Personal 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Havi, this sounds just so right and so perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.
As per your *ask*, my attempted personal ad would be “to get into the Kitchen Table in January without having to resort to embarrassing public begging”. (Already on the waiting list… and keeping my fingers crossed that I will make it to the actual table…)
Again, thank you for sharing! And you make it sound so… tempting… irresistible… like there are so many different kind of amazing goodies being cooked up at the kitchen.
Havi, the Kitchen Table is such an astonishingly rich and diverse community of amazing people. It’s been a blessing in my life this year. May it continue to grow strong and healthy, and to nourish the creative genius of everyone who comes to it. Thank you for creating this beautiful space for learning, growth and creative transformation.
My VPA this week:
To have an organic flow between inner and outer connection, in my life. Between engagement and solitude; creative work and restorative rest.
To pay attention to my inner pulse and rhythm, and to follow it as lovingly as I can.
Holding you in blessing, Havi. May your week on retreat be truly nourishing for you in every way.
.-= Hiro Boga´s last post … Sunday Poem # 9 =-.
@Jenia, yes, that is a personal ad of mine as well 🙂
My ask this week is kind of like a chicken I guess, in that I would like to have 25,000 words logged in my NaNo novel by Friday the 13th.
How this can happen: button chair (a method advocated by writer Heather Sellers).
My commitment: to not judge the words as they are coming out, to let my characters be who they are and tell their story. To have fun.
.-= Andi´s last post … Painting, A Love Story =-.
Havi, you summed up the essence of the Kitchen Table beautifully. It’s been such a blessing in my life as well and has jet-propelled my business to a whole new level of love and sustainability.
And what a place with to hang out with some of the most clever and funny people! The businesses that have been brainstormed and born. The laughter on the chats. The Awesomesauce. The FedExed hookers at the ready. The ninjas. Crap weasel coaching. I could go on and on.
Thank you so much for your creation of the Kitchen Table. It has been my joy to have had a seat there this year.
.-= Julie Stuart´s last post … Got a business plan that makes you smile? =-.
Yes, I have stomach-butterflies of curiosity every time I see anything about the Kitchen Table. They say, “Get yourself on the waiting list girl!” So OK. Yes. I’m with andi and jenia. Hoping to get to be part of the fun.
But I have an entirely separate personal ad this week. This is going to sound a bit, uh, silly. But I would like a real live in-person friend. Nearby. Female or male, doesn’t matter. Just someone other than my husband. And my daughter. Someone who is hopefully sort of open-minded and interested in similar things. Someone who is occasionally free to hang out on Saturdays. I have lots of real live actual friends who are far away (sad face). And they are dearer than I can say. But they’re far away. I’d like a close-by friend.
How this might happen? Hmmm, I’ll have an adventurous day and will just happen to connect with someone?
I promise to keep my eyes open and invite this person out for a cup of coffee or a beer if they don’t take the first step. Because if they’re at all like me, they will be too shy to take that step. I promise to not be too shy.
Now I am off to dance with the Little Bird…have a great Sunday everyone!
.-= Emily´s last post … Flipping the Switch – A Look Back After Three Months of The Artist’s Way =-.
What a beautiful love letter to your Kitchen Table! Fabulous!
(and I *so* want to be there next year…)
Update on last week’s ask: we got a few quotes for the new door, and went the priciest one because that company also seemed to be, by far, the most trust-worthy one. As for the no-more-surprises part of the ask, we’ll see next month, when they come to install the new door.
As for this week’s VPA…
Here’s what I want:
I feel like a teeny tiny piece of stuck (out of my huge chunk of stucknesses) is getting a little bit looser these days – enough for me to do a babystep towards making my thing happen yesterday – and I want to have a smooth week during which nothing would make this tiny piece of slowly destuckifying stuck rush to stick itself back to the big old mass of stucknesses.
Ways this could work:
– I could try and keep myself as centered and grounded as I can so that stuff that would normally disturb me doesn’t affect me quite as much.
– I could work on further destuckifying that loosened stuck bit so that it won’t go back to being stuck.
– Things could just go smoothly!
– I will take care of myself, practice Shiva Nata, and take the time to do some yoga.
– I will pay attention to what I can learn from that loosening bit of stuck.
– I will work on my thing a little bit every day (babysteps!) so that I can create a positive habit, and hopefully help strengthen the loosening of the stuck.
Oh, that would make for a terrific week! (the thought of which got me all teary-eyed… time to stop and publish this comment!)
.-= Josiane´s last post … Noticing – the dragonfly edition =-.
That love letter really makes me wish for a place at your Table! Not that I wasn’t quietly wishing before, but now it comes with a wistful sigh. 😉
It’s funny, I always do these backwards with the updates first — seeing what I asked before and how it turned out seems to help clarify what I want to ask for in this week’s ad.
Update on Previous Weeks: My request for smoothness went largely unanswered, sadly, and while some things went well, others didn’t really go at all. So this week I’ll try a different tack.
My Ask: Positive Energy. Healing energy to fight off whatever this is giving me a sore throat. Physical energy so I don’t feel so much like I could just sleep all the time this week. Mental energy to get the Antemortem Arts site in a state to soft launch by the end of the week. Emotional energy to keep away the absurdly negative self-talk.
How This Could Happen: I could sleep as much as I need to. I could go for walks, drink tea, connect with people. It could just come to me.
My Commitment: To try not to overdo things. To make good use of the times I am feeling energetic. To nap if that’s what I need.
.-= Amy Crook´s last post … Wow, That’s a Lotta Art =-.
@Emily That’s not silly at all. I know just what you mean. My best bud is far away too. Bit too introverted to make it my ask for now though.
@Amy I do updates 1st too. Didn’t occur to me that it was backwards.
Update: no word on the photos yet from the person I asked, though I did find 1 of them that I’d tracked down previously via my dad’s email. The other person I could ask was leaving on tour last week according to his site so I bailed on asking him for now.
This week: I want to figure out how to command attention without raising my voice. In particular, to be able to participate in an animated conversation without triggering my adrenaline, blood pressure, and a significant energy loss. (I talk more about this in the last post link below.)
How this could happen: Waving as an interjection has had a little success. Developing simple physical cues perhaps? Or maybe I’ll feel closer to 100% so I won’t feel the effects so much. (I’m down with feeling better in any case.)
My commitment: I won’t expect to have this sussed out in a week. Patience. I won’t expect the same solution to work with everyone or even consistently. To approach conversations/interjections with sovereignty so that participation does not automatically mean draining myself.
.-= claire´s last post … The literal sotto voce: behind the scenes of an introvert’s voice =-.
What a perfectly lovely letter to your Kitchen Table.
I sat back for a moment after reading it and felt the wonder of having such a community.
I too, have had totally amazing people cross my path this year (many who are in your Kitchen Table! Coincidence? I think not!). Their love, motivation and general awesomeatude has really kept me going in what has been a bit of a tough year on the personal side.
It is so terribly lovely when the people you love to serve love to teach you how to lead.
My ask this week: Give me the strength to stay the heck out of people’s business who don’t really want my help. Have spent tons of energy these past two weeks with extended family issues, and realize that I am so drained because I am offering advice where it isn’t really desired (even though it is asked for — go figure!).
I commit to pouring my all into presos for my local community here in Phoenix this week. And for finishing a long-overdue chapter for an anthology. And for taking some quiet time to organize and reflect on what I want to create in 2010.
I am so grateful to you Havi for continuously creating a place where it feels like home.
(Oh, I’m also hoping SO hard that there’s a chair for me at the Kitchen Table next year. Hope, hope, hope!)
I have nothing in particular this week, but I’ve decided to write an update on pervious VPAs, which I haven’t done so far because I’m afraid it would force me to acknowledge how little progress there’s been:
1. On VPA#1 I asked for a wave of motivation (cf. The Pixies) in relation to my languishing novel. One evening in September I had some ideas, while my choir sat and waited for the organ piece to finish before we sang again. They’re good ideas, but they didn’t spur me into action, mainly because they didn’t resolve any of the knotty issues I’m having with the plot – they were about how I could improve another aspect of the book.
2. On VPA#3 I posted my “Blog Seeks Readers” ad; this was also the first post to my brand new blog, which I’d started in June. The blog now gets about 300 unique visitors a month, which I (naturally) fear is Too Few Oh Em Gee, but actually is probably perfectly OK.
3. On VPA#7 I asked for permission to rest. I was thinking about leisure, of which I had essentially none. That was in mid-August, when the house was still completely chaotic from the extension project, and I was crawling up the curtains trying to figure out how to realise my dearest ambitions. Things have calmed down a lot since then, and it’s
muchinfinitesimally easier for me to take a break every so often these days. But that’s a start.
4. On VPA#9 I asked to get my blogging mojo back, having just come through ten insanely busy days where I didn’t get near it. What was lovely about this was that I suggested that a reassuring comment or two might help – and I got several! It was lovely, and I felt really grateful for the encouragement. It also did the trick in breaking the funk I was in. Result 🙂
5. On VPA#16 I advertised for focus and clarity – the clarity to see what my most important immediate goals were, and the focus to tackle them. This worked really well: within a week or so I was on an astonishingly more even keel. I made moderate progress, but more importantly, the whole greased-trapeze-on-fire-above-pit-of-balrogs feeling that characterised mid-October has basically gone.
Huh. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised at how good these results are. I’d been carrying around the vague assumption that there wasn’t much to report … and actually, I think that’s mostly because of the novel. Interesting. *scurries off to do some thinking*
.-= Lean Ni Chuilleanain (@leannich)´s last post … Sunday Stash, no. 4 =-.
My VPA this week.
Looking for a clean office. One that is uncluttered, containing only the tools that I need at any given minute to work and be creative. It needs to be welcoming, calm and just make me breathe a sigh of relief when I walk in.
How this could come to me. The magic office cleaning fairy could pay me a visit and clear out all the paper clutter without making me fear that the passports will also be recycled (which nearly happened the last time my husband tried to “help” with the office cleanup–God love him).
I could also have a burst of energy and clarity and I can get this done mojo.
My commitment: I will notice how much better I feel in this office so that I won’t let it get back to the chaos it’s in now.
I will now experiment with things that might entice the magic office cleaning fairy to make an appearance. Perhaps a tiara and a magic wand are in order.
.-= Christina´s last post … The Magic of Showing Up =-.
The Kitchen Table sounds so great! I suspect that this coming year will not be the right year for me to become a part of that, but I’ll stay open to future possibilities of all sorts, and in the meantime, I’m thrilled to be here — on the front porch, you might say! It’s a lovely place to be.
Today, I’m asking for my voice to continue healing from this most recent cold, so I can sing strongly and freely and fully again. I commit to giving myself, voice and all, plenty of loving care and attention.
.-= spiralsongkat´s last post … We can’t do it all…or can we? =-.
Thought you would like this image:
From this artist. http://www.jimdenevan.com/jim.htm
Saw him linked on the ‘improvised life’ blog.
Reminded me of the labyrinth exercise.
one of my resolutions for the 2010 is to join havi and naomi at the kitchen table. this post is pushing me towards this direction.
You write a mean love letter, girl! Fantastic. And I felt all glow-y. And I let myself take it personally and it felt damm-good!
Where are you? Because your ad for a real, live, in-person friend? yeah. Me too. I was delighted to see it put into words like you did. And, um, I’m in the Boston area 😉 Anyone seeking a live, in-person friend in Boston? Me me me… raising my hand over here to have coffee or tea or glass of wine! yay.
.-= Heidi Fischbach (@curiousHeidiHi)´s last post … Give and take =-.
@Heidi: (smiles) near Chicago…but glad I’m not the only one who seems to have this question!
.-= Emily´s last post … Flipping the Switch – A Look Back After Three Months of The Artist’s Way =-.
Thank you for writing such inspirational posts, Havi. I’ve been putting off writing a very personal ad, but today’s the day.
VPA #1 I would like to welcome enthusiasm and motivation back into my life.
How this could happen: my paralyzing fears about not having income could ease significantly, through contract work or something wonderfully surprising.
.-= Elly Danica´s last post … We’ve moved! =-.
Update on last week’s VPA: While I wasn’t instantly inundated with tons of writing projects or a full-time position, I did have someone I really respect offer to look at a column on spec. So hopefully I’ll rock it and that will become a “regular thing” and I’ll slowly build more of them.
My commitment: To keep steadily working on the stream of assignments I do have.
.-= Yael Grauer´s last post … Loving Tucson: Memories, Advocacy and Close Enough =-.
At one point I asked for a new job for C, and he got one, so yay!
Here is my most recent VPA, and I’ve already gotten a nibble…
Small- to mid-size blogger seeks same for Blogging Buddy. Review, writing, and day-in-the-life bloges preferred, (as that’s what I do), as well as personal finance, green, happiness, and dog blogs (Which I enjoy reading, but don’t really write about as much), but not mandatory, although I prefer your topic be something of which I have at least a vague understanding. Buddy should read my blog(s) regularly and allow me to do the same, and comment regularly and expect me to do the same. Links should be exchanged, particularly when we write things relevant to each other.
I’m willing to guest post for you with sufficient notice, and I would likely be calling on you for the same. Proper credit and links would be given, of course, and I’d expect the same in return.
Blunt feedback is welcome, although kindly-phrased feedback is even better. I want someone who will kick me in the pants when I slack off, so while I’m willing to do the same for you, if you’re not serious about this, don’t bother.
In return, I’m willing to provide the types of feedback requested (although not fine-tooth-comb proofreading or copy-editing — that’s very time-intensive and I charge for that!). Your blog will end up on my blogrolls on the sidebars fo my blogs (and I’d hope for the same).
.-= Laura G´s last post … In which I seek a Blogging Buddy (a personal ad). =-.
@Emily and Heidi I never thought that my VPA’s would go out for a live in-person friend, but the timing is just too appropriate.
It’s actually not for me, but for my hubby. Since moving to NYC and becoming engrossed in a career and building financial stability for us, he seems to have “lost” a lot of friends or at least he thinks he has. Unfortunately, he says that I may not be helping him get out there and be social enough.
My VPA is to help facilitate a happy social life for us. To invite new people into our home and to suggest more social occasions.
.-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last post … Armed and Aproned =-.
Last week, I asked for continued creative momentum after a project got kind of derailed.
Then, instead of awesome creative momentum, I had a surprise ending of an important relationship in my life. Oh man. On the upside, I still did some things that will support my creative endeavors, which is more than I expected, and I completed one Scary Logistical Task (TM).
This week, I want to start figuring out the ways to get my Seekrit Food Project (which is soft-launching this week, despite hell AND high water) to its Right People without being all annoyingly marketing-y and self-promote-y.
This could happen by inspiration from blogs written by my Right People, good ideas from the people I soft-launch to, or some other inspiration I haven’t come up with yet.
My commitment is to let this happen slowly and gently and organically, and to keep having as much fun with the project as possible.
Heidi– I’m in Boston 🙂
Good luck to everyone re: their love letters!
My Ask: To help the 7th grade band do better work — learn the music, work with each other, take the class seriously enough so that we have fun together.
Ways this could work: Step back? Not try to run the group but let them work in smaller groups? I’m feeling at wit’s end. The good news is that there’s no school this week, so I’ve got a chance to chill and incubate some solutions.
My Commitment: To see them as the fun kids they are. To keep trying to make this work for everybody. To not freak out.