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 339th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

the ocean

Last March I set off on Shmita, the practice of letting
fields be fallow
, intentional not-planting and not-planning,
in all aspects of my life,
and, slightly terrified, embarked on what turned out to be a five month road trip
full of wild adventures
one of the first of which involved
the pacific ocean telling me about the mission of less
devoting my life to my yes
through devoting my life to less

this in turn led me to invent/reveal/discover the practice of
Luscious Minimalism, not to mention many other beautiful things,
all of which have brought me to this moment
right here

this is what I want

the process of
[being/becoming a namer who names things]
or, maybe, recognizing that being a namer who names things
is who I am

that’s what I want,
both in work and play and what I do in this world
naming things like it’s my job
it might even be the only job I want

my mission is about NAMING
naming each of my missions
my incoming selves
naming each of my treasures so I know them by name, a la dunbar dynamics
and being a namer who cares about names

an important thing about namers

I don’t make up the names or bestow the names
because I am not the one who knows the names,
I am the one who hears the names

do you feel the distinction
I get as quiet as possible and listen,
until I receive the names that are right
the treasures name themselves
I just listen
naming is an extension of listening

naming is an act of revealing,
allowing something to emerge,
it is taking off rather than putting on

an image:

instead of thinking hard about what garment to wear and
trying them all on at once, obscuring myself,
I create safety for myself to slowly and intentionally
remove and remove
until I get a sense of what my body wants
how I wish to be cloaked
and then my mantle appears

garments, like names, can be
magical transformative sheltering
a chrysalis for identity
a way to embody previously unknown or forgotten
qualities, attributes and desires


my friend told me he had a wild vision about two sheep and a fence
and now he is pretty sure he needs sheep

I thought the book Ounce Dice Trice has names for sheep
(it does not)
though it has names for elephants, whales, cats,
insects too — Twilliter! Flurr! Summersby! Thrimm!
and even names for houses
but while looking up sheep names and not finding them,
I encountered the most delicious clue:

“It is most important to be a good namer, since it falls to all of us at some time or another to name anything from a canary to a castle, and since names generally have to last a long time.”

that is delightful and guess what

I am a good namer! I forgot this but it is true:
I name (receive the names) of my incomings
my projects
my proxies
the eight directions
the twelve months
each day of the year
I am naming everything all the time and it is
not only important but MOST important
to be a good namer
my favorite book agrees with my mission, and I didn’t even know it

I want to learn about this and why it is most important to be a good namer
this feels like an important path for me
I AM A NAMER, that’s who I am
a good namer
(though really a good listener, because I hear the names that are)


I changed my middle name to bell
several years ago
because I wanted to be a bell
and that worked out well
because now I am a bell

and wherever I go
I reverberate qualities
changing my internal and external space
through resonance

the last time I saw my mother before she died
she told me that she knew about my new name
and pointed out
that the hebrew name for bell
contains all the letters of my previous middle name
as if holding it

except for one, the yud, just a tiny little chupchik of a letter,
but that if you conjure a bell in your mind, made of letters,
then the yud can be the tongue of the bell
the part that makes it ring

ringing and releasing

I had imagined she might be less than thrilled
about the fact that I had released the name she chose for me
even if my releasing was more like a red balloon
than a throwing away
I just wasn’t sure if she’d understand that
she was on a lot of medication though
which, like a well-chosen garment, revealed things that
I had not previously been able to see in her before

this glowing positivity, and ability to transform one thing into another,
to see that change — choosing towards what is new and right —
does not equal rejection of what was
rather just acknowledging the new yes
and it is that understanding which allows us to not be overly attached to what was,
so that we can say,
“oh you took the beautiful name I gave you and turned
its components into something new, how delightful, how pleasing”

how pleasing

my old middle name meant “pleasant” or “pleasing”,
a word I always thought was unbelievably boring
but have now discovered is actually quite beautiful if you think about it
pleasure is treasure, pleasure is life
and what is that which is pleasant, pleasing, if not a pleasure-delivery-system
yes of course I want to be a pleasure-delivery system

but what I really wanted was to ring ALL the qualities, not just one
which required reconfiguring, morphing into a bell
and the best gift my mother ever gave me
was unexpectedly understanding this
through her new pleasantness filter

why I am naming

I want to be friends with everything in my life
and know each item intimately
treasuring everything I own
knowing that we have chosen each other for right now

and in order to do this,
I need fewer things
so that I can remember each of their names

I mean, I need fewer things anyway,
because I’m letting go of my gorgeous home
where I have lived for seven years
and taking to the road again
and then possibly living in a very tiny shed
we shall see

dunbar’s number

dunbar being the british anthropologist who came up with the concept
that there’s a cognitive limit to how many people we can have in our lives
before social relationships fall apart

there are different thoughts on what this number is,
somewhere between 100 and 250, with 150 often standing in
as a good number

but basically the number of people you can
reasonably know and keep in contact with,
maintaining a stable relationship,
not including connections that are over
unless they are people you want to reconnect with

the lovely book small giants
talks a lot about companies that have intentionally chosen to remain small
in a variety of ways
and many of them use dunbar’s number as a way to make sure they’re
staying human-sized

this is a business beacon for me for sure
I want big reach,
in the sense of my work having a powerful glow effect in the world
but to maintain smallness and containment in terms of
how I do/share/live the work itself

everything has an owner in spirit

this is something my former mentor used to say

he used to tell the story of how
back in the iron curtain days when yoga was forbidden
because it was seen as religious/spiritual and dangerous,
he hid his yoga book under the floorboards of his house
and kept clothing for practice behind a rock in the woods

each day he’d hike to a clearing and change clothes to practice
and his garments came to embody
the specialness of the quiet time
the rebellion
the internal quiet
his clothing was yoga in spirit

that, he said, was why he didn’t like seeing americans
coming to yoga in their branded clothing
nike shorts and prana tops and little logos everywhere
because then the owner in spirit is a company
that wants you to advertise for them

I think about this a lot

not just with clothing
if everything in my life has an owner in spirit
or, as I think of it, a quality or an essence,
what objects and treasures do I want to surround myself with
what has meaning for me
whether that meaning is beauty, texture, color, a feeling or sensation, memory…

everything contains layers of memories

I recently let go of a perfectly good foam roller
because it belonged to the jealous controlling ex
and why would I want those qualities
even a hint of a memory of those qualities
in my space

I want each thing I own to evoke a giant smile
the smile I would smile if I saw an actual friend
someone I was delighted to see

no more objects or people in my life
whose presence I tolerate

I want to listen and hear the names
that fill me with joy
to well up with thankfulness
for the treasure of being immersed
in what I love

to ring bells
and clear out everything that
no longer needs to be in my life
and then sit in the new quiet space
letting the new names land

what do I know about my wish this week

like last week’s wish, it’s about presence and embodiment
and multiple meanings

and it’s about passages, thresholds and beginnings
as befits a new year

may it be so!


wearing my favorite garment,
a wildly glamorous wool coat
in a rich burgundy

and my favorite socks
drinking my favorite tea
and feeling a Congruencing coming on…

superpower of I am here and ready.


december on the 2015 fluent self calendar was TREASURE MORE, with the superpower of receptive to all incoming good surprises, and now we are in the Year of Doors: january is FREEDOM, and the superpower is I am here and ready

here and ready is about presence
and freedom is what this wish is about
the freedom to allow things to change form,
exit and release, take new shapes,
reconfigure into what is new and yes

and it is also about the freedom
to out myself as a namer of names
to share my vulnerable sweet wish that this be my only job

thank you, past-me, for putting this
on the calendar
and for the Year of More
which was exactly what I needed

last week’s wishes

I wished a wish about peaceful resolutions

and remarkably everything that needed resolving
was resolved (and re-solved)
as peacefully as possible
what a lovely surprise

thank you, process of writing about wishes, and thank you, me who asked

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share 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