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…

What do I want?

This has been an incredibly challenging week for me, as you might be able to guess from the fact that it’s Wednesday and I’m only just now getting around to writing my weekly wish.

I want ease and peacefulness, I want the magic of fractal flowers, and mainly I want a new and different way to encourage myself to do things efficiently.

What do know about what I want?

Since going quiet, I have gradually become much more skilled at — or attuned to? — hearing subtle changes in voice.

In my last relationship, I could always pinpoint the exact moment when he dropped into fear. Oh, okay, we just changed modes. He would go from being his sweet, loving self to being in his stuff, and his voice would change. A thin edge to it, an added layer, an almost-whine, and once it was there I’d have to wait for him to come back to his wise self. Sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t, but once the voice changed there wasn’t really anyone to talk to because he wasn’t there anymore.

I can also hear this in myself, even though I don’t talk. There is a shift in timbre in the voice in my head when there’s a monster-brigade invasion, which is really tiny me taking over, mixed with external stuff (cultural, familial) that I’ve internalized and mistakenly believe to be true.

I felt this the other day, when I heard how I was urging myself to hurry while brushing my teeth: “Come on, come on, come on, we have to go, there’s no time!”

That extra something in the voice.

What else is true?

So yes, “there’s no time” is the favorite phrase of the Persnickety Time Gremlins, who forget, regularly, that actually there is time. There is always time, even time enough to pause and to praise.

But this time, I noticed something else.

I use the phrase THERE’S NO TIME when what I really mean is: My love, I need you to be extra-aware right now and to do things quickly so that we can [make the last bus] or [be able to do X in time for Y].

So while the panicked urgency is not helpful and not the full truth of life (it’s just a favorite technique of the well-meaning monsters), there is a quality of speediness that I desire in this moment.

I say there’s no time because what I really want is more presence, more grace. However, the way I use my words does not serve this deeper wish and is actually kind of abusive: I don’t want to chastise myself, threaten, layer guilt and shame onto this situation that really does not require anything other than presence, intention and love.

What do I want to happen differently?

Well, for one thing, I want a new phrase. Something that doesn’t stress me out, doesn’t sound like HURRY UP ALREADY.

My father used to say chik-chak, which is Hebrew slang (from the 60s?) that means “speedy” or “pronto”. Do it chik-chak!

It’s cute but also stressful. What I want is something that has that peppy come-on-let’s-do-this feeling minus the anxiety.

Then I remembered ketzev shmoneh, which probably is stressful for people who were in the Israeli army, but my associations with it are fun. Ketzev Shmoneh literally means: Pace 8! And this means, walking fast enough that you cover eight kilometers in an hour.

I remember lots of late night Tel Aviv walks with Poka and Fisch, from one end of the city to another, from some bar or club towards home, and Michael would always make fun of us for taking our time: okay, guys, ketzev shmoneh, let’s go. And we would laugh and pick up the pace.

For me this is a phrase that says: come on, friends, we want to get where we are going and we can make this happen a little faster. It happens with love and with laughter, not with threats and pressure.

This is how I want to feel when I urge myself to go a little faster: a sweet, love-infused invitation to pick up the pace. To be here now.

What else do I know?

At some point this week, Will left a wonderful comment on an old post, asking for the superpower of “I walk seven miles in one stride”. This is how I want to feel! This is it!

I am asking for this too and changing it to eight miles, because it goes with ketzev shmoneh:

The superpower of I Walk Eight Miles In A Single Step, If I Want To, and all other forms of this are implied as well. Each seemingly small thing I do goes deep, covers lots of ground, brings me closer, heals old hurts.

This really needs to be a salve too. Let’s make it a salve.

Talking to Incoming Me about this…

Me: I still feel so stressed out about all the [Monsternumber] of things that need to be done!

Slightly wiser me: Drink some water please, right now. Then remember the superpowers: Wonderfully Peaceful. Wildly Confident. Nothing Is Wrong. This Moment is Right.

Breathe and rejoice in life. Soften into it. Come up here with me, where we are above the clouds and not in them, blow gold dust and watch everything clear. Open the windows and let in the light. Everybody out. This is my space and it is holy. Breathe.

Me: I’m afraid that this particular mission will take all day, so I might not even get to Operation Chicken on The 305, Operation Delta Delta Delta and Operation X/Y, never mind anything else.
She: If we allow this freakout to be the reality, then maybe. And that will be okay too. Guess what though. Scared Havi doesn’t need to be doing the missions. She needs to be in the safest of safe rooms, being adored and treasured. WE will do the missions, taking 8 miles in a single step. 

Me: I feel sad, scared and lonely right now. 

She: Okay, my love. Those are legitimate things to feel, you just went through the hardest breakup and X is so ill, and you haven’t heard back from Y, and there’s Stuff. Absolutely understandable. And I still want you to be able to feel what it is like to … what’s that word where you do two things with different halves of your brain. I want you to have a safe room of being treasured where all this is legitimate, and also to feel what it’s like to have Wildly Confident you (me) take one step at a time, trusting that this one step is actually an 8-mile step, taking us exactly where we needs to be.

What do I really want?

May-2014-Delight Ah, of course. Back to Delight in Life, the compass of All The Good Things, and the superpower of “Or Maybe Something Even Better Will Happen”.

Last week’s compass is still working for me:

Options. Possibilities. Ease. Pleasure. Freedom. Spaciousness. Play. Delight.

And I will add the secret word TREASURE to each point.

Anything else? Starting points?

Keep connecting to Incoming me. Skip stones as often as possible. Writing and Righting. Xs and Ys. Dance. Red lipstick. Eight breaths. My body gets the deciding vote. Thank you in advance.

Are you in or near Portland? Do you know people in or near Portland?

Amazing workshop at my ballroom this weekend, Saturday, May 31, from 2-4pm. Please help me spread the word!

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat dreams. Things I’m working on, or might be, someday…
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I go out dancing at the ballroom.
  • This doesn’t require my input!
  • Ha, it’s so perfect that it turned out like this. Past me is a GENIUS
  • I have what I need, and I appreciate it. There are resources to do this.
  • Trust and steadiness. I can see why this moment is good.
  • Hawaii. What if Hawaii is not in Hawaii.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • This week’s ops: Going In. And: More recovery.


As Max said, this relationship is optional. And as Bryan said, if you don’t want it, don’t feed it.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka Gonna gotta…

Last week’s wish was great. I feel much better about tango, took Amy’s class and had a lesson with Eric, plus Pat said he’d review with me before the Richard Powers workshop. All the other ops are in motion, and this is good.

Thank you, writing. Thank you, me who asked.

Attenzione! Attention, AGENTS.

I wish to whisper a whisper about the Monster Manual! It comes paired with the world’s best coloring book, which does so much monster-dissolving magic that even if you wait to try the techniques, you’ll still feel better about everything.

Self-fluency is hard enough, we need ways to to interact with the thoughts-fear-worry-criticism that shuts down creative exploring. And when people get the manual, I am able to me spend more time writing here. So if you don’t need help with monsters, get one for a friend. Or plant a wish that someone gets it for you! And bring people you like to hang out here. The more of us working on our stuff, the better for all of us. ♡

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.

Let’s throw things in the pot! And: Amnesty. Leave a wish any time you want.


The Fluent Self