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

I write a Very Personal Ad each week to practice wanting, and get clarity on my desires. The point isn’t achieving the wish (though cool things emerge from wishing), the point is learning about my relationship with what I want, and accessing the qualities. Wanting can be hard, it’s easy to feel conflicted about it, and the reasons behind that make this a surprisingly subversive practice…

What do I want?

I am thinking about cycles again thanks to an intriguing recent conversation.

Especially this cycle:

I begin doing something to take care of myself, until it gradually becomes ritual, something I look forward to, crave, take comfort in, count on.

And then, after however many months or years during which this ritual and I keeping each other company, it disappears.

Sometimes it comes back because [everything that is mine returns to me]. Sometime it comes back and fades away again.

There are some practices — one in particular, the one that used to be known as Descending To The Red Rug — that have not yet returned to me, or I have not yet returned to them.

I miss them. A lot.

What do I want?

I notice myself waiting and wanting, waiting and hoping, just not ready to start.

Not starting, still not starting, and yet at the same time I feel my desire. Look how I keep opening the door and peeking out to see if I can smell something in the air that says yes.

Last week was Rally Y, the Week of Yes.

There is a lot of yes waiting to happen right now.

What do I want?

I want to remember that even though I find this particular cycle frustrating in the moment, there is nothing wrong with cycles. There is an ebb and flow to everything. Life happens in seasons.

And: Not everything needs to last forever.

I actually think our culture puts way too much pressure on people to stick with rituals. It’s that insidious Ass In Chair mentality. It doesn’t honor the creative process which requires presence, experimentation, desire and play.

So sometimes we ritual for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we allow practices to become rigid or stagnant because we aren’t willing to let them change or even let them go.

We forget about the beauty of spontaneity, the importance of following desire and listening for the new desire is that is emerging.

And it’s hard to receive the new treasure when we’ve turned the Thing That Used To Work into a rule about how things have to be.

What else do I know about this?

Generally speaking, I tend to feel wary when I hear things like so-and-so has “meditated for X minutes every day for Y years” or “done the exact same yoga practice every day since 1972”.

To me that sounds a lot like forcing.

It sounds like not being present with what my body actually needs and desires on a given day, in a given moment, which — to me — is the whole point of practicing things like yoga and meditation.

I don’t want to be someone who makes herself do a practice.

I want to be someone for whom practicing is like meeting a lover.

You don’t do it because you have to or even because they’re expecting you. You go because you can’t bear to stay away any longer.

That’s what I want from practice. Practice as rendezvous. Practice as deep sensual pleasure that pulls me in. A tryst for me and my steady breath.

I want to descend to the floor, breathe with my body, stop thinking about logistics and go back to breathing love for the crazy miracle of being alive.

What else do I know about this?

There is something that serves me in each part of the cycle. In the part where I do the thing I want to be doing, and also in the part where I don’t do it.

And there is also something broken in each part, something distorted.

I want to get back to the beautiful truth of cycles: there is a time for resting and replenishing, and there is a time for blossoming and wild glowing.

I want to step away from the distortions that lead me to make choices based in fear and scarcity instead of choosing from presence.

What else do I know about this?

All distortions aside, ritual really is powerful and beautiful. It’s a container for whatever I am trying to build and grow.

It holds what is good for me.

Dedicated space and time to do things that take support me means I actually get what I need.

Way better than my current default, which is not doing things that take care of me.

As long as I avoid the distortion of “you have to do this or else”, ritual is where it’s at.

What else do I know about this?

I had a sudden realization last night about this. Actually, this is related to last week’s wish about sovereignty in the form of Not Contorting.

This particular practice ritual I’m currently missing was with me in some form basically every day for a little over two years. And then it stopped very abruptly.

In my mind I’ve been thinking that this is related to my busy travel and work schedule.

I also expected I’d pick it up again at the Vicarage, and I didn’t, and that made no sense, but I went with it because everything that happens at the Vicarage is not only right, but extra-right.

Last night it occurred to me that there’s a painful reason that explains why I stopped, and I blanked it out because I didn’t want to think about it.

The last time I did this practice was the last day I saw X. He didn’t join me in practicing, and that was unusual, normally he’d sit and meditate until I was done. And then he turned into Mr. Hyde and I didn’t trust him anymore and that was goodbye. I’m glad that is done. And it’s interesting that my ritual got coated with stickiness from this ending, and I didn’t even realize it.

What else do I know about this?

This is a useful instance of a thing that I do. And a useful reminder that I do this. So many times in life I experience something painful and then I go blank.

Sometimes blank in the form of erasing memory, sometimes blank in the form of checking out and not being present, disassociating. Sometimes blank in the sense that one negative memory leaks out into other objects, experiences or events, and then I avoid things I love because they get accidentally tangled up with the hurt even though there’s no direct connection.

I want to remember that this is normal and understandable. That’s how defense mechanisms work. There is nothing wrong with me.

That’s just me being human, encountering vulnerability, following the old familiar neural pathways.

I am okay.

What else do I know about this?

Everything is new.

Ritual, like anything else in life, can be alive, dynamic, ever-changing.

I don’t actually want to go back to what I had before. I want something new and radiantly beautiful, something that feels like now, something that holds the qualities of ablaze with aliveness.

Boldly glowing.

What else?

I want to do more thinking about this new ritual, this new form. What I want it to give me. What I want to bring to it.

Like some Sexy Honesty. Radical Sovereignty. Openness and Sweetness. Being held by a form.

The compass of qualities will help too. Eight directions, eight qualities, eight breaths.

Crown. Trust. Presence. Bask. Source. Truth. Glow. Boldly.

What will help with this? And where do I want to start?

Set the intention. Nap on it. Dance it, write it, play with it, walk the labyrinth. Take lots of notes.

I can take deeper breaths, getting quieter and quieter until I hear what is true.

More sweet pauses, yes to the red lights, remember the purple pills, say thank you to the broken pots.

Bright colors. Passion. Costume changes. Skip stones with incoming me. Dance. Intensity. Writing. Red lipstick. Eight breaths. My body gets the deciding vote.

And, as always, by saying thank you in advance.

Thank you in advance!

Me: Hey, slightly-wiser me, what do you have for me?

She: This is about the superpower you asked for at Rally: calm bold fearless ablaze-with-confidence choice-making. This is about conscious entry. Doing things with intention, connecting to desire, not just going back to something because it’s a “good habit”.

This is new territory. It’s exciting.

The thing you said about a tryst for you and your breath. That is important. Take time for this quieting. Take time to be with me. Know that I am with you, adoring you, glowing mad unconditional love towards everything you touch.

The superpower of gracefully receiving gifts.

Gracefully receiving my gifts.

Yes. This is the right time for this.

I am ready to come into my superpowers, including the superpowers of knowing that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, I Am Okay With Being Seen, receiving gifts that are winging their way to me.

Oh wow, what beautiful wishes.

Oh, wow. What beautiful wishes.

What else do I want?

Seeds planted without explanation, a mix of secret agent code and silent retreat. Things to play with someday.
  • Everything is easier than I thought, and look, miracles everywhere.
  • I have the best time dancing in my 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.
  • I am fearless and confident. I do the brave things and it is not even a big deal, and I still get sparklepoints, yay.
  • The superpower of Everything Enhances My Superpowers.
  • Ops: A Beautiful Stew. Real Seeing. The Protocols. Sip Hint Learn. The Panache Brigade!


Just add a snooze button!

A sign. Literally. It said: “I want to sail around the world with you”.

Incoming me poked me a number of times until I stopped and looked at it. I want to sail around the world with her too.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka behold the great contortionist…

I have been doing considerably less contorting, and this is good. More importantly, I’m noticing what situations exacerbate my inclination to contort, and taking notes!

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