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…

Three hundred weeks of wishing, you guys!

Can you believe we’ve been doing this for three hundred Sundays?

Well, sometimes Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays, but every week for three hundred weeks now, there have been wishes.

Let’s have some candles! And balloons in all the colors!

Oh wow, what beautiful wishes.

What do I know about yes?

I was in Berlin teaching, this is maybe six years ago, having an absolutely miserable time.

The building where I was staying was being renovated: jackhammers outside the window starting at 7am. I had the worst jet lag of my life. My workshops hadn’t been adequately promoted; attendance was at record lows. It was unseasonably warm, and, thanks to some bizarre municipal screw-up, half the public transportation wasn’t working and the other half severely overcrowded.

Also everyone in the city was in a terrible mood too, it wasn’t just me.

Hell hath no fury like Germans waiting for trains that don’t run on time.

I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t think or even focus, and each day became consecutively less functional than the one before.

I wanted to quit and go home a month early, but I felt bad about canceling my workshops and changing plans on people. I didn’t know very much at the time about things like Radical Sovereignty and True Yes, and I worried a lot about what other people would think.

Finally though I hit the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to be somewhere quiet, and I needed some sleep before I lost my mind, and it was time to not be in Berlin anymore.

The first lesson about yes.

My friend and host Andreas was very upset with me, and it took us a while to sort this out.

I thought he was upset that I was leaving early, and breaking my promise to teach my workshops. Except that wasn’t the case.

His argument was, essentially, “If you want to leave, then do it because leaving is your yes. I support your yes. Just don’t say that you’re leaving because of the noise and the low workshop attendance and all the things going wrong. Leave because leaving is what you want. Follow your desire. Own your yes.”

My reaction to that was, “If all these things weren’t going horribly wrong, then I wouldn’t even be thinking about leaving, so of course my desire to leave is about these things.”

He was right. I mean, he was really in his stuff about this, so probably this particular situation was reminding him of something else. Except that doesn’t change the fact that he was right.

It took me a few years to really understand this principle.

And I’m still not very good at it.

I mean, right now I’m at a racetrack.

If you are wondering what it is like to be at a racetrack when you are a highly sensitive person with hyperaccusis and trauma, who finds many day-to-day noises to be moderately unbearable, I can tell you that it is horrible and I hate it.

The whining sound of fifty motorcycles zooming around at 150mph, fifteen feet away from my bed. The way nothing really muffles the noise. Even with earplugs and high end headspace protectors and the fan on, and the blankets over my head, it’s still just really, really loud.

There’s also an excessively loquacious man who has erroneously been given a microphone for the day and won’t shut up, and the ridiculous testosterone levels here, and the way everyone stares at you when you walk by because you’re one of the four women in the entire place.

So yes, I could have opted not to go to the track, but that would have involved a hotel in Chico, and hotels in Chico were kind of gross.

Or on the couch of someone I don’t know very well who didn’t really want to put me up to begin with. Or the one room left in some outlandishly fancy winery bed and breakfast, for the exorbitant sum of $440, no thank you.

So I said yes to something that was obviously my No, because all the escape routes I could think of were equally No, and I’d already hit the point of too tired to research, plan, pack and worry about food.

It seemed easier to do this thing I knew would be awful, and at least I’d be with my lover who would kiss me and tell me I’m beautiful, and make me soup and tuck me into bed.

Leaving Berlin Immediately.

Leaving Berlin, and particularly leaving it the way I did (immediately, and also in the most comfortable way possible, by way of a long, leisurely, quiet trip home, visiting beautiful places and getting lots of sleep) was one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life. It changed everything for me, and made everything in my life not just slightly better, but outlandishly better.

Remember about a hundred wishes ago when I had a very vivid dream about quitting grad school, and then everything was better but I woke up and wasn’t sure what grad school was, since I’ve never actually been in grad school?

And then it turned out that everything was grad school, and I had to quit all of it. Good times.

Leaving Berlin Immediately is the new quitting grad school.

But to do this, I need to figure out more about No.

Things I now know about No.

I don’t need a reason for something to be a No.

It doesn’t matter if it looks great on paper, or if I’ve been saying for the past ten years that this is exactly what I’ve wanted.

Or if there is no visible reason for why it’s a no.

It doesn’t matter if it makes sense from the outside, or if other people think my no is stupid.

If it’s my no, it’s truth. And, to be clear, I’m not talking about monster-no and fear-of-success no.

And if you don’t know how to differentiate between these and actual-no yet, this is a worthwhile project: I recommend patience and a lot of quiet for turning inward and getting curious. And the monster manual is very useful.

I’m talking about that calm steady knowing: I don’t want this.

The chocolate shop.

I have a chocolate shop, and my chocolate shop is a clear, ringing No.

There are a thousand reasons that could do a great job of explaining why, but these reasons are also irrelevant.

What I want is freedom, and so far the chocolate shop has only been an obstacle to freedom. If the chocolate shop could support freedom, it could possibly turn into a yes, but there is no evidence in favor of this.

Something I’ve noticed: I find it comforting to sink into the reasons, to list all the bullet points of why this is my no (for example, how incongruent it is to be someone who runs her online business based on the principles of sovereignty, and then to have this other business whose business model is constant hand-holding and picking up after people), but the truth is more simple than that…

I just don’t like having a chocolate shop, other than the fact that it provides a great cover story for what I do for a living, and a place to practice [passion] when I’m in Portland.

Clearly not worth the stress of coming up with rent each month and not making salary, and doing something that holds no meaning or pleasure for me. Actually, nothing is worth that so why did I agree to it?

What do I know about my yes?

These are all also equally true for no…

  1. It is vitally important that I not dismiss it, delay it, or try to talk myself out of it.
  2. I do not want to do that thing I so often do where I think, “oh, I could probably stick it out another few months…”
  3. If I don’t know why something is my yes yet, this is unimportant. The reasons will be revealed later. Trust the yes without the reasons.
  4. Each true yes strengthens new neural patterns. Each reluctant yes to a no strengthens the old pattern. My choice.
  5. It makes sense that after embarking on a six month expedition of Operation True Yes, and also Shmita (my biggest yes) that I would be dealing with the fallout from having said yes to a bunch of not-yeses in the past few years.
  6. Nothing is wrong. I am okay. This is all part of the video game.

What do I know about what I want?

It’s about trusting the integrity of my desire.


The evening is cool. The moon is very full. I am looking at the months ahead and making guesses/wishes about where I might want to be when. I am waiting for the yes sparks, and being very quiet so I don’t miss them.

(That might be another clue about why to avoid racetracks, it’s easy to miss sparks when I’m in sensory overhwelm!)

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

She: You already know so much about what you don’t want, where you don’t want to be, and what you don’t want to be doing.
Me: That doesn’t seem to narrow it down all that much.
She: It does. It’s like those multiple choice exams where you can automatically cross off three of the answers because they are preposterous. Look at your choices, don’t worry about not getting a yes, just knock off the ones that are clearly no.


I was watching Chicago PD, and this high-ranking Argentine diplomat said to Voight, “You’re making a massive mistake.”

He shrugged as if it was the most unimportant thing in the world, and said, “I do that a lot.”

I would like the superpowers of that. Of not caring at all about the “this is a massive mistake” monsters.

The superpower of I have everything I need for this.

April - Adventure More We flipped a page in the calendar since last time. The quality for March was RECEIVE, with the superpower of delight in plenty. Guess what. The quality for April is (hahahaha, past-me is hilarious) ADVENTURE.

Adventure comes with the marvelous superpower of I have everything I need for this. May it be so.

So let’s combine these. I am open to the adventure of receiving my yes, to crossing doorways into yes, and new, previously unseen exits out of the no.

I have everything I need when it comes to intel about yes and about no, and therefore I have everything I need for this adventure.

Moreover I now think being the person who is okay with receiving is the same as being the person who says yes to her yes and no to everything that is not-yes, and this is the same as being the bold adventuress. Perfect.

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 around not through (the mysteries that do not need to be solved)…

Actually a couple mysteries beautifully solved themselves, so that was a lovely surprise, and I am feeling good about putting the rest on hold, processing the parts I want to process.

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. Ask Richard for international shipping.

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