very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (also known as 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 354th consecutive week of wishing, come play!


I have two wishes this week and I strongly suspect
they might be the same wish
no, that isn’t right, maybe I feel
two wishes coming together to form a new wish
I am picturing that elegant double-helix that makes up DNA —
each strand needs the other

I don’t yet know exactly how they are connected
but that’s what the practice of wishing is for:
to explore, tease out, engage,
bringing my most receptive and curious self to the front
(oh! is there a me who is not afraid to want?!)
and who knows, maybe combining wishes in this way is extra-magic
a combination wish, whose power increases through the melding of its parts
let’s find out


my wishes were born from conversations
as wishes often are
would you like to listen in

(1) to wait or not to wait

me: how go the missions?
the arborist: all missions proceeding at pace, with no hurry, yet all is done in time, though it likely appears from the outside as a form of not-doing*
me: same here
the arborist: of course

* he said “procrastinating”, but I’m translating to remind us that I don’t believe in procrastination: there is not-doing which is neutral or positive (it supports percolating and emerging!), and there is not-doing-with-a-side-of-guilt, which is the rigged game leading us to judge the not-doing as bad, with no trust in the power of process

release worry

the arborist: the interesting thing is, just about everything works out sooner or later, which is weird because in between it’s hard to wait, but experience provides incontrovertible evidence that it’s just a matter of time
me: yes, it is especially interesting to me right now, because the answer to nearly all situations in life seems to be “wait, be peaceful, trust”, and occasionally the answer is “be peaceful and trust, and by the way you’re being redirected because the path you’re following is no longer your yes, so cut your losses and get out!”

or: “don’t give up on trust, but something unsovereign is happening, adjust your crown and take a stand…”

what do I know about this wish, this strand?

I want to trust that Release Worry is always the answer
to make Release Worry the practice of life
and I also want to be able to differentiate between
“stop worrying and do nothing,
just take really good care of yourself and keep checking in with your yes”,
which is the answer 90% of the time,
and I want to remain alert
because sometimes the answer is actually more like
“no need to worry here, and also the thing you are currently pursuing is not a joyful mission for you, so it’s time to adjust course…”


this is such a painful topic, there’s a
sore vulnerable bruise here for me, it goes deep
you think it’s healed but then a little pressure and there it is
once upon a time I ran a successful retreat center
I chose to expand, sinking (yes, what a word)
sinking all my resources into a second, much larger one,
this decision was one of those noir moments that unleashed
a disaster of tremendous proportions
with long-reaching consequences that I could not have imagined

like with so many hard things, it was revealed in time
how this experience secretly held enormous treasure for me
and yet knowing that it was good for me does not entirely
(yet, at least)
assuage the grief
it is possible to feel two things at once:
a fullness of gratitude in my heart for everything I learned
— and for the gift of not needing to learn it again later! —
and at the same time this aching bruise of oh wow what a painful learning


I look back on this period of time
everything in my life crashing and burning but in slow-motion,
over months and months
how I clung to the answer “be patient, trust, wait, let this work itself out”
that was my lifeline
and guess what, it wasn’t the right answer for that situation
well, it was in the sense of that’s the answer I went with
of course my support for past-me is A THOUSAND PERCENT
she did what she believed to be right, doing
the absolute best she could given the intel, resources and life experience
available to her at the time

I am achingly proud of her for her perseverance, how much she wanted to trust,
how fiercely committed she was to seeing it through
even if in hindsight we know that seeing it through, in this case,
meant until the bitter end which could have been avoided
by getting the hell out way earlier instead of
patiently passively waiting-and-trusting

but she didn’t know that, and how could she have known, so endless permission, endless forgiveness, and the superpower of Do-overs Forever!

what is the wish hidden inside this?

  • I want to know/feel/sense the difference between “yup, we have a wait-and-trust situation here” vs “trust in all is well, and also it’s time to take action”, and I’m not sure I entirely believe that there is a way to know the difference until after the fact, though maybe that’s a monster belief, maybe if I trust myself more, I will be able to hear the distinction
  • what is the trust-and-wait that is active, not passive — fully engaged with all my senses, full presence, not something that happens in the background, but my conscious choice in a moment…
  • may I be so attuned to my yes, so steady in my ability to stand in my sovereignty and trust my instincts, so committed to removing sources of noise in my life, that the next indicated step in any situation is just beautifully obvious (I mean, I’m probably tripping over it right now and not noticing)
  • when the next indicated step is not obvious, I want to practice active patience and active waiting, trusting harder, listening more, making sure I am well rested, releasing the need/desire/craving for distraction (oh how I crave distraction, and oh how readily it is available to me, usually in the form of interpersonal drama), just sitting with the emptiness until whatever needs to emerge is revealed
  • and yes, the superpower of Do-overs Forever, which, interestingly, brings us to the second conversation, I see how these wishes are related now, more proof of the power of trust and wait combined with be alert, receptive and curious

(2) do-overs forever!

me: “I keep thinking abut your therapist, what you said she said, and how strongly I disagree with her vis a vis your ritual of making up for a bad meal with a good one — I think pleasure is so important, maybe the MOST important! Experiences of pleasure are healing, and experiences of not-pleasure are really more disruptive than we give them credit for. I want MORE of the superpower of Insisting On Do-Overs. I don’t want to shrug and say oh well so it goes. Layering on experiences of pleasure with love and intention in order to rewrite old pain is the deep work of life, as I see it, it’s one of the most powerful forms of healing…”

we talked this over for several days….

  • does it cost us anything to make up for bad experiences? especially if we do this with presence, intention and love? probably not…
  • I don’t worry about the big things (I don’t need a do-over for my marriage, for example, it happened and it was what it was), but yes, that terrible breakfast? let’s try again and see if we can deliver some joy, pleasure and lusciousness, as a reminder about life and aliveness, if we have the means to do so… and feel awe: what a blessing to be able to do this!
  • looking for do-overs is fun (yesterday I forgot how to smile back at a warm stranger, but today I figured it out)
  • noticing where do-overs are desired gives me useful intel about the nature of my pain, which I may have hidden from myself because my monsters say I don’t get to feel bad about things that aren’t “meaningful” — because my monsters forget about the fountain, and think I’m only allowed to feel sad about “legitimately” sad things like starving children if I want to be a Good Person, and [how dare I also have feelings about day to day goings-on in my life]

what do I know about the superpower of do-overs forever!

do-overs forever is a gleeful battlecry
a subversive healing
a way to invite in what I really want more of:

trust, hope, pleasure, newness, acknowledgment, legitimacy, permission, beauty, release, tikkun, sustenance, nourishment, compassion, forgiveness, wonder, play, big wild joy

and equipoise, a beautifully serene word for a balance or counterbalance
something about this draws me back to that double helix image

I get to pick a new door this time

do-overs forever makes it easier to
try new things in the video game
take different risks
let go of the regrets about all the times I didn’t (or couldn’t)
take care of myself
the times I made choices I wouldn’t make this time
and yes, maybe that was yesterday
maybe it was five minutes ago

no big deal, I’m choosing differently now
do-overs forever!

what is the relationship between my wishes

[trust and wait] + [listen for when to act] + [as many do-overs as I want]
and of course knowing that All Is Well no matter what I choose
because it just is

what is my wish really about

you know what? I think it’s actually about being more deeply involved
in the play of life and aliveness
not trusting just because I think this is what I “should” be doing
no, I want to trust because it is
raw, brave, vulnerable, slightly absurd, and right

similarly, I don’t want to choose action out of fear that if I don’t act now
then I might repeat past experiences of waiting too long
no, I want to choose action when I hear my yes,
yes to vitality, yes to play and presence, yes to life and aliveness,
yes to disrupting the rigging of the rigged game
yes to a brash audacious trust that makes me laugh
an adventurous spirit
from now on each time I choose trust-and-wait-patiently
I will do it as a grand adventurer

may it be so!


madonna is telling us to strike a pose
and literally no one in this cafe is so much as twitching an eyebrow
or tapping a foot
it’s almost like they don’t even hear the music

I don’t know how to not hear the music in my body
here’s to the superpower of a little ribcage slide-and-pop to the rhythm
here’s to the superpower of remembering
that I can let the music indicate how I move

the superpower of beautifully supported

ah here we are in April, the month of ROOTS
and oh how I need this superpower of
Beautifully Supported
thank you, past-me, for being such a good namer and calling this into being

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called trust love
sometimes I am taken aback by how deep a wish will go
this week delivered so many clues about trusting love
until something in me shifted
and now I am (amazingly) doing just that
I kind of figured this would be one of those wishes that takes a couple years to land
but here we are, trusting love, and somehow everything is still okay(!)
better, even
who knew?

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

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