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Are we doing this? Moment of truth. And bells.

months-November-VPA-2016
This week’s wish began as a wish about Legacy and became a wish of What Do I Want To Echo. But then something happened and I had to scrap it, and now it is a wish about the next few days and ringing truth-bells.

Interestingly, this is the month of Echoing with the superpower of — get this — being a bell, and here is my chance to practice.

Right on time.

What do I know about moment of truth and ringing this bell?

Do you want the short version or the long version? I don’t know which one I want to write.

To be honest, I think I’d prefer to not need to share any of this, but here we are.

Wisest quiet me says: Speak truth and be heard, be a bell, trust that it is the time to ring all the bells and let them echo.

The truth bell version.

(0) But first, we breathe!

Breathing here for the vulnerability of it all. Breathing receptivity, ease, intention, honesty, clarity, surrender, opening, presence. I am here. And: I am here for this.

Breathing for meeting this moment. Breathing for trusting life.

(1) In six days, we are out of options.

In six days, on November 8, we have to make our yearly payment of $1300 for our shopping cart/list system, and we don’t have it. We don’t have anything, actually.

So either we bring in (or otherwise come up with) that sum right now, or the lights go out in the gallery. For a while or for longer than a while or I don’t know.

Yes, that’s the annual fee, and yes, it is a lot, and no, we haven’t found a viable alternative (yes, we could use MailChimp but that still comes to nearly a thousand dollars a year except we wouldn’t have the shopping cart functionality). Yes, we could just give up on having a shopping cart and a list altogether, but I am not all that clear on how that would work.

(2) It’s not just that.

Yesterday the gorgeous new website (which I also have not paid for yet because my incredible designer is the biggest fan of my work and trusts that I am the right horse to bet on) was down for an entire day because our old tired server can’t keep up, and hey, now we need to pay twice as much for hosting.

To be even more painfully truthful, I haven’t paid him in over a year, and it’s been a few years now since I regularly paid myself enough to live on. Most of the people who help out in the business volunteer their time, just like I volunteer mine, because they love this work, and me, and they believe in the mission. They trust (as I do) that we will all be compensated in good time.

That is really beautiful — I am endlessly grateful, and this trust is treasure, and also it sucks. It isn’t okay.

That isn’t what I want to model in the world. What I want to model in the world is something glowing and beautiful and sustainable. Right now we work hard and make beautiful, amazing, vitally important things, but that isn’t enough.

I honestly don’t know if sustainable exists but I want to find out. I want to be able to find out. If we figure out a way to keep the lights on in the gallery for 2017, that will be my project.

(3) I genuinely want to find out what sustainable looks like.

Sustainable to me means:

+ Havi doesn’t get burnt out/isn’t perpetuating a state of burnout
+ generating enough income to live on* and to easily cover the costs of running a business
+ I am able to pay everyone in my business, including me, for their time and hard work
+ the business does not rely on personal debt, no more floating the operation from my own now-depleted resources
+ a business that is peaceful, good for the world, a source of sustenance and joy
+ powered by integrity and love-more-trust-more
+ everyone who finds us breathes a little deeper, we all take better care of ourselves
+ something I feel comfortable modeling (not something I would talk someone else out of trying)

* For clarity: I suspect sustainable for me works out to a lot less than for most people in my field, given my history. I spent a third of my life in the middle east, living on three dollars an hour minimum wage, and a chunk of my twenties without any home at all. My sense of what is enough skews pretty low, for better and for worse, and I put a premium on things like being able to sleep in and work late. I’d like to have higher expectations, and maybe that’s a good wish for another day, but right now I want enough to not need to wonder if it’s time to shut it down. Lights on as a given.

(Glowing Reassurances)

Whatever happens in the next six days, whether the lights in the gallery stay on or have to shut off, whichever way the miracles go (because as far as Wisest-Me is concerned, it’s all miracles in all directions), I will deliver everything I have promised to everyone who has already paid for things this year.

There are two more YEARbooks in progress, nearly completed. The Path of Color aka the monster coloring course is all planned and we’ll send dates soon to everyone who signed up. The Six Month Online Rally/Retreat will still be happening.

So let’s breathe for that. Nothing to worry about. There never is.
All is and and will be well, however it turns out.

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What is interesting about vulnerability?

Whether lights stay on or lights go off, I’m not the one who can determine that, and I cannot even tell you how deeply disconcerting this feels.

For the first time in the past twelve years of doing this, that decision is not up to me because I don’t have the resources to decide.

I’ve spent the past few months exploring all possible variations of the ultimate big question, a la The Clash — should I stay or should I go?! —and yet, here we are in this moment of deciding, and it turns out it’s not me who decides.

Either the funds will show up or they won’t.

I guess in that sense, my decision is a yes. I want to stay, but only if it is possible. And that part isn’t in my hands.

Can I find peacefulness in not having a say? What would that be like?

Mmmmmm, it’s a bit like the show So You Think You Can Dance, when the audience votes for which dancers get to stay on the show.

It’s a funny situation, really. They’re all phenomenally talented dancers at the peak of their ability. Some have to go. And the judges (the ones with the magic vision who can see the nuances of technique) don’t get to weigh in until the audience has spoken first about what they feel, what they love.

I can experience this lack of control as terrifying, but I can also let this be a relief.

Superpower of hey, it’s up to the audience now. Nothing more to do here except ring the bell of asking, and ask. And receive whatever results from that or doesn’t as a gift.

Whatever happens next will decide for me, because there isn’t anything else I can do.

What if I can let that be a beautiful form of freedom and enjoy not being in charge?

What do I want?

I want sustainable. I honestly don’t know if that is even possible, but I want to explore.

I want harmoniousness and congruence and entirely new levels of wild trust. I want to walk through whichever door shows up, trusting that it is the just-right door.

And I want the superpowers of: Echoing. Calm. Steady and powerful in panther mode. Rays of Light. I Am Able To See The Opportunity/Treasure In This. Honesty. Clarity. No More Putting Up With Unsustainable Situations. It’s Out Of My Hands. Landing On Feet. Beautiful ease-filled solutions that make me clap my hands with delight. Wild and Witchy. Peaceful heart.

Reverberating. Grace.

The mea culpa section.

Monsters want me to list all the ways that I screwed up, to take responsibility for my part in this. So let’s name these.

(I plan to write more about this, that is, about my decisions and about circumstances, sans monsters, because I don’t actually believe in screwups, in Love Letter To A Museum Dreamer, which you can read here later if we stay open.)

  1. When the business was doing well, that is, prior to 2012 when it all came crashing down, I could have paid myself and put funds aside as a cushion instead of putting everything back into the business. I also could have chosen not to expand the retreat center when we had the opportunity. I took a risk because I wanted to be able to make the work more accessible and reach more people (and offer lower prices), and it bombed. We couldn’t make the larger space work, and every penny we made over the next three years went to overhead. Wrong move? Sure. However, I see how it came from my good heart, and so I glow love to past-me for wanting to do what she thought was right.
  2. I could have saved everyone a lot of pain by getting things in writing, so, for example, when my mentor changed his position on everything he had ever said and wanted to sue me for doing what I thought he wanted, I could have said hey let’s look at paragraph three. I wouldn’t have ended up in the awful helpless position of not being able to stand up for my students or my work, knowing anything I could possibly say in our defense would end up being used against me. I can think of about twenty other examples of Get It In Writing. Lesson learned, I hope.
  3. Shmita. Here I am disagreement with the monster crew. Taking sabbatical time when I did, when my body was on the verge of collapse from exhaustion and burnout, is by far the best possible thing I could have done for myself, and I do not regret it. A completely transformative experience. However, it did involve shutting down our primary income streams while I was in recovery mode, and I no longer have it in me to be in teacher mode because I no longer believe that’s the right way. I need more time to figure out an alternative, and, as mentioned, we are out of time. So there’s that. That’s on me.

What else do I want?

I want to not have to do this again.

I feel so much joy that there are people who want to help, and I also don’t like asking people to keep us afloat in an emergency. I don’t want to be at the edge.

I want a way to live (and a place to live) that doesn’t depend on having to ask for help keeping the lights on. A foundation for me so that I can do my best writing and teaching-without-teaching, and share the full body of work, without constantly dealing with how to keep the place up and running.

So, one example, if I had the funds to finish my basement, I could possibly turn it into a rental and I would consider that a sustainable solution even if not a plentiful one. External resources that mean not having to scramble, or panic about server hosting costs going up. I want that.

And I want people reading and playing here. Both because I want the work of self-fluency to reach a much broader audience, and because people often write to us and say they’d be glad to pay ten dollars a month or whatever for this space, which is so sweet but that really only becomes a viable option when we’re talking about a much larger group of playmates.

And? I want to preserve the freedom to write what I want to write, as it comes through me, trusting my instincts and trusting flow.

States of…

Vulnerability, state of. Perceived Emergency, state of. Peacefulness, state of.

And, also: Bell state. The state of being a bell. Resonance. Echoing and reverberating. Clarity. Truth love.

I am thinking about bridging between states, and what this means.

Sometimes I imagine opening a Metaphorical Travel Agency. I want to take you to all my favorite places, taking us through the qualities of these places which live in the names.

I have been through Bliss and Starlight (actual places), and now I want us to visit New Hope.

What pathways do I want to traverse in my bell state as we cross states? From emergency (perceived emergency) to emergence to new hope to starlight to bliss, and then to whatever lies beyond that starlit bliss of self-renewing hope?

These are the kinds of questions that I explore in my writing and weekly wishes, these are the questions I want to continue to visit, that for me is one piece of keeping the lights on.

Let’s apply self-fluency, like we do.

Here’s my part: Getting quiet. Turning inward. Skipping stones. Consulting my wisest selves and Incoming me. Being present. Open heart. Grace state. Bell resonance. Being as true to myself as I know how. Echoing and reverberating. Asking for help.

Here’s your part: You decide. I trust you. I love you, whatever comes of this. Vote.

We are out of time. Do the lights stay on?

It’s been a few years now since the museum business adequately covered all expenses, and we muddled through okay, but now we are past the point where that’s an option, so here we are, moment of truth.

Is it scary to let the audience decide? Of course. But it’s also okay. I’m not worried either way. This entire experience has been full of magic for me. Do I hope for more? Of course. But mainly I am trusting that whatever comes next will be just right.

Here’s how you vote. You can give us money and get stuff in return, or you can give us money as a thank you for everything that has been and is and may be, and expect nothing in return. Either of those work for us!

First option: If we raise enough funds to keep this going, here’s what will happen: I’ll spend 2017 figuring out if/how sustainable business works. Those of you who join the six month rally at the Secret Door Society will get to watch that process and maybe think through things with me if you want. I will keep exploring wishes here.

Second option: Not enough funds. In that case, I will get another job or three, and it will look like this: yes to the six month rally at secret door society for Friends of the Museum, yes to what I have already promised, no to the blog, no to everything else, because there won’t be time to do any of it.

Third option: Should we make more than enough funds to solve this, then I can do this full time. The blog will stay. I will write posts about all the stuff I want to write about. Exciting things will be happening. Big wild exploration.

Here’s the situation. November 8 is when we have to either pull the plug or go forward (again, either way we will deliver everything we’ve promised plus the Secret Door Society), but it takes a few days for funds to actually arrive in our account. So if your vote is for yes let’s stay open, then help us out now if you can.

WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO

If you want to join the Friends of the Museum, go here.

If you want to either buy past products or toss some money our way as a thank you for nearly twelve years and seventeen hundred posts and thirty four thousand comments and to keep this beautiful space going, you can do that on the foundation page.

Bells, wishes, doors.

Calling on all the superpowers of (perceived) crisis into door, the superpower of beautiful solutions, the superpower of welcoming the moment that is a door.

Agreeing to let perceived crisis slide into that category of good things that are not immediately recognizable as good things at the time. Which is probably most things.

And we are not in any way required to recognize them as good things, that is not necessary, because forcing ourselves to find the good inside of a moment of hard is not compassionate. Compassion is letting the hard thing be hard. Once we’ve done that, the good will reveal itself in right timing anyway.

I trust this and I trust us, and I am ready for whatever happens or does not happen. That is how echoing works.

last week’s wishes

last-week-me wished a wish called say what you want to say, and much to my surprise I am saying things I did not want to say, but it is the time to say them, and so in that sense, it was a very powerful wish indeed.

thank you, me who wished

invitation: come play with me…

you are invited to share this post and to share many !!!!!! about what is here, or share appreciation or anything sparked for you while reading

deposit wishes, gwishes, superpowers, qualities, ingredients, intel, possibly in code

safe space for creative exploration asks us to let go of care-taking and advice-giving

wishes are never late because whenever you wish is the right time for wishing

we remember that people vary and my wishes don’t have to be yours, each process is unique, and this is a good thing

here’s how we meet each other’s wishes: with great kindness and appreciation and awe, whispering (and sometimes shouting) oh, wow what beautiful wishes