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 337th consecutive week of wishing, come play!

during the wild winds

monday morning during the wild winds
my beloved giant maple tree (one hundred and four years old)
uprooted and pitched into the street
lifting up three squares of concrete sidewalk with it,
its top branches landing — miraculously,
in the crook of a tree across the street,
its tons of weight precariously balanced
a tilting bridge

the usual pathways

standing aghast at the upstairs windows
I watched the neighbors flooding into the street and I watched
the way my body-mind took the most
familiar route through shock and loss, both in thoughts and sensation:

(1) agonizing pain in heart: who is dead?
(2) audible gasp-breath, exhale: oh thank god no one is dead, other than the tree
(3) prickling solar plexus panic in recognition of what could have happened, the many possible tragedies that weren’t, and how close they were
(4) lurching, unsteady: this will cost so much money
(5) chill of fear, top of spine: what if the other tree can’t hold long enough?

and then, slowly, remembering truth

truth tells me that in this moment I am okay
even when I think all is lost
even when my stunningly beautiful tree friend is dead
truth says: look at all the miracles

that is something, isn’t it
look at all the miracles

look at all the miracles

when I lost my center a few years ago
(double meaning: I lost my beautiful retreat center, the second one,
and also I lost my sense of center)
like in dance when you try something and it doesn’t work
and your teacher says, you lost your center there

you feel the truth of it, the momentary wobbliness,
eroding your training in how to use the ground
you forget how to move from your core with fierce intention

anyway, I lost my center, among other things,
and the pain of this loss
well, it was intense

during one of those hard days I was talking to Incoming Me
and I was wheel-grinding so hard
— why is this happening? why is this happening to me? what do I do?
and she stopped me abruptly

wisdom from incoming me

“Listen, my love. Listen carefully. I know you aren’t ready to hear anything positive about this loss, and that’s fine; loss is loss, it is unbearably painful and that just is. You get to grieve as long and as hard as you need to.

“Understand this though. From now on, for the rest of your life, you only get miracles. So if something happens and it doesn’t look like a miracle, either look harder or trust deeper. You can investigate until the miracle becomes apparent, or just assume miracle. Whichever is easier in the moment. But know this: ONLY MIRACLES.”


without in any way negating or dismissing the
very real heartache of losing
this dear-to-me tree …
let us name the miracles, or some of the miracles,
since we can’t possibly know about all of them

  • no one is dead!
  • there was no damage to people or property other than sidewalk
  • it didn’t fall in the other direction taking out half of our house
  • the tree across the way gracefully catching it: wow
  • my wonderful housemate, who has parked next to that tree every day for the past seven years, mysteriously parked a few houses away, if he’d chosen his usual spot, his (new!) car would have been obliterated
  • a police officer arrived in less than five minutes (I know, right?!) and taped off the street so no one would drive beneath the tree and be crushed
  • I have a friend who is an actual arborist who takes on dangerous tree-related missions every day, and was able to give wise comforting counsel


the arborist has a watch that says
what time is it?
there’s plenty of time!

I don’t wear a watch but if I did, I would wear this one
no urgency, enough of what I need,
miracles are more plentiful than I think
and remembering this is its own miracle


the city sent people to cut down the tree
it took hours
then they left its body in the street, limbs splayed,
alone in the rain and cold and dark,
yellow police tape — “DO NOT CROSS” — marking its edges,
the wind finally at rest

I stood in the rain and touched the tree for a long time
treasuring it
crying a little
under the solstice moon

the tree is treasure and
treasuring the tree is treasure


I went to the sapphire hotel (not a hotel)
and sat at the bar
sapphire for treasure and treasuring
ordering a drink called the lounge singer
because it had Zwack
which has a marvelous story,
and because I needed to be someone else
to access a part of me who can translate loss into song
and lounge singer felt right

it was a hungarian-norwegian solstice
between the Zwack and my friend the norwegian maple
sprawled on the street in front of my house

the insurance company says Act Of God
but I think the tree wanted out
(as impossible as that probably sounds)
I think it chose this timing
the dramatic solstice exit
this demonstration of the abundance of miracles
this big goodbye
no quiet-slipping-away the way I do


solstice is for turning towards light:
hey light, we see you, we know you are coming, trust

solstice is also for being okay with darkness,
dark things, dark times, the void, the narrow places
loss and perceptions of loss

december is TREASURE MORE in the fluent self calendar for 2015,
and LIGHT in 2016
I placed the pages next to each other on my wall
so they shared the message of

now I know my wish
that is my wish
to be someone who treasures light

and I am pretty sure someone who treasures (their own) light
is also someone who is strong enough to handle the void
and all the dark moments

what is inside my wish?

  1. seeing the miracles
  2. looking for the miracles when I can’t see them
  3. trusting that the miracles will be apparent later, as they usually are, so it’s okay if I can’t find them or name them yet
  4. trust in the wild winds, double meaning: I want to have trust while the wild winds are upon us, and also I want to trust in the wild winds themselves, that they are knocking down what is old and done, clearing out for what is next
  5. saying thank you when things do not seem to be miracles because they are endings and sad
  6. saying thank you for what was, for example thanking the year that was instead of glaring at it as it exits, thanking it both for its treasure and its exit
  7. remembering that there is plenty, plenty of time for me, plenty of things to treasure, plenty of tree-friends for me in this world
  8. treasuring the treasuring, because treasuring is healing, it is more than healing, it is downright REVOLUTIONARY
  9. this is also the week of X Marks The Spot, which is about mapping treasure, so I would like to do that

funny story

my proxy and cover story this week is that I am
writing a biography of Vanna White
(while living in a white van!)
and learning about being wildly glamorous
while living small

and Vanna White reveals treasure by giving clues

also, while researching the biography that I’m
not actually writing,
I learned that she tries to telepathically share
the correct letters during the bonus round
is that not beautiful

I treasure her treasuring of letters and their quiet magic

I wish

I wish to be/become an expert in treasure and treasuring,
treasuring myself, my body, my breath,
the miracles (both apparent and invisible),
the doors I cannot see yet,
the beautiful exits, dramatic or not,
the new places that ask me to enter

as I prepare to exit this year and the beautiful home that I have shared
for seven years with
the huge beautiful tree and my steady loyal housemate,
and as I ready myself to enter whatever is next
(as yet unknown)
I want this superpower of TREASURE MORE
more treasure and treasuring more
treasuring light more

glowing light into the hidden places
revealing gems
touching trees
smiling at the doors that open and at the doors that close
with trust in the wild winds

what do I know about my wish this week

it is the right wish to be wishing right now
and there is plenty of time
just like on the watch
for all the other wishes to have a home too

may it be so!


I am noticing so many other wishes popping up and saying
“notice me!”
like my wish for a gorgeous warm sweater
in a rich color
turtleneck or cowl-neck
to replace the sweater I found at a used clothing store
in Berlin many, many, many years ago
(recommendations are welcome)

or my wish for just-right dance practice space

so I am invoking the superpower of fractal flowers
somehow this wish about treasuring
will work its magic for all the clamoring and as-yet-unnamed wishes

I am learning their names and drinking ginger tea,
which is hitting the spot


what if Hits The Spot is part of the treasure map too
a parallel to X Marks The Spot
maybe we find the treasure through doing things that elicit pleasure

mmmmm I would like to choose more things that are as yes as this tea
saying YES YES YES this hits the spot

superpower of receptive to all incoming good surprises.

December - Treasure More december on the 2015 fluent self calendar is TREASURE MORE, with the superpower of receptive to all incoming good surprises

on the cusp from TREASURE into FREEDOM
glowing light
treasuring what is

I am receptive to all incoming good surprises
and everything that comes from [here, now]
and from saying yes to doors
and to sweetness

thank you, past-me, for putting this
on the calendar

if you want to join me in this surprisingly powerful practice of putting what you want LITERALLY ON THE CALENDAR, the 2016 Year of Doors calendars are here and they are breathtaking — password: sweetdoors

last week’s wishes

I wished a wish about here, now

it was a sweet wish about presence through truth, light, glowing
this week I was able to be surprisingly present with my BIG FEAR
and with the tree and its exit
with my yes and my not-yes
and notice all the places I have made unsovereign choices or not-choices
or just plain screwed up
and apologize
and remember that there are miracles in this

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