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 348th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

invocation: a breath for all timing is right timing

this is the latest I’ve ever written the wishes
this has also been just the most intensely miserable week
and the hidden treasure of things being miserable
is that when all signs point firmly towards GTFO
at least you know it’s time to make a change
and so instead of wishing the wish I thought I was going to wish
let us release a truly revolutionary wish into this world of ours

an envelope from maxine arrived this week

inside: a note that says thank you
inside: twenty five dollars
maxine does this sometimes, when she has a moment of
observing herself
using a concept or a phrase she got from me
to solve/resolve a situation in her life or meet it in a new way
I have never met maxine but I love her, and I especially appreciate
how she glows appreciation for herself and her noticing,
then glows some back to me

it makes me think of the vision of the
colorful silk parachute

colorful silk parachute

do you know the kind I mean?
a giant colorful silk parachute and everyone lifts together
on the count of three, and then
wheeeeeeee you scamper-slide beneath it super fast
plopping down on the inside of the fabric
and suddenly an amazing circus-like tent floats up above you and holds itself,
everyone goes oooooooh,
it is a canopy, a temporary round house, a sanctuary that has
come into being just for this moment of
shared magic

and people giggle a little because whoa what just happened

what I want

for the first time in a long while I know
with stunning crisp certainty
exactly what I want
from/for/in my now eleven-year-old business
it is wonderfully liberating to know this
and also more than a little scary

but I am just going to say it
because I know it
with such huge intense clarity
that I cannot not say it

{here it is}

an entirely different stream / an entirely different way of thinking

on the television action show Leverage, they like to say
oh we work on an entirely different revenue stream
and they take such delight in this Alternative Revenue Stream
which of course is supported by leverage
they use this instead of money
or they use leverage to acquire the funds needed
for their secret ops
but the point is that they don’t think about their work
in terms of money
and they don’t worry about whether or not the client can pay them
because they’ll get compensated anyway and they believe in the mission
and somehow, counter-intuitively, this thinking-about-it-differently
becomes an opening
and all the resources they need are there

yes this is marvelous

I too would like a company that functions on
an Entirely Different Revenue Stream
with the accompanying superpowers of giddiness and glee at being
outside of the usual way of doing things
except (and here is where things veer off fairly drastically from the show),
I want to do this with clarity, honesty, integrity, intention, love,
and raw vulnerable presence
because this is right, and because these are the prerequisites
for us to do what we do here


the alternate revenue stream I want my business to run on
is this:


and here is how I envision this
somewhat radical idea

roundness and rhythm

a circular-cycle
pulsing points of light
appreciation is felt-glowed-expressed
which then generates more appreciation and more glowing
back into the circle
flowing-glowing burnished copper and gold
everyone involved at any point feels loved
so beautifully appreciated,
and then appreciating more,
and then being appreciated again for appreciating
until the circle cannot even contain all this good feeling and the
entire world just spills over with gratitude and
the incredible vibrating throbbing humming joy-flooding feeling that
comes from
being full and present inside your thank-you heart

I envision something like this….

people come to this beautiful peaceful magically safe space
this space that we have built here together
(yes, together, because while I may have called it into being and
filled it with words-and-welcoming, it is the community of
thoughtful, creative, warm-hearted people
who have gathered here and made it pulse with life)

I imagine people coming here and saying:

mmmm what a remarkable space, this place is a glowing source of good in the world
and I want to be a part of this
I want to find my place here, play here when called to play,
to take the treasures that whisper my name, and let them
bring light and lightness into my life
to pick from among these shining ideas, concepts, tools, practices, experiments and sparks,
and make them my own
how can I share my appreciation for all the good that is here for me

what I want is something non-transactional

maybe even the opposite of transactional

what I want is a little bit like a guild

this is from a letter Lorinda sent last year, one of the people who views
the fluent self as a sort of guild they belong to
and just send me money once in a while:

Dear Barrington,
Two years ago on May 6, 2013, I found The Fluent Self website. Last year I was able to catch my magic bus to Rally! There I promised myself that I would expend the equivalent of my annual dues to a professional organization at The Fluent Self. Enclosed is a check for one third of the balance, and I am throwing Havi a bouquet of flowers because her writing is helping me on my Quest. My tangible thanks can reach Havi as a warm glow, or whatever she needs the appreciation to be, much like the salves, which are not only helping me but also my husband. Thank you again!

many times I have wished for a thousand Lorindas!
or wished that this was just a thing where people, all the time,
thought of themselves as belonging to the world of self-fluency
and then so of course we all support the work because the work supports us
and it just makes sense to do that

and yet, while silently wishing for this,
I have kept on running an ordinary business
a business that runs on the ridiculous founding principle of internet businesses
(more on that in a minute)
instead of one that functions like a guild

the colorful silk parachute belongs to all of us

the way things work now is that a core group of us hold onto the parachute edges
lifting it so everyone can run underneath
and this really made sense to me for a long time
actually I kind of thought of it as a radical experiment in socialism and social justice:
those who have more resources or are more committed to
diving deeper into self-fluency
people who can find money, time or willingness to invest in their lives
they lift the parachute through
[buying products or coming to events or working with me]
and this allows everyone to play here at no cost
which is really beautiful
and sometimes makes me cry because I feel so strongly
that everyone should be able to play here regardless of
whether or not their appreciation is tangible or not

now I want something new

well, I still want the material I share here to be
free for everyone
I will always want that
and: I want EVERYONE who can lift to lift, even if it’s just with one tiny fingertip!
even if it’s five dollars a year, sending a letter of appreciation,
sharing links to favorite posts with other people
I want that attitude and feeling of yes we are taking part in this together
making it happen together
it’s so light, this silk parachute, and so much lighter when everyone is helping
wheeeeeee! like that

I want these qualities of COLOR and LIGHTNESS and PLAY
together we are the Mighty Mighty Nature Crew!

okay I guess we need to talk about C-I-F

I don’t want to sell things in the shop anymore
it’s such an odd dynamic, selling things in a shop
every time I think about it
the whole thing breaks my brain

in fact I will go one step further
I don’t want to spend any more time coming up with things
people will pay for
I am perfectly happy to invent and create these things
as a way of saying thank you to my fellow playmates in the guild,
of glowing more appreciation back into the
circle of appreciation

currently I have things for sale because the rigged-game set-up of the internet
is that Content Is Free (C-I-F)
and for the record, I’m not against Content Is Free…

I believe in C-I-F!

it might even be the thing I feel most strongly about
that people without resources
should be able to come here and soak up all the good
and using or adapting whichever concepts and techniques appeal to them
this is why this space exists

I have also benefitted from C-I-F!

C-I-F was so helpful to me when I was starting my business in 2005
and money was tight, support was non-existent, I couldn’t afford help
reading posts online was an incredible resource for me
having free content is also how I give back
someone resourceful and motivated could easily put themselves
through university levels of self-fluency studies
by reading the archives of everything I’ve written
and never pay a dime

and knowing that people do this
fills me with great joy

C-I-F also worked for me back when:

a) the internet wasn’t as loud,
it was much easier to be
the clear signal in the noise
b) I offered so many other paid services
(coaching teaching workshops retreats trainings)
and other things I no longer wish to do
because I no longer have any desire to be in the front of the room
I no longer want to be complicit in any way
in supporting a culture that even implies
that some people are the experts and know better
I only want to be in a culture where sovereign equals play together,
where each of us is able to reveal our own wise knowing
and we all support this environment where everyone else can do the same

after spending nearly a decade toppling myself off
of every pedestal people wanted to put me on
I no longer agree to be in a leadership role
we are all Agents in the agency of Agency,
coming together as equals, to play and learn and be wonderfully surprised by what we
uncover, individually and together,
this is how I want to work

so what do I mean when I say the old dynamic isn’t working

right now I sell things in the shop because
if content is free
— if I’m not going to be compensated for the many hours I work here
then something else
(more/better/secret content)
(next levels, help with implementation)
needs to have a price
because this is a business and it has employees, beyond me,
and everyone who works here needs to get paid, being paid is important,
and I have been neglecting this part of the business the past couple years
which is my own messy unsovereign pattern

but the point is, I currently follow the way of the world and I say
hey X is available for purchase and it is amazing
and if enough people say yay then I don’t have to go get a new job
I don’t want to do this anymore

in part because, to quote ann friedman,
“I am fine with a labor of love, but not a labor of debt”

and in part, because what I am currently modeling in agreeing to this
is neither sustainable nor joyful
which is wildly incongruent with what we’re trying to do here
since getting closer to qualities like sustainability and joy…
well, that’s the practice

here’s what I want

I want us to do away with the train of thought behind
[pay X to Get Y]

here is what I want the thinking to be instead:
wow self-fluency has given me so much
and changed how I interact with myself and the world
I want more of this joy and more of this play
and what I really want is to express my appreciation for everything I’ve received
how can I do that?

and then this person is so full of joy
that they send funds of thank you
and I am so full of joy, and so much appreciation for their appreciation
that I send them [product of their choosing]
as a thank you for the thank you
and I am perfectly happy
to give people something more to work with

and instead of selling/buying products
we thank each other with love
and up the glow

extra sweet

then the thank-you package they get is now extra sweet
because they already received the value before acquiring it
so there is no expectation and no monster-guilt
only big wild joy

is this possible though

to subvert the rigging to such a degree
that we can train ourselves to think of giving appreciation
because that’s what wants to be given
and not because of something we get in return
and then getting something as appreciation for the appreciation
and feeling wonderful about that
in place of the cultural training we have in
[“I paid Sum X and therefore I deserve Thing Y” or
“I don’t know if I’m ready to invest Sum X because what if I don’t use Thing Y”}

I don’t know

but I want to try
and have been trying to figure out what this might look like

because I think this is such a valuable practice:
actively wanting to Glow Appreciation as a way of being a part of something
and I also think this is a surprisingly
powerful, subversive and DISRUPTIVE act
undoing the rigging of the rigged game
through intentionally disengaging from the Transactional Exchange
and coming back to love

appreciation meets appreciation

love: I thank you for your thank you with a thank you,
but that ideally won’t be the motivating reason for
investing in my work which is really our work
because we all do it together
maybe in that sense what you receive is more like a Return On Investment for
being someone who is committing to the life practice of
supporting what you believe in because it supports you
and then — bonus! it supports you even more
the cycle of glowing appreciation glows stronger
and then everyone benefits because when I am no longer
a) Not Being Paid for my work
b) not spending my time inventing ways to keep
this unsustainable C-I-F method afloat
I can actually hang out here and write
which is what I want to be doing with my days

does this make sense?
I hope it does

anything else I want to say about this?

noticing the old Fear of Being Misunderstood brigade
so I want to be very clear about where I stand:

I really do understand that some of you are not currently in the position to share appreciation in any tangible form, even a dollar, and there is nothing wrong with this, I get it, I was in that situation and worse, and know what this is like

of course I feel the glow of your appreciation and glow appreciation back to you,
and there is no more you need to do, this space is here for you always,
and if you want and are able to glow more appreciation
through sending a postcard or sharing a link, then that is beautiful too,
and if right now that’s too much, you as you are in this moment is enough,
you are a part of this place regardless
you are loved and welcome and appreciated here, always

I stand by that

if you want to join this quiet revolution, be a part of the guild…

there is more thinking I need to do about form
in the meantime
there are truly great things in the shop
that will be gone when the shop closes
you could glow appreciation through saying yes to one of those
or to anything on the spark page
but instead of thinking of it as “buying” something
think of it as expressing appreciation for this space and
the insights, processes and practices
we experiment with here
and then getting even more appreciation back

if that doesn’t appeal to you,
there’s always Barrington’s Discretionary Fund
(here is an explanation of what that is)
and then you can give what you like and glow a thank you
knowing that this stream of appreciation
is what makes this place hum

and who knows what big magic will be seeded

in the world
through this quiet revolution
where we insist on more sustainable ways
(and keep experimenting until we find out what they are)
of glowing good into the world

may it be so!

what do I know about my wish this week

the way I’m currently doing things is not sustainable
and the above sentence applies to everything in my life
not just to a rigged-game business model that used to work
(for me, though probably not for that many people) once upon a time

and so I ask for the superpowers of Clear Seeing,
Deep Wild Trust, and New Doors

I don’t know what the answers are but I do know
that the continuing on the not-yes path
is not helping anyone, not me and not the
people who read here
who are the reason I’ve been doing this for all these years
so this is a wish about newness and about heart
turning inward into my thank-you heart
to attune to my own glow-streams
my own quiet knowing
with love for all that is here


I just looked up and smiled: there’s a new mural on the wall at the cafe
and I didn’t notice it yesterday:
friendships are a history of shared meals
history, sharing, nourishment, joy
that’s it exactly

that’s the one thousand five hundred and sixteen posts here
beautiful shared meals

let’s start a revolution

I’m more than happy to be the one who cooks delicious things
and now I’m going to challenge myself to change both my own patterns
of not accepting help
and the rigged-game itself
by launching a quiet revolution in the world
by inviting everyone in my world to share in some form in the labor,
in the play, and in the appreciation
whether that’s grocery shopping and washing up
or bringing flowers or glowing appreciation in our hearts
each of us touching one finger to the colorful silk parachute
smiling to ourselves because we belong to a secret guild
a quiet revolution

superpower of knowing that pleasure is healing


february on the 2016 fluent self calendar was the door of SANCTUARY, and march is the door of LUSCIOUSNESS, which comes with the glowingly important superpower of knowing that pleasure is healing

thank you, past me
for naming this month
and reminding me of this superpower
which is exactly what I need most right now


this is the last chance to acquire a pack of stone skipping cards
PASSWORD: sweetdoors
because I’m moving out and won’t have anywhere to store them
or the shipping materials
so get them this week,
and while you’re at it, sign up for the not-exactly-a-course
where we embark on establishing a loving playful practice of self-inquiry,
to access previously-hidden gems of internal wisdom
and whatever else we might need
dates coming soon!

if you want bulk packs of cards, we can do that too!
one pack is $22
or buy three and get one free
or buy five and get five free
because this is the time to let these go

last week’s wishes

two weeks ago I wished a wish called true currency

which led me to last week’s wish of maps and passages, which brought me to the challenging passage of this past week, which brought me to this

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share anything sparked for you while reading

or if you have APPRECIATION for this space, I would love that

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

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!