One of the lovely people in my Kitchen Table program was having a serious hard. She was dealing with too many iguanas at once and everything was starting to be the crazy.

So I said something like awwww sweetie, that sucks.

And then I said:

Sending love and Heinzelmännchen.

And then someone else asked who my Heinzelmännchen supplier is, and if they ship internationally.

I though: whoah, why am I not in the Heinzelmännchen business?!

Because that would be the best.

Heinzelmännchen in the houuuuuse!

Quick explanation.

The Heinzelmännchen are these awesome little gnome guys. Not like the cranky house gnomes in the Harry Potter books.

No. The Heinzelmännchen do all your work for you at night so that you can relax during the day.

Except that they don’t like it when you try to catch them. And then they disappear.

So where do I get me some Heinzelmännchen?

Here’s the plan.

Notice what I need. Ask for what I need.

Write Very Personal Ads.

And long, gooey love letters to things I want.

Find out as much as I can about my relationship to time. And to rest. And to waiting. And to patience.

Because what the Heinzelmännchen do is take care of what you need, and I need to learn more about what that is.

Look for the qualities.

Figure out what qualities I receive when my life is full of Heinzelmännchen taking care of me.

Because that’s what will give me the effect of having them around.

It’s obvious stuff like ease and effortlessness.

But there is also something there about being cared for. About support. About nourishment.

Rest. Appreciation. Love. There might be some love in there too.

So if these are the missing ingredients, how do I bring more of them into my life?

By asking for them. By giving them to myself. By giving them to others. Or wishing them for others.

Become a Heinzelmännchen.

This involves a couple of different things.

I could:

Remember that, as Andrey says, “Morning begins at night”.

In other words: setting things up now to make them easier for when you actually do them.

Like putting a folded blanket on the floor now so that I can’t put off yoga in the morning because it’s too cold outside and I’m too sleepy to come up with a solution for that.

Like writing a list tonight of what I’m going to do tomorrow.

Like what Cairene talks about when she says “create a container”.

It also means doing just one thing instead of falling apart in the face of all those things.


The Heinzelmännchen get through their work so quickly because they have to be done before you wake up.

So there’s a little bit of that hide-and-seek thing going on.

Playing. And probably dancing too.

In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s also fun music and bouncing and maybe some fist-pumping.

Because Heinzelmännchen are tiny and elusive. Which means they’re kind of like trolls. Or at least related to them. And everyone knows that trolls love trance music. Doonsk doonsk doonsk!

Rest follows work.

The whole point of having Heinzelmännchen is not to do more, but to rest more.

To have cycles. To have a going in and a coming back out.

So there’s no point to my Heinzelmännchen import-export business or to getting stuff done if I’m just headed into that endless cycle of doing.

Stopping = just as important as starting.

You can’t just go.

And there is something inherently valuable in the act of pausing. Of not-doing. Of saying you know what, I’m done here.

Or I’m done for now.

In fact …

The way you come out of something is important.

I saved my yoga teacher “salary” and my bartending tips for months and months to take a training with Dharma Mittra when he came to Israel.

And I learned all sorts of useful and surprising things. But what I always think of when I think of him, aside from his beaming smile, was what he said about coming out of a pose.

He said:

The way you come out of a yoga posture tells you how you were in it.

This was a distressing thing to think about, especially since the exiting of most of my own postures involved flopping, grunting and crashing. Or relief to be done with that horrible thing. Or without much attention to anything.

This teaching was about mindfulness, of course. And grace. But it was also about endings being as important as beginnings.

And about the way you finish work. This is (for me) about finding a way to get stuff done without ending up in a bleary-eyed puddle of internet hangover and thank god it’s over.

I’m putting myself through Heinzelmännchen training.

It involves:

Noticing. Asking. Caring. Loving. Stopping. Breathing. Resting. Remembering. Playing.

And planting surprises for people.

Also for myself.

Play with me? Because I think I’m going to need a … collective.

Also a collective noun.

Because … what do you call it?

An army of Heinzelmännchen? No. Too violent.

A hammering of Heinzelmännchen? A whisking of Heinzelmännchen? A band? A colony? A troop? A consortium? A helter-skelter? A party?

You know, I kind of think it might be a party.

p.s. We should totally start a band called A Helter Skelter of Heinzelmännchen. But of course it would have to be just one guy. Possibly a former member of THRASHED.

The Fluent Self