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 346th consecutive week of wishing, come play!


some weeks the thing I want to write about here is
so vulnerable and intimate
that I convince myself I don’t have the words
or even that I don’t know what my wish is

probably because getting so close to
truths and yeses is
uncomfortable and scary

a useful thing about having gone through this
now three hundred and forty six weeks in a row
is the trust: I know if I just ask a question, any question
skipping it like a stone across the waters of my consciousness
and get quiet and wait
something true will be revealed
so let’s get brave and quiet, and ask: what am I thinking about?

I am thinking about grape leaves

whenever I eat stuffed grape leaves, I think of hagai
who owned this sandwich shop in north tel aviv
everyone said he made the best sandwiches in the city
and so people would put up with the wait
even though israelis think waiting is bullshit
you partly had to wait because of the line and everyone shoving
but mostly because hagai was slow
(“he’s an artist!, the artist of sandwiches!”)
and stoned off his gourd

people raved about the stuffed grape leaves in the deli case
and haggai would say his aunt in petach tikva made them
fresh by hand, a wonder, his aunt, at her age,
and even though who has time to drive to petach tikva
he would still go there twice a week
so his clientele could eat the best damn grape leaves in the middle east

my friend k got me the job there
where I repeated his story about the grape leaves
that the customers loved so much
until one day I walked into the kitchen in back
and found him, joint in the corner of his mouth,
applying a can opener to a giant industrial-size container of stuffed grape leaves

of course

“did something happen to your aunt?”, I asked, concerned
he looked at me confused, or possibly just feeling sorry for
this gullible wide-eyed foreign-born person who was so slow to catch on
of course there was no aunt, or if there was,
she wasn’t making stuffed grape leaves

so yes, a certain self-justified intentional dishonesty that I am not okay with
which is certainly one of the reasons I am, let’s say…
ambivalent? wary? when it comes to this
business of having an internet business
I’ve been doing this for eleven years
and despite having learned time and again how so many people
are not even close to what they present
in crafted-images, jargon, persona, avatar
I keep re-learning this
but no, that’s not why I’m thinking about what I’m thinking about
let’s peel another layer back
undoing this grape leaves story as if it were also made of grape leaves
ah of course

I am thinking about not getting paid

when I quit the sandwich shop under emotional circumstances
unrelated to the stuffed grape leaves incident
I was still owed quite a bit of money
all my calls went unanswered and unreturned, no surprise there,
I asked k what to do and she said that what she did
was march in and stand on a table and throw a screaming fit
until he paid her
the tightness in my solar plexus grew and
I decided I would live without the money

for a long time I wondered why she would get me a job
in a place where the owner doesn’t want to pay you
but as someone who has many times given someone in my company a job or task
that I thought would make them grow
in places and ways they most needed to grow
and then regretted that, every damn time, because it never works
I understand what she was hoping for
she was hoping it would make me tougher

it didn’t
it just exacerbated my tangle of apprehension and resentment
but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a beautiful wish that she wished for me
so I breathe appreciation for the wish

I am thinking about the winding nature of patterns

that funny-not-funny way of things
how if you don’t learn something the first round
(and god, how many of us do, pretty sure no one)
then you get handed endless opportunities to try again
over and over again until it gets ridiculous
and you think you have terrible luck or possibly a curse
until you realize it’s just the video game
and you’re in groundhog day mode
time to breathe in love and courage and
do the opposite of what you usually do….

for example

that same exact thing happened in just about every job
I’ve had since
but havi, you say, why did you keep agreeing to work without pay?
because I believed I would be compensated later
I wanted to be accommodating, a word that is so deeply tied up
in the rigging of the rigged game
and how women are trained in being pliable and compliant, placating,
don’t nag, don’t make them angry
so of course it was easier to think of myself as generous and trusting
sure, my boss at the bar was going through hard times and it was just temporary,
and of course a revered yoga teacher would pay me
why even get it all in writing, we’re all living lives of yoga here aren’t we
satya (truth) and asteya (not-stealing)
of course it will be fine

I am thinking about what is beautiful

I see two things in this pattern
one is this vulnerable tangle, this self-perpetuating cycle
of apprehension-resentment
small scared me who is excruciatingly hesitant to
establish boundaries and set clear expectations
who doesn’t even see her own disinclination to wear her own crown
I feel overwhelming tenderness towards her
protective, wanting to ease her pain

and the other is what beautiful hope she held in her heart
when I let go of the layers of shame and grief
I see someone who wanted to TRUST LIFE
and there is a lot to admire in that
even if the monsters say otherwise

I am thinking how funny it is: I am now the one who doesn’t pay me

over the years
as these Havi-not-getting-paid situations repeated in various forms
I tried a variety of tactics
asking / reminding / yelling / threatening / throwing a fit
none of these were terribly effective
in fact I think the only time I actually got my money back was when I quit
my job at the import company that turned out to be run by moroccan mafia
and even that took six months of steady harassment until I finally got a check

anyway, after all those years of “it’s no big deal they’ll pay me later”
and then not getting paid, and then falling into the same trap in the next job
I thought self-employment would solve this
except oh look somehow it is just landing for me now
to what extent I carried that old pattern along with me
into my own business, for eleven years,
not even noticing that the person screwing over me was me

it all seemed so reasonable

of course when the business was successful
I was going to invest that success into making beautiful safe spaces
online and in real life where people could have deep powerful experiences,
transformative moments, of accessing their own secret wise knowing
that’s what I do, I am a Very Interior Designer (the most interior!)
and so good at it and it brings me such delight
of course I could just pay myself later
when it all paid for itself
yes, I can laugh about this now
and about so many things that were not funny a few years ago
and yes, now it is time to turn this around

enough, pattern
I see you and I receive what you have for me
time to change how I respond
with love

I am thinking about raw and vulnerable states

like when I am a few days away from moon retreat
and find myself sobbing uncontrollably in a diner
and have to declare that day to be
the official Day of Uncontrollable Sobbing
(because at least that way I am celebrating it perfectly)

I am thinking about how {Play + Presence}
is always a good answer to raw and vulnerable
how fortunate then that these are my superpowers
this is what I glow, in me and out into the world
and I know where they come from: the secret s-word is sanctuary

I am thinking about sanctuary

here is my favorite thing about sanctuary
how it means two things
{awe + shelter}
and how safety is such a big deal
it just softens everything,
how much easier is it to fill up on the treasure of gratitude
access the wells of appreciation in my thank-you heart
when I feel safe
when I make safety for myself

awe brings me back to safety
safety brings me back to awe
shelters for accessing wonder

there it is again: what I do
what I do and what I do not pay myself for
what I do not ask to be paid for


once I did a guided meditation with my friend janet bailey
she got it from mark silver
the intention was to reveal/discover your heart-jewel
the quality that you radiate into the world
and that you sometimes forget to fill up on yourself
mine was a double-jewel
the jewel itself was SANCTUARY
the jewel on top was FREEDOM

I am thinking about true currency

sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night
and scribble something that seems terribly important
knowing that morning-me probably won’t understand
I keep these in a list

this is what middle-of-the-night me wrote this week:

appreciation is the true currency

here is what I think this means
and this is really at the heart of my wish
I want to be someone who lives in a state of appreciation
directed inward and outward
I want to swim in a sea of appreciation
I want to ask for appreciation to be expressed towards me, glowed towards me,
in all (healthy, sovereign) forms
including the form of being paid, expecting to be compensated,
asking and basking in asking
because this is how we rewrite the patterns
this is how we rewrite the whole game

I am thinking about my good heart

my heart sanctuary is where I access appreciation
what if I let this into the rest of my life
what would that look like
what is a life of sanctuary, freedom, appreciation
if unraveling and rewriting patterns is my job
(and has been for the last eleven years)
what would happen if I believed that was worthy
of being compensated all on its own
without having to do anything else?

this wish, now that I can see it, scares me and excites me
so I am going to seed it here
with endless safety for this tiny sweet vulnerable thing
and with trust trust trust

may it be so!

what do I know about my wish this week

it’s the right time to be wishing this wish
as the month of Sanctuary leads me to the day of Leap
and into the month of Lusciousness…


leopard print scarf made by someone I admire
ginger tea
train passing by
appreciation for all this

superpower of safety first


january on the 2016 fluent self calendar was the door of FREDOM, and february is the door of SANCTUARY, which comes with the glowingly important superpower of safety first

thank you, past me
for naming this month
and reminding me of this superpower
that I forget-and-remember a thousand times a day


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, they’re amazing!
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…

last week’s wishes

I wished a wish called the emptying and the M-T-ing

and what a wonderful wish
I finally finished the seemingly sisyphean task of emptying the house
and found some yes
and M-T was indeed More Treasure and Maybe Tacos
and many wonderful things

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

The Fluent Self