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?

The past few months of asking “What happens when I treasure myself?” have brought me to the realization that treasuring my space (both external and internal) is the thing I need to learn, the next mission.

Since my last visit to the Vicarage, I’ve been clearing all kinds of things out of my home and workspace and the Playground, letting them find their way to better homes for them.

I haven’t really had a name for what I’m doing, until Saturday morning when I awoke with this phrase resting in my mouth, a gift from the sleep fairies, or from my heart:

Lovingly Curated

It is both completely right, and also at the same time something is missing. It’s a partial name, or a partial concept.

So my wish for this week has to do with both the experience of Lovingly Curated (and being the loving curator), and learning more about this concept to have a better understanding of what it is that I want.

It is a wish about process, and a wish about approach, at the same time.

What do I know about this so far?

I just flashed on something and I’m not sure how to explain it.

When I opened the Playground (my retreat center), four years and three months ago, if you can believe it’s been that long, I had very strong feelings about what could go inside. I wanted things to be Just Right.

Gradually I realized that the best thing I could do for both the Playground and the people who come play was to let go of any kind of vision or rules about Just Right.

Richard’s instinct to paint walls in bright colors (crimson! wild orange!) was absolutely on target, even though it never would have occurred to me. Things came in — toys, costumes, decorations, that I wouldn’t have chosen for the space but they worked. More importantly, everyone used them and delighted in playing with them.

I watched Rally people invent brilliant costumes and build the most creative forts, from objects I would probably have vetoed due to attachment to Just Right. They found clues in books I wouldn’t have picked. They uncovered treasure in things I didn’t value.

This was eye-opening for me, and helped release rules about how it “should be”.

Flash forward to now. We have accumulated so much. And I haven’t curated. Unless I have a strong negative reaction to an object, it gets to hang out at the Playground.

Now I’ve reached the point where it is time to let things flow out again.

Flowing out again….

Last week while clearing things out, I found a Reflecting (shhh, it’s a collage, and for some reason I am allergic to the word collage) from November 2011 at a Rally.

I’d forgotten that I’d made it, and the theme was — GET THIS! — treasuring my space.

It was beautiful. And I’d pasted that delicious William Morris quote:

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

It is time to start curating again. Making conscious love-infused choices about what gets to live in my spaces.

What else do know about [Lovingly]?

It is both the right word and not the right word. I need some synonyms for lovingly. Fondly curated? No. Passionately curated? No. Adoringly? No.

None of those is even close to what I am trying to get at. Hmmm. What are the elements in here? When I say lovingly, in this context, what kind of lovingly is it?

Lovingly =

+intentional +presence +with love +sweetness +grace +warmth +really there for this experience + engaged +alive +interacting +charged +knowing that this mission is vital

So it’s about presence. Doing an action that is infused with love, in a way that is infused with love and with an intention that is infused with love.

Loving is the right word. And it is a love that is very engaged. Okay, I don’t know where this is going at all, and it’s still good to have this additional intel.

What do I know about this?

There is a lot of emotion tangled up in this.

Clearing out physical objects can be surprisingly fraught. Or not surprisingly at all, if you hang out in the world of people who think about “organizing” (oh that unfortunate word!) and related themes.

There is all the emotional dust that gets kicked up, as Cairene puts it, when you start to examine what’s in your space.

And the identity stuff. Questioning choices that past-me made, even though I know from experience that she was always doing the best she could to the best of her abilities with the intel she had at the time, and everything she did was for me-now. Agonizing about choices related to future-me, even though I know there are no wrong choices as long as I’m acting from love.

There is the usual parade of monsters who think this is all stupid, and the Time Gremlins who think it’s an extravagant and shameful waste of time.

Speaking of shame.

So much shame.

That’s the big emotion that gets trapped (and revealed) for me when it comes to working with my stuff about Space.

Space, Time, Money and Love. The four big themes where our pain shows up.

So there’s shame in here, and fear. Which means there is opportunity for release. It also means SAFETY FIRST and PLAY AT THE EDGES, because any encounter with big emotion requires as much safety as possible.

Lovingly curating my internal space means committing to making this experience safe for myself. That’s important too.

Where do I want to start?

Talking to incoming me, the one who enjoys being a Loving Curator, and finding out what she knows.

Skip stones as often as possible.

Dance. Intensity. Writing. Red lipstick. Eight breaths. My body gets the deciding vote.

Using the compass. Last week’s is perfect. Eight breaths: one in each direction.

Simplicity. Delight. Ease. Beauty. Anchor. Release. Glow. Wild.

Saying thank you in advance.

Thank you in advance!

Me: Hey, Incoming Me aka Slightly Wiser Me! What do you know?

She: Love the curation. Love your role as the curator. You are the treasure and you are the treasurer (and the Treasurer!). Making choices about your space is a form of exercising your sovereignty, you have yearned for this.

So this is a gift, not a chore. When you catch yourself turning it into a task, pause for breath, take the purple pills, and start over. This is an adventure, a passionate summer fling, a voyage you have longed for. Let it be that.

How does this relate to Tranquility?

July-2014Tranquility July is Tranquility in the Fluent Self calendar.

Superpower: Remembering that Now Is Not Then.

Tranquility is the companion to lovingly curated. This isn’t the kind of re-ordering I’ve done in the past where EVERYTHING MUST LEAVE. No violence or destruction this round. An emptying with calm and sweetness, curiosity and patience. Tranquility is my anchor.

Oh wow, what beautiful wishes.

Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I have the best time dancing in my 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.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • Ops: Real Seeing. The Protocols. Sip Hint Learn. The Panache Brigade!


At last week’s Waltz Brunch I had an absolutely incredible dance to this song . This is actually a perfect example of the question of curation. This is not a song I would normally listen to by choice for more than about three seconds, but during the magic of the dance, I heard it.

The longer the waiting, the sweeter the kiss.

There’s a lot in that phrase, but right now what I am taking from it is that everything I haven’t done until now is not Terrible Choices or procrastination, as my monsters would have it, it is just the time I needed to take to make these new kisses sweeter.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka a wild abundance of dance partners…

Imagining my projects as dance partners has been unbelievably helpful. And at the Wednesday dance, I had an actual wild abundance of actual dance partners, which never, ever happens there. Especially since there were a million follows and people who dance way better than I do. That’s usually a dance where I do a lot of watching, and this week it was a place to do a lot of dancing.

I also wish to report that Operation White Out was a huge success with a (yes!) wild abundance of pretty much everything.

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