very personal adsPersonal ads. They’re … personal! Very.

Each week I write these VPAs to practice asking for what I want. And to get clarity on what that really is, even when asking feels conflicted.

I always get useful information about my relationship with various aspects of the ask. Join in if you like!


First VPAs of the new year.

Hi there, year.

I’m practicing wanting what I want.

So let’s do this.

Thing 1: setting things up for next-day me.

Here’s what I want:

To constantly be enjoying the tiny little presents that yesterday-me planted for today.

And to set things up for tomorrow-me.

Like putting fuzzy slippers by the bed.

Like placing my new bus pass where I can easily get to it.

Like having a jar of pens on the not-a-vanity-table (which itself is a gift from a Very Personal Ad, or from one-hundred-and-eight-weeks-ago-me).

Ways this could work:

Possibly some secret agent code words.

Maybe some stone skippings.

Or I could interview Slightly Future me, and see what she would find helpful.

I’ll play with:

Noticing all the places where I already do take care of myself.

Appreciating the sneaky presents that are already here.

Thank you, yesterday-me for having the presence of mind to get epsom salts for this morning’s bath.

Thing 2: reflecting on my twelve wishes for the year.

Here’s what I want:

Lots and lots of reflectings!

Reflecting is a word that metaphor mouse gave me because I loathe collage. But whoops, I secretly love cutting up words and images, and assembling them. Which, oh god how embarrassing, is totally collage!

So yes, if you call it collage, I will never do it. But I will gleefully do reflectings.

Anyway, I have twelve wishes for this incoming year.

And I want to reflect on them. WITH SCISSORS.

Ways this could work:

My partner-in-crime and I can take this to the Playground. We can hole up in the arts and crafts room, and pretend we’re on Rally (Rally!).

I’ll play with:

Costumes. Tea. Making space for this.

Talking to any walls that come up, or negotiating when I run into internal rules about why I’m not allowed to wish for these things.

Thing 3: entering the exiting so as to enter the entering.

Here’s what I want:

I was just talking to Cairene the other week about how uncomfortable we both find the practice of reviewing the year-that-was during the month of December, while you’re still in it.

This year I’ve decided to make January a month of reflecting (with and without scissors) on the year that was. Right now I’m still in that dazed “what just happened?!” place. And I’d like to spend some time processing the exiting before (or while) I enter the entering.

Ways this could work:

An Absconding!

Maybe I’ll go visit my wonderful uncle Svevo and hide in the woods.

More reflecting. Um, let me reflect on that and get back to you!

Maybe the Book of Me will have some ideas.

I’ll play with:

Paying attention.

Trusting that all roads leads to entry.

Finding the doors.

Thing 4: a new relationship with January.

Here’s what I want:

I want a new January. A new me-and-January together.

The past three Januaries have been so challenging.

The yearly January tempest-in-a-teapot collective freakout session (which is never going to happen again, because me-from-four-months-ago is a GENIUS) at my Kitchen Table program has made January all about dealing with other people’s pain being directed at me.

And January has always been crazy booked for me with clients and teaching and plans. Last January I ran two Rallies, the previous January I taught the amazing destuckification retreat in California, the year before was devoted to setting up the systems and structures so that I could go on email sabbatical.

So I’m feeling really appreciative towards past-me who decided that these January patterns get to change this year.

THIS January is going to be about rest, recovery, consolidation, revue. Entering the new year through taking time to consciously exit the year that was.

I’m setting up January to be slow and contemplative rather than following the bigger cultural push to be busy doing and creating.

In fact, I am just now realizing how dissonant and incongruent it seems (to me!) to try to follow that cultural push at a time when my body wants to be in hibernation. So yay, sovereign decisions. Now to figure out how this is going to work.

Ways this could work:

Through play.

Through shivanautical epiphanies!

I’ll play with:

I am beginning this year with wishes.

And with time to let these wishes sleep and grow.

And this is is totally different than any other kind of beginning that I have ever given myself.

I’m going to try to follow my instincts as much as possible. Body first.

Thing 5: costumes for the Incoming Director

Here’s what I want:

I know that costumes are magic.

Especially when bringing in a new aspect or identity.

Right now I’m setting things up for the Incoming Director. Shhhh, it’s me!

What does the Director wear? How does she feel? What does she need?

That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Ways this could work:

Asking lots of questions.

Maybe an interview?

Trying stuff on.

I’ll play with:


The director knows what’s good. Just ask her.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

Just to update you on what’s happened since last time.

I wanted to set up a Rendezvous that I had been dreading. This happened! Both the setting-up and the rendezvous itself. And something completely magical happened during the rendezvous, and it gave me an incredibly valuable piece of information at exactly the right time. YAY! I’m so glad I asked for help with this.

Then I wanted to drink lots of tea, which was kind of a proxy. And it happened! Both the tea part and the proxying.

I asked for two of everything (certain things), and first steps have been taken.

Then I wanted to release/process a fear of a thing that’s happening, and I’m feeling EXUBERANT about what’s coming. Yes. So that worked.

And finally, I wanted to trust what I know, and I think that’s working. Thank you.

Play-filled comment zen. Here’s what I’d love today.

  • Wanted: Your own personal ads, small or large. Updates on past ones if you like.
  • You can also do these on your own or in your head. You can always call silent retreat!
  • Leave your gwishes! Throw things in the pot!
  • Things we try to keep away from: the word “manifest”, telling people how they should be asking for things, unsolicited advice.
  • VPA amnesty applies, of course. Leave yours any time between now and next Sunday (or whenever, really) — it’s all fine by us!


p.s. If you also want to begin this year with conscious entry, the material in the Art of Embarking is really useful. And it’s the prerequisite for everything we’re doing this year because how we enter something changes what happens once we’re in it.
Which is kind of intense. But also really amazing.

The Fluent Self