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.

Some thoughts on the nature of wishing…

This is my two hundred and forty sixth consecutive week of this ritual: uncovering a wish, processing it with words, sharing it with you.

That’s a lot of weeks. I have learned some things:

Wishes are exquisitely vulnerable, and so is wishing. Even wishes that seem like simple logistical matters. Wishes are tiny, sweet things. They require shelter and protection, time to grow and expand and reveal themselves. This revealing needs to happen in a way that feels safe.

Wishing, desiring, wanting. It isn’t just about vulnerability. This is a deeply subversive practice, what we’re doing here together.

I don’t know anyone who grew up having their wishes welcomed and adored. Our culture doesn’t really work that way. We are told that we are greedy for wanting, or that our wishes are inappropriate, too much, impossible. Wishes get trampled on early.

We don’t have built-in mechanisms for meeting someone’s wish with spaciousness and acceptance. Or even admiration: “wow, what a beautiful wish”. We find ourselves telling people why their wish isn’t reasonable, in an attempt to keep them from the pain of finding that out on their own. Or we resent other people’s wishes, because they remind us of our own wishes, the ones we have squashed down, made ourselves forget.

Wishes are like the line in the Natan Alterman poem… That melody still returns, the one you tried in vain to neglect…

So we are here to create safety. Safety and sovereignty.

What do I want?

Part of the rule of Safety First means protect your wishes and the process of wishing.

Sometimes I do this through writing in secret agent code. Sometimes I do this with metaphors and proxies.

Sometimes the practice is the safety. My wishes are held in this weekly ritual, this community of people who are kind, curious, patient, self-aware.

What am I noticing?

This week there are lots of wishes bubbling up, and I haven’t felt ready to write them down.

Partly this is because of a new craving for safe ground. There are people in my life (as well as people I don’t know at all) who go into their Stuff over things I’ve written, and don’t have the tools yet to process the Stuff, so they hand it to me. Wishes are fraught enough without that added layer of complexity.

I’m noticing how much I want to write about my wishes, and how I have not felt ready to bring them here this week. They need extra safety right now. Extra support. Extra appreciation. Extra love.

What do I want?

So of course I know exactly what I want, I just said it.

Safety. Support. Appreciation. Love.

This is the heart of the practice of wishing anyway: What are the qualities of the wish?

Because so often it turns out that you don’t actually want the thing you think you want, it’s the qualities. Often they can come to you in a different vehicle than the one you were dreaming about, and that turns out to be the exact right thing.

Plus qualities live inside of you, so they are something you can give to yourself. I can remember them, connect to them, breathe them, write them, talk to them. This takes practice too. And that’s okay, there is time.

So if I want more Safety, Support, Appreciation and Love, it is time to be curious about where and how I am not giving these to myself. They’re there, so if I’m feeling disconnected from them, that is a useful clue.

What am I noticing?

Just had a little catch in my throat, a moment of worry that my wishes this week will get lost.

So I think I’m going to write a sentence or two about each of them, so they can be heard. And to create some extra safety, I will let the processing of these wishes happen in invisible ink. Or on the Floop.

What do I want?

Another Jens.

Jens showed up in my life at the exact moment when I needed a Jens. My German was self-taught. Fluent enough to read a novel without the help of a dictionary, but I didn’t feel comfortable having a conversation. I didn’t have money for a tutor, and I didn’t know how to solve this.

One day Marius, the South African kid who worked at the nearby hostel, walked into my bar and said, hey this German guy wants to learn Hebrew, but he doesn’t have money, any ideas? I said, oh I’ll teach him Hebrew if I can practice German with him. By the time I moved to Berlin, my German was excellent and I felt completely comfortable.

And then a week after I arrived in Berlin, I met a second Jens (Jens II) who basically fulfilled the same role as the first Jens.

I want the dance equivalent of a Jens. The qualities of this wish? Play. Presence. Support. Trust.

What do I want?

Unconditional forgiveness of past me, at all moments in time.

This is going to require writing, time and a bunch of safe rooms. Qualities: Shelter. Support. Appreciation. Loving-kindness.

What do I want?

Operation Bell View.

I need to talk to someone who has done this (or done something like this), preferably a woman, and find out what I need to pack.

Qualities: Readiness. Support. Play. Adventure.

What do I want?

The Book of Xs and Ys.

This is my current mysterious project. I want writing time, thinking time, dancing time.

Qualities: Reflection, Presence, Trust, Appreciation.

What am I noticing?

The qualities I want are all related, a lot of them are the same.

All of these wishes are a combination of “I really want something” and “I’m not really sure how it works”. There is a lot in here about trust, patience, perceiving that I am supported, knowing that I am appreciated, being present, getting to play.

What do I want?

To let go of any stories about how people in my life are not supportive.

I can wish for that as much as I want. Of course external support is an amazing thing, and it is okay for me to want it. Ultimately though being supportive of my wishes and dreams is my job.

So if other people want to join me in meeting my wishes with joy and tenderness, they are welcome to. And if they can’t, then the main thing is that I am making sure my wishes have an environment of safety and spaciousness where they can grow and thrive.

How can the month of Strength help me with this.


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

So I already have the strength of Support, the ability to glow support for my wishes.

I need to keep doing that, more of it. Keep making space for my wishes, being curious, finding out what they need, providing canopies when needed, being a source of shelter, radiating sunshine, nourishment and sustenance…

I can ring the bell of support, the bell of sustenance. I can be the bell of support, the bell of sustenance.

Where do I want to start?

Interviewing Incoming Me. Skipping stones. Conducting. Dancing. Waiting. Praise and time.

Qualities of my wish:

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


I asked my dance teacher if she could tell me when I wasn’t doing [X] because I sometimes forget to [X] enough, and she said, “If it’s easy, you’re doing enough [X], if it isn’t easy, you need more [X].

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: Operation Bell View and Operation Pop It Up.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka it is real and it isn’t…

Silent retreat on this 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.


The Fluent Self