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

Each week I write a Very Personal Ad (aka Vision-Possibility-Anticipation) to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. Sometimes wanting feels conflicted or just plain hard, and that’s okay.

At the very least, useful noticings about my relationship with wanting. It all counts.

{A little note about timing}

This week’s wishes are delayed — though, really, what does that mean, of course wishes are right on time, they’re just doing it in their own timing.

That is the hardest thing for me to remember, about everything. The superpower of Nothing Is Wrong.

Anyway, my computer (not unlike me) was experiencing some ongoing fussiness this week. So thank you, Richard, for fix-it-ey magic and thank you, everyone who has been looking forward to wishing time. In the meantime, I am taking a breath and trusting that All Timing Is Right Timing.

Or, at least, reminding the monster crew that this is a possible approach.

What do I want?

I had this understanding last week related to overwhelm. Well, related to my perception that I am constantly feeling overwhelmed.

My realization did not help with the feeling. Still overwhelmed!

It is helping a little bit with frame, though. Perspective.

So I want to mess around with this some more, gently, see what I learn.

What am I noticing?

I am noticing the extent to which I find daily life all by itself completely overwhelming.

Too many things! Too much input! Too little acknowledgment about how hard this is!

And then you realize you haven’t washed your hair in two weeks (okay, maybe this is just me) and then burst into tears because it is One More Thing, and you’re already over capacity.

Sometimes I wonder how anyone ever gets anything done without a massive breakdown.

I mean, good god. I don’t have kids. I don’t even have a pet. I don’t have to feed anyone, take care of anyone or worry about anyone (and I am enormously happy about all of these things). And still I find just getting through the day, with the never-ending constantly-updating multitude of tiny things that need doing, way too much to handle. So yes: overwhelmed = real!

At the same time, even if I didn’t have to work and had nothing to do at all other than the two things I am currently [not-quite-obsessing] in love with — writing and dancing, I’d still be overwhelmed. So in that sense, overwhelmed isn’t real, it is a perception or pattern or choice. I could go on retreat for three years and still be overwhelmed. It isn’t going away unless I change how I think. So it is super real (more than I think it is!), and also it is not real at all.

What do I want?

I was talking about this with Nick, and he asked: “Do you think overwhelm is a choice? For me, overwhelm seems to be an involuntary byproduct of certain situations.”

So here’s my take on that:

I choose to react and I choose how to react. Habit of course will dictate my initial reaction. And then I can notice that and figure out what I want to do with it.

The challenge is: once I’m whooshing my way down the familiar neural pathway, I don’t necessarily see my choices and options.

So it’s like with all patterns. When I first start working with a pattern, I’m not going to be able to interrupt it at point Zero. I’m going to sail at least a dozen links down the line before I can play with it. Which is fine, that counts too.

Noticing the pattern is changing the pattern. Doing anything differently is changing the pattern.

If the pattern used to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…now the pattern is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, notice, slightly-different-6-because-I-am-watching-it, here’s a COMPLETELY NEW SEVEN and okay, hello eight.

What am I noticing?

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I want to try to remind myself that it is real (legitimacy), and that it is not real (reassurance).

Yes, this is a ridiculous number of things that I am attempting to do, and also, this feeling and tightness and panic are not required. These are habitual responses. My response makes sense (because I really do have too many things!). And I can work with altering how I respond, and I can do that right now. The answer isn’t waiting until I eventually don’t have a million things waiting for my attention. The answer is pausing, breathing, paying attention, meeting my fear with love.

What do I want?

I want the glorious return of Putterday.

Putterday was this experimental thing I did where one day a week just went to wandering around the house taking care of things.

Being in Barrington mode. I love Barrington. Barrington is never overwhelmed, I don’t know how she does it.

Anyway, on Putterday, I don’t do anything except for those little things that never get done.

It isn’t a holiday but it isn’t a work day. It is maintenance time, the thing that keeps the ship running.


What am I noticing?

Remembering the wonderful story that Barbara Sher tells about her barn that burned down. How she was waiting and waiting for the right weekend to sort through all the stuff in there, and it never happened. When it went up in smoke, she suddenly realized that she was never going to take that weekend. The loss was a gift.

So maybe A Week of Putterday is a mythical creature, a yearning.

And maybe it is a real thing: the monster crew is certainly up in arms about the possibility of something like that ever happening. They think I should just be on top of things. And that if I’m going to take time off work (which will surely lead to Doom), then I should at least go relax somewhere instead of puttering, so I can come back refreshed and ready to resume Doing All The Things That Must Be Done.

This is another moment for me to come back to what is real and what is not real, what is true and what’s also true.

It is true that Puttering Time might not be the answer, and it is also true that I’m allowed to want it.

It is true that it might not give me what I want, and it is also true that it’s a valid experiment.

What do I want?

This is all about returning again.

The return of quiet, the return of Putterday, the return of lovingly maintaining, and mostly, I am now realizing, the return of Assertive Me.

I’m not sure exactly where she fits into all of this, but it is suddenly wonderfully clear that she can change my current relationship with feeling overwhelmed.

She neatly sidesteps my avoidance patterns, the hurts and the anger, the saying and the not saying.

She knows how to move forward, she knows about momentum, she has buffer phrases on hand, she cuts through the crap, she makes her own perfect simple solutions.

What am I noticing?


This is the month of Strength — and seeing the strengths I already have.

So Assertive Me is already here.

I just need to remember that. And to ask for her help.

Where do I want to start?

Interviewing Assertive Me. Skipping stones. Maybe doing a half day Putterday. Maybe doing this in companionship with someone…

What are the qualities of my wish?

Sustenance. Trust. Presence. Grace. Steadiness. Warmth. Glow. Receiving.


I have been making some silent wishes lately, not putting them here. And suddenly things are moving. Clue!

And the clue from a few weeks ago, what I thought was an impasse is actually a riddle: still working for me.

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat dreams. Things I’m working on, or might be, someday…

  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I go out dancing at the ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • Hawaii.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • This week’s op: waltzing something into the light.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka dropping my Gs…

Last week’s wish had to do with an intentional pause: not consuming G. The G was a form of a food (literally consuming) and in the form of an emotion. Both of these ended up being way easier than I was expecting. The more amazing thing — for me — was how many people in my life were wonderfully supportive, beyond my expectation. Really, everyone but one person. So that was a good thing to learn. Keeping up the experiment for now.

Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. #9825;

Keep me company?

Consider this an open invitation to deposit wishes, gwishes, personal ads. In any size/form you like, there’s no right way. Updates on past experiments are welcome too, as is anything sparked for you.

Commenting culture: This is safe space for creative exploration. We are on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving. We are here to play.

Let’s throw things in the pot! And: Amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.


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