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 326th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

the things we don’t know yet…

when I was in high school in michigan
I had the tremendous good fortune to study american history
with a young brand-new teacher who was intense and passionate

not just about history
but about systematically undoing
all the bullshit we’d been imbibing before we got to her

she convinced the school to acquire college textbooks for us
and we learned the things that don’t usually get learned
and unlearned the rest

for example we learned

that the “founding fathers”
were not good people so much as they were interesting

we learned about the mechanics and horrors of the slave trade
and how we betrayed and trampled the native american populations
and the ongoing aftermath of both of these that is swept under all the rugs

the awful sad stories of internment camps in the second world war

xenophobia, manifest destiny, imperialism,
the hilarious myth of american exceptionalism
the studious ignoring of desperate cries for help
the unwanted and sometimes insidious intervening

she taught us to be wonderfully skeptical, curious always

and she taught that you can absolutely love the place you inhabit
without being docile, or agreeing to its acquired mythology,
and you can expect better, and agitate for better

(thank you for this treasure)

and still there is so much we didn’t learn that year

so much

the textile mills in massachusetts
and the young women who worked impossibly hard hours there — 5am-7pm
a 73 hour work week operating heavy machinery

the worker’s strikes and the fight for labor reform

the fascinating life of Emma Goldman (“the most dangerous woman in America!”)
and other strong outspoken women who were agitators and troublemakers

what the suffragettes went through —
imprisoned, mishandled, force fed through tubes,
labeled as traitors, for wanting equal rights: to vote
and to do things as shocking as wear pants

the fire at the triangle shirtwaist factory
women workers (immigrants: jews and italians) jumping to their deaths
their employers kept the doors to the stairways locked
out of fear that god forbid someone might take a break
during her nine hour daily shift

this is a history of intense oppression of workers

and also a history of people — my people — taking a powerful stand towards change
and we never talked about any of it

I’m thinking about this in several contexts right now

1) today is Day 209 of Shmita

I’ve been working non-stop for twenty four years — since I was fourteen,
and now I’ve had the gift of two hundred and nine glorious days
of Not-Work, immersed in this experiment of letting my fields be fallow,
and the main thing I’ve learned is that The Game Is Rigged:

even in our modern convenience-filled world
and even with the plentiful magic beans I’ve been granted,

as a legal citizen, as someone who is white and well-educated and able-bodied and owns a washing machine, just for starters, and without kids or anyone else who requires care

still, even graced with so many advantages,
and this immense treasure of time off from my job/s,
just the work of day-to-day life
— acquiring food, preparing food, cleaning up, laundry, decision-making —
just this is already a full-time job,

and that’s the best days,
the ones with no chronic pain or unexpected life stuff

2) the cult of too much

for years when asked what I do for a living, my answer was:

“too much”

or IWOM which means “too much and top secret and I either can’t or don’t care to describe it”

but really everyone I know, the self-employed included,

  • does too much
  • works too hard
  • puts themselves last
  • pays themselves last
  • puts up with unreasonable conditions/expectations and other unsovereign bullshit (both from clients/bosses and from themselves)

3) we are terrible at setting expectations of what is enough

hell, even people who are much better-compensated than we are
also have this same problem
of not setting clear, sovereign expectations
for what is fair labor, and instead internalize this stress-shame-pain cycle,
and companies never revise their expectations

because their expectations are never challenged, though also yes, because they see people as expendable

4) the problem of “women’s” work

because women’s work is invisible, unvalued, unappreciated
and we know this
and still collectively forget it each day

and we are told by productivity-guru-time-management-experts
that we all have the same twenty four hours in a day
and the usual bullshit

said more often than not, I think, by men who
forget they have someone at home quietly doing the dishes
and picking up their socks,
someone who is never going to say

the game is rigged

do you know how my business started?

ten years ago I started this site, and a parallel site
one was for working on our stuff:
our pain/fear/monsters/doubt
so that we could inhabit and embody our internal worlds, and make them
places of peacefulness

the other was the non-profit side of this, for going out into the world
and bringing our self-fluency to projects
that could heal the world

because, as far as I was concerned, there is an intimate connection
between tending to, mending and healing ourselves (and our selves)
and glowing healing-mending into the world

never got to that part

it was always in my thoughts,
but the game is rigged, and there wasn’t time for it

and also I noticed that the only time there was pushback
on this blog was when I talked social justice

so I let it go

man, you should have seen the reactiveness and defensiveness
when I dared to point out that amazon is an exploitative dangerous company

and people thought it was gross when I talked about menstrual cups
which is funny, because

you know what’s actually gross?

  1. that we have been socialized and brainwashed to think that bodies which come with uteri and ovaries are “gross”, and to not discuss how they function
  2. oh, right, the 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators dumped in the landfill each year just in North America
  3. or that each menstruating person who doesn’t use a cup, cloth pads and/or Thinx, will be responsible for 125 to 150kg of disposable menstrual products put in the earth in their lifetime
  4. that tampons and pads are hugely toxic and harmful to the bodies of the people who use them, and the companies who make them know this and don’t care

that’s what’s gross

that, and the fact that me-then learned to stop writing about
these things I care about tremendously

because it seemed more important then to be able to reach people
and distribute tools and techniques and qualities for
healing and self-fluency and Safety First,
than to alienate people through saying things they weren’t ready to hear

but I’m done caring about that now

last night

my beautiful lover, who, for reasons beyond my comprehension
is dead-set (yes, that is the word)
on working himself to death
had just came back from an incredibly stressful work weekend
five hours away

this was his weekend, which followed a week of impossibly hard work days:
drive five hours
work non-stop and all night in unbelievably tense conditions
without food or access to food
or taking a break
sleeping just a little, and then five hours back

he didn’t take the day off yesterday to recover
instead he worked from 7am-7pm
and then drove to his other client to…you’ll never guess…
do some more work

there won’t be time for you unless you take it

he: how is it that I’ve been going all day and still have work to do?
me: probably related to the reason you didn’t say “hey I worked a hundred hours this weekend so I’m taking my weekend now”? though also because The Game Is Rigged
he: yes
me: there won’t be time for you unless you take it
he: but there’s always more work
me: exactly, and it’s kind of nuts that after a ten day work week, you’d put in thirteen hours today, and you’re still going — you might want to call your union rep

that was a joke but it’s no joke

(like me, he runs his own tiny company so there is no rep)
(but really, we should all be our own union reps)
(and consult with these internal reps in WUSIT situations and also all the time)
(because good lord, the conditions we agree to)
(and only this week after TWO DECADES of this nightmare of being on-call 24-hours a day did he establish overtime rates)

what’s the solution?

I don’t know
I only have small clues

I can tell you that when I am off social media
the quality of my life/time is better for me
but even when I am completely off social media
the game is still rigged and I am still busy

I can tell you that when my lover and I lived in a nine foot camper plus bed,
that was a very human-sized space, as he would say
and it made so many things very simple
but even a tiny space still needs to be swept all the time
it’s amazing how much dirt and mess accumulates
when life is concentrated in one place

I know I need to get back to rooting and rootedness
back to my roots
breathe down to the root

here is a clue from my madeleine


so there is a history here
a history of agitation, advocacy, creative activism,
real social justice, stirring up the pot,
sticking it to the man, whatever you want to call it

I was born into a line that isn’t too far off from
Emma Goldman levels of dissent and trouble-making
russian-jewish rabble-rousers? that’s my father’s father’s whole family

strong women who said fuck-off to the patriarchy:
that’s my hungarian paternal grandmother who ran away at seventeen
took off for british palestine where she consorted with gun runners and did
wild impossible things in dangerous exciting times

it is time for protesting
it is time for pointing out over and over again
that The Game Is Rigged
it is time for internal decolonizing of all the acquired
external rules and assumptions and bullshits
it is time to reclaim internal space, reclaim force fields

to say no
take time back
claim space and time
marching in the streets
of my own kingdom

unapologetically, that is the key

My history, my roots
I want the firm rooted knowing that justice and freedom
in all things are important, and that I can speak truth
from steady source
without apologizing

I am really tired of everyone apologizing,
even the most flagrantly unapologetic women I know
apologize for things that ought not be apologized for

placating and reassuring are a subset of apologizing

my god, even Amanda Palmer feels the need to reassure
a very rude shoe-thrower

— newsflash to all shoe-throwers, not that there are any here,
it’s never okay to let your monsters write someone a letter —

that no, she isn’t crowd-funding her baby

though, really, why shouldn’t she

the question may be rhetorical but that doesn’t mean it’s not important:
why the hell can’t she crowd-fund a baby?

(seriously, if anyone could do it, Amanda could)
(and babies, last I heard, are quite expensive and time-consuming)

I think it would be inspiring
it takes a village — what if we started asking for a village?!

and even Clementine Ford who is so justifiably proud of being
unapologetic that she straight up tells you
all the things she won’t apologize for
still feels the need to explain about her patreon:
“this isn’t an account to fund or support my lifestyle”
even though, again, what would be wrong with that

I mean, The Game Is Rigged

why not allow people to help with your life
so you can do your mission

I’ve read lots of patreon pages and have yet to see
men hasten to reassure people that they aren’t
just trying to get money for life through providing value

because men in general haven’t been as socialized to the same extent to think that’s shameful

I’m not saying men have it easy
(look, now I’m apologizing!)
see for example the case of my lover who couldn’t tell his clients
that he does in fact need to be paid more when they wake him up at 4am

we all get screwed by The Game Is Rigged
we all have to figure out our own way to subvert it

here’s what I want

and this is for me, you can wish (and do) what you like

  • taking — taking — time for me, every chance I get and then some
  • being fiercely unapologetic about everything I do to take care of me
  • no more supporting the system, I get that I can’t exit the system but I’m done giving money to Our Corporate Overlords and companies engaging in unethical practices (and yes, I get that this is most companies, and I get that figuring out who to trust requires the immense magic beans of time to research), if each dollar is a vote, I am going to vote louder
  • living smaller
  • choosing and valuing the qualities and superpowers of BEAUTY and COMFORT, and their healing magic
my mountain man lover who likes to sleep on the floor has been heard to say that “comfort kills”, though this also the person who is working himself to death, and what is actually killing him is his inability/disinclination to set clear expectations about how much work is too much work, so really a little physical comfort not only wouldn’t kill him, it might actually save him, but saving people is not my job, so that’s going to be up to him

anything else about this?

I just want to be clear
(because this is the internet and people twist words and meanings)
that I am not in any way comparing the injustices of the industrial revolution
to how we work too hard and too much today

this is not about comparison
this is about calling in the spirits, invoking the qualities and superpowers
of Sovereignty, Integrity, personal power: rebelliousness and rabble-rousing

what am I noticing about my wish?

like all good wishes, this is a wish about freedom
and about presence:
fully inhabiting and occupying this life and this body, claiming space:

may it be so!


orange table, amber bottle of a magical tincture, fuzzy blanket, quiet music, I am here

superpower of yes to my yes, no to my no.

October - Be Bold More last month was stand in my strength more, and october (on the Fluent Self calendar) is be bold more

with the superpower of yes to my yes, no to my no

nothing is more important than this

this is how I want to live in all things
even when it scares me

last week’s wishes

aka delicious space

that was the best wish I have ever wished, and it
was just the tip of an enormous wishberg
of internal information, desires, memories, associations
endless nooks and crannies to explore
as if just naming a wish
is invoking a magnificent library
that holds anything and everything
I could possibly know or wonder about the topic of my wish

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