Nine Incredible Ways To Usher In The New Year

Good morning, dear reader! It’s safe to say that the year is coming to an end, as opposed to ‘the world is coming to an end’ – which is how 2020 started off, am I right? There is hope on the horizon. Unless you consider the price of eggs is over $5 and butter is almost that, too, and well, of course, Ukraine. But hey. Gasoline prices are decreasing (do you know about GetUpside? Here’s a referral code: Denise345224. It may seem like a PITA at first, but trust me…it’s cool), and I found a relatively affordable place to buy plants in town. So yes, 2023 might be a decent year.

But, as we end 2022, let us remember some essential things, shall we? So let’s end the year with – my favorite – a drink and a chat. (I scored a bottle of Sassenach. Go on. Be jealous. It’s okay.)

I want to point out nine specific ways I am holding space for myself and you during this lovely week as Mercury goes retrograde and we say ‘bye ‘bye to 2022.

So. Grab that drink. Settle in. Here we go.

1) You are stronger than you think. For some of us, 2022 threw us some pretty fucking scary curveballs. But, despite that, you survived. And you’ll continue to do so.

2) Acknowledge that change and growth are hard. Things may not have been exactly like you’d hoped when the ball dropped at midnight on January 1, 2022. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Instead, ask yourself what you’ve learned and consider it a blessing you had 365 days to learn it. Here’s to 365 more. {Clinck}. Cheers.

3) Start now. If 2022 didn’t meet your expectations, then begin again right where you are – not sitting there wishing it were different. I didn’t lose the 20 pounds I had hoped to lose. BUT, I didn’t gain 20 pounds either (unlike 2021), so there’s that.

4)This is YOUR journey, not anyone else’s. Comparing yourself to others is pointless and a great way to put yourself in a shitty mood. Just do you, Boo. Forget everyone else. You aren’t on their timeline.

5)The time is now. It is never too late to go for whatever makes you happy. Go to Paris. Buy the perfume. Start that class. Build that home. Buy your first rental property. Start investing in Crypto. I don’t know what floats your boat, but I know this…boats are meant to sail, not stay docked.

6)Look through the windshield, not at the rearview mirror. The past is over. Get up. Dust off. Move on.

7) Settle for nothing less than unconditional love. Of course, everyone needs to grow and develop and be better humans. But someone out there will love you for who you are. Unless you’re as asshole. Then, well, change that first. K?

8)Celebrate the small wins. Be proud of every accomplishment you achieved this year, no matter how insignificant. I could easily dwell on the four items I did not get to check off my 2022 bucket list, but I overachieved in some areas – like seeing eleven covered bridges instead of merely four. Focus on what did go well, not what didn’t.

9)Hold on. It’s out there. Whatever you missed in 2022, it’s out there for you. True love? Yes. First home? Yes. Chocolate cake with zero calories? Um. Okay. Maybe not, but you get my point.

And with that, my friends, I leave you with the last song of the year. I love this song. It’s one of those songs that I could listen to on repeat all day long and be just fine. But, it’s best served on a dirt road in Webster County. Until you can get there, though, have a listen today. (And Chris Stapleton is sexy AF, so there’s that.)

Remember – my YouTube channel starts in January – and this will be exciting since I have no idea what I’m doing and a ten-year-old is my executive producer. But, nonetheless, it will be fun. And his allowance will be a tax-deductible business expense. Win!

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Changing With The Times

Good day, dear reader. As we see 2022 come to a close, I am reminded of all I’ve gained and lost over the last year. The end of a year always begets retrospection, and this year is no different. I mean, is your life today what you pictured a year ago? Mine isn’t. Not even close.

I’ve been looking back on past posts, and while I started the year with a ‘theme’ or plan, it never seemed to come together nicely. As a result, I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing and in doing so, I’ve felt the pull of a master agenda for the coming year. I believe I can sum it up in one word:

Intention.

Intention in everything, not just in writing, but in so many aspects of my life: Spirituality, relationships, finances, food & beverage choices, and most of all, time. My days of engaging in half-hearted, soul-sucking endeavors are coming to a close – as much as possible when you have bills to pay. You will see some changes as we move through the year.

Photo Ccredit: https://shelleyflett.com/intention-action-impact/

First, I will be posting here less often. If I have nothing to say, I will not write for the sake of writing. Engagement may go down. I’m okay with that.

Secondly, I’m taking my son’s advice and starting a podcast or a YouTube channel. I don’t know how this will play out exactly – yet. But, I recently purchased the domain http://www.myagilelife.org where I want to demonstrate how we can use the Agile project management methodology in our day-to-day living. If I think about it, I’ve been doing this my entire life – I just never realized what it was until I was forced to learn Agile Methodology for work. When I started learning about Agile and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) I remember thinking, “Holy shit. That’s basically been the last decade of my life.” In other words, Agile and MVP just seemed like the normal thing to do. I struggle to understand why anyone just can’t wrap their brain around the Agile method when I work on projects with them. I mean, for God’s sake, it’s literally JUST DO SOMETHING in fancy form. I’ve started businesses with $10 in the bank. I’ve moved into houses with, literally, a bed, one towel, and a saucepan. I’ve sold everything to move across country. I’ve been so broke only to learn how creative a cook I can be. (Beans can be fancy. Prove me wrong.)

So, at the moment, my MVP is the domain name. Gotta start somewhere. My kiddo (my audio/video editor) and I will start to plan out the year. Then, I guess, we record. I don’t know. I hope that’s how it works.

So, tonight, dear reader, I’m signing off on 2022 with a song that is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. So, grab a drink. Settle in. And have yourself a listen.

Four Inspiring Points About Rest

Good evening, Dear Reader! We are just weeks away from one of the biggest holidays of the year here in the United States, and I wonder just how badly my kiddo is going to take it when he sees that he got pajamas for Christmas. Every year he gets pajamas. You’d think he’d learn to feign excitement. We’ll see, won’t we? 

What a nutty week. Last night I dreamed I was on this long-term camping trip with my family. Both my father and brother were there, and we were traveling across the country in a mini-van, pulling a pop-up camper. It was as horrible as you can imagine, but it was good to see them both. I often wonder what it means when those who have passed on come to visit us in our dreams. My witchy friends would say one thing, my Christian friends another. It doesn’t really matter. It was nice to see them.

This full moon energy has gotten me all jacked up. It has a melancholy, yet calming, feel to it. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. This energy, coupled with some tough decisions, had me on the sofa for most of the weekend. I stayed under a heavy hand-made quilt, submerged in movies with strong female leads like Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts and Wild with Reese Witherspoon (both true stories, both great movies, both better as books). But, I did accomplish one thing on my list – to clear out and scrub my refrigerator. As my friend, Triesa, would say “Simply making a plan is a ‘goal’ in my book.” So, Triesa, if you are reading this – I overachieved because I actually did the thing.

I used to apologize for resting. I would scold myself into submission and force myself to get up and be productive. I don’t think anyone who knows me can call me lazy. I’m not slothful by nature but it’s not because I’m just some overzealous energetic woman. Nope. Truth be told…it’s much deeper than that. If you, like me, find it hard to justify doing nothing at all, then I’ve got some points to share with you and they’re a little hard to swallow. 

So, grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s talk about rest and try to swallow anyway.

1) You don’t need permission. I used to think I only deserved rest when I had earned it. I worked six days a week for six months straight; I needed a day off. I worked a twelve-hour day yesterday; I’m coming in thirty minutes later tomorrow. No. None of that is normal, and none of it requires justification. If you need rest, then rest. I have a friend who works in HR and he tells me all the time “Mental health days are sick days in my book.” (He shall remain nameless. I don’t want to get him fired.) If you still think you need permission to rest the HR Guy, literally, just gave it to you. (I still don’t think you need permission, but whatevs).

2) Find balance. Here’s the thing about balance no one ever tells you: It’s not ever 50/50. What one considers ‘balance’ another might find excessive. For example, I work 50 hours a week…and rest on Sundays. I power through Saturdays with a part-time side hustle, then run errands and do the laundry + crap, but on Sundays, I keep my body bra-free and I rest. Usually curled up with a book and some wine. I start at noon. You might think that not enough rest. You do you, Boo. My body tells me when I need the rest – like last weekend – and I listen. This leads me to…

3) Be body aware. Some of us are so out of touch with our bodies we never stop because we don’t think we need to. But, my years as a massage therapist taught me this: If you don’t listen to your body…your body will take over and get you. Stress lowers your immune system. Bad food choices wreak havoc on your body systems. Drinking alcohol puts a strain on your liver, which is the garbage disposal of the body. If your garbage disposal isn’t working well, it can’t dispose of the garbage (I know, right!?! Rocket science.) If you aren’t listening to your body, I promise you, it will get your attention – much like a hostile attention-seeking teenager. And that’s never good.

4) Don’t fear the silence. Did you know that staying hyper-busy is a response to trauma? I had a co-worker tell me this twenty years ago, and I thought she was coo-coo. Enter 2021 and trauma-informed training. I took the training course so I could help my massage clients. I had no idea I’d learn so much about myself. If you need more proof, read The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. Anyway, the point is, some of us stay busy because, in the silence, is where the ‘shit happens’. We don’t want shit to happen, so we avoid opportunities to address it. Don’t do that. Find a trusted friend, a therapist, or both, and find a healthy way to process it. Burying emotional pain is a plan…but not a good one.

Tonight’s post is short and poignant, Dear Reader. Mostly because I want a nap and then I want to gather some firewood. I’ve decided to burn all of my old journals – another blog, another time – and under tonight’s moon feels like the perfect time. As blasphemous as it sounds, I never feel as close to God as I do under a full moon. I may be a Gnostic. Yikes.

Also, here’s something: My friend, Mandy, recently told me that it feels like I’m speaking directly to her when I write some of these things. I promise you, I am not. I don’t call this my ‘Creepy Online Diary’ for nothin’. But, if what I write resonates with you, helps you, pisses you off, makes you think, or inspires you, then great. I’ll take that as a win (another ‘Triesa-ism’). I’m glad all my money spent in therapy is paying off somehow. (You’re welcome). I believe we go through trials and tribulations so that we can come out the other side stronger – forged by fire, you might say – and then we should help others based on what we’ve learned. I want to end the year believing I’ve helped you. So there.

That said, here’s your song. I’m going to warn you though…it’s not super touchy-feely so if you are looking for music to dance to, this ain’t it. This song by Trevor Hall came to me during a yin yoga class over a year ago taught by the beautiful and talented Carla, and it, along with some hip-opening stretches – made me bawl like a baby. You should find a quiet spot and something warm to drink before you click that song link. Here’s a Hot Toddy recipe. I’m not saying don’t click the link to the song. You should definitely click the link.

PS…If you liked this, feel free to share it. I don’t mind. In fact, I love it when you share. It makes me feel validated 🙂 I’m a real-life case study in dopamine highs.

Four Incredibly Easy Ways To Change Your Brain

Good evening, Dear Reader! The end of the week snuck up on me! I was on vacation and didn’t post last week. I know you were sad. Chin up, Buttercup; I’m back. I was in Florida and now I’m not. {Pouts}. But, I know y’all need a weather update from Missouri, so I’ll make it quick: It’s cold.

Moving on.

I was reading a post I wrote this time last year (go back and read it) and thought to myself: Wow. How so spectacularly…awful. How you have kept with me all these months is beyond me. But, thank you, nonetheless. It means a lot to me. And I feel I’ve gotten better. Maybe? A bit?

And that’s where I want to start today – at the beginning – of this year of change. When I wrote this post on December 1, 2021, I had no real idea how making itty-bitty small changes (redundant, much?) would impact my life. But, as I’ve read in this book – and heard in this Ted Talk – it is the sum of small, consistent daily changes that are the foundation for life-changing experiences.

So, grab that drink. Settle in. Let’s review a few shifts in perspective and how they’ve helped me heal from hurtful experiences over the last twelve months. Maybe they will help you, too.

1) Have an attitude of gratitude. Listen up. This isn’t airy-fairy voo-doo. It’s science. Neuroscience, to be exact. You can watch this video to learn more. So, I decided to try it. Each morning for a year (on most days), I’ve opened my eyes and listed – out loud – three things I’m grateful for before my feet hit the floor. Essentially, if my brain were a word cloud, you’d most likely see this: 

I’m grateful for so much, but those big things surfaced most of the time. Additionally, I started asking my kiddo and others, “What was your ‘high’ today?” Thinking about a positive experience that has happened in the past 24 hours forces your brain to relive it. This activity changes your neuropathways, and you seek out the positive more often. I warn you, though. There is a downside. You’ll start to notice how hostile and negative some folks are, which can be a bit hard to take. I said Adios to more than one of them this year.

2) Stop and listen to yourself. How often do you say, “I hate….”, “You know what makes me angry?…”, “I am so pissed about…” etc. etc. I used to do this a lot and still have my days. I’m peri-menopausal. Sometimes life is shit. BUT…I do it less often. In the book The Four Agreements, the author tells us to ‘be impeccable with your word’ and this falls in line with that sentiment. Don’t think this applies to you? Hmmm. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable for negativity if that helps point it out. Complaining about things you can’t control, always finding a reason to be mad about something or another, and being a general shithead isn’t helping you.

3) Watch what you put in your head. Clutter is only sometimes physical items lying around. It’s what you read, what you watch, and what you listen to. It can also be what you allow others to do and say in your presence. Put your mind on a diet. Guard your mind against negative news regularly, take inventory of the shows you watch, and – brace yourself – edit your music queue. Yikes. I love true crime, but I didn’t watch much this year, and I rationed my servings of true crime podcasts. In November 2021, Spotify was kind enough to give me an entire playlist of my most listened-to songs that year. Wow. No wonder I was depressed and angry. I wrote about it here, and I kept my promise to myself: No sad songs for twelve months. (I had a few relapses. Who doesn’t, right?) And yet…here we are. So much better off. 

4) Realize the Universe has your back. I recently read a meme that stated if you say this phrase each morning, you’ll see drastic changes: “In the next 24 hours, the life of my dreams will emerge”. I said, “What’s to lose? I’m gonna try that.” (Stick with me while I set the scene…) I’ve been mumbling this phrase each morning over coffee for a week. Here’s what has happened in a mere seven days: I was surprised by a nice check from my insurance company, along with a note stating I had overpaid…last December. Yesterday, at Goodwill, I saw a picture I loved, but I wanted to avoid paying $19.99 for it (It’s Goodwill, for God’s sake. You’d think that they would give me free shit occasionally for all the free shit I’ve given them, right? Anywho…wait for it.) I went back today. I had told myself if it was still there, it must be fate, and I’d go ahead and get it. As I walked in, I whispered, “God is in the details, right?” I immediately said, “Dummy. God has better things to do than worry about your picture thingy.” (Let’s just glaze over the indisputable fact that I had a real conversation with myself, shall we?). So, I got inside and headed straight to the back…and to my dismay…there it was. I grabbed it and headed to the cashier, who rang me up and said, “$2.07”Huh? I asked how that was possible when it was marked $19.99, to which he said “Um, {shrug} I see $1.99 so I’m just gonna go with that.” (Sometimes Gen Z is alright, you know?) When I got back in the car, I heard in my head (I shit you not) “What was that about me not caring about the details of your life?” Sigh. (The entire ‘voices in my head thing’ needs to be addressed, but not today.) My point? Your life is going to drastically improve – if you believe it will. The Universe cares about the details and your dreams, Dear Reader. I mean it.

Well, I’m out of words so, here’s your song. There is always a reason to find a reason to smile. Keep swimming. This song kicked off my newly started Spotify Good Vibes 2023 playlist this week. If you want to listen to my most listened-to songs of 2022, go ahead. Lots of Taylor Swift, though. You were warned.

And, if you are still reading and thinking, “Holy shit, this is good stuff!” please share it on all the social things.