very personal ads

I write a Very Personal Ad (or 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 362nd consecutive week of wishing, come play!


do we have convenient shorthand yet for this phenomenon
people reveal themselves immediately when they meet us
and then we either forget to file away that intel
or we neglect to give it the attention it deserves

— as maya angelou said,
with marvelous clarity, wisdom and sovereignty,
“when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” —

though actually I don’t mean that phenomenon so much as
a more specific pattern: a person shows up in your life and
a) immediately reveals a truth about themselves
b) you observe this moment as it happens
c) not only do you believe them, you observe your choice to do so
but then somehow suddenly d) that surprising moment of frisson when you
find yourself mysteriously and irrationally astonished
when they are in fact exactly who they said they are

of course they are
they just told you they were


and I don’t mean they hinted or implied
via metaphor or through their actions
I mean people will LITERALLY TELL YOU
like, “hahahaha I have paralyzing fear of saying what I want!”

and then later you find yourself wondering
how things got so messy so fast
(but, I mean, of course they did)
wondering where it all went wrong
when in fact nothing went wrong, it all went pretty much as expected
you’re just experiencing this thing I want to have a name, something like
Yup Surprised About That Thing Which Was So Clearly Indicated From The Beginning

what do I know about this or what do I want to say about it

I tend to focus so much on yes sparks but actually
a good clear NO is amazing
look at how that no just gracefully and elegantly extinguishes
all those other vague little distracting lights and
suddenly I see with enormous clarity
the beautiful path of oh okay this here is my spark right now,
and now I am free to follow that with no distractions

mmmm more about this amazing no please

  • what if any situation that gives me a strong clear no is not only useful but good,
  • actually: any new or additional intel on what I don’t want is good
  • ohmygod it is just now landing for me how true this is
  • mmmm thank you for these no moments which are so useful, how have I never seen what a total unexpected blessing a no can be
  • when everything around me is saying no or showing me my no, I think everything is wrong, but I can also think oh wow what big clarity about what I don’t want, aka Do-Overs Forever
  • what if I stop perceiving no as rejection or a sign that I’m on the wrong path, and begin to see no as a direct door to freedom
wait, no is good? mind blown!

NO makes SPACE

this past week — as a direct result of last week’s wish about
being an Italian heiress with a gang of metaphorical rabbits —
huge progress is being made on my secret basement studio
and I was finally able start taking things out of storage
after six months only to realize that I no longer
want or need most of my things that were big yes in January

Agent Spalding said:
“this is wonderful, now that you have space, you can make space”

Ways a no might make space!

  1. the no of chosen seclusion and zero input, for example when I avoid twitter, or hop on the bus to the coast and write all day
  2. the no of perceived rejection that is a gift, for example if I felt yes about someone who wouldn’t act on their yeses: this no reminds me that I am free, and being free means I don’t have to deal with that
  3. the no of releasing possessions I am no longer excited about makes literal space as well as energy/emotional space
  4. the no to running a business where so much of my work is uncompensated and to get paid, I have to constantly make stuff and put it in a vending machine, this no tells me it is time for a quiet revolution and I am glad for this no, because it inspires me to figure this out and try new things
  5. Esther Gokhale talks about rib anchors: you create length in the body not by sticking the chest out but tucking it in, which (surprisingly) makes space to soften your shoulders and you suddenly have so much more breathing room…

no sets you free

so rejoice over no
whispers wisest me
revel in your newfound freedom, she tells me,
whether it’s the no of someone else’s not-yes
or the no of things have changed, as they do
or any no at all
even the kind we are conditioned to believe definitely
says something bad about us
(like the kind that comes in an envelope in response to an application)
or the kind when you wish for one thing
and get something different
or even if you got down on bended knee and offered a ring
with a heart of PLEASE SAY YES
to a person or an experience or to a grand adventure in life
and you got something other than the yes that was the yes you wanted…

{rejoice over no}
{revel in your new-found freedom}

this is (or can be) very difficult to do

grief is real, grief is legitimate
safety first, always
we take time to grieve each no as needed, always
I’m just reporting what wisest me wants me to know
that no can be beautiful, liberating, glorious, remarkable
if I let it

and this is (can be) very difficult to believe

our whole culture is so deeply invested in a fairy tale about
how getting the thing we think we want is good
while not getting it is bad,
and you see this everywhere but especially in
the online world of [self-helpery] where things can get very distorted

do you know how many years, my god, it has taken me to make clear
(with great love)
that these weekly wishes here are about
the beautiful process of internal exploration
and not about “manifesting” anything,
I will not take part in a culture that believes
a wish becomes valuable or meaningful based on if/when it is fulfilled
and something is lacking (in me or in life or in my wishing abilities)
if I don’t get the results I ordered
how absurd, how limiting, how heartbreaking

here we wish in qualities

we wish as a way of deepening closeness with ourselves
we wish because wishing is a beautiful way to glow
presence, curiosity and love

and more than anything I wish because
it is a way I can listen to my heart:
learning about my desire
— and meeting that desire
with acknowledgement and legitimacy —
is the most loving gift I can give me-who-wants
and modeling exploration-without-expectation
is the most loving gift I can give to someone reading this

I feel unbearably sad whenever someone says they won’t wish because they don’t get their wishes
I don’t mean to imply there isn’t grief about not getting what we wanted,
because there is, and grief is always valid and legitimate
we make space for that too
I just mean to say, oh my loves,
so much more joy becomes available when we
let the wish-process be the treasure
instead of thinking it only has value if it delivers a specific result


wise me says this with great certainty
and I am inclined to believe her:
in some ways a NO is almost as good as yes
and maybe even better than yes because of the way
a rich darkness allows a flash of light to really spark


Adrianna is the italian heiress and I think I just figured out her secret this week
her secret isn’t that she says yes to all pleasurable things
but that she says no to all NOT pleasurable things
she is so clear on her no
actually I think she ENJOYS no as much as yes
giving and receiving both

and while I may still have lots of (legitimate) grief around No
there is so much power in being able to see how she does things
how she approaches no
she thinks it is delicious
ta da, redirected, let’s go see what this new direction has for us

big magic

what if no is big magic towards yes, not just the cliche of
oh well at least your no tells you what your yes is,
what if no is like SPARKS LIGHTING UP YES PATHS,
what if no is something to get really excited about!
I mean, it’s so plentiful
even when yes is rare, my no is abundant!
I used to think that was confusing, so many places not to look
(the familiar chorus of ugh I hate everything right now)
but what if the NOs are lighting a very clear path
what if burning through some good no is very smart
what if I am a total genius for every time in my life that I’ve
made out with a stranger or put a book down halfway through,
I am after all someone who tries things
maybe all the NOs I have collected are brilliant
Adrianna thinks so

let’s take this to its logical conclusion then, why not

what are the biggest NOs I can go for in my life right now
no to living with not-yes people in a job I don’t want
in a city I don’t like
no to 99% of the internet
ah the no of anything that is Less Than Joy Sparks

no clears out the bullshit if I let it
will I let it
no to being away from water
no to not being able to see the stars
let’s undo some rigging while we’re at it

what do I know about my wish?

it is a wish about freedom and all the superpowers of freedom

  • the freedom of YAWN GOODBYE DELETE
  • being a panther means freedom from social conditioning, I don’t have to follow any of the perceived monster rules!
  • I can have Intensity and Smoldering and Lusciousness and not apologize for being them or wanting them
  • there is joy in this no, joy in this exact right timing
  • the superpower of “oh this is actually great for me, now I can take more time to savor my cake”, as Sarah said when I had to cancel our lesson
  • remembering that I am invariably wrong when I judge things as being “late” or “behind” for example, my basement is now months behind schedule and that turned out so beautifully because it got me to the most incredible places that I wouldn’t have found otherwise
  • do less and choose ease!
  • I let things take their time
  • wait, someone else did the thing I wanted to do? ahhhhhh the freedom of this is not my job
  • I am lightness and dark, quiet and spark, and I revel in my freedom
may it be so!


I went to a place Wild Abandon because I wanted
dinner but mainly because of the name
I ate with my fingers because cutlery seems downright inappropriate
when wild abandon is on the menu, literally

but then it became clear that everything about being there
other than the food and the name was a no
so let’s say thank you to this clear no
and follow a new spark

and now Adrianna wants to go drink wine
she says, “you can be someone who writes about reveling in freedom
or you can be someone who revels in freedom”
okay fair enough

the superpower of the next indicated step is revealed to me

May was WILD with its wild door, and sexy fearless powerful presence

June is WONDER which is so very perfect for recommitting my life to freedom, and this ie exactly what I need: the next indicated step is revealed to me

thank you, past-me, for being such a good namer and calling this into being

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called what would the italian heiress do

this was the best wish I have ever wished because it turns out that she does some pretty spectacular things, and with so much style, and also she has an assistant who makes sure she gets fed

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share many !!!!!! about what is here,
or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading, including any stories you wish to let go of, any adventures you wish to welcome

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