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…

Take care of yourself and you shall receive.

The other week in the Chicken, I wrote:

I am changing “ask and you shall receive” to “take care of yourself and you shall receive” because this was my magic this week, over and over again.

Every time I did something to take care of me — from smaller things like getting up from the computer to drink water when thirsty, to much bigger things like advocating for myself in difficult situations — my entire life got better.

Honestly, this is how I want to live anyway, even without the perks.

However, let it be noted: there are perks. Big wonderful perks.

The more I take care of myself and the better I get at remembering to treasure myself, the happier my body is and the smoother things go for me.

I want to remember this. To ingrain this knowing into my being. To test this hypothesis so thoroughly that no other choices exist more appealing than taking care of myself.

What if that’s true?

The other day my lover asked me if I had ever gone a period of time without working.

Me: You mean, unemployment?

Nope. Not that. Job-searching is even more work than working. Actual not-working. Letting things go Shmita.

So I thought about it. And I haven’t. I’ve been working since I was thirteen years old. The longest I’ve been away from work was two weeks, and even then I still did an hour or two of work each day.

Take care of yourself and you shall receive. What if that’s true?

I mean, at the very least I will receive the experience of having been cared for, which right now is vitally important, as my body keeps pointing out.

Do the opposite.

My friend A and I talk a lot about the practice of Doing The Opposite. Veering in a different direction when we find ourselves in an old pattern.

This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the opposite behavior (though it can), it means finding an opposite way to meet the need behind the behavior.

For example, a tendency of mine is to shut down and be cold in interactions with people, even with people I like, when I perceive that I do not have enough space.

When it comes to Doing The Opposite, I might not want to (or even be able to) meet someone’s request for time with warmth. Because it doesn’t feel genuine in that moment, and it still doesn’t give me the space I crave, and anyway, attempted warmth can easily swerve off-track into an even older and less-helpful pattern of placating.

What I do instead is look for another way to give myself space that is not being cold and distant. It might be writing a note: Hey, I need to take a moment right now. Can I get back to you on this later?

This is what I mean by doing the opposite.

What if taking care of myself is doing the opposite of everything I’m doing now? What if taking care of myself is the opposite of pushing through? What if more gets accomplished by intentionally not pushing through? I mean, that’s basically the operating principle of Rally, and Rally always works.

What do I know about this?

This is going to require very small experiments, because the monsters are seriously up in arms about all of this.

They think it’s indulgent and selfish and cheesy and not going to work.

In fact, I think it’s going to require a proxy mission.

Hmmm. This actually works with my current mission, being a campanologist, someone who studies bells.

As a campanologist, I need to take very good care of bells. And it is worth testing the hypothesis that the happier the bells, the better the resonance.

So [take care of yourself and you shall receive] turns into [take care of bells and they will resonate].

I like this. I am going to investigate what happens to bells and their sounds when they are very well taken care of.

What do I know about what I want?

So much in here, like with most of my wishes, has to do with trust.

It also is big work. This is going against all of the cultural programming that says Do More and Work Is Valuable and Produce Produce Produce and Ass In Chair and Push Through and Sleep When You’re Dead.

It is rewriting decades of received programming, in an environment that actively pushes against my mission, with no models of how this can be done.

This is brave, hard stuff, and it is okay if it takes a long time for this to land. Permission, legitimacy, presence.

What’s next.

I am going to come up with ten things I can do to take care of bells, and will try to do one each day and see what happens.

What do I really want?

To remember that I am loved. To remember that this is my job: be love and be loved.

Now.

I am sitting in my favorite spot at the Playground, on the floor, supported by orange cushions and the red wall. The Playground is where I am best at taking care of myself, because it is built into this space, and now this needs to live inside of me.

The Playground is so peaceful, so full of love and aliveness. What if taking care of myself the way I have taken care of the Playground for the past five years means turning into a walking Playground of love and aliveness.

What if I can glow in real life the way the Playground glows when I am in it.

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: You brought this space into being, so its qualities are your qualities. You cannot lose this.
Me: I can forget it though…
She: That’s why you’re making this wish. What would a campanologist do?
Me: Ring bells and listen to them reverberate.
She: Exactly.

Clues?

I am at the Playground right now, of course, and I just looked up and saw the word SHELTER.

The superpower of seeing beauty everywhere.

February - Appreciate More The quality for February on the 2015 Fluent Self calendar is APPRECIATE.

And the February superpower is I See Beauty Everywhere.

So perfect right now. Appreciating myself is why I take care of myself. And appreciation is a form of care. And seeing beauty requires pausing and resting and presence. You can’t appreciate beauty when you are dead set on the imaginary finish line.

Seeing beauty requires getting quiet. And once you see it, you want to drink it up and bathe in it and relish in it. You take yourself to places where it lives. You go inside yourself to where it glows.

Ongoing wishes.

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, I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, and it is not even a big deal, yay.
  • I am ready to come into my superpowers and receive gifts that are winging their way to me. Superpower of Everything Enhances My Superpowers!

Things I find helpful when it comes to wishes…

Set the intention. Nap on it. Dance, write, play, walk the labyrinth. Get quiet to hear what is true. Sweet pauses, yes to the red lights and purple pills, say thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Stone skipping. My body decides. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths for the eight directions of the compass:

Adventure. Rest. Horizons. Security. Passion. Sweetness. Clarity. Presence.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka whatever the garden wants…

This was a wonderful wish! And it had to do with bells, so that is perfect.

This week I was able to find my way back to my lion self. In a surprising turn of events, the door into that was JOYFUL COURAGE and drinking my favorite tea. But I got there, and it is wonderful.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. 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 and throw things in the pot! With amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.

Here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.

xox

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