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 had the funniest (to me!) moment this week inside of a delicious misunderstanding.

Me: “Balance. That’s what I need in my life. I need to put that on the calendar next year.”

What I meant was that I needed to put in on next year’s Fluent Self calendar, but of course it sounded to the person I was talking to like I meant just scheduling it in. Which, actually, weirdly enough, is sort of how that calendar works.

It’s uncanny, actually.

Not only is the quality of each month exactly what is needed in that month, it’s also what shows up.

Even when I have no idea what’s coming. I mysteriously ended up on a surprise voyage in the month of Voyage, I made the biggest change ever in the month of Resonance, and this year in the month of Receiving, I’m learning more about receiving than I’d ever imagined possible.

And two years ago exactly, the quality on the calendar was Fill Up, and that was a magical month of exactly that.

I really, really like this. Just put it on the calendar!

What do I want?


Put. It. On. The. Calendar.

Both in the sense of scheduling it in so that I can make time for what I want, and in the sense of invoking.

I put “gracefully receiving gifts” on the calendar this month and that’s what’s here: endless opportunities to practice.

What if I also scheduled it in other senses. For example, today I could write about this theme, learn about it, dance it, draw it, taste it, reinvent it?

I mean, it’s already on the calendar.

What do I want?

What if everything currently on the calendar (actual things, like appointments) is also secretly infused with this quality and this wish?

What if right now is important and relevant? What if the timing of being in the month of Receiving makes everything that happens in that month about receiving?

So, for example, going to see the eye doctor: an experience in receiving. Dinner with Marisa: receiving. Dance convention this weekend: receiving. Tashlich: receiving.

What do I want?


I used to say that my relationship with Judaism is complicated, and I don’t actually think it is.

While I’m not (understatement!) a huge fan of religion, I’m wildly passionate about ritual.

And I happen to come from a tribe that is especially rich in ritual, so I take part in the ones that whisper to me, and this is one of my favorites.

Tashlich is one of the most powerful, quieting, surrender-filled rituals I know of.

You do it on the first day of the new year, which for us is tomorrow.

It involves bread crumbs. How great is that. More rituals should involve bread crumbs.

You go to the water and symbolically cast away everything you regret or no longer need from the previous year. In the form of crumbs. You let go, and then you let go some more.

Last year my tashlich coincided with the salmon run, and I got to relinquish everything that needed relinquishing while watching those marvelous brave creatures fearlessly launch themselves upstream.

Everything that is done, everything that no longer serves me: I release you.

Hello, superpowers of that. Let’s put that on the calendar.

What else do I know about this?

I love the idea of putting something on a calendar and having that be enough.

The intention will show me what is needed.

Because whether I actively seek it out or not, my desire has been named. It’s in the calendar.

It’s in the air.

What else do I know about this?

The only way to do this is to approach without guilt, and with a wide open heart of curiosity, presence and wonder.

Otherwise my beautiful intention (get better at receptivity and receiving) becomes territory for my well-meaning internal monsters monsters to say monster-ey things.

For example: ugh you are still terrible at the thing you want, and also you can’t make changes by naming things you want, that’s a childish and stupid way of looking at the world, and nothing is ever going to change, doom doom doom, the end.

Thanks, guys! That was a solid demo of how you do things.

So one thing that helps for me is not evaluating too much.

Sometimes the thing I put on the calendar is a seed for later. That seed is a tiny sweet thing. It requires shelter, spaciousness, adoration, room to grow.

To glow these qualities means I have to stop checking to see if they’ve landed. They are in me. The sparks are there. The best way to grow the spark is to breathe and take care of myself, not to evaluate, compare, analyze, poke holes or assume that anything might be a sign this isn’t working.

What else do I know about this?

Haha, remember what I said last week, in a different context?

Neither did I. But here’s what I said:

Ritual is powerful and beautiful. It’s a container for whatever I am trying to build and grow.

It holds what is good for me.

There you go. Thank you, last-week-me. Those are some wise words and you didn’t even know they were meant for this moment now.

What else do I know about this?

It can be simpler than I think.

Put it on the calendar and then let it go.

Smile at the calendar. Blow the calendar a kiss.

Treat the calendar like a beautiful red balloon: the wish has been made and now it is free.

What else do I know about this?

Times of transition are doors, and doors are magical.

This is a good week to be entering a new year.

What else do I know about this?

Everything is new.

This moment is new.

As Bryan says, “What is yoga, if not the ability to ebb and flow with what comes up in life? Hey. Ebb with this.”

I can breathe with what is: my current relationship with the qualities I want. And I can also come into this new moment of our new relationship, me and the qualities, the qualities and me.

This might even be another variation on my current theme of Boldly Glowing.

What else?

I would like this wish to go deep, to be a fractal flower.

This wish can pitch in and help with the Cycle of Burnout. This wish can enhance the Sexy Honesty. This wish can show me what needs to happen with the current ops for my 2015 programs. This wish can reveal things about kaleidoscopes and ships, anchors and stars.

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: The superpower you asked for at Rally: calm bold fearless ablaze-with-confidence choice-making. Put it on the calendar! In both senses of that. The next piece about receiving is recognizing that you can choose what you want to receive, just like you can choose where to put your attention. You can do things that enhance your ability to glow boldly, like ritual. Or you can do things that diminish this ability (reading blog posts about horrible depressing things). What are you putting on the calendar? This is about intention and play. It’s really good that this is coming up right now, you’ll get so many chances to practice!
Me: Uh oh?
She: (laughing) No, it’s going to be so good. We’re learning about accessing what we need, taking better care of ourselves, noticing patterns without judging ourselves for being in the patterns. This is the beautiful work of life. I’m with you. We can’t screw this up because we’re just collecting intel. You’ve got this. And you’ve got me.

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!


“You might be an undercover unicorn.”

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

So. Last week, aka tryst…

Ohmygod you guys. Never before has a wish come true so speedily and so easily. I am in awe. Big, crazy awe. I was able to take time for my lost ritual every single day this week, sometimes even for hours at a time.

It was nothing less than extraordinary. Also I got to share my ritual with someone close to my heart, and that was special too.

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