very personal adsPersonal ads! They’re … personal! Very.

So last week I wrote an “awkward love letter to a place that might or might not have a labyrinth”.

This week it’s a different kind of love letter. Not the awkward kind. Not one to something I’m trying to find. One to something I already have.

Background: I’ve been getting ready to welcome in the second year of my crazy-wonderful Kitchen Table program in January.

Which means that I’ve been doing huge amounts of reflecting on this past year (and — surprise! — will probably be sharing some of this reflecting with you in future posts), and what those experiences have given me.

But right now I’m just feeling overwhelmed by love. Love for what is right now, and the way it is right now.

So before I make an ask for the Right People for next year (probably next week), I want this week’s Very Personal Ad to be a place to be in appreciation.

Dear kooky, beautiful Kitchen Table,

I don’t always tell you this, because I am not a gushy, lovey-schmoo kind of person, but … man, I am so outrageously full of love for you.

What I love about you:

Your name.

From a strictly “business” perspective, I admit that it might not be the best metaphor in the world. Since the thing you have become is so much more than “at the kitchen table with Havi and Selma“.

So much more than late-night brainstorming and support and cameraderie.

But I love the hominess of it. The look of it. The comfort and hanging-out-ness of it all.

The people.

Someone said that I “curate” awesome people. And I don’t know what that magic something is that lets me find the exact right combination of people, but I genuinely like all of you.

And I especially like the mix.

Man, you are all sooooooo refreshingly different from each other.

Sure, each of you thinks that he’s the outsider or that she’s the weird one (or the non-hippie one), but really, every single person brings something cool and unique. And the combination of all those qualities meeting is just perfect.

Hanging out in the chatroom during calls. Goofing off. You guys are honestly some of the silliest people I know.

And some of the smartest. You probably just think that everyone else is the smart ones, but believe me, I like the way your mind works.

I love what I have learned from you.

I have learned to be really, really honest. I have learned about apologies. I have learned how to stop shepherding and start being a very different kind of leader. I have learned about clearing out my own stuff.

And I’ve watched you guys become different people. Or more yourselves. I don’t know.

I’ve watched you go from not feeling sure of what you want or how to ask for it … to being the kind of person who can communicate really clearly about what they need and how they want to receive it.

I have learned how crazy powerful it is when you have a bunch of people who have learned how to ask for what they need.

I have met my own hard.

This year has had its hard moments. I’ve doubted myself. I’ve had to untangle my own stucknesses.

It’s been one hell of a training in what it really means to be a leader. You guys have been with me for that process too. And I appreciate it so much.

The classes.

I love coming up with the classes. Love teaching. Love the fact that at some point each class devolves into hilarity. And I especially love the Ask Havi Anything days. Ooh, and I love it when someone else teaches and then I get to run wild in the chat room.

CrankyPants McGrumbleBug’s Kvetchtastic Whine Bar.

This might be my favorite part. And yes, I am a total genius for coming up with it!

Because it is so wonderful to have a forum (literally!) to complain about stuff without anyone trying to fix it. And then — once the stuck has been listened to — I always know when I’m ready for advice, and there’s a forum for that too.

It’s just such an amazing experience to show up with a stuck (and I’ve shown up with mine a thousand times) and have everyone be so completely understanding and comforting. And funny.

Also I appreciate the extremely creative and entertaining cursing that sometimes goes on in the whine bar. But also the kittens.

The changes.

When I look at people who back in January were stuckified about everything and terrified of the thing they wanted to be doing (or beating themselves up for not knowing what that is yet) …

And I see where you are now: strong, capable, confident, knowledgeable about yourself and your stuff, able to ask for help when you get stuckified, no longer thinking that receiving help and support says something bad about you

It must makes me want to cry. You guys are serious helper mice. So gifted. And even if you can’t see it or hear it yet (or you just get occasional flashes of it), I know it.

I can feel the truth of it.

And it’s so beautiful it makes me cry. To prevent impending gooey-ness (or more gooey than I’m already getting into), on to my commitment.

My commitment for the remainder of this year and for this coming-right-up year:

I will keep loving you.

I will continue to read every single thread, even when there are a gazillion of them, as there so often are.

I will keep maintaining this space, clearing it and caring for it.

I will rewrite parts of the welcome orientation manual thing, to make them more clear and to help you guys figure out how to get the most love and support possible.

I’ll do everything I can to make sure that the group leaders are getting what they need.

I will try to remember to trust myself and this weird, wonderful process that is all of us working on our stuff together and individually.

The other thing I want to say.

This one is an ask.

And it’s about maintaining my energy this week while I’m on retreat.

Here’s what I want:

To not get overwhelmed or cut off from myself. To stay centered and grounded, whatever that means for me this week.

Ways this could work:

I could remember that this is what I want. I could remember my tendency to get disconnected when I’m experiencing too much.

And I can keep working on the sovereignty stuff.

My commitment.

I will notice what’s going on for me. I will remind myself to stay grounded. I will ask for help when I need it. Or try to. :)

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

Just to update you on what’s happened since … last time.

I asked for the perfect spot to lead a retreat. With a love letter. And got a bunch of good leads. Will have the short list very very soon. Tomorrow, I hope.

And no news on a power-hitting outfielder for the Giants. I think I should have mentioned that we don’t want Milton Bradley, if the Cubs are listening. Which they should be. Anyway, I think that ask was mostly just to make me feel better.

Also, remember two weeks ago when I asked for support cranking out blog posts? Nothing happened with that last week, but yesterday I wrote one in the airport and three on the plane. Unheard of.

Especially since I can pretty much never work on the plane. But it was so quiet that it totally worked. Yay.

Comments. Since I’m already asking …

I am adding to my practice of asking for stuff by being more specific about what I would like to receive in the comments. And that way, if you feel like leaving one (you totally don’t have to), you get to be part of this experiment too. :)

Here’s what I want (just leave them in the comments):

  • Your own personal ads, small or large. Things you’ve asked for. Or are asking for. Or would like to ask for. Or updates on last time!

What I would rather not have:

  • Reality theories.
  • Shoulds. As in, “You should be doing it like this” or “That’s not the right way to ask for things — instead it should be like x, y and z”
  • To be judged or psychoanalyzed.

My commitment.

I am committing to getting better at asking for things even when asking feels weird. I commit to giving time and thought to the things that people say, and to interact with their ideas and with my own stuff as compassionately and honestly as is possible.

Thanks for doing this with me!