Who are ya calling chicken?

I don’t know why I call it a chicken instead of a check-in. Because I’m a huge dork. I can’t help it. It’s just funny. Apparently only to me, but it’s still funny.

Anyway, people keep giving me crap about it, so for the record, yes, of course I’m a vegetarian. Good grief. It’s not that kind of chicken.

It doesn’t get eaten. It gets checked. In.

Never mind.

The point is that every single Friday I talk about the hard stuff and the good stuff from my week. What was challenging and what was rewarding.

I try to do it in the least-cheesy and non-annoying way possible, which is hard because we are, after all, dealing with self-reflection. And now I’m going to do it for 2008, because a little symbolic closure never hurts.*

*Caveat: I quote the lovely Victoria here: “Unless, of course, Dec 31st turns out to be a really crappy day, in which case I will just drink more champagne.”

The hard stuff

My friend is still gone.

Finding out about my friend’s suicide still wins for the crappiest minute of the year.

If we’re hanging out awards here, I’ll also give it Hardest Thing About This Year Period and The Thing That Screwed Me Up The Most.

Oh levity, you are not working.

I don’t have words for how much this hurts or how much time in my day it gets, but it’s so damn hard. We still talk every day.

Though our conversations mostly consist of me yelling. Mostly “How could you leave my like this?” and “Come baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!” And then he says, “Oh honey, I can’t. You know I can’t.” And then I cry some more.

It’s just full of hard. And I don’t know when it’s going to be less hard, but not yet.

Related crap.

His death — or my experience of it — has put out all sorts of strange roots.

I had a fight with my best friend in Israel. She’s been the closest person to me in the world since I was nineteen and we’ve never even disagreed on anything.

And then I learned that she and my ex had agreed together (with what were really only the kindest of intentions) not to tell me about my friend’s death. Well, to put it off until I was “ready” to hear it. Or something like that.

We worked through it. A lot of words. A lot of love. The whole thing was completely upsetting though. And frightening.

And it’s driven a chunk of space between me and my ex, who is one of my favorite people in the world. That he waited until I came to Berlin to tell me in person, but then told me the evening before a weekend of solid teaching …

Three days in a row of leading workshops. Two a day. Two to three hours each. Did I mention that I teach these in German? All I remember is waiting for the pauses so I could go to the bathroom and resume crying.

I don’t get it. But it was a hard summer. What can I say.

Moving. Twice.

First we moved to Portland in March and then last month we made the move to our beloved Hoppy House. Both of these were good moves.

Good for the soul. Good for us. Only good.

But moving? A big, huge, disruptive, uprooting process full of hard. Hard hard hard.

Still in recovery mode. Also known as hibernation mode.

Growing pains. Ow ow ow.

My business did a lot of growing this year, which was mostly awesome. But we were definitely dealing with adolescence in all of its varied aspects of horribleness.

I went through a bunch of assistants this year while trying to figure out how to get better at running this thing and oh boy, is that a hard process.

I do still have the very-capable Peggy running all the back-end stuff (gott sei dank) but that just wasn’t enough.

Let’s just say that if I hadn’t found and hired Marissa (my brilliant personal assistant), which was the second smartest thing I did this year … I don’t even want to think about the kind of emotional breakdown I’d be going through right now.

That’s pretty much it for the hard, right? Right?

Oh, and a completely disastrous trip to visit my parents, during which — among other things — we had to have the “Nu? So why no grandchildren?” conversation three different times.

The good stuff

Teaching at the Berlin Yoga Festival.

I don’t even know where to start. First of all, my duck was on television. Also, Germans get way more excited about my wacky yoga brain training work than most people do here.

Also, teaching a hundred people? So much more fun than teaching twenty.

I thought I’d be nervous about having to deliver an hour-long lecture in German. Or about being interviewed for the evening news in German. Or about standing on a huge stage and deciding what the hell I was going to say … in German.

But it really wasn’t a big deal. Selma was a total superstar and everyone fell madly in love with her. And we were very funny together and made everyone laugh.

Unless of course they were laughing at my German. But either way it was a blast.


A whole month in my favorite city on earth!

Teaching great workshops. With a ton of amazing students. With yoga studios that don’t suck. Ahem, Portland.

Long afternoons drinking Carokaffee (fake coffee made with barley) in my favorite cafe.

Seeing all my friends! Lars and Andreas, Jackie, Keren, Martin, Tino and Salomea. Meeting old students. Meeting new students. Making new friends with some local journalists.

Walking through the city with my gentleman friend. It takes three days for our German to come back and then we’re home.

Can’t wait until next time!

Best. Class. Ever.

So while I was in Berlin my schedule was pretty packed. And in the middle of it all, Jackie asked if I’d do her a favor and teach a special class that she would organize for her top students who apparently wanted a serious ass-kicking.

These women are all extremely gifted professional dancers and choreographers from Spain and Argentina. So yeah, I’m basically teaching coordination techniques to the most coordinated people in the world.

I’ve been teaching Shiva Nata for more than four years and I’ve never had to work so hard as I did in those 90 minutes.

They were so good. And it was so hard to mess them up. Like, I was throwing Level 4 at them and they were following it. With legs. It was out of control.

Things that I haven’t been able to teach most of my students in years, they were picking up in minutes. By the end I finally had them all screwing it up completely, but man, it was work.

I was sore for a week. So so great.

Cutting down on live events.

This kind of started out as a “hard”.

Scheduling live teaching events in California had been my biggest timesuck of 2007. So when we moved to Oregon I hired a programs coordinator to set things up for me with local yoga studios and the like.

Should be easy, right? I’m the number two world expert in a form of yoga brain training that helps people use the body-mind connection to change their habits.

Oh, and it doubles as a crazy coordination technique that makes you strong, hot and really, really fit.

I’ve also taught all over the world, studied with super famous people, and lead super-fun habits-changing programs on things like Yoga for Procrastination and …

Blah blah blippity blah. No one was interested.

My programs coordinator was great. So was our marketing plan. Plus I gave her terrific copy, gorgeous and expensive promotional materials, references from here to Sunday … and nothing. No one wanted to work with me.

I know this isn’t sounding like a good thing at all. But the truth is that planning, promoting and teaching two live classes a month had been enormously draining.

And I’d been funneling money from the very successful side of my business (doing coaching and training here at The Fluent Self) into the big money hole that is the more yogified side of my business.

I’ve had so much more energy this year. And so much more fun. And so much more money. And I don’t have to deal with flakerooney yoga people.

Will I go back to teaching live? Oh, absolutely. And I have plans to lead some retreats of my own as well. But letting go of my need to put on events — third smartest thing I did this year!


Oh how I love Twitter!

If we don’t hang out there yet, say hi. I’m @havi.

I generally follow back people who chat with me there … and as long as you don’t talk about Starbucks, repeat everything Chris Brogan says, try to interest me in a conversation about your relationship with Jesus or have “mom” in your username, we’ll have a blast.

We have Hoppy House!

And yes, I’m still singing it to the tune of “I am Iron Man”.

If you didn’t read my personal ad and witness the miracle of the most perfect house in the world coming straight to me, you missed out. Go write a personal ad for whatever you’re needing.

At the very least it will make you feel better. And who knows.

Creating the Dissolve-o-Matic.

The thing I’m most proud of this year is putting the Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic out into the world.

It was a ton of work — especially writing the damn book which completely took over a few months and nearly destroyed me* — but it was so, so, so worth it.

*Actually it was the trying not to respond to the “I hope you’re not procrastinating on writing your book about procrastination” jokes that nearly destroyed me … never again!

So you’re dying to know what the smartest thing I did this year was, right?

Starting this blog. Smartest by a lot.

From the very first post I had a feeling that this was a great idea.

This blog has allowed me to stop doing things I never liked anyway.

Like writing the noozletter. Not to mention all other forms of marketing, networking and various other annoying things that grownups are supposed to do.

It’s allowed me to out myself as a writer in the least scary way possible.

It’s resulted in some amazing and surprising friendships.

And best of all, I got to meet you. You and a ton of other bright, thoughtful, insightful, fun, kooky, interesting goofball characters with whom I totally identify.

I like you. So this is pretty great.

I have to go play the lentil game now.

Yes, the lentil game.

Also, my gentleman friend and I celebrate our anniversary tonight, so I still have one of the best parts of 2008 to look forward to. Let’s see … I predict … happy tears, good food and me winning at Boggle.

Oh, and my brother is moving in with us tomorrow, so 2009 is already looking like good times.

My duck and I wish for you whatever it is you need most, and send you all the support, strength, comfort and safety you need for a healthy, happy year. Love, love, love and more love.

Havi Brooks & Selma the Duck

The Fluent Self