very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal! Very.

Each week I write a Very Personal Ad (aka Vision-Possibility-Anticipation) to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. Sometimes wanting feels conflicted or just plain hard, and that’s okay.

At the very least, useful noticings about my relationship with wanting. It all counts.

Hmmm, I thought I knew what I wanted this week, and it is turning into something else, and I need to process that.

I thought I wanted to meet one thing, and it turns out I am meeting something else so that I can meet the first thing. It all needs to be met.

I am also noticing how upset and frustrated I am feeling vis a vis this situation, so let’s start with that.

What do I want?

I want to remember that Nothing Is Wrong.

All my feelings are legitimate, just by virtue of the fact that I am experiencing them.

This situation, like all situations, will turn out to have been remarkably useful, and slightly future me will glow a thank you from our thank-you-heart that it was like this.

I want to make space for ALL THIS FEELING. And to release whatever parts of the intensity are not about now. If past-me is still raging about other things, let’s make a safe room for her.

What do I want?

I want to find out who is feeling all this hurt, pain and frustration? This helplessness?

Ah, it is bartender me. No, it’s more specific than that: those two years — five nights a week — in a dive in south Tel Aviv. Omri and Oded and all the old men ordering me around so that I could be the ball in their twisted neverending psychological ping pong with each other. Endless manipulations.

Safe room, safe room.

My love. This was a long, long time ago. Omri has no power over us, and he never did, we just thought he did. Omri is dead. Actually, everyone from then is probably dead. They all smoked four packs of cigarettes a day and were deeply invested in drinking themselves to death.

We have skills now that we didn’t have then, that we didn’t even know about then. We have boundaries now that we didn’t have then. We have the beautiful healthy boundaries salve from Friday. We are held. Now is not then.

And do you know, hurting-me-from-then who is the treasure of my heart? We were held then too, we just didn’t know it. We didn’t know how to feel into it.

Like in dance when your partner has a hand lightly on your shoulder. You only really feel it once you connect, when you sink into it and relax into being held, while still maintaining control of your own balance. Then: magic.

What do I want?

I want to pause.

I want to end this cycle of burnout and creating more work for myself.

Ah, that’s it. I dislike that this need for safety is making me do more work. And yet sometimes that’s how it is. Or appears to be, at least.

Is this true? Let’s ask what is true and what is also true.

Déjà vu. I am pretty sure I have written this entire post before, word for word. And maybe I have, maybe I have been writing it for years.

What do I want?

I want my dance studio (this is a proxy) to feel deliciously safe. The dance studio is actually my fishing village which is not a fishing village.

I do not want to have to do any more work to ensure that this is the case.

What do I want?

In a dance studio, there are certain things that provide safety for everyone dancing there.

One part is basic etiquette: maintaining line of dance (everyone moves counterclockwise around the floor) so you go in the same direction as your fellow dancers instead of crashing into them.

The other part is understanding how to do a basic pattern in such a way that you aren’t yanking on people or moving them in a way that could compromise their back and shoulders. So that you are holding yourself up and allowing yourself to be held at the same time. Even while people are still working on the subtleties of this, as long as they are traveling in line of dance, everything is fine.

In my five years running this dance studio, I’ve learned everything there is to know about offering clear explanations for how to do this.

We explain it before people even sign up. And then we help them remember.

We have signs posted. We’ve taught dozens of classes on this and made the recordings available. I even designed a special orientation program for new dancers that walks them through dance safety.

And this issue is even more important than before because we are all dancing at a much higher level now. When you’re just doing basics it isn’t the end of the world if you crash into someone because you weren’t following line of dance. It isn’t ideal, but no one gets hurt. You just apologize.

At a higher level, not respecting line of dance endangers everyone. We are doing complicated maneuvers and I can’t have anyone getting injured.

What do I want?

I want the counterclockwise line of dance to be respected, without doing more explaining about it.

When I opened registration for the studio this year, I gave the world’s clearest explanation. I said: my sweet loves, do not come dance with us this year unless you are onboard with this principle.

The entire studio is set up around this principle of safety. We live by it.

What do I want?

So last week someone showed up at the studio who had made the choice to not dance or practice, which is a legitimate choice.

I don’t require anyone to dance, or even to watch. I trust in All Timing Is Right Timing, and I know that there are many different ways to receive the gifts of dance and of my magical studio without even moving. Everyone’s relationship to dance and personal process with being a dancer is different.

Anyway, he came by and sprinted across the room, ignoring line of dance and our shared principle of safe dance space. I know, it was bizarre.

There are seriously signs everywhere that say, “hey, guys, this is the direction that we dance in so people don’t get hurt”. Also you can see everyone doing it.

I’m not talking about someone spacing out and going the wrong way in a moment of “oh whoops, sorry, I forgot”, which could absolutely happen. I mean complete disregard for the dancers and the studio.

The dancers at my studio are incredibly capable dancers, and they all just gracefully moved out of the way, or were able to not react at all. Some of them even tried to make room for him. That’s lovely. I’m proud of our dance culture. And it still isn’t okay.

While all dancers share in the responsibility for safe dancing and we are all equals, I built the studio, and I need to make choices that support the safety of everyone. So I decided that for year 6, I need to invite dancers I know and trust, so we can practice dancing at a higher level without the danger of running into people.

What do I want?

I am not in the mood to make invitations.

This process of invitations creates a lot more work for me, and I have no energy for more work. I shouldn’t have to be doing this work. This work should not be necessary. I am not in the mood to do it.

I just want to throw a temper tantrum and yell NO FAIR NO FAIR NO FAIR.

Which I might. Except that doesn’t resolve the wockawock of “I can’t have a situation where there is anyone in the studio who doesn’t respect the line of dance”, so I also want a solution to that.

I guess I want a way to make doing invitations fun. Or I want to not have to do it.

What do I want?


May peacefulness prevail.

What do I want?

I want to be like Susan, one of my actual real-life dance instructors, who holds beautiful boundaries for her classes.

What do I want?

Here is an interesting or unusual thing about my studio:

I view the dancers there as my equals. I don’t believe that I am a “more gifted” dancer, I’ve just danced longer than many dancers, and devoted a lot of years to thinking about dance and studying it.

The wisdom and beauty and grace of dance are available for ALL OF US.

We are all practicing. We are all inventing new movements. There is nothing special about my movements and patterns. The specialness is in the fact that we can all invent movements and patterns. We are all creative geniuses, and we can all tune into the universal sea of dance wisdom.

I want my world to be filled with people who delight in this.

Where/how do I want to start playing with this?

Well, I guess I will dance.

Anything else coming up?

I am asking for a Perfect Simple Solution, to all of this. And the superpower of Everything Is Useful, Including Things That Appear To Be Obstacles.

What are the qualities of my wish?

Calm. Steadiness. Peacefulness. Trust. Composure. Delight. Play. Readiness.

What would help me move forward on this? How am I going to play?

Interviewing slightly-future-me who has already resolved this. Drawing a crown and a heart on my palm. Thinking: Crown. Heart.

What is my clue?

Harmony. It is in my tea.

Anything else?

When do I like invitations? When I am invited to the commissioner’s ball, where I get to be the belle (and the bell!) of the ball….

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat dreams. Things I’m working on, or might be, someday…

  • Everything is getting easier, and oh look, miracles everywhere.
  • Regular gigs at the (non-metaphorical) ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this.
  • Past me is a GENIUS.
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • Hawaii.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.

This week’s ops?

Solving this wockawock about invitations. I’m playing with: “What is the wockawock? Whose wockawock is it? What opportunities/treasure does this wockawock provide?”

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka I was having this discussion in a taxi heading downtown…

My wish had to do with Graceland and my fishing village, finding grace and glowing love, and boundaries. Exploring this wish has been amazing, and I know it helped me uncover some of my current frustration, which will lead me to…even more grace. And it also helped me do something really important.

Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked. Thank you, everyone who said amazing things.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

It is my joy (very much joy) to whisper to you about Operation Sustenance (password: fredastaire). This contains everything I will be offering in 2014. Please spread the word so we can meet our Blodgett and distribute treasure!

Invitations for Operation Wings will be extended next week, and you can upgrade from Operation Keys if you like.

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, visions, personal ads. Small or large. In any form you like, there’s no one right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play.

Let’s throw some things in the pot! And, as always, Amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.


The Fluent Self