with monsters. There is only acknowledging that they exist, thanking them for their efforts and giving them something more useful to do.
Second, enter as you wish to be in it.
How I prepare myself for any experience changes how I am in that experience, and how I experience that experience.
It is worth it to me to enter consciously. To take my time to get there, and to thank myself for taking that time, which is an act of intention and love, or can be, if I want it to be, if I decide that it is, which I do.
And if I get into some monster-territory about omg how is this taking so long, I can remind myself to make my entry conscious.
Let’s bring conscious awareness to the process and name the intention, name the superpowers:
This is me, washing dishes to clear space for the words that want to be written. This is me, drying dishes for sparkling clarity.
Why on earth would I want to label that procrastinating, a word that truly only exists to make me feel bad about myself, when in fact it is READYING, CLARIFYING, ENTERING, and giving myself time and space to arrive in my grounded steadiness, and without a distracting pile of dishes in my view.
Entry works. And guilt does not.
My writing (or work on literally any project) is more likely to a) happen, b) go well, and c) give me some non-zero amount of joy, if I have readied myself and my space, and if I am applauding myself for having taken that time, instead of chastising myself which is just mean and ineffective.
It’s a radical practice, I know. And it’s honestly kind of fun.
On the lookout.
Now, for sure, we gotta be on the lookout here, because the monsters will try and co-opt this one too, they’ll say we aren’t doing *enough* entry, or that we aren’t being encouraging *enough*, oh no, we chastised ourselves, doom of doom!
“Enough” is always such a useful clue-word because NOT ENOUGH is their favorite criticism.
According to the monsters we are forever not doing enough X or not being enough Y.
So that word is generally a good indicator that here be monsters, and a good opportunity to remember: hey actually we are enough, and we are doing enough.
Wait, what, we are enough and doing enough? Are you sure????
Sure, maybe that feels untrue to your monsters, and also it is still true in the sense that we are doing what we can in this moment, to the best of our ability, given the circumstances which are vast and complex!
Not to mention given current reality which is challenging and often scary, and given the very addictive things we are up against, like apps on our phones which have been expertly engineered to steal our attention.
We are somehow making our way through these tough times and however we are doing it is worthy and a start, points to us.
Making it conscious
I had an epiphany during my morning practice of rage & bounding that it’s almost impossible to notice improvement until there’s something new to criticize?
This morning, my perfectionism monster crew and the Work Harder, Bitch monster brigade were playing tag team with their criticism, and gleefully pointed out that I’d bent my knees a lot more than intended on a landing.
And I thought about it, and then realized, WAIT A MINUTE this topic used to come up on every single jump, and I haven’t heard it in a couple weeks which means actually I’ve been consistently getting enough height on my jumps and landing with enough control and lightness that I can do the leap with straight legs, and guess what, that’s amazing, something I’ve been training to fix for nearly a year is not just happening?!
Absence + Celebration
That brought up a memory of a lesson with Jen, my dance teacher, a couple years ago, she spent our entire hour on what seemed like the tiniest, pickiest and seemingly invisible detail of footwork, and I was like, okay babe, what is this new obsession of yours and why are we working on this of all the things we could be working on.
And she said, OH HUH I GUESS YOU MAGICALLY STOPPED TENSING YOUR RIGHT ARM, and now that I don’t have to remind you to relax your arm every two beats, we can focus on deeper technical work, good job, you’re a star, we’re doing the real work now!
What is the superpower of celebrating the absence of a thing?
What is the superpower of noticing the win instead of just moving on to the next thing to fix? And can moving on to the next whatever-it-is be the reminder to notice and celebrate?
Because yeah, there will always be a new something to work on, that’s life.
I have noticed that my monsters have an evening ritual of helpfully (“helpfully”, haha) listing all the things that did not happen during the day that should have gotten done, according to them. It’s always an impossibly long list, unattainable.
That’s their whole thing, right? Their intent is ultimately to keep me always striving, trying to be “perfect” so that no one will ever get mad at me (hi, childhood! hi, core issues! hi, monster-negotiations as therapy!), and so they always want me to be doing more and better.
And they do this by pointing out that I did not do any of the thirty-seven VITALLY IMPORTANT THINGS on their list.
Also I should note that their list invariably includes some really unattainable items like [vague stuff about being a better person etc]. Come on, at least make your action items actionable, monsters!
This used to feel debilitating, but lately I’ve just been thanking them for making such an organized list, since ADHD means lists are usually not really my thing, and I have asked them to also consider the list of what did get done.
Focusing on what is working.
For example, yesterday I was able to name twenty very important things that got done, and for sure, me of a year ago could not have focused enough to get even half that much done. It was an impressive day, worthy of taking that moment to appreciate.
And had I not been consciously interacting with my monsters of [You Didn’t Do Enough, There’s So Much You Didn’t Do, You Never Do Enough], I wouldn’t have been able to feel into the enormity of what has shifted, what has become possible for me.
Additionally, I like to remind my monsters that DOING itself, as a concept, is a tool of capitalism, patriarchy, hierarchy. It’s about keeping us too busy to contemplate our true desires. Keeping us too busy to rebel. Too busy to want and feel and express.
Not-doing as the ultimate rebellion.
Not-doing is the ultimate rebellion, the glorious subversive act, and that is to be celebrated too.
And doing other things is meaningful too. We could just call it percolating instead of that other p-word, if we wanted to.
One of these days I will be able to name all the delicious Not-Doing I achieved in a day, through not-achieving, and throw myself a parade for that. All in good slow time.
A TRILLION sparklepoints to us, however our day went, for a day well played, for all of our grand experiments in living intentionally, and we will get to the rest of it once we rest.
Rest and reset. Reconfigure. Let it rest until we figure out the rest (and the REST).
I know you are wise and can extrapolate from this to [all the other situations that are big and ongoing and challenging], so I will let us all sit with all that and see where these explorations take us.
Let’s continue to take care of ourselves and each other, with as much patience and compassion as we can muster in a given moment, and keep practicing, we’re in this together.
Lots of love for everyone.
Come keep me company (I love company)
Hahaha I love company and I am a hermit in the desert and now we are all Social-Distancing away together, so let’s have some Social Close-en-ing here in the comments.
You are welcome as always to share anything sparked for you while reading, any superpowers you’re calling up/on/in, any wishes or projects for the wild ride of [this whole thing].
Lots of love all around.
ANNOUNCEMENT/REMINDER that you can still join my course on Integrating Your Incoming Selves at the early sign up discount
Sorry for shouting, it’s just a big deal and the last time I’m doing it, and sale ends Monday.
How do we find, meet, communicate with and integrate a wise, loving incoming self, because having internal allies who love you unconditionally and tell you which clues to follow is the best! This course is self-guided but with online communal play space on a private page on the website to document our process and try different techniques.
Training material includes:
+ how to locate your incomings and get them to talk to you!
+ how to reconnect if they seem to be hiding or have gone silent
+ how to cultivate a good working relationship and bridge the distance between now-you and future wiser you
+ what to do if things get weird, intense, frustrating or overwhelming
+ how to encourage Incomings to regularly visit and spend more time
I haven’t made a signup page yet, we will embark April 20 and go through August 16, and instead of doing a birthday sale this week, I am just going to give you a VERY reduced early-bird price of $180 USD, secure your spot here, low price ends soon!
Unless you are in my Sorcery or Agency 2020 programs in which case I have already comped you in!
NOTE! If you’re reading this via EMAIL, you’ll have to click through to the blog for the link to work, this is a new tech mystery situation I have not been able to solve yet, and I apologize for the extra step and appreciate the extra effort, can’t wait to do the course together.
Come play with me in the comments!