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

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity about my desires. The point isn’t getting my wish (though cool things have emerged from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and 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…

What do I want?

At the last Rally (Rally!) I was having lunch with Agent Em Dee, and we were talking about avoidance makes avoidance stronger.

How it becomes extra-scary to open the folder/file/document/email/whatever, because your monsters convince you subconsciously that there are extra iguanas that you’ve forgotten about. So you think if you open it, everything will be even more horrible than you think it will.

We were talking about how this avoidance is normal and understandable. And how great it would be to have a love note on top of the folder/document/whatever telling you the tiny not-at-all-scary next step you can take.

And then she said something like, “So I need to get in the habit of leaving a love note for myself every time I pause, transition, stop for the evening.”

YES! That way if life happens and I don’t get to it for another couple weeks, I don’t have to go through all my trepidation patterns where I do most of my work processing fear in order to look at it.

So I could do this right now. Normally I never like to look at all my ops at once, since it is completely overwhelming, but if all I’m doing is setting up a library of love letters….

God, I love that concept. A library of love letters.

What do I know so far?

I have more ops than I want. EIGHTEEN. Which is a lovely number but about ten more than I want.

Operation Slightly Sexy Waltz
Operation Gonna Gotta
Mission: An Incoming Of Agents
Operation De Twah!
Mission: Righting It Down
Operation Rally Reunion
Operation Alphabet Soup
Mission of Chickens & Wishings
Mission: the Book of Xs and Ys
Operation Cape Egrets (anagram for Secret Page)
Operation Ocean Cab Rides (dance aerobics at the Ballroom)
Mission: Entry To The Ball (everything I do for entry when it comes to dance)
Operation Writing Nook (designated time for what I want to write about)
Mission: The Joyful Voyage of the Internal Ship
Mission: The Case Ends (solving the dance shoe mysteries!)
Operation Liberation Sail: The Switchery
Operation Liberation Sail II: The Playground is Four Years Old
Operation [Crown Bridge]

What else am I noticing?

Hmmm, I am also noticing that some of these ops are making room for having fewer ops. For example, once Cape Egrets is in play, I won’t have to do ops like Slightly Sexy Waltz, because everything will just go through Cape Egrets.

Or once The Case Ends is complete, Entry To The Ball will be way easier.

So this is reassuring: I’m on a path towards fewer ops and missions. And having tiny love letters makes it less terrifying to interact with them.

What will help?

Deciding a place to keep the master list and the love letters, so I can see what needs my attention.

And using secret agent code, especially CWUs, and code for CWUs.

CWU is a Barbara Sher concept (I think I got it from Barbara?) that stands for Complete Willingness Unit. As in, only doing the teeniest-tiniest step that doesn’t make you want to throw up.

For example, I might not be willing to write a paragraph because gaaaaaah stuck, but I might be willing to open a notebook. Or I might be willing to ask a friend to sit with me.

Teeny-tiny things. I love the concept, the name doesn’t do anything for me. So I come up with other things CWU could stand for.

And then I say things like, “I have three different Californian Whimsical Undergarments!” Or: “Okay, Havi, your Congruent Westward Uniform is as follows…”

Or: Your only Corinthian Wonder of Unity for now is talking to Incoming You.

What else do I know about this?

I really like writing love letters. And I like knowing what to do next.

What do I want?

May-2014-Delight The quality of this month is Delight, and love letters are definitely a form for delight and delighting-in.

Also the Corinthian Wonders of Unity, et al are a way to play with delight.

This month brings the glorious superpower of “Or Maybe Something Even Better Will Happen”, and I would like this new practice of notes and love letters to do that. Yes, please.

I would like to delight in working on and playing with my projects, even the ones I’m avoiding. I would like to remember why they came into my life, and that they are treasure. And if it is time to let one go, may I let it go with love.

What else do I know about my wish?

It is related to last week’s wish about Provisioning: taking care of slightly-future-me, by filling her life with sweetness. It is the natural progression of all this work I have been doing on the theme of “what would happen if I were able to treasure myself?”

Anything else? Starting points?

Keep connecting to Incoming me. Skip stones as often as possible. Writing and Righting. Xs and Ys. Dance. Red lipstick. Eight breaths. My body gets the deciding vote. Thank you in advance.

My compass for these wishes:

Pleasure. Listening. Ease. Play. Freedom. Trust. Delight. Treasure.

Are you in or near Portland? Do you know people in or near Portland?

Uwe and Colleen, two of the most amazing dance teachers I know, will be teaching a two hour workshop at my ballroom on Saturday, May 31, from 2-4pm. They never do intro workshops, and this is an amazing opportunity.

It’s social waltz which does not sound like a sexy dance, but actually it is one of the best ways ever to learn partnering and connection, which is what makes you a really good dancer.

Plus, Portland has a huge social waltz community (it’s the nicest and most welcoming of any dance community I’ve ever encountered), which means that once you’ve done this, there’s something fun you could go to every night of the week and feel at home there.

If you don’t have dance experience, this is a great way to learn. And if you do, this will make you a way better dancer at all dances. And if you are interested in teaching (dance or anything else), come just to watch how they magically make this practice accessible. They are probably the best explainers I’ve ever met.

Please help me spread the word! I want as many people as possible to benefit from their teaching, and filling the ballroom with dance is my big dream.

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. What if Hawaii is not in 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 ops: Going In. And: More recovery.


Inverting the colors.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka Provisioning…

I was not expecting that shifting my focus to being able to treasure myself would lead to ending a pain-filled relationship, but it did. I didn’t know that would happen, and yet I put FREEDOM in the compass, at the anchor point (south), and so I got what I wanted even though I would have thought it was not what I wanted. I don’t know if that makes sense.

The point is, I am better able to treasure myself now than I was a week ago, and part of that means I can’t be around patterns/behavior that I was able to excuse away in the past. So it’s hard and it’s good.

I was also able to set up Operation Detwah and Operation Crown Bridge II, and even invested in some supplies that will help me-of-two-weeks-from-now have an easier time of things. Fewer monster discussions required for provisioning, that’s big progress too. I am happy with last week’s wish, and with these new paths, even the hard ones. I am trusting that all of this is right, both for me and for everyone involved, and I will continue to glow love inward and outward and in all directions.

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. ♡

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