The perfect simple solution is a phrase I have borrowed from Hiro.

This phrase is actually a sort of perfect simple solution itself, in that it elegantly sums up its own magic in its name.

A perfect simple solution is perfect because of its simplicity. The unexpected, just-right thing that makes it all work.

Simple, elegant, efficient, harmonious, and sometimes right there in front of me.

Even more likely: I was just tripping over it and didn’t notice.

Perfect simple solutions: what I want from my Very Personal Ads and what I wish for in the bath. And one of the main reasons I do Shiva Nata.

This story starts with a list.

Last week I was rallying it up at Rally (Rally!), and one aspect of my project-like thing involved thinking about my relationship with my work space.

I was thinking about how much I adore the Playground. And also about what isn’t working there.

This resulted in a list (magic markers and construction paper) about all the things I wished could be changed:

  • There’s not enough room in the Galley. If we have eight people at Rally and half of them are making tea, it’s cramped. But when we have sixteen people at Rally, it gets ridiculous.
  • We need more projectizing space. And another desk. But before we move to a bigger building. We need it now.
  • We need more storage space and it can’t be in my Quarters. We need storage in the Galley (but there’s no room in the Galley!) and also by the stage, for things I need while teaching.
  • I don’t like the tall bookcase in my Dressing Room, but there’s nowhere else it can go!
  • I can’t keep storing things behind the stage anymore.
  • The Free Box isn’t working where it is. It needs a new home.
  • We need a larger trash receptacle in the Galley.
  • The Toy Shop needs a larger display stand but where are we going to find it?

Except the list was kind of stressing me out.

For one thing, it was kind of overwhelming.

I’m usually waxing rhapsodic about how the Playground is the most fun, sparkly, surprising, magical place I’ve ever been.

Which is pretty different — and so much better! — than my thoughts about all the other places I’ve worked or lived in my life.

It felt weird to be focusing on these things that aren’t working.

Also, compiling these wishes was made more depressing by the several unexpected business expenses from in the past month, so this is sadly very much not the time to go out and acquire new furnishings.

We’d have to make do somehow.

It was definitely time for some perfect simple solutions.

I made the request. We’re going to need a perfect simple solution. Possibly several!

And decided to make that my intention for our Shiva Nata session: to see the patterns and find the solutions.

Except then I totally forgot that this was going to be my intention and decided to play with something else. Something about trust. Which turned out to be its own perfect simple solution.

We did ten minutes of insanely insane Shiva Nata and I could actually feel my brain reordering itself for the rest of the day. The zap-hum of repatterning.

Anyway. That was Wednesday.

On Thursday the patterns were clear.

The thing about Shiva Nata is that it will show you the patterns. That’s what it does. You just have to challenge yourself and pay attention.

So here’s what I got:

I dislike making do. I am very good at making do.

Those two exit in a sort of symbiotic loop.

That loop, and the related pain, is a pattern at the core of the patterns that are leaving. The ones I’m done with.

The new patterns coming in to replace it have to do with:

    a) being okay with the solutions being easy,
    b) being okay with solutions making themselves known,
    c) solutions showing up when I need them,
    d) having a new relationship with asking for and receiving help.

And on Friday morning the perfect simple solution was there.

It was such a fabulous and typically shivanautical moment.

I woke up and knew exactly where everything needed to go.

The table in the Galley could become an additional desk in the Treasure Room.

(This actually created two new projectizing places: the new desk, and then a perfect little cozy blanket-fort-able area between that desk and the other table.)

The Clown Chest could go to the Galley, giving us more storage and a place for the tea kettle and additional water dispenser.

The bookshelf in my office could go next to the stage and behind the flip chart, with a curtain.

The blue chest from the Treasure Room could go into my Dressing Room instead. The Free Box could go to the open Galley.

I already had everything I needed. Just in the wrong configuration.

Now there’s so much room in the Galley: it’s open and spacious! There’s way more storage, in all the places where I need it. And my Dressing Room feels like me again.

Oh, and then I happened to go next door…

And there were two places having giant sales. So I picked up the just-right trash receptacle and the display for the Toy Shop at half price.

It was that kind of day. Perfect simple solutions everywhere!

And not just perfect for me, but the kind of sovereign and harmonious thing that ends up being the best thing for all parties involved.

Everyone who comes to Rally Rally! will benefit from these changes. And the changes are more congruent with the personality, culture, purpose and essence of the playful place that houses them.

Do you see how great?! Seriously, the whole thing was AMAZING.

It was as if the entire Playground got this awesome makeover, just by rearranging the elements.


Tomorrow I’ll talk about establishing a practice of investigating and looking for perfect simple solutions.

Today I just want to sit at the Playground and breathe in the new.

Play with me! And blanket fort comment zen…

This is hard stuff. There’s nothing more painful than being in that tight, scary place when you need the solutions and they aren’t coming.

And then the resistance keeps tightening on itself. It sucks. I’m sorry.

My gwish for you is that this practice brings you ease. But I also totally get that before the ease there might be a lot of gunk to work through. It’s hard.

We can play with asking for perfect simple solutions.

We can play with noticing patterns without judging ourselves for having the patterns.

We can throw things into the pot.

As always, we let people have their own experience, we take responsibility for our experience and we don’t tell each other what to do or how to feel.


p.s. If you want to mess around some more with this thing that is perfect simple solutions, come to a Rally in 2012. I actually have something that might be a perfect simple solution for this — will tell you about it later this week.

The Fluent Self