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…

My wish.

I have a wish about tracking, and tracking things, which is something I really want to do except oh good lord how I hate tracking things.

Do not want! This could use some rather urgent metaphor mousing. That will allow us to either change the word we use for [tracking], or alter the meaning so that the current word becomes usable and no longer coated in stickiness.

What do I know about my current relationship with [Tracking]?

Does the word carry negative charges/associations? Oh wow, so many, they actually come in sets.

Set 1: Guilt, should, expectations, stupid homework assignments from courses, things like food journals or financial spreadsheets. Feeling bad for not doing it but genuinely not wanting to do it, not only because of resistance, though also, yes, resistance.

Set 2: Predatory behavior, someone is hunting and someone is hunted. Tracking makes me tense.

Set 3: What I call “boy brain”, by which I mean the mentality of ass in chair, push push push, measure measure measure, go go go. That entire worldview, and its charts and graphs and empty jargon of optimize and strategize, efficiency buzzwords. Ten year overviews, comparison. Wholly disconnected from actual desire and joy sparks. Planning and being caught up in analyzing a possible future, and forgetting about now, forgetting about the fisherman.


The image I get is of my former boss, the CEO of a company I worked at in a northern suburb of Tel Aviv, who liked things to be filed in triplicate.

He was always looking for more ways to be More Efficient (while still maintaining maximum pedantic bullshit), except these ways invariably involved more of my time and energy, piling on stress to my already overwhelming days. Months later I later learned eight previous occupants of my position had all quit after a week or two.

I have always thought sticking it out pointed either to my desperation or my toughness, or a combination of both.

Looking at it now though, from here, I think it may also have something to do with how worn down my self-respect was at that point in my life, so much so that I had convinced myself that taking abuse was a sign of strength.

So, for very obvious reasons, I very much do not want any of that. No wonder I have aversion to tracking numbers.

Let’s look at what I do want.

I think the main difference between what I want and don’t want is that the don’t want is a should, and comes with judgment, and what I want comes from genuine curiosity and presence, from wonder and love.

What are the elements of this?

Peacefulness. Ease. All the intel is readily available for me so I can make good decisions.

Abundance: a richness of useful data points is treasure. Sweetness. Ritual. I do this out of joy, for joy. I am not obligated to collect this intel.

Oh, la’asof. Gathering like harvesting. Like a joyful harvest. It is seasonal. There is a purpose for it. It has to do with fields and ripening, I am a gatherer, in nature.

I picture my beloved orchards during ktifa, when it is the time of picking, it means plucking, which is kind of a sexy word.

Yes. Joyful harvest is much better than tracking. How do I make this into a verb that works for me. In Hebrew I would be fine with osefet or kotefet, but I don’t like harvesting as a word in English so much. Let’s just say gathering. Gathering Data Points.

Hmm. Let’s find a sexier word for data points. I do like points. They are like stars. Mapping constellations…ah, yes, I am gathering star points.

Gathering Star Points.

This is exciting!

Now to figure out which Star Points I want to gather, where I want to gather them, and how I want to do this. I know for sure I want to gather the following Star Points:

1) Shmita/True Yes tuition.

Tuition is the word I have chosen to use for the cost of Shmita, my sabbatical time.

I get stressed out thinking about the expenses of it, in all ways. Not working. Cost of living. And yet, this is the tuition for going through this masters program of my own invention, where I learn the things I need to learn. It is a worthy thing to invest in tuition for certain kinds of learning, and so this is the right word.

Now I’m noticing monsters griping about how I didn’t track the (outrageously expensive) provisioning, and they are whispering numbers and wagging their fingers.

So you know what? Let’s just say AMNESTY to that. We are just here to gather star points vis a vis the tuition of Operation True Yes itself, without judgment. And we are not going to count the things we did to get ready. Ta da, it is decided.

2) Whatsit on Shmita

Whatsit is a form of shhhh working out. It brings me great joy, and lets me practice being a gazelle, which calms me down enough to help me pass as a functioning adult.

I don’t have rules about how much I do this practice, I am just curious about what the amount is that seems to lead to the greatest amount of joy in my body.

3) Time given to The Fluent Self and the Secret Sword Society.

I do not want to be accompanied by time monsters poking me about how long everything takes or how I should be doing less (or more!). This is just to know.

For example. How long does it actually take, on average, to edit and format a blog post that has already been written? I know I usually estimate twenty minutes and then am surprised (every time) when it takes over an hour.

Hmm, possible challenge here: writing time seems intrinsically different from Fluent Self work, except often writing my way through a personal process turns into a post. For example, this Very Personal Ad post started as internal investigating in my journal.

On the other hand, I think I can feel the difference in my body between when I’m using my creative mind to process for me, vs blogging/editing mode.

Do I want to use software to gather star points? No, just ballpark.

And where do I want to store these star points?

Oh! The shinto gate. Yes. Perfect.

The shinto gate.

The red shinto gate is an image in my beloved Paperless app, which lets you assign an icon to each list.

I only use red icon images in Paperless, and blue icon images in Paperless Lite, because I like the way this looks, and lalala don’t want to talk about it, interesting…

Let’s see. My body was having a very positive reaction to the gate.

I get a really strong yes about both the gate image in general, and about using it for this particular project. The redness! The gate-ness! The power of walking through it. The red shinto gate that was at the space that almost became the Playground.

The gate is a sign for me in a big way.

But then when I imagined people reading my post here and learning that I make red lists and blue lists, my body instantly tensed, a tightening in my stomach and in my throat. What my friend Alon calls the glitch, aka the advance warning radar system.

Hmm. I’m going to need to process that, so for now what if we just seed, along with this bigger wish, another wish to explore later….

(Tiny secret wish!)

This wish is about having a more empowered relationship with all things OCD, like, a pride parade for this. And, by the way, screw the D.

There is nothing disordered about it, it’s just delight in choosing order, at least from my point on the spectrum, and I want to celebrate how much I love placing things in a pleasing order!

Maybe that can be the D.

Obsessive? Compulsive? Delight!

Or, even better:

Order * Congruence * Delight!

Yeah! Except I still feel awkward and uncomfortable with people knowing this about me, and possible judgment/consequences.

Okay, interesting and noted! How can I make this safe to share here?

Let’s make a safe room for Tiny Me, who feared getting locked up, or that one or both of my parents would be locked up and taken away.

What do I know about what I want?

My wishes today are about making the tools of the external world work with the way my internal world actually is.

It’s about finding the awe and the glowing sparks in the mundane. And changing how I do things to allow for maximum delight and presence.


I am in the truck. The beautiful boy is driving, we are smiling, a lot. His hand is on my arm, and for a moment I am envious that he can go through life tracking things and not have to rewrite the world, but then I am happy for him, and happy for me, and we are driving past rows of fruit trees, close to where I used to live.

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

She: You are a grand adventurer, of course star gathering is the next skill to develop, this is wonderful.
Me: Anything you want me to know about this?
She: Do not doubt your abilities. Do not regret your sensitivities. Love the constellations as you gather the stars.


As we set off on Operation True Yes, the radio started up. It’s hooked up to my lover’s ipod, and a Tim Ferris podcast was playing, and I was like, ugh this is not joy sparks, so I paused it, but the name flashed on the display, like an anti-joy-spark banner.

Except then I remembered that Mr Ferris did write about a four hour work week, which is about FREEDOM, the entire point of this op, and also approximately how many hours I am okay with giving to work stuff while on the road. So I decided to let it be a good clue, even though I still have no desire to listen to it.

The superpower of delighting in plenty

March - Receive More The quality for March is RECEIVE, with the superpower of delight in plenty.

Gathering Stars is a wonderful op to embark on in a month of delighting in plenty! This is so perfect I just clapped my hands when I thought of it.

Things I find helpful for 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.

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, no big deal. I am ready to come into my superpowers and receive.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka and we’re off..

I had three wishes. One had to do with receiving good wishes, one was about being Well-Provisioned and the relationship between Joyful Spontaneity and Beautifully Prepared, and the third was about an app that is maybe not an app.

Feeling good about all of these, and I solved the app (another tracking thing) with a shared google doc that we are just keeping open on our computers even when we’re offline. We can copy it into a text file if we are somewhere without internet access.

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

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

If you want a Playground mug with a pack of stone skipping cards inside it: $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