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?

Operation Gonna Gotta is secret agent code* for Tango Tango, which is secret agent code for Trust and Treasure, and also not code at all: I want to learn Argentine tango.

* Gonna Gotta is an acronym for Tango Tango, one of my favorite ways to generate names.

What do I know so far?

  1. I have enormous amounts of Stuff and Monsters about learning tango, mostly because I’m convinced I’m going to love it, and my dance obsession is expensive enough as it is. Tango requires totally different dance shoes and private lessons, among other things.
  2. The time to learn it is now, because Richard Powers (swoooooon!) is coming to Portland in a couple weeks and I signed up for his workshop and it includes social tango, and I don’t want to show up without having done it at least a couple times.
  3. This is going to require lots and lots of code.

What else am I noticing?

I have resources.

I can talk to Agent Anna. I can get a private lesson from Rachel or Eric.

There are so many places in Portland to practice.

Even with all the [Upcoming Travel], I can still fit in four or five practices before my workshop.

So really this is (as always) about my fears, perceptions, worries and doubts. My stuff. Not about the reality at hand.

This is about identity and about going through a door that kind of scares me, in part because I know that on the other side of that door are big, passionate feelings. No wonder I have been scooting past the door and pretending it wasn’t there.

What else do I know about this?

Bond Girl is 100% for this mission. Tango is a skill that all secret agents should have.

So it opens up options. I love options. Possibilities are the best, whether I use them or not.

And sometime I’m at west coast swing and I’m not into the music. So in that case I can just walk upstairs and join the alternative tango group.

[Monsters: But-but-but outsider complex!]

What do I really want?

May-2014-Delight Options. Possibilities. Ease.

All the good things.

That’s practically halfway to a compass! Let’s make a compass. It will be the Compass Of All The Good Things.

Who knows, maybe sometime when I’m feeling brave I will also seed “All The Good Things” at one of the compass points.

Options. Possibilities. Ease. Pleasure. Freedom. Spaciousness. Play. Delight.

I am feeling so good about the quality of this month from the calendar — Delight — with the superpower of “Or Maybe Something Even Better Will Happen”, so good for me right now.

What else do I know about my wish?

Nothing is wrong.

Even I don’t do anything with this wish/mission, I’ll still be fine at the workshop. The important thing is really just noticing what’s happening with my relationship with this door.

Whatever I do to engage with the door is right, whether I walk through it or not. Walking past the door and saying, “oh there’s that door I have feelings about” is a legitimate practice too.

I can leave a sticky note on the door with a heart. I can put my ear up to the door and listen.

I can give myself permission to have a complex relationship with this door and I don’t need to know why.

Dance for me is very tied up in lots of identity things. Dancer me and Writer me are twins. It makes sense that this feels vulnerable and scary. However I go about this is fine. Safety first.

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.

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 Notes and love letters…

Ohmygod, last week’s wish was so helpful! I have a much better sense of all my ops and missions.

I made big, crazy progress on a number of them. Operation Detwah is happening! Operation Sexy Waltz is happening! Operation Cape Egrets is happening! Everything is easier when I have love letters. I want to keep doing this.

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.


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