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…


The day before yesterday, Saturday, February 28 aka the day of leap, this was the last day of Playground.

The Playground is the center I opened in Portland five years ago. Five-years-minus-two-months. It is the thing I am most proud of having brought into this world, and the place where I feel the most joyful, safe, creative, held, loved.

And now it is gone.

I am in Portland for four more days but will not visit. In fact, I plan to avoid the street altogether, except for a mission with the ninja, and stopping by Back To Eden bakery to acquire delicious savory baked goods sans gluten to take on the road.

All timing is right timing, and this timing is especially right timing.

Saturday was the right day for the last day because:

  • Erev Shmita, or Shmita Eve.The evening before the first day of my year of fallow fields.
  • Goodbye playground and hello Secret S-word Society aka the Swoop aka the Switch is the perfect, well, switch. An ending into a beginning.
  • The Playground told me this was the day and the time, and how to exit.
  • The beautiful boy took the last furnishings and rugs and lamps out of the Playground and onto his truck, and I don’t want to see the space completely bare. I want to remember it in my last moments there, my last conducting/shavasana on my favorite red rug by my favorite lamp.
  • Reasons that I don’t know yet and possibly may never know, because this is a secret op and I only have clearance for so much intel. Need to know basis. That’s how this works. All I need to know is that I am being led, and my only job in life is to follow what is indicated and trust that all is well. Literally right now that is my only job. And even when I go back to other jobs, that is the only important job. Knowing this is one of the many gifts of the Playground.


I was in shavasana, on the red rug where I have spent so many hours in yoga, in naps, in soaring bliss and in deep peaceful quiet. And I was crying a little, overwhelmed by the ending, and by how much the playground loves me, and what will I do without being able to be there.

I reminded myself of what we always say on the last day of retreat: once you have played at the playground, it lives in you forever. A blueprint in every cell. You can’t lose this.

I cried and listened to the playground, and the playground said:

I brought you the [situation that forced you out], this is my gift to you even if it may not look like one. Think of it as the most loving way I could bump you out of the nest and get you to fully commit to the road. I knew you didn’t want to leave me, so I invited a situation that would make you want to leave.

And then I felt full of peacefulness, and in that moment the boy sat down next to me and took my hand in his very gently, and his hand was so warm, and I could feel his heart full of sweetness, the way he just holds peace and calm for me, and the playground said:

I brought you this too. I brought you this boy, and I have brought you every wish you have ever made here in these five years of wishing. If any haven’t arrived yet, they’re on the way.

I have fulfilled your wishes, all of them, sometimes in forms that seem different than what were imagining, because that was right. And now I am coming with you, so we will still be together. Talk to me whenever you want.

All the superpowers of the playground are yours. Happy Shmita. I love you and am with you always.

I have two stones next to me.

Hand-painted by Richard. One stone was a gift for me when I became a bell, the other was made for a voyage that went somewhere unexpected.

One says exit and one says bell.

These are my clues and my companions right now.

I am the bell of exiting. This is the bell of exit, this is the exit bell.

Exit with bells. Exit the bell. Exit as a bell. Ring the bell of exits.

Right now my secret agent name is Bell West. Bell is for resonance, and also Bell is my middle name, and bell as a verb. And west because West in the compass is GLOW, which is the visual form of resonating. And west in my new compass is CLARITY, and I want to be a bell of clarity.

And west is the western united states which is where I will be on Shmita: Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. This is the territory of Operation True Yes aka Rosh Tzalul.

And there is more intel I haven’t received yet about why Bell and West and Exit…

I am Bell West, the Exit Bell and the Bell of Exits.

The last thing.

The last thing I did at the Playground before exiting, was to ring the bell that hangs from the magical elevator shaft, and then I took the bell with me.

Actually that was the third-to-last thing.

As I approached the door for the last time, I paused to remove the sign that says exit as you wish to continue, and tucked it into my bag. As I was doing this, I suddenly noticed that the wallpaper covering the inside of the door glass is POMEGRANATES with beautiful CROWNS.

How is it possible that for [five years minus two months] I have looked at pomegranates every day, multiple times a day, and only this year recognized that this is the symbol for everything I want in my life and business, and only now realized that past-me planted this clue for me to find.

I have always just thought it was a pretty pattern and never really looked at it. I laughed, as I have so many times at the Playground, in so many startling and hilarious moments of realization.

Agent Annabelle, who has rallied at Rally many, many times says, “Geniuses like to leave fun clues for themselves to discover later. For the fun!” This makes me laugh too.

So many gifts, so many clues.

One of the first things that went into the Playground was a full size tree decal on the wall. When I peeled off all the leaves on Saturday, I discovered that if you change their orientation, they are diamonds. This whole time I thought the tree was to remind me about grounding, but it was also to remind me about treasure.

And when I took the last piece of the playground — a giant bulletin board, a piece of paper I have never seen before slipped from the back of it and onto the floor.

A white piece of paper with a watercolor painting of a flower and the words Thank You.

What is my wish? What do I want?

My new mysterious project for Shmita is to become a playground.

To learn the quiet art of becoming a playground.

To carry the essence of playground with me so that everywhere I go I am grounded and playful and charged up with magic and fully aware of how deeply loved I am. Just like when I am conducting on the floor of the playground, held in love.

And I want to learn how to work without working (oh right, that’s what play is, that’s why I made a playground), and how to do without overdoing, or really, how to do without doing.

And also to release resentment/frustration about the [monsternumber] of things that need attention before I climb into the boy’s truck and set off on the road for this adventure.

What do I know about becoming/being a playground?

  • I skip stones!
  • I rest before I need rest
  • there is always tea and snacks
  • rich sumptuous colors and textures, sexy deep reds and oranges
  • I play with identity and invite in new aspects of me just like at rally
  • I delight in being barefoot or wearing the comfiest socks
  • spirals spirals spirals
  • I walk around and blow bubbles and receive clues (sometimes I walk backwards)
  • conducting and clearing out (whoosh, to the elevator shaft!)
  • clear firm glowing boundaries
  • only inviting in things that are beautiful
  • humming and glowing and filling up on love
  • bells

What do I know about what I want?

If I believe/remember that it is already done, I can just be it.

And if I forget how to believe/remember, I can pretend that it has already happened and then I can reverse-engineer and figure out how I might have gotten there.


Something we always say at Rally is “change your place change your luck”, which is kind of like going widdershins.

And today I was deep in Nothing Is Working, and overwhelmed because my house is full of Playground things, and so I am hiding out in the guest room, and it is so peaceful there, and everything is better now.

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

She: Let’s have an RGW (Replenishing Glass of Water)
Me: (drinks)
She: Look at all the aliveness around you. Just from where you are sitting you can see three plants, two flowers, trees outside. There is so much life in this life. All the things you are worried about are distractions and maya (illusion). Choose to be part of this flourishing of life. Plants and flowers are not caught up in doing. Choose things that remind you about breath and pleasure.


Agent Anna saw a sign that says “ATTENTION! Bell will ring without warning.”

She sent me a picture. I love this so much. I am also a bell who will ring without warning.

And it makes me want to sing, “If you like it then you’d better put a ring on it…”

The superpower of delighting in plenty

March - Receive More The quality for February on the 2015 Fluent Self calendar was APPRECIATE and the superpower was I See Beauty Everywhere.

Now we are in March, and the quality is RECEIVE, with the superpower of delight in plenty.

They go together so seamlessly for me. This past week I was really starting to feel Appreciation kicking in, and something opened in my heart from all those thank-yous, and now I am ready to fill up on Receiving.

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. Ha, this doesn’t require my input! My business is thriving happily without me. I think like a dancer. It’s so perfect it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS. I have what I need, and appreciate it. I am fearless and confident. I state my preferences clearly, calmly and easily, not a big deal. I am ready to come into my superpowers and receive.

Things I find helpful when working with intentions and wishes…

Nap, dance, write, play, labyrinths. Get quiet. Sweet pauses, yes to red lights and purple pills, thank you to the broken pots. Costume changes. Skip stones. Body first. Thank you in advance. Eight breaths in eight directions:

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

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka follow me through the rubble…

What a big upheaval of a week, and what a perfect wish. The shitstorm resolved itself (or maybe it didn’t and I just don’t care?), I took the exit sign and said thank you, and I no longer think the wallet is ugly. Also I now see why the thing that looked like destruction is actually treasure.

Love more. Trust more. Release more. Receive more. Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

If you want a handmade buttmonster from the Playground, we have a few left: $22 + $5.95 shipping = $27.95

If you want a Playground mug and a pack of stone skipping cards: $30 + $12.65 shipping = $42.65

Just send a note and we’ll set it up. Not sure about international shipping but Richard might know.

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.


The Fluent Self