What's in the gallery?

We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

What's in the gallery?

We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

Dismantling the preposterous notion of [rhymes with glowplastination], and replacing it with something so much better

Fluent Self rainbow desert

A desert rainbow from my backyard for you…

(But first some words to acknowledge what I am not writing about today.)

I have thought my thoughts into words on the topic of living in the world we live in with the virus situation, and today is not the day I am sharing those particular words. Soon.

Today I am going with what felt indicated, and sharing a piece I wrote a few days ago, in the hopes that it helps us steady and center, return to ourselves, and remember: we are creative loving beings who can strategize playfully.

Let’s continue to do all we can to take exquisite care of ourselves and each other to the best of our ability. The retreat center is on pause until further notice; I will update on that too. Love to everyone who reads, I am humming a good hum for all of us.

REMINDER-ANNOUNCEMENT to join my course, early sign-up ends this weekend!

How to Communicate With Your Incoming Selves

Integration: How do we find, meet, communicate with and integrate a wise, loving incoming self, because having internal allies who love you unconditionally and tell you which clues to follow is honestly the best thing ever.

Also in these especially scary and challenging times, having access to clear guidance, next steps and a channel of reassurance is (understatement) extremely useful.

The course is mostly self-guided but we will also have a online communal play space for documenting what you practice, and I’ll be there communing with my Incomings as well, and I‘M ONLY DOING THIS COURSE ONCE.

We embark April 20 and go through August 16, and instead of doing a birthday sale, I have a VERY reduced early price of $180 USD, secure your spot here, low price ends soon!

Unless you are in my Sorcery or Agency 2020 programs because I have already comped you in. Alright. Onward to today’s essay? Onward. Let’s do this.

Dismantling the notion of [rhymes with glowplastination] and replacing it with something so much better

Before I sat down to write today

Before I sat down to write today, I…

washed dishes and dried dishes,
brushed teeth and set electric toothbrush to charge,
took vitamins and drank water with tinctures,
lit candles and took some breaths,
changed clothes twice,
folded other clothes, and hand-washed some others,
gathered up laundry and recycling,
found my missing slippers (ten thousand points to me!),
opened all the curtains and took retired flowers out to compost,
moved a bunch of items out of sight because literally anything distracts me,
applied sparkly eye shadow and put on my writing necklace (ace of swords!),
massaged hands and feet with kava oil,
added ALL my rings and wrote a tiny wish-spell, took some pictures,
and re-organized the cushions so that I can sit well and breathe well,
my imaginary dragon tail unfurling majestically behind me…

If

If I believed in procrastination as a concept, I‘d feel pretty terrible about myself right now.

But, fortunately for me, I’m not and I don’t.

Yeah, you know what, let’s say it again.

We’re saying everything twice today, which is the name of an ebook I wrote a few years ago called Saying Everything Twice (Saying Everything Twice!).

If I believed in procrastination as a concept, I‘d feel pretty terrible about myself right now.

And that’s honestly the entire point of the concept.

Procrastination AS A WORD AND IDEA exists to make us to feel bad about ourselves so that we will be motivated by guilt-shame.

(Even though that’s literally the least effective and least reliable form of motivation for most people.)

And even on the rare occasions when it does work or kinda-sorta works, getting things done from shame-motivation is definitely not a joyful or awesome way to live — I do not recommend it, zero stars! — but also it mostly doesn’t work.

However!

But, and I will say this part again because it is so important, fortunately for me, I’m not someone who believes in procrastination as a concept, and I don’t accept the idea that I should feel bad about myself at all.

In fact, I bestow upon myself ten trillion sparklepoints and endless praise for doing so much beautiful and meaningful entry for writing time.

Good job, Havi Bell, you readied yourself. You planted seeds. You made your space inviting. You demonstrated what is important to you in both writing and in life: Clarity, Replenishment, Groundedness, Sparkle, Focus, Intuition, Play and Delight.

Do you see??

I had an opportunity — and monsters love this opportunity — to make myself feel terrible, but I didn’t take it, because I have learned three (haha, at least) big things in this life on the topic of Procrastination Is A Construct And That Construct Is A Scam!

Big thing I have learned THE FIRST!

One is that monsters (aka mechanisms of internalized culture that generate self-criticism) are relentless by nature, and will always find something to finger-wag about.

If I’d headed straight to writing o’clock, they would have just been equally furious that those other things didn’t happen. There is no winning with monsters. There is only acknowledging that they exist, thanking them for their efforts and giving them something more useful to do.

Second.

Second, enter as you wish to be in it.

How I prepare myself for any experience changes how I am in that experience, and how I experience that experience.

It is worth it to me to enter consciously. To take my time to get there, and to thank myself for taking that time, which is an act of intention and love, or can be, if I want it to be, if I decide that it is, which I do.

And if I get into some monster-territory about omg how is this taking so long, I can remind myself to make my entry conscious.

Let’s bring conscious awareness to the process and name the intention, name the superpowers:

This is me, washing dishes to clear space for the words that want to be written. This is me, drying dishes for sparkling clarity.

Why on earth would I want to label that procrastinating, a word that truly only exists to make me feel bad about myself, when in fact it is READYING, CLARIFYING, ENTERING, and giving myself time and space to arrive in my grounded steadiness, and without a distracting pile of dishes in my view.

Third.

Entry works. And guilt does not.

My writing (or work on literally any project) is more likely to a) happen, b) go well, and c) give me some non-zero amount of joy, if I have readied myself and my space, and if I am applauding myself for having taken that time, instead of chastising myself which is just mean and ineffective.

It’s a radical practice, I know. And it’s honestly kind of fun.

On the lookout.

Now, for sure, we gotta be on the lookout here, because the monsters will try and co-opt this one too, they’ll say we aren’t doing *enough* entry, or that we aren’t being encouraging *enough*, oh no, we chastised ourselves, doom of doom!

“Enough” is always such a useful clue-word because NOT ENOUGH is their favorite criticism.

According to the monsters we are forever not doing enough X or not being enough Y.

So that word is generally a good indicator that here be monsters, and a good opportunity to remember: hey actually we are enough, and we are doing enough.

Wait, what, we are enough and doing enough? Are you sure????

Sure, maybe that feels untrue to your monsters, and also it is still true in the sense that we are doing what we can in this moment, to the best of our ability, given the circumstances which are vast and complex!

Not to mention given current reality which is challenging and often scary, and given the very addictive things we are up against, like apps on our phones which have been expertly engineered to steal our attention.

We are somehow making our way through these tough times and however we are doing it is worthy and a start, points to us.

Making it conscious

I had an epiphany during my morning practice of rage & bounding that it’s almost impossible to notice improvement until there’s something new to criticize?

This morning, my perfectionism monster crew and the Work Harder, Bitch monster brigade were playing tag team with their criticism, and gleefully pointed out that I’d bent my knees a lot more than intended on a landing.

And I thought about it, and then realized, WAIT A MINUTE this topic used to come up on every single jump, and I haven’t heard it in a couple weeks which means actually I’ve been consistently getting enough height on my jumps and landing with enough control and lightness that I can do the leap with straight legs, and guess what, that’s amazing, something I’ve been training to fix for nearly a year is not just happening?!

Absence + Celebration

That brought up a memory of a lesson with Jen, my dance teacher, a couple years ago, she spent our entire hour on what seemed like the tiniest, pickiest and seemingly invisible detail of footwork, and I was like, okay babe, what is this new obsession of yours and why are we working on this of all the things we could be working on.

And she said, OH HUH I GUESS YOU MAGICALLY STOPPED TENSING YOUR RIGHT ARM, and now that I don’t have to remind you to relax your arm every two beats, we can focus on deeper technical work, good job, you’re a star, we’re doing the real work now!

What is the superpower of celebrating the absence of a thing?

What is the superpower of noticing the win instead of just moving on to the next thing to fix? And can moving on to the next whatever-it-is be the reminder to notice and celebrate?

Because yeah, there will always be a new something to work on, that’s life.

Evening.

I have noticed that my monsters have an evening ritual of helpfully (“helpfully”, haha) listing all the things that did not happen during the day that should have gotten done, according to them. It’s always an impossibly long list, unattainable.

That’s their whole thing, right? Their intent is ultimately to keep me always striving, trying to be “perfect” so that no one will ever get mad at me (hi, childhood! hi, core issues! hi, monster-negotiations as therapy!), and so they always want me to be doing more and better.

And they do this by pointing out that I did not do any of the thirty-seven VITALLY IMPORTANT THINGS on their list.

Also I should note that their list invariably includes some really unattainable items like [vague stuff about being a better person etc]. Come on, at least make your action items actionable, monsters!

This used to feel debilitating, but lately I’ve just been thanking them for making such an organized list, since ADHD means lists are usually not really my thing, and I have asked them to also consider the list of what did get done.

Focusing on what is working.

For example, yesterday I was able to name twenty very important things that got done, and for sure, me of a year ago could not have focused enough to get even half that much done. It was an impressive day, worthy of taking that moment to appreciate.

And had I not been consciously interacting with my monsters of [You Didn’t Do Enough, There’s So Much You Didn’t Do, You Never Do Enough], I wouldn’t have been able to feel into the enormity of what has shifted, what has become possible for me.

Additionally, I like to remind my monsters that DOING itself, as a concept, is a tool of capitalism, patriarchy, hierarchy. It’s about keeping us too busy to contemplate our true desires. Keeping us too busy to rebel. Too busy to want and feel and express.

Not-doing as the ultimate rebellion.

Not-doing is the ultimate rebellion, the glorious subversive act, and that is to be celebrated too.

And doing other things is meaningful too. We could just call it percolating instead of that other p-word, if we wanted to.

One of these days I will be able to name all the delicious Not-Doing I achieved in a day, through not-achieving, and throw myself a parade for that. All in good slow time.

A TRILLION sparklepoints to us, however our day went, for a day well played, for all of our grand experiments in living intentionally, and we will get to the rest of it once we rest.

Rest and reset. Reconfigure. Let it rest until we figure out the rest (and the REST).

Fractal applications…

I know you are wise and can extrapolate from this to [all the other situations that are big and ongoing and challenging], so I will let us all sit with all that and see where these explorations take us.

Let’s continue to take care of ourselves and each other, with as much patience and compassion as we can muster in a given moment, and keep practicing, we’re in this together.

Lots of love for everyone.

Come keep me company (I love company)

Hahaha I love company and I am a hermit in the desert and now we are all Social-Distancing away together, so let’s have some Social Close-en-ing here in the comments.

You are welcome as always to share anything sparked for you while reading, any superpowers you’re calling up/on/in, any wishes or projects for the wild ride of [this whole thing].

Lots of love all around.

ANNOUNCEMENT/REMINDER that you can still join my course on Integrating Your Incoming Selves at the early sign up discount

Sorry for shouting, it’s just a big deal and the last time I’m doing it, and sale ends Monday.

How do we find, meet, communicate with and integrate a wise, loving incoming self, because having internal allies who love you unconditionally and tell you which clues to follow is the best! This course is self-guided but with online communal play space on a private page on the website to document our process and try different techniques.

Training material includes:
+ how to locate your incomings and get them to talk to you!
+ how to reconnect if they seem to be hiding or have gone silent
+ how to cultivate a good working relationship and bridge the distance between now-you and future wiser you
+ what to do if things get weird, intense, frustrating or overwhelming
+ how to encourage Incomings to regularly visit and spend more time

I haven’t made a signup page yet, we will embark April 20 and go through August 16, and instead of doing a birthday sale this week, I am just going to give you a VERY reduced early-bird price of $180 USD, secure your spot here, low price ends soon!

Unless you are in my Sorcery or Agency 2020 programs in which case I have already comped you in!

NOTE! If you’re reading this via EMAIL, you’ll have to click through to the blog for the link to work, this is a new tech mystery situation I have not been able to solve yet, and I apologize for the extra step and appreciate the extra effort, can’t wait to do the course together.

Come play with me in the comments!

xoxox

Andante Andante and the Incoming Incoming

fluent self sunset

sunset views from the kitchen at the dome in the desert

Entering the entering.

Ah sweet friends, I have so much to say (and I just wrote up many thousands of words about alter egos and channeling incoming selves, and somehow still have even more to say?), but the Sorceress says to keep this missive simple and witchy.

Witchy is not a problem, there is no shortage of witchiness in my life right now, somehow even more than usual, but not sure about simple. We‘ll see.

Onward. LFG. To the words, and to the spaces between the words.

Invisible but present, palpable, clear, loving and right here.

I said recently to a retreat friend that my work is immense but also mostly invisible, and wow am I feeling the big wild truth of this now.

Maybe 97% of what I write is in invisible ink, and then of course there is the entire universal sea of wisdom that we can tap into when we need a direction, an arrow or a clue, so may these words be a portal to that.

(Anything can be a portal of course, this is just a reminder about intention.)

A tree.

Do you remember when my hundred year old maple tree fell in Oregon, and then last year it fell again but this time in the form of an absolutely enormous agave stalk in southeastern Arizona?

Things are uprooting in the world.

This is powerful and also scary. Powerful and also disorienting. We are all waiting to see where (and how) things fall, aren’t we, and some of us are also trying to make our best guesses about where we might like to be standing when they do.

Intensity in the air, and in the ground.

I have also been noticing that a lot of people out in the world are deeply committed pretending that nothing is uprooting, and this dissonance is intense too, a steady cultural gaslighting, which is of course not new but the dissonance feels bigger.

The dissonance itself is an uprooting, or an uprooting that has become a chasm.

All that to say, these are intense times.

Intense times to be a person in a body with all this big energy in the air, big shifting on the ground. Intense times to be a tree. A breath for keeping at it.

Maude.

Like what Maude said to Harold, do you remember:

A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.

Let’s keep at it, friends. We need each other. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other, take chances when that is what’s indicated, layer on safety when that is what’s needed, breathe our way through.

I might be out in the desert, not quite the middle of nowhere though definitely nowhere-adjacent, and I don’t know if you can feel it or not from out here but I am glowing love and support and good things for us, for life and aliveness, embodied.

A tree again.

A couple weeks ago I encountered the most gorgeous clue on IG, a woman, Carmeline, 77, the epitome of Fierce Wild Beauty in my eyes, and she shared wise words.

She was talking about how beauty is not in fact dependent on any of the made-up things our culture wants us to believe it is dependent on. She said that when you visit a forest, each tree is beautiful because it is a tree, you would never think that an old tree is not beautiful, and we can look in the mirror and remember that truth: I AM A TREE.

We can experience awe and wonder at our tree-ness, our living breathing aliveness, our suchness, embodied.

Remembering.

I have been saying this, lately, to myself, I am a tree .

Sometimes while driving the back roads in the desert, sometimes while washing dishes, sometimes while getting dressed, I am a tree.

I am a bobcat. I am a sorceress. I am an assassin. I am a star.

I am a reflection. I am a spark. I am a force to be reckoned with. I am a tree.

All this and more. Multitudes. Embodied.

Fueled for the fight.

Every morning after my slow deliberate bobcat stretching and rolling, I do undulating sun salutations that I call sundulations, these are fueled by rage and fury at injustice, a purity of useful anger, may wrongs be righted, may my fiery fire be noted.

I was doing eighteen of these every day, but then Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, and it became thirty three, then the unsurprising and still devastating news about the vastness of the horrifying abuses of border patrol, and it bumped up to fifty, and so on.

After E. Jean Carroll was fired from her job for surviving and speaking truth, I had to go dark and take a wellness break, stop consuming news, up to a hundred and twenty one sundulations now, and if I keep reading about it, I will be sundulating all day long. Fueled by the injustice of it all. Fueled and ready. FIGHT ME.

Enough. To the sun!

I look at myself (I am a tree), and at the women and non-binary friends in my life (trees, glorious trees, all of us), and we are all survivors who have learned to mostly not speak truth.

We have the courage to speak it, that is not what is lacking.

We have just been told too many times that our anger is too much, too overwhelming, too unattractive, off-putting. Who knows, they say, maybe it was our anger that made the bad things happen. Then they add that we should smile more, they like us so much better when we are smiling, smiling and sweet. Enough.

Shoot it directly into the sun.

Ready.

But in the meantime, patriarchy won’t smash itself, white supremacy won’t smash itself, hierarchy won’t smash itself, and so I keep leaping and bounding.

Leaping and bounding, sometimes hovering for a magical impossible half-moment, my anger so transcendent that we levitate, here is my fury embodied within this breath-centered form, ready, ready, ready.

Who knows, maybe today it will smash itself, implode, while I keep circulating, moving, expressing, going through my rounds.

Dedication.

I dedicate my morning sundulations to our lady of Fierceness, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may she have all the strength she needs and then some.

I think about her dedication to life, living through sheer strength and will-power and, who knows, maybe even a little by spite, but mostly just because this mission, however symbolic, of holding fast to whatever remaining shreds of democracy are left, has meaning, and the meaning is enough, the meaning holds itself.

This is also how I think of practice, everything I practice, all aspects of practice, physical, spiritual, whatever, the meaning holds itself. The ritual holds itself. The grace shows up if I show up. BYOG.

And however I show up is showing up.

Monuments.

If we ever get through this (what does that even mean), I want to see monuments of admiration and honor for RBG, for Erica Garner, for Christine Blasey Ford, for Iesha Evans.

Or maybe we will have some new way of marking honor. But my wish is a wish about may we be inspired by their stances.

Called on. Called up. Called in.

I have been thinking a lot about something Lisa Mae, the owner of the Bhakti Movement Center in Portland said in a class once, that in these difficult times we are being called on and we have to respond, and yoga and other forms of conscious movement become a place where we practice this.

I understood her words to mean on one level that practicing body movement/coordination/agility is itself an internal metaphor, how can we be good responders (systems organizing! we need strength and grace, we can call on them!), and of course this is ongoing practice for mind and spirit too, always about presence and readiness, not about completion.

We are never done with the work of undoing and reconfiguring, both internally and out in the world. Getting to a “there” is not the point. Undoing oppressive systems is the point.

Sidebar!

Obviously practicing this stuff on the physical level is not available to a lot of people, and also not required, it’s just one way and it happens to be a way that’s working for me right now.

I am not recommending that anyone else do an outrageous number of daily sun salutations, it’s just how I am being pulled in the moment, as I am contemplating these themes of agile, ready, attuned, discerning, listening. In my embodied suchness. In my Prowess.

A breath for this, but also for liberation, justice, and a room of requirement for whatever is most needed right now.

Rounds.

I do my sundulations in compass rounds (eight points to a compass makes sixteen sundulations if you go clockwise and then counterclockwise, which I call a round).

Six rounds makes ninety six, and then however many I feel like after that, though recently one of my Incomings blew my mind by saying, “Just because you have reserves of strength and power does not mean you are required to use them in this moment.”

Still letting that one land.

Anyway, this morning someone was supposed to come give an estimate on hauling away the mighty fallen agave.

And Hellcat M (one of my Incoming selves) told me before my practice to pause my sundulations at exactly three rounds, or forty two sundulations, less than halfway through.

Hellcat M said, Understand that he will come after three rounds so if you’re going to start now, pause there or you’ll get mad at the interruption.

Utility.

Obviously arguing with an Incoming is as useless as arguing with intuition. Sure, you can fight it all you want but that never ends well. House always wins. Better to just follow the guided guidance of wisdom and wild clarity.

And still, for some reason, I said, I don’t know, that seems unlikely. He called last night to say 9am, he called again this morning to confirm 9am, it’s still early, I have time to do the whole practice.

Hellcat M shrugged like okay babe do you want the intel or not.

So I stopped at exactly three rounds as instructed, and sure enough he was parking his truck in my driveway.

Droppings, again.

I have written so much about living by intuition aka listening to my incoming selves, and this practice has kept me from car accidents and from being drenched in bird poop, and still sometimes I argue, but that’s me, the rebellious one.

The rebellious one.

After a recent especially magical retreat at the dome in the desert, I had a breakthrough in getting myself to do things that need doing.

More specifically, I realized that in addition to ADHD and general witchiness (and how exhausting it can be to be someone who gets so much information from the world), I am ruled by a rebellious spirit.

I won’t do the things I want to do even though I want to do them because not-doing them feels like the rebellious option, and I will always follow the rebellion.

And so I began turning the things I want to be doing into tiny rebellions so that I can do them while still being true to my deep need to be a walking living breathing middle finger to the world.

(Soapbox!)

Using my rebellious nature as motivation instead of trying to fight it or change it is such a capsule example of self-fluency (working with, not against). I feel so strongly about this.

People will tell you over and over again that the only way out is through, and guess what, my friends, they are wrong.

First of all, the line from Robert Frost that everyone misquotes is actually that the best way out is always through. There are always other ways, [directly through] is actually just one possible way and never the only way.

But also I disagree with the notion that through has to be the right way, I think that’s a very masculine get-it-done ass-in-chair no-pain-no-gain approach, which is often violent, usually unnecessary and pretty much always just a boring way to be in the world.

The best way out.

The best way out is often around. There are so many sneaky loving ways to heal and to live by Safety First, to take exquisite care of ourselves as we are going through (or around!) whatever it is we are experiencing, if you take nothing else from my work, please take that.

Going around does not mean ignoring the painful or the shadow, it does not imply an avoidance, a lack of acknowledging. In fact, it is the opposite of that. You can acknowledge this very painful thing and lovingly choose to alter your course in the interest of layering on experiences of safety.

(Oh wow I see this very painful terrain, I respect and honor this pain, let me get curious about this adventure, how can I learn about the pain from the edges, play from the edges, work around so that we can heal, grow, be in a process of recovery without subscribing to the idea that I have to be in it to survive it… )

This concept might be too much for right now, it can just be a pebble rippling in the waters of consciousness, you can always revisit it later, no worries, all timing right timing.

Andante andante andante.

I have been really struggling with keeping the dome neat and tidy for all the many reasons it needs to be neat and tidy, and of course this is also the rebellious self who DOES NOT WANT to do any of that.

So I played around with anagrams and discovered that [NEAT AND] anagrams to Andante.

Andante aka the superpower of At A Moderately Slow Tempo, what if we take things at a Walking Pace…

Can we slow time, again, slow but not very slow, a medium slowing, a tempo that is deliberate, intentional and steady. Andante andante andante, I say in traffic as everyone weaves recklessly like furious clowns. Andante. I am a tree.

Names.

Andante is the name of the rebellious one. I know this makes no sense, and yet, that is the name she wanted.

I call her to me. Andante, Andante.And I remember to slow down, a sexy deliberate rebellion, doing through undoing.

Of water and before water.

There is being in the vessel of water (bath, float tank, mikveh, hot spring), and there is everything that happens leading up to this being in a state of being in water.

A body of water inside a body of water.

The pre- of immersion. The pre- of fluidity.

I do a lot of entry for being in water. I also do a fair amount of being in water for a desert enchantress. Maybe I will write a travel book about my favorite hot springs that is really about [all of this truth speaking], who knows.

Artemis.

Artemis the huntress, goddess of moon and birth and the powerful things, spoke to me in the water (through the water?) and said, very clearly and deliberately:

If you want to have more time, then you have to do everything much more slowly.

If you want to have more time, then you have to do everything much more slowly.

She kept repeating it and when I asked for more, she told me there is no more information to deliver until I can live by this. Embody it.

Artemis of the arrows, all pointing towards this. Everything. Much. More. Slowly.

More. Slowly.

I have an understanding of this concept on a spiritual level, and can definitely find some intellectual truth sparks in it, but I’ve got to say, on a more practical level of living life, I’m just like, WTAF.

When I look at my life, and the vastness of the disparity between what I think I can get done in a day and what actually can get done, the idea of going slower seems outlandish and honestly kind of obnoxious.

I know of course that in part I can’t get it all done because the game is rigged and even the idea of getting it all done is a SCAM, the hamster wheel of capitalism, the collective brain-washing that we need to be busy and productive at all times or we are useless and our life has no meaning.

And in part I can’t do as many things as I think because of what is sometimes called time blindness, a term that I think needs a new name but have not yet found one.

And in part I can’t do as many things as I think because there are just too many things, and I have to either choose or trust the fractal flowers.

An experiment.

Can I just take this concept on as an experiment, and be very slow and deliberate, strategic?

I spend so much of my time emulating the bobcat (devoted to sleep, to stretching, to pouncing, to being embodied, I want to be here now), but a thing about big cats is that even their stalking and hunting is patient.

Their stalking is mostly pauses, stalk and stop, slow movement, pause and pause, waiting for the exact moment to strike.

What would it be like to do less and slower, but to do it with that deliberate approach of intention and presence. Can I play with the power of Even Slower Than That?

Fractal.

Again, this requires trust at the fractal level. Yes, operations X, Y and Z all need my attention, but every time I give my full attention to X, this embodied attentiveness and everything I learn, practice or accomplish is supporting Y and Z.

Focusing on any one wish, mission, errand or project is helping the others, through effort, through clue finding, through skill development, through magic. I forget this and then I remember.

So even though there is so much truth and power in the phrase that efficiency is always violent, it is also true (what’s true and what’s also true!) that on the spiritual and magical level, we can work fractally, patiently, diligently, and things can move, shift and progress outside of time.

The Gathering of selves.

Speaking of fractal magic, I used to always have one Incoming Self to advise me at a time, and now I have many.

There’s the big three: the Sorceress, The Desert Assassin (who sometimes goes by The True Assassin), and Hard Femme Hellcat M who is nonbinary. But there’s also the Enchantress of silver snake skin, birthed by Artemis, who is hanging out with me for a spell (all meanings), and then Artemis has stuff to say too, and so there’s a lot going on. Working with multiple incomings at the same time is a trip.

My sight has changed, my insight has changed, everything has changed. I love it, and also it’s a wild upgrade of powers and I have been training hard to learn how to use them well. We are getting things done.

It’s fun and it’s intense, and I’m not sure I recommend it, but whenever I am getting ready to teach the 101 of something, I get hit with the 401, so here we are.

A Wild Outrage of Selves. Here we are. Let’s integrate.

A gathering of incoming selves.

I have been the busiest bee putting the finishing touches on an exploratory course (self-guided but with some online communal play space) on HOW to do this work.

That is, how do we find, meet, communicate with and integrate a wise, loving incoming self, because honestly having internal allies who love you unconditionally and tell you which clues to follow is the best?!

At first I wanted to call this a Gathering, but then this made me ask, what is the collective noun for a collective of Incomings? One of my clients refers to her Incomings as a posse, and I think that is completely brilliant.

What might be the collective noun for incoming selves?

An Integration of Incomings, an Intuition of Incomings, an Impossibility of Incomings.

A Spell of Incomings, a Fortune of Incomings, a Channel of Incomings.

A Sustenance of Incomings, a Shadow, a Murmuration, a Consultation, a Triumph, a Muse.

A School of Incomings (like fish but also like studies!), though possibly a Guidance, a Collaboration, a Felicity, or a Secrecy. Though I think my current favorite is a Pseudonym of Incomings!

You can share your favorites or other ideas for names in the comments of course, I am excited for more options!

An Integration of Incomings: the course!

In the interest of collecting the legacy of my body of work, I have been compiling everything I know about working with Incoming Selves, and here is some of what the course training material includes:
+ how to find them and get them to talk to you!
+ how to reconnect to them when they seem to be hiding or have gone silent
+ how to cultivate a good working relationship and bridge the distance between now-you and future wiser you
+ what to do when things get weird or scary (haha or sometimes weird and scary at the same time)
+ how to encourage Incomings to visit and spend more time
+ ahhhhh and so many other things, a delight

I haven’t made a signup page yet but we will embark April 20 and go through August 16, and instead of doing a birthday sale this week, I am just going to give you a VERY reduced early-bird price of $180 USD, you can secure your spot here! Unless you are in my Sorcery or Agency 2020 programs in which case I have already comped you in!

AND if you are not in my Sorcery program and are wishing you hadn’t missed it, I have three mores spots open, so grab one and you will also be enrolled in the Incomings course!

And so here we are (andante, andante)

I don’t want to stop writing, but we have reached the point where it is time for resting, integrating, letting all this digest, before it is time for the next piece.

Wishing you endless resources of love, trust, support, strength, good surprises, new superpowers, the best allies, whatever it is you need most.

You are WELCOME as always to hang out and keep me company in the comments (I love company), you can share anything that sparked for you reading this, or any wishes you are wishing or superpowers you are calling in, or anything you are hoping I will cover in the course, throw it into the pot.

Powers up, my friends. It’s rough out there and wild energy in the world, but we’ve got this, we are going to keep breathing, grounding down, powering up, humming our hum together.

Turalala Turalalee / For Waverly / Like Fruit

Fluent Self labyrinth

This essay is for Waverly.

I am so sad to convey that the world lost Waverly Fitzgerald, a marvelous human, among my favorite humans & writers, possibly also yours, last month on Friday, December 13. Some of you met her at Rally at my former retreat center, and if you hang out here, you know I often reference her book Slow Time. This image is a labyrinth I visited with her (in my mind) in Silver City, New Mexico.

This post touches on grief and loss, so if that’s something you need to pass on for Safety First, I absolutely understand, and either way, let’s take a breath for the hearts & the hurts of life, and strengthen our force fields.

Cold and grey in Santa Fe

I somehow ended up at the cemetery in Santa Fe this morning, in part because of a wrong turn, maybe, I don’t know, but probably because I continue to hold tightly to the belief (or maybe a wish-hope that I fiercely choose to believe in despite all odds) that all cemeteries are interchangeable.

The cemetery I want to be in is in Seattle, visiting Waverly who is gone, but I am not in Seattle, I am in Santa Fe, and so the cemeteries need to hold each other, and me, I need them to be a secret passage, or an ur-cemetery, a gathering place for goodbyes.

I know they must be linked, some secret underground network that takes care of this for moments of need.

My mother’s gravesite is in Michigan, for example, but I visit her in other places where gravestones live. She understands.

Questions of space, and everything else, work differently if you’re dead, or at least, that’s the best explanation I have been given or am able to give.

Right timing

As it happens, a funeral procession is beginning for someone else.

I cry along with some other people who are also sad.

After / Enjoy

After I cried off all my makeup, I skipped yoga and went to eat green chile stew, thinking about Waverly who is gone, and about other friends and beloved people who are gone, and how they would all be enthusiastic about this choice.

Yes, they say. Good call. Eat life! Nourish and take pleasure and be alive!

I think about Rena who has somehow been gone for twenty five years, how is that even possible, how she wrote down her last wishes for us in the hospital, in one word:

ENJOY

Passage

Light sparks off the snow on the mountains.

I drove over a narrow icy pass in the dark last night. We did, together.

I process grief (and everything) best through a road trip, or any change of scenery, change of pace, change of change, long stretches of time plus landscape, into the expanse of road and sky.

And so I drove north with Waverly to accompany me, if that makes sense, we drove together, eight hours, and I played songs for her, songs I thought she’d like, and we hummed along.

No way to see what is clear

There is no way to see what is clear, said the song.

And Waverly laughed a little, and said it’s a beautiful song and sometimes it feels like that, but of course that isn’t completely true, we get to eat the days like fruit, whether the path is clear or not.

Trulala trulalee.

We sing along as we head over the pass.

Truth

I am not sure how or why this happened, but I told her on the ride about something that happened to me, something I have never told anyone, and I said, “Ugh what an absolute dipshit”, and she said, “Let’s destroy him”, and then we laughed in the dark on the icy roads, because that’s not going to happen but sometimes vengeance is a good starting point for wishes.

Somehow we made it through the worst of the pass.

Truth Stars

I intuited a pullout, and got out of the car, crouching to pee under a TRILLION STARS. Utter blackness, freezing cold, this absolute riot of stars.

Now there’s a way to see what is clear.

Turalala. Turalalee.

Las Palomas.

We stayed in Santa Fe for a couple days and then headed back south in the snow, planning to avoid the pass this time.

But after a couple hours on the road, the snow and rain had long since stopped, and I was tired of the endless straight road, and the directions app tempted us with the prospect of “saving 46 miles” by taking the pass.

You don’t save anything of course because you have to go so slowly around the tight turns, gasping at the sheer cliff drops, but you do get the very scenic route.

What the hell, I said. I love Las Palomas and I love adventure and I know the road well. Let’s take the pass. Here’s to wild clarity.

We began the climb and all was breathtakingly beautiful and peacefully until, suddenly, total fog. Only fog. Nothing visible. You know the cliff is there, you just can’t see the edge.

Clarity (again)

Hahaha hope that wasn’t a terrible choice, I would really prefer we do NOT go sailing over the cliff, I said.

Waverly shrugged.

I thought about all the photographers I’ve dated who would have just loved this majestic fog overtaking everything. Absolute dipshits, all of them, but still, that’s talent.

She laughed again, her laugh rang out over the canyon and the fog cleared, immediately and completely.

Wild Clarity.

All clear

There you go, she said, it all got clear.

I’m just trying not to kill us, I said.

She laughs again.

The days are limited either way, you just eat them, like fruit.

Today is unique (each today is unique)

In her book, Slow Time, she shares the concept of meeting each day as wholly unique, new, not to be repeated:

Robert Levine writes about the customs of the K’iche’ people, who live in the highland villages of Guatemala. For them, each day is unique, and has its own proper name and divine name. They greet each day with a respectful title, the equivalent of saying “Greetings Sir, Lord Thursday”. Each day also has its own unique quality, a nature or character that will never come again.

In Santa Fe, I made ginger tea for Lady Wednesday in a dark brown mug. Tea for Waverly. Tea for me. The three of us sat in a bookstore and read together.

Doors

This day will never come again.

Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes that’s a sad thing, sometimes it just is.

Today is a new door. Hello, day.

Hello, day. What are you like? What fruit do you bring?

What fruit do I place here in offering?

Fruit

Waverly ends that chapter by sharing a quote from Jean Giono, in Fullness of Days, and the final sentence just floors me with its simplicity every time I read it:

We have forgotten that our only goal is to live and that we live each day and that at every hour of the day we are reaching our true goal if we are living…

The days are fruits and our role is to eat them.

Pleasure

The days are fruits, taste and take pleasure.

I cannot help but feel the pull of provoked into juice, that perfect delicious phrase from the Helen Chasin poem.

A spell in its own right.

Versus

We drove and listened to Lucinda Williams change the locks on her front door and rename a whole town, because sometimes desire is danger, we listened to Lucinda Williams stand on a bridge and say no baby don’t jump, sometimes danger is danger.

June bug vs hurricane

Versus

Versus

Versus

Johnson City / San Lorenzo

My sweet Star Car reached 75,000 miles exactly as we made the turn into San Lorenzo.

The last time I was on this road I was here with Jenny, now with Waverly.

We sing harmonies to the song Wagon Wheel.

Johnson City, Tennessseeeeeeeeeee….

For some reason I feel the need to tell her in depth about why I think the Darius Rucker version is so compelling, she remarks that she never would have guessed that I hold such strong opinions on this particular topic.

I contain multitudes…, I sing, as if it is part of the song.

The beauty that is here now

I am thinking about what it means to eat the fruit of the day, like the strawberry in the story of the monk being chased by tigers and finding joy in surprise sweetness at a moment of despair, I still don’t like that story and I don’t have to.

This day is fruit, this passage is fruit, and I am eating it, here now, with the beauty that is here now.

We drive the curving roads.

Familiar / remembering

I tell her about the time I went around this particular upcoming sharp curve, at night, and very nearly hit a deer and her two baby deer.

They just leapt into the road right in front of my car, as I was coming around the turn.

I gasped and swerved, and luckily no one else was on the road, it was very late at night, and the deer watched me as her babies bounded across to safety, my breath stopped completely.

Guess the only move here is take it slow then, Waverly says.

Slow time. Slow time. Slow time.

I do take the curve slowly, exaggeratedly impossibly slowly, and what happens next as we come around the turn takes my breath again.

Impossible. And yet, here we are.

There is a kid riding on a skateboard, in the road, right in front of me.

Middle of the road, dressed in grey and black, at dusk, holding books, practically invisible.

And again, right in front of me.

Would

I felt equal parts terror and fury and pain at what might have / could have / surely would have.

I would have hit this kid for sure, or swerved and crashed, no other options, had Waverly not said we should take it extra slow.

But I didn’t.

I’m sure this kid was listening for the familiar sound of rural pickup truck on the road and did not hear my nearly silent hybrid. Still, a trafficked road. An unlit winding road that people drive on. In the darkening almost-dark.

I could have and would have, but through this absolute miracle of listening to someone who wasn’t there, I didn’t.

Plenty of Slow Time

Wishing you plenty of slow time is what she wished me in the inscription to her book, I’m sure that was her usual inscription but in this moment it felt like an invocation.

Plenty of slow time, slow motion time, slowed time.

Long exhale. Again. And again.

Holy shit, I said, If I hadn’t been taking the turn so very slowly, I would have killed that child. Or died trying to get out of the way. I can’t imagine.

You eat the fruit of each day, she says. You eat the fruit, and you live in slow time, when you can.

Attention (in the slowness)

I take her words to mean something like this…

You were doing your best, and you were paying attention to the clues. And that’s all you can do really, even on the best days.

Echoes of IIWIMI aka it is what it motherfucking is.

I typed this line, and Lucinda Williams came on in the cafe where I’m sitting, singing about tangerines and persimmons, the fruits of her labor.

Fruits again. Time as an orchard.

Slow as a verb

We arrived at the labyrinth the next morning, it had rained all all night and the labyrinth was mud. I love a labyrinth, but I will be honest, walking this one was miserable.

I was hurrying through, whispering WILD CLARITY WILD CLARITY WILD CLARITY, because that was my labyrinth wish, my intention.

But I didn’t want to be there. I was already thinking about the mud I’d have to clean off my motorcycle boots and my favorite jeans.

I wanted the labyrinth to hurry up and deliver the wisdom so I could leave and do other things.

So of course it said slow, the labyrinth said slow.

Of course

SLOW TIME is a verb, an imperative.

You slow time.

You eat the fruit of the day in slow time, you eat the fruit of the day and you slow time itself, like a sorceress, so that you can remember that the days are fruit for your nourishment and your pleasure, so you can be embodied as you interact with them.

But how? How do you slow time?

How do you slow time?

The labyrinth showed me two answers:

You put less in it.

And:

You reaffirm your devotion to freedom and pleasure, you recommit to what is important to you, you become someone who loves to live in an orchard.

There is no way to see what’s clear

Until you ask and wait and plant and cycle through, and then there is Wild Clarity, whenever it comes.

You greet the day, knowing that it is fruit.

You cry when you cry, you laugh, you sing, you hum, you walk, you nap, you open doors and then close them to re-open them.

turalala turalalee

The road

At San Simon, Waverly said, Well this is where I get off. Thanks for the ride.

I was sad, and it seemed like she kind of didn’t get why I would be sad, which is not a negative thing about her at all, it is just the way of the departed to not make as much of a distinction about life versus death, this idea we have about one being good and one being sad. Anyway, I felt sorrow, and many complicated feelings, and that’s okay. Aliveness is complicated.

The desert light was breathtaking. The road was the road.

Thank you, delicious day, I said, to nobody at all. But I know that words and intention travel, I can imagine filling up on love-breath while other people do the same, all of us humming our way back to the orchard.

{comments & announcements & love}

(0) Did you see my secret accidental blank blog post this week, sorry about that, it was not supposed to go live! My wish is that it somehow conveyed superpowers of Good Things Incoming and What Is Left Unsaid…

(1) However, yes, the title held a clue about what we are doing next, a group program about The Secret Life Of Patterns aka how to change patterns and habits with love and some gentle trickery…it’s not quite ready to announce yet but it *is* included in my Sorcery offering, so you should join if you are able because it’s amazing, and I re-opened it for you for this weekend, there are THREE more spots, details & sign-up here! Also, it includes access to the vault of all twenty five of my ebooks, more on that to come soon…

(2) You are invited to join in the comments here, you can leave love for Waverly and her wisdom, or anything that sparked for you while reading, anything you’re working on or playing with right now in your own practice, stones and pebbles, flowers, whatever feels right.

(3) I feel especially thankful right now for the warmth of community and always appreciate every reminder that people are reading my words here. I love that you’re here. Thanks, friends. Turalala.

Reasons Are Bullshit (things I learned in 2019)

Compass Suite sky view

This beautiful light! Pic taken on my phone from the front porch of the dome in the desert…

It’s been a year huh.

I have been here but not here (definitely not here), and there were reasons for that, though they are not particularly interesting.

Examples of non-interesting reasons: I went through some rough territory in my personal life and wrote about it but just couldn’t bring myself to share it.

There were other non-reasons too. I was busy with unexpected dome-fixing projects, and health projects and keeping a watchful eye on the state of the world which is just scary right now, isn’t it. A breath for that.

And breath of love for everyone reading since we’re all in it, and it’s intense.

But mainly I was in a different space. I was in the desert gazing at the sky.

I was watching, listening, waiting for intel. I was waiting for glimpses of the bobcat, trying to learn how to be a bobcat, to be fierce in my aliveness, fully embodied in that bobcat way.

Reasons.

All of those are the reasons and they are excellent reasons, and also they are all meaningless, because Reasons Are Bullshit, which is one of the biggest things I learned in 2019.

Actually this is something I encountered in 2009, a full decade ago, but it was elusive then, I only understood it conceptually and even then only in brief flashes, because the wisdom of this did not live inside me yet and now it does. I hope.

Though as Esther Gokhale says, forgetting is part of remembering, and remembering-and-forgetting only to remember again is how we learn, so if I forget, may I remember this as I remember to remember.

Reasons Are Bullshit means this:

I could very easily come up with a solid twenty item list to answer anything on the topic of “Hey Havi, why are you doing X?” or “How come you’re not doing Y?”

And, while all those reasons would be valid and also true, none of them can be the real reason, not individually and also not taken all together.

The real reason for doing an X or not doing a Y is that I felt it, I received the information, I heard my Yes or felt my No, I was given the gift of knowing.

Maybe that’s the Knowing of here is the next indicated step, maybe that’s the Knowing of this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

But once I have that beautiful gem of intel, I know. And then the list of reasons is just a mostly externally-directed and somewhat internally-directed justification for what I already know.

That clear Knowing is the glowing vessel that carries a truth, everything else is trying to explain a truth to make it palatable to other people, and honestly I think we can mostly skip that part?

Other truths and bits of wisdom.

I could write for days about Reasons Are Bullshit, except this year held other wisdom too, so I want to share bits and pieces from what I received.

As always, take what feels spark-filled, meaningful, or reverberates in some way, and leave the rest, some of what is here might be someone else’s clue, or a clue for future-you, or maybe it’s just a documentation of a year in the life of a sorceress in the desert who is clawing her way through a brutal stomach flu at the moment.

All I need is the next indicated step.

I spent the first half of this year involved in big plans, and life laughed at them and sent them into a spiraling tornado funnel.

Having already gone through [the years of the burning barns and the broken pots], I knew not to make assumptions about what is “bad” for me, that’s a boring story, and I also hope that I’m a little speedier at being able to take a clue.

But what I learned this year is that I don’t need to figure out [everything], I don’t need a new plan, I don’t even need to know the plan, I need to listen for the next step.

What if nothing is moving me backwards, nothing is an obstacle (especially the things that seem like massive obstacles), nothing is side-tracking me, all of that is story.

What if the thing that got me here was [NECESSARY STEP] and what’s happening now is [NEXT STEP], and the point wasn’t to follow the entire path of First Step to its expected end, the point was being agile and adaptable.

My days are pretty simple now.

That doesn’t mean they’re easy, just simple. I do my morning rituals, I talk to Incoming Me, we listen for a Next Step for the day. When it shows up, we follow it.

If something else interrupts that as it often does, then that was my Next Step. We work on projects, we solve for X. We fix broken things or clear them out. We forget and remember. Then more stretching, evening rituals and healing sleep.

Incoming me cares a lot more about how I do things than about how much gets done. I am still getting used to that, but it is all very clear for her.

Wild Clarity.

This was my superpower/wish for the year, and like all things we fervently wish for, it had many sides.

I got some Wild Clarity on things I didn’t necessarily want clarity on, haha.

But now I’m clear on that too. Clear on pretty much everything.

Not the whole path, but clear on the fact that I don’t need to be clear on that.

Wild also like the bobcat who prowls and stalks out by the stone wall, then naps contentedly on my porch.

Wild and clear.

Information is neutral.

Hellcat Maggie, one of my Incoming Selves, has a phrase that I didn’t really like at first.

Hellcat Maggie likes to say, about pretty much anything:

It is what it motherfucking is.

And at first I thought this was defeatist or depressing, like, c’mon Maggie why can’t we just focus here and work hard to make it other than what it is?????

But what I learned is this. For Hellcat Maggie, and for all future wise versions of me, information is neutral. It Is What It Motherfucking Is (IIWIMI) conveys a neutral statement, its intention is clarity and calm.

It doesn’t mean things can’t shift, move, be maneuvered. We’re flexible and playful. We can apply some creative sorcery to the situation. It just means that right now I am fighting with [what is] instead of just taking it as neutral information about my starting point.

This is what we’re dealing with right now. What are we gonna do with that?

Hugs are a form of nutrition.

Beginning in late spring and through the end of summer, a series of situations that meant I couldn’t host any retreats at the dome, and I was too exhausted to go dance, and my only friend here went on a road trip, and [circumstances].

It is what it motherfucking is, right?

But it turns out that hug-deficiency is real (this is also something I learned decades ago but had forgotten), and wow, it’s hard to have any clarity (wild or otherwise) when existing in a state of deficiency.

This year was really about relearning from the ground up what a Havi requires to thrive, but also what a Havi requires to function at a very basic level.

I am doing better at making sure I get all the necessary nutrients, in a good setting, well-watered, and so on. It turns out that I have to actually put ACQUIRE HUGS on my list in the same way that I need to remind myself to make sure there are snacks.

Maybe that’s a visit to the best chiropractor, maybe that’s dance, maybe it’s visiting a friend who lives with a giant pile of happy dogs. But it can’t be postponed.

Grief is also a thing that extremely is how it is.

Truly, so much cumulative experience of it, and yet I can somehow regularly forget the most essential thing about grief, which is that it can just send me to the floor sometimes.

It is a vast helplessness, and however painful it is to be with this void, it is even more painful to try to delay this.

It’s not fun, friends. It is also a pretty big part of the human experience. So that’s a thing.

Our culture doesn’t make room, allowances, time, anything, for being vessels of pain and sorrow, of rage and fury, but here we all are, traversing this world.

The feelings come when they come. The feelings come as they come. Messengers of that Wild Clarity.

Everything is a cauldron!

My desert sorceress self says this, and I thought she meant it as a metaphor but not really.

The magic you can make is related to the vessel and what goes in it.

My morning bobcat stretch practice is a cauldron, a living room is a cauldron, a bed is a cauldron, a schedule is a cauldron, a visit to the supermarket is a cauldron.

What do you infuse things with? What is the intention of this concoction? How do you clear the vessel and make it clear (to yourself? to others?) that a vessel is reserved for better ingredients…

Everything is a cauldron. She said this all year and I am just now beginning to understand how vital this is.

Tabula rasa is my solution to kryptonite.

I get easily overwhelmed, by my surroundings, by the news, by noise, by energy, by the to-do list, all of it.

Clearing space to look at nothing is how I get out of this.

Again, I knew this. I just didn’t know it the way I know it now.

Competence > Management

I took this from the book Rage Becomes Her, by Soraya Chemaly, which is about women’s anger and how very justifiable it is, especially right now when we are in it.

The title is wordplay, rage becomes you in the sense that it suits us to be enraged, our fury is worthy and powerful and right, your anger looks good on you, fellow avenging furies. But it also means that rage can subsume you, it becomes like a skin, you wear it, and it filters the world.

At the end of the book, she asks what we can do when we are living with so much rage. She suggests dropping the idea of “anger management” and instead thinking about competence.

As in, how do we get to know our anger, learn to navigate it and use it for good, not trying to keep it “manageable” but trying to be knowledgeable about this terrain of fury and what it means to be someone who has this anger.

I really liked this, and it has many possible applications but have been mainly thinking about how this plays out in my relationship with ptsd, autism, adhd, flicker vertigo, chronic pain, general witchiness.

Reasons are bullshit, of course.

For me, diagnoses are often not particularly interesting and also all these official names for things feel very incomplete to me.

(That’s a People Vary thing for sure, if diagnoses are helpful and reassuring for you, seek them and use them in good health.)

Let’s say though there are any number of unnameable, difficult-to-describe forms of special brain and hyper ability which make it hard for me to get things done at times, not to mention the more ongoing conundrum of what it means to be a sorceress who never asked for these powers but has to learn to work with them to survive.

The shift from “oh god how do I manage this” to “wow what would it feel like to have competency in this” is huge for me.

Ritual as a container.

My day begins with a song, a wish, bobcat hour, then a witchy caffeinated potion, then talking to the Sorceress, the Assassin and Hellcat Maggie. Then we work on the projects and secret ops, with dance breaks or anxiety meltdown breaks or some combination.

My day ends with slow stretching, candles, a hot beverage, reviewing the day, listening to a soundtrack of peaceful songs.

I think this might be the best thing to come from 2019, this predictability of my day.

Well, also Sundulations, which is the name I invented for my bobcat-inspired leaping, bounding, undulating, fiercely hissing sun salutations, done to the song Push It. I can write more about how I hiss like a cat if you want.

The year began with three of these Sundulations each morning and now I’m up to fifty. I mean, there are days and there are days. IIWIMI. And I follow what is indicated. But that’s the path.

19s & 19s!

I did things for nineteen minutes at a time this year, and that worked for me.

It helped me bridge the Monday Meeting and connect with my incomings every day, multiple times a day.

Nineteen minutes in the sun. Nineteen minutes dancing. Nineteen minutes doing something that I don’t want to do but will feel good when it’s done.

Do or don’t.

For a while I was in Tucson a lot for [reasons, which are bullshit], and I was taking yoga at a studio where the teachers have a kind of catch phrase. Do or don’t.

As in: Breathe into the stretch and see how it feels. If you like, you can extend your leg, do or don’t. Notice if that’s working for you. Do or don’t: lift up onto your hands and see if you want to make this a balance pose.

I absolutely LOVE do or don’t.

Actually I wrote a whole post about it and then didn’t post it, because [yup, reasons, which don’t matter].

Do Or Don’t is such a deliciously neutral superpower.

It isn’t that Doing is good and Not-doing is less good. It’s just a choice. A moment. A door. Do or don’t. Or maybe it’s not a choice because my body can’t do it, so I am just at Don’t, and IIWIMI, but it’s still neutral information.

How am I feeling? What’s my energy like? What do I want? Based on that, do or don’t.

The Last Retreats.

Reasons are bullshit, of course. They just are. So I am not going to compile a list of them to explain why there are only a few more retreats available at the magical dome in the desert.

You don’t need the list of reasons and I don’t need to make it, because none of them actually matter when there is really only the real reason:

I received the intel that it’s time for something new.

Do I know what that is? I have some good clues.

But also I know now that I don’t need to know.

That’s what I learned this year: I don’t need to know most things. It’s just about focus and intention. My work is to continue to cultivate a clear, loving, steady relationship with my incoming selves, and feel into our yeses.

I will say that I absolutely loved every retreat I did this year, each one was huge joy, everyone who came was a DELIGHT, and sharing retreat time-space-presence with you is one of the most great joys in my life. HEART-EYE EMOJI ALL DAY!

Anyway, if you feel called to nab one of the Last Retreats in the most gasp-worthy beautiful location ever, there are a couple left. Do or don’t.

If you’ve already signed up for a retreat but don’t have dates, don’t worry, I am emailing you a list of possible dates, we’ll get you sorted!

What am I VERY EXCITED to offer this year?

I had the biggest epiphany about what it means to be on the sorcery spectrum, and in what ways I can use my powers for good, and I am offering a VERY LIMITED but also VERY FUN way to work with me in 2020.

It’s called the Highly Classified Sorcery Care Package, and I am going to shout about this because THERE IS A SOLSTICE SALE happening on this right now. I don’t know if I will offer this again, and it definitely will not go on sale again.

Also the bonuses are very bonus-ey. If this is exciting for you, come do this with me, because I am extremely yes for doing this work.

What are we feeling for 2020? Tell me in the comments!

Other than all the Vision puns!

My words for the coming year are Formidable, Enticing, Sustainable and Agile. These are the cardinal directions on my compass rose, still listening for the intercardinals.

I am seeding wishes about living by the revealed wisdom from 2019, and not forgetting about boundaries, nourishment, clarity and rest.

And I am glowing powerful wishes for your wishes. May all the right intel be revealed. May your next steps be beautifully clear, and when they are not then I wish you good clues and good comfort.

Let’s call in some superpowers and throw them into the pot together for this beautiful new year, we’re gonna need them. Love to you, sweet friend, thank you for waiting for me to come back.

Charlie to angels: into the chrysalis of the unknown

compass house bobcat

I have a bobcat (or a bobcat has me), and he naps on my porch at the dome in the desert

A secret (or maybe not?)

I’ll just say it.

I have never really connected with the word ‘retreat’.

Is that an unlikely-approaching-preposterous thing for me to say, given that I am someone who has run three different retreat centers, and who has been holding retreat-like events for oh, the past thirteen years? Sure. I mean, that’s fair.

Running without running

Or as I prefer to say it, because haha I also don’t like running, it’s not so much that I run retreats, I [verb] them.

I glow them, I bell them, I am the sorceress of the dome in the desert who tends to the garden and the magic..

Ruminating on Names

Yes, I design and cultivate peaceful magical spaces for people to retreat, but what is retreating and why is it good and what would I call it if I got to be the namer who names?

It is funny that both RETREAT and RUN are giving me this visceral energy-level allergic reaction right now, both words that remind me of running away.

Somehow they are both (for me, in this moment) psychologically related to the kind of escape that is not fun.

And if the word retreat feels luscious and restful to you, that’s wonderful of course, People Vary, I’m just working through this for me!

Rewriting escape

If I am escaping it is because something is not right, something is in pursuit.

What I actually want is not-that. What does movement become when it is deliciously unhurried, intentional, not running away? I want Anticipation and Exhilaration.

Ah, yes.

What is the opposite of away?

TOWARDS. I want to be headed towards.

Towards

Escape, run, retreat, these are all words about exiting, while for me retreat time is really all about ENTERING.

Entering and Becoming.

Retreat time is where I can feel what it’s like to be focused on FLOW TOWARDS.

Feeling how it feels when we move in the direction of what we do want, instead of fighting against what we don’t want, which is how daily life often feels, right?

(I do not in any way mean that we should ignore intel about what is no for us, of course all our anger and frustration is real and legitimate, nor do we look away from the injustice in the world, I am talking about shifting our focus, to reorient towards clarity and intention.)

Retreat is for making that switch, it’s where (and how) we soften into ourselves, get quiet enough to even hear/feel/perceive/receive the new yeses.

Reoriented.

Face the way you want to go. This is also called looking towards the turn.

This is a motorcycle concept and a dance concept, but also this is how I want to enter retreat time: glowing anticipation for my yeses, meeting myself with love…

Putting the treat back in retreat

Let’s put names aside for a moment. In fact, let’s put this mystery of naming into a compass-cauldron and let it percolate for a bit, we will find a way to put the treat back in retreat!

Instead, I want to tell you about how I retreat when I retreat. Maybe it will spark something for you.

How I [insert name for retreat]

There are three different forms of [retreat-like experiences] I work with in my own life, and I have been practicing all of these for many years.

First and foremost is the kind that happens when I need urgent Replenishing & Recovery. This is about deep rest and returning to myself, reconnecting, getting back to creativity and beginner’s mind and joy when I have lost my ability to remember how any of that works. Emergency Recovery!

Then there’s what I call Chrysalis, which is when I want to meet an Incoming Self, or the aspect of me who embodies a quality I need. Let’s go meet Assertive Me!

And then there’s making a container of time & space to make meaningful-to-me progress on a project that is dear to my heart (or that just needs to get done), and this is what I call Rally.

Let’s talk more about how these all work.

Replenishing & Recovery

When I first started doing these for myself it was out of necessity and burnout. I’d push too hard, get overwhelmed, go into sensory overload, collapse, and have to run away to my uncle’s in the woods, check into a hotel or go hide at the Vicarage.

I needed to stare into space, look out at trees or water or even a deliciously blank wall, and do lots of nothing.

Nap, look at the horizon, repeat until I could function again. Maybe read a book, but usually at the beginning even this was too much.

Each time this happened, I observed that after about four days of giving myself this good-for-me form of being nature with the superpower of tabula rasa, my creative spark would return with a vengeance.

I’d return refreshed and absolutely spilling over with excitement, ideas and new writing projects!

Eventually I realized I could actually take a Replenishing & Recovery before arriving at total collapse. Whoa.

Guess what, you don’t have to wait for a breakdown to rest!

Whaaaaaat. I know. Revolutionary.

It took me even longer to reach an even more exciting realization…

Even better than a pre-emptive avoid-catastrophic-breakdown retreat? Just go rest FOR NO REASON AT ALL.

This is wildly subversive because our entire culture rewards doing and over-doing, it’s all about push and achieve and ass-in-chair, and You Don’t Deserve Rest Until You’ve Earned It Through All The Accomplishments.

Rest first is like the superpower of dessert first but turned up to eleven.

And, get this, I don’t even do it for the increased productivity that comes later. I do it for pleasure and to fill up on [me], to get my glow powers glowing with such steady certainty that it doesn’t even matter what I do next because it is sure to be amazing.

Chrysalis

Chrysalis is my absolute favorite kind of retreat, and I am always looking forward to my next one.

Chrysalis is what happens when I go somewhere quiet to meet, commune with and integrate an Incoming Self.

Sometimes I have lots of information about this incoming, other times all I have to go on is a quality or a clue, a wish or an icon.

A quality, a clue, a wish, an icon

Example of a quality: Fierce. Who is the me who knows how to be Fierce?

Example of a clue: Do you know that Mary Oliver line where she says “joy is not meant to be a crumb”, that line made me gasp the first time I read it, who is the me who does not ever treat joy like a crumb?!

Example of a wish: I want to learn new inverts in silk, and I don’t know how to approach yet, who is the me who loves hanging upside down?

Example of an icon: Linda Hamilton in Terminator, or that woman I saw in South Dakota who was this total motorcycle babe in her late 40s, so sexy and self-assured, and her boots, oh my lord those boots…

The practice

When I am on Chrysalis, I do two things and I do them at the same time and all the time. I talk to my Incoming, trying to learn everything about them. I ask them about everything.

Where do you want to sit? How do you sit? Is this location still yes? I know what I would order from this menu but what grabs your attention?

And then I try them on. Hmmm. How do I explain this?

I try on my incoming self

I wear this self, or I let them wear me.

I act the part. I wear what they would wear, eat what they want to eat if it sounds appealing to me, follow their instincts.

When I was Adrianna the Italian heiress, she only liked this one particular pen so we wrote with that. When I was Harmony, I listened to her favorite melodies on repeat and we hummed in the shower.

Glamorous Me is the reason my eyelashes always look amazing. Jet Bell bought motorcycle boots that I still wear every day.

(Playlists to play, for play!)

I make a playlist for each incoming, and the only rule of the playlist is “is this a song this self loves or no”, which leads to the most seemingly random collections of music, and I love them all.

Honestly I feel so much joy now when I listen to one and think, ah yes, Stella loved Jill Scott but also so much country music, or oh wow haha I forgot that the Vixen wanted to listen to EVERY SINGLE COVER EVER of I’m On Fire.

Coconut, for example

I recently learned that my current incoming, my Fierce self, the wild witchy wonder who goes by the name Bond and is both a sorceress and a spy, does not like chocolate.

(I love chocolate, though I forgot I did until I was Stella, but Bond loves all things coconut, and doesn’t care about chocolate at all.)

Bond is uninterested in most of the clothing I own, preferring a uniform of tight black jeans and a black silk camisole. We wear the same thing every day now.

You roll with it.

Sometimes at the beginning, you don’t have a ton of information to go on.

Sometimes they just show up, a fully formed persona.

Just like when you are writing a character (if that’s a thing you do), they begin to reveal lives of their own, preferences of their own, back stories, details you never would have guessed and certainly would not have made up.

They tell you who they are, if you let them.

Until it just becomes normal

I formally chrysalis a couple times a year but over time I’ve gotten so practiced and comfortable in working with Incomings that honestly at this point I am pretty much always in steady communication with whoever’s next.

That might even be the greatest and most beneficial (fun! joyful!) part of having taken the time to really learn how to chrysalis.

And Rally of course is for Mysterious Projects

I call a Rally when I have a project I want to play with.

Sometimes it’s something tangible (I want to finish this ebook), and sometimes I do not know what my mysterious project is at all, I just have a sense that it’s time to commune with my creative self and see what comes up.

Sometimes the project turns out to be much-needed napping and catching up on reading. I was in need of a Replenishing and wasn’t paying attention!

Sometimes the project turns out to involve a new incoming self. I was in need of a chrysalis and didn’t know it.

Sometimes the project is just to find out what the next project is.

Back to names

Retreating and holding retreats is what I do, yes, both as my job and my primary form of self-care, self-study, self-treasuring, and self-fluency, and yet I don’t connect with the word.

But regardless of what we call them…

Here is what I want

I want so badly to spend 2020 (I know, it still kind of sounds like the future, what is even happening with time) sharing everything I know with you about how these retreats work, I want a whole world of fellow secret agents declaring Replenishings and Chrysalis and Rally for ourselves.

And our selves!

And whatever we wish to call these periods of [retreat], I know that this process of making the time-and-space to be in a state of TOWARDS with our wishes, intentions, projects and ourselves will be a grand adventure, full of good surprises.

I like to think of this as the meeting of qualities: Transformation meets Sanctuary. It’s a grand adventure and we take exquisite care of ourselves and make sure we’re practicing Safety First.

A secret or maybe not-secret-at-all wish!

I want to be an ally who supports your ability to hold these retreats for yourselves whether that’s at my Dome In The Desert or in your home or some secret undisclosed location, that part is not important.

I want to applaud your wishes, I want to support the process of you feeling deliciously at home in all these skills, from taking replenishing time to delighting in the process of meeting an incoming and moving towards in your projects and with your wishes.

Let’s explore! What are the elements of what I want?

What is it that I do when I’m [insert word for retreating]?

There is an element of TIME. Time creates the boundaries for the experience. At least three nights and four days for a Rally or a Replenishing.

Anything less than that doesn’t let me immerse at all, and immersing is the whole point.

For a chrysalis I like five nights to a week. It’s always fun to play with an incoming, but if I want a real encounter with this incoming self and let them show me who they are and begin to integrate their qualities and superpowers, we need time and trust.

What else?

There is an element of SPACE and SECLUSION. For me that’s usually best in a hotel or at a retreat center or other form of safe house.

If I can’t do those things, I have other ways to magic-up any space and ensure solitude, both of which I can talk more about some other time.

When I used to go to the Vicarage, there was no wifi, and I loved living in that quiet peaceful bubble of airplane mode, listening to my playlist and getting no information from the outside world. Heaven. But there are other ways to establish boundaries that keep your [retreat] time sacred and haha, yes, a treat.

Together, TIME + SPACE + RITUAL/MAGIC create a dedicated container that provides the necessary safety and sanctuary to have a powerful transformative experience that is healing and also fun. But we can talk about that more this coming year as we practice.

Charlie’s Angels

I was on a chrysalis at the Dome In The Desert and had a realization about my own retreat center and how I’ve been hosting retreats here.

My incoming pointed out that I have been embodying Bosley when I was supposed to be Charlie. I have been coordinating the secret missions instead of calling them in.

My job is to be hidden, to glow presence but also to be there through not being there, to become even more invisible, to allow the magic of the form to come to the forefront.

I’m supposed to be Charlie.

Form + Intention + Play.

Obviously I still want to be involved in people’s retreats for joy, play and companionship, but I will do that not because I think you need me or some notion of “value-added” or whatever, but because it is fun.

It is fun and exciting and inspiring and rejuvenating and so many other important and delightful things to have a fellow Secret Agent to giggle with and share retreat epiphanies. I want to continue to offer that, just in a new form.

Here is the new form that is emerging.

A secret Agency (Agency 2020) of secret agents.

I want to summon-and-offer a mission (should you choose to accept it!) in which you plan your year around your own retreats and retreat-like experiences, whatever you decide to call them.

I want to invite you to figure out what form of Flowing Towards your wishes and projects you want, and for us to play and be allies in this, whether that’s at a Secret Undisclosed Location or at the dome in the desert.

The Agency itself will be officially announced in a month or so when I return from [secret op in the wilderness], but anyone who wants to get in on this with extra bonuses, this weekend is your time, because there’s a 22% discount for you, as well as some other good stuff, good through Sunday night!

Here’s the link: https://www.fluentself.com/charlie-townsend

—> 22% discount code depends on the day, but try FARRAH or WELCOMEDOME

In the meantime, I wish for us ease of ease, the greatest of ease, and all related superpowers, really whatever will support our process in delineating time and space to get to know our yeses, our movement TOWARDS and a loving commitment to all this.

Let’s play

You are welcome to share any excitement, anything sparked for you while reading, anything about your own experience retreating (or whatever you like to call this).

As always, we make this safe, loving and welcoming space by going on permanent vacation from care-taking and advice-giving, and taking ownership for what’s ours.

I am excited for this coming year, but mainly I am excited to be here with you and share more thoughts and learning from my own experiments in drawing-inwards and moving-towards.

Love as always, for the Beloved Lurkers and for everyone who reads, you’re always invited to comment and play here whenever you like, or to process on your own. ❤

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