Reflections – The Ashlee Craft Show – Episode 034 – Poetry

Episode 034! I read a poem titled “Reflections” from my poetry book “Reflections in the Green Triangle”.

REFLECTIONS IN THE GREEN TRIANGLE BOOK

Reflections

reflecting upon the silver bar sidewalks & the misty moonlit jaunt thru the breeze double rainbow like a pot of gold in the sky / illuminations / reflecting on windows of trucks & on the sunglasses of passerby / on the Sunday / in the rain

driving thru the puddles / rustling of tires against water sprinkling it upwards showing showering rainstorm reflections

looking in the foggy mirror & at everything mistaken & distorted by the silver / like a whole other world hidden behind glass / distorted in the golden gaze rectified in my precision & by my passion / rejuvenated & suddenly understanding who I was the entire time

down many mistaken roads I walked & many mistaken lies I spoke / many sights of sorrow & many things of beauty filled my vision / down many darkened alleyways filled with soot I trod & many days it just never dawned upon me that I what I’d yearned for & what I’d sought had been there all along / I just had never seen them

I thought what I’d been looking for was something that could be bought / so I looked & looked in all the windows to every store but I kept finding myself wanting more & more / I thought what I’d searched for was far away from me & that by leaving this place, I could be free / so I ran away so I wouldn’t be alone only to find that I’d always been home / I thought what I needed was the love in somebody’s heart & that by finding that love, I’d make a start / so I searched for the one I was looking to find only to see I’d been there the whole time / all that time, I was only too blind to see as I looked & searched & cried & yearned only to find that all along, I’d been exactly where I needed to be

it hadn’t been money or distance or love that I’d needed / I didn’t need to go anywhere or buy anything or find someone to love me / I just needed to see the beauty within me

& all the loneliness turned to friendship, all the dark into light, & suddenly I began seeing the world with my own eyes / my own eyes looking at my own destiny / my own life / now I was free

I had been deaf / to the reflections / of the music / rhythm beating beating beating beating onwards / onwards / into the next reflection

2018 Week 6: Accountability Update

Alpacas at Alpaca Magic USA in Homosassa Springs, FL
Week 6 was a really good week! I got a lot done & did some great, fun things!
  1. Made 1 YouTube video (Episode 033 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
  2. Downloaded 5 new fonts from the awesome Google Fonts.
  3. Faxed off IRS letter to update EIN with new company name!
  4. Downloaded numerous Kindle eBooks on the programming language Python so I can start learning it.
  5. Networked with 14 new people.
  6. Began working on a video about my personal “Mission Statement”.
  7. Installed DaVinci Resolve video editing software on my computer.
  8. Made post on here about interviewing people from my blog & received a lot of responses! Began writing interview questions for some of the people.
  9. Organized more of my Google Drive, which will ultimately make all my files easier to find.
  10. Wrote & published 2 blog posts.
  11. Had revelation about WHAT DO I REALLY WANT? (I wrote about this revelation here http://www.ashleecraft.com/personal-evolution/5-beautiful-rare-things-want-feel-2018/)
  12. Drew 3 new designs, which I will put on products in my online store once I edit them.
  13. Used CoSchedule’s Headline Anaylzer tool for the first time & was impressed by it.
  14. Re-vamped my Evernote to-do list to make it more practical & easier to use.
  15. Saw Billy Joel in concert!
  16. Went to Alpaca Magic USA, a local alpaca farm in Homosassa Springs, FL. Got to feed & pet alpacas, & got great footage for a YouTube video about alpacas!
  17. Began writing my 50 Adorable Moose Facts book, & got about half of it done.
  18. Felt like I lived with passion more of the days this week than not. I did a lot of amazing, fun things! My anxiety bothered me for a few days & on those days I had no motivation to do anything. But I took it easier when I needed to & worked through it.
  19. Slacking on my veggie-munching goals. I’m lazy when it comes to eating vegetables. So I bought mini veggie cups of beets & three-bean salad, as well as some fruit squeeze pouches, so I have no excuses. Ate sugar compulsively two days in the past week. Still not exercising as much as I wanted to.
  20. Began reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It” by Kamal Ravikant & “I Will Follow You: A Poetry Novel” by C. J. Robinson. Finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”.

5 BEAUTIFUL RARE THINGS I WANT TO FEEL IN 2018

5 Beautiful Rare Things I Want to Feel in 2018
A complete overhaul. A revelation while driving. That all this time, I’ve been focusing on the wrong things. Or at least, the wrong aspects of the right things. I’ve been trying to follow the feelings I’m “supposed” to want to follow. The things I thought I wanted to follow. Thought were the markers of being a “success”.
All along, those things never gave me a compelling enough “WHY”. I thought they did. “But that will be good when that happens!” I kept telling myself. But it was never enough. That’s where I’m still where I am. Then while driving, I had sudden clarity in what I really should be seeking. How I really wanted to feel. Why I was really doing any of this. That the things I wanted didn’t have to mean the same things to me as they did other people.
These are the hidden-treasure feelings that matter the most to me this year.
  1. OPEN AUTHENTICITY.

    I want to stop hiding. I always hide. I look at the floor instead of at people. I hide behind my hair. Invisibility. I want to be seen but I also find it uncomfortable. I put on a cliche face & appear open but there’s a thick glass wall between me & everyone else. I’m tired of wearing masks. I’m tired of not being as colorful, as bold, as cool, as vibrant, as alive as I can be. I go out but I don’t want anyone to see me even though deep down, I crave being seen. I want people to know me. There’s nowhere left to hide. I want to be so authentic that when other people see me it makes them feel braver. I want to give them permission to shine like the brightest star too. I want to stop only posting manufactured, manicured posts to social media. I want to stop showing only the “perfect” things. I want to share what it’s really like. I want people to see who I really am. Even if they don’t always like it. I’m tired of playing small. It’s bullshit. I’m every color of the freaking rainbow, & I’m going to stop being afraid of showing it.

  2. MASTER OF MY WORLD.

    I want to be the master of my every moment. The master of my universe. To be the one shaping my world, designing & molding & manifesting exactly what I want. I’m tired of my subconscious fears & anxieties & limiting beliefs controlling what happens. They don’t know how to drive. I’m taking the wheel back from them. Taking away their licenses. My car, my rules. I want to create the kind of life for myself that I deserve. In sync with the Big Universe out there, co-creator & collaborative artist & lover. To both be the one in control, & the one creating & tapping into the flow that I effortlessly skate along. To let that flow guide me. To be able to create real magic for myself. To love myself, truly & deeply & completely. Like we did when we were children. Before we learned how to hate ourselves.

  3. HUGE POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

    I want to be a really, really kind person. I want to be used as a force of immense good in this world. I want kindness to be the way I change the world for the better. I want to be the kind of person who gives huge tips at restaurants. The kind of person who shows up with a car filled with dog food & cat litter at the animal shelter. The kind of person who shows up & writes a huge check for a local charity. Who makes care packages for the homeless & handmade cards for lonely in the hospital. Who creates places & opportunities that empower other people. To do my part of throwing the starfish back in the ocean.

  4. LIFE REALLY IS MY PLAYGROUND.

    Life is supposed to be fun. I get caught up in the stress & boredom we’re conditioned to feel as adults. I fall down onto what they tell me adulthood is supposed to feel like. The drudge. The dreaded Mondays. No more time to play & breathe & explore. But they’re all wrong. Why was dancing invented if we were all supposed to be so serious most of the time? Why does it feel so good to be happy if we’re supposed to despise at least 33% of our lives? I want to lean back in the swing & look at the pure blue sky. I want to lie on my back in the meadow & see the shapes of dinosaurs & flamingos in the clouds. I want to sit at the end of the ocean & build a moat to protect the sandcastle, & I want to start each day with dancing. It doesn’t take any courage to hate Mondays or to be dragged into the rat race, but it does take courage to play.

  5. COMPLETE FREEDOM TO LIVE THE WAY I WANT TO.

    I started the year focused on becoming a millionaire. As if that was the be all, end all. But it never was enough to keep me focused. Something was always missing. I was afraid. If I wanted to succeed, I had to make my goal about HOW I WANTED TO FEEL & not just how much money’s in the bank. That’s what the journey is actually about. I want to know what it’s like to live my life exactly the way I want to. Because if you don’t have a foundation, where’s your hustle? Where’s your hunger to push through & make something happen if you become lazy in success? I want to build a life that’s mine & on my terms. Complete, beautiful freedom. The concept of “millionaire” is part of that, but not all. & “millionaire” doesn’t (won’t) feel the same to me as it does to numerous unhappy others. Money is amazing, but it alone isn’t solid enough without a good foundation under it. That foundation is the underlying lifestyle & story I’m going to design for myself. Otherwise you end up a stressed, cynical millionaire. & that’s not what I want to be.

    I want to be free. What do I want my life to look like? What would my life look like in a year if I loved myself truly & deeply? How would I dress? What hairstyle would I have? How would I make money? Where would I live? How would I spend my time? It’s my responsibility to build the life I want for myself. Living in complete freedom is living like you love yourself completely, truly, & deeply. I want to make my life biggest, most beautiful art project.

I know I deserve better than what I have now. The road map is in my hands. I breathe out, I breathe in. I can’t exactly put it into words yet, but I know where I’m heading now.

2018 Week 5: Accountability Update

The weather this week made me more tired for a few days, but I still got a lot done & I made sure I took time to rest & take care of myself.

  1. Published 1 blog post.
  2. Drew 12 coloring pages for my Cute Farm Animals coloring book.
  3. Began gathering facts for upcoming “50 Adorable Moose Facts” book.
  4. Made 41 slideshows for the Udemy course I’m making based on my “101 Ways to Love Yourself” book. Done making all 102 slideshows for the course! Next step is editing them.
  5. Wrote 4,085 words in the novel I just began on this week.
  6. Finished coloring two of my new designs (“Llama Pug” & “Owl Riding a Magical Unicorn”).
  7. Put 2 new designs of t-shirts, poster, etc in my online store.
  8. Read business articles & brainstormed.
  9. Researched & picked a programming language to learn. I chose the language Python because from what I can see it’s there’s a growing need for it, & it’s the language with the second most job postings on Indeed.
  10. Submitted EIN business name change documents to the IRS to update my EIN with my new company name!
  11. Reset password to my Shutterstock account that I set up years ago so I can submit stock photos.
  12. Researched how to be a voiceover artist, writing tips, cheap college options, how to play the saxophone, selling used clothes, & how to become a life coach.
  13. Finished the Udemy Course “How to Make an iPhone Sticker Pack” (1st Udemy course I’ve ever finished!).
  14. Went to an event at a local technical college about the various degrees & programs they offer there.
  15. Downloaded 5 new fonts from Google Fonts.
  16. Released 1 YouTube video.
  17. Downloaded ebooks on Kindle about learning the programming language Python.
  18. Sent LinkedIn connection request to one new person.
  19. Began working on my “mission statement” YouTube video.
  20. Installed & began using the DaVinci Resolve video editing software!
  21. Eating vegetables is now pretty much a habit, & I crave them a lot more. I didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to. Some days I ate more sugar than I’d like to. But overall, I feel like I’m definitely making progress on my health goals.

How are you doing this week & what are you working on?

2018 Week 4: Accountability Update

Here’s what I accomplished in Week 3 of 2018! It was a great week.

  1. Bought another domain name, which I will be building a website on very soon!
  2. Made 20 slideshows for the Udemy course I am working on (it will be based on my book “101 Ways to Love Yourself“).
  3. Published 3 blog posts (The Seven Levels of WhyMy 2018 Goal List, & Week 3 Accountability Update).
  4. Filmed clips for the first episode of my new YouTube show “Produce Exploration”, which is an educational show about various types of fruits & vegetables, what they taste like, & how to use them. The first episode is about Red Rome Apples, & the video should be up later this week.
  5. Put my 2nd custom jean jacket (“RENEGADE“) in my online shop!
  6. Wrote 1 chapter of the Tarot card definition book I am working on.
  7. Promoted my YouTube videos & original products on websites like Pinterest & Twitter.
  8. Asked another person for a blog interview. She said yes, & I sent her the interview questions.
  9. Networked with 5 new people!
  10. Downloaded DaVinci Resolve video editing software (I haven’t got a chance to use it yet).
  11. Made 2 new illustrations to be used as designs for t-shirts, posters, etc.
  12. Planned a farm animal-themed coloring book.
  13. Drew illustrations for my “The Seven Levels of Why” blog article. I’ve never really illustrated an article of mine before. It was a lot of fun, & I really like the end result.
  14. Recorded the bass guitar for my cover of the Crowded House song “Archer’s Arrows”. I hopefully will finish my cover of the song in the upcoming week.
  15. Put another design of t-shirts & posters on my website.
  16. Published the 10th episode of my podcast.
  17. Made & put out 2 YouTube videos – the 32nd episode of my weekly show, plus one pet video about my pet corydoras catfish.
  18. Finished reading “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. Started reading a book about Superfood snacks.
  19. Bought some of the supplies for the pet tortoise I’ll be getting later in February.
  20. Did excellent on my health goals – exercised almost every day, reduced my added sugar intake significantly, & ate at least five servings of vegetables six days this week!

I feel like I’m gaining a lot of momentum & making a ton of progress! I’m so excited to see how this year unfolds!

The Seven Levels of Why

The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

Why are you doing the thing you’re doing every day?

There are seven levels of “WHY”. If you keep asking yourself, you can get to the bottom of it & find out what REALLY is keeping you going.

I heard about this idea first while reading the article “How to Consistently Act From Your Deepest ‘Why’ and Optimize Your Time” by Benjamin Hardy. In it, he says,

“Think about what it is you want, and ask yourself this simple question:

What about ___________ is important to me?

Just answer the first thing that comes to mind.

Don’t over complicate it.

[…] It’s good to go at least 7-questions deep into this exercise.”

You start asking yourself “WHY?”. The first reason is probably some semi-B.S., superficial reason that’s visible immediately. It’s your initial knee-jerk reaction, which also might be a somewhat canned response.

I’m going to use my personal examples here because I know them the best obviously. But this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.

Why do we do the things we do?

What keeps you going? Why do you keep doing what you’re doing even when it really hurts? What separates the things that hurt but matter from the things that hurt but are bad?

So I went down the seven levels to find out my core reason.

Why did I want to be a millionaire? I asked myself.

Why was being a millionaire important to me?

MILLIONAIRE :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

So I could have financial freedom, of course. Plus all the things “financial freedom” encompassed.

Why was financial freedom important to me?

FINANCIAL FREEDOM :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

Because financial freedom would allow me to spend my time doing things that made me happy. It would give me the freedom to help others. So the obvious “freedom” was the answer.

Why was freedom important to me?

FREEDOM :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

Because freedom would allow me to maximize my happiness. It would allow me to make my life a perfect expression of happiness.

Why was happiness important to me?

HAPPINESS :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

This is when this questionnaire became a little more difficult. Why did I want happiness? I couldn’t put this one in a box so easily. My first reaction was, “Happiness is important because HAPPINESS is important.” I felt like I’d reached the end of the road. How could I go a level deeper?

But I knew there WERE more levels. “Happiness” was too easy of an answer. It wasn’t deep enough.

Okay.

So, why was happiness important to me?

SELF LOVE :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

I suddenly knew. A phrase I came up with months ago came to mind.

Because I know I cannot FULLY love myself until I’m living a life that makes me happy.

Aha! So there WAS an answer to this. But self-love was, in itself, a pretty good answer. Just like happiness had been. But, like happiness, there had to be a deeper answer.

Why was self-love important to me?

I DESERVE IT :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

Because I know I deserve to live my best life. Because it’s my purpose.

Six levels down.

& with sudden clarity, the answer to the seventh came so easily. It was an ineffable feeling of destiny, of KNOWING something without doubt. But put into words, it’s something like this.

Why was living my best life important to me?

WHO I AM :: The Seven Levels of Why :: www.ashleecraft.com

Because it’s WHO I AM. WHO I CAN BE.

My 2018 Goal List

My 2018 Goal List :: A photo by Gareth Harper. unsplash.com/photos/yACpBcInUos
2017 was definitely an outstanding year. I went on my Epic Florida Road Trip. I rode on a plane for the first time (to go to Houston to see Queen in concert). I saw a lot of amazing bands in concert. l produced a lot of creative work & added to my business. I released my first app, & I published 11 books.
But 2018 is going to be THAT MUCH MORE AMAZING.
Because 2017 gave me the tools & the confidence I need to level up even more this year. For me, the theme of 2018 is: “DO DIFFICULT THINGS WELL”. I really want to challenge myself & grow as a person, so I specifically designed these goals to do just that.
Here’s what I have planned for 2018:
  • Become a self-made millionaire. This is my top goal because it will help a lot of my other goals happen. I’m going out there to get the good things that I deserve. I do this because I love myself, & I also love a good challenge.
  • Start eating healthy consistently & exercising daily. Over the past year, I have IMPROVED, but I’m still way behind where I’d like to be as far as healthy habits. I know I could do better. I end up only eating 1-2 servings of vegetables a day. This is due to my “addiction” to processed sugar & non-vegetable foods. I also walk a bit each day, but I can be quite sedentary at times & don’t exercise the recommended 30 minutes a day. Sometimes, I also eat too much sugar. But I want to eat healthier, I know it will help me feel my best & have the most energy, so I’m going to do this.
  • Live with passion every day. Like Tony Robbins talks about. I’m going to make 2018 my happiest year yet. Making sure I’m living with passion & taking time for self-care are habits that will help me do this.
  • Publish more books. This year’s book list includes: my Epic Florida Road Trip book. A photography album of artistic photos of the Tampa Bay area. A seven-zine series of photos I took on my road trip. The second zine in my Flowers series of photography zines. A zine of botanical garden photos. Several poetry books. My essay book, Not a Dime a Dozen. A Tarot card dictionary. Several more books for my Wonderful Wildlife & 50 Adorable Facts animal series. The second book in the Summer Hayes series. More issues of Assemblage.
  • Release my third album of music. I released my second album, “confusion is over”, in 2015. I’ve done some cover songs, but I have not released any more albums or singles since then.
  • Get a pet tortoise & pet crested geckos. I’m currently prepping for a red foot tortoise hatchling right now & I’m doing a ton of research. Tortoises are fascinating & so sweet. I’m really looking forward to adding one to my critter family. Sometime later in the year, I plan on getting some baby crested geckos too.
  • Create & release my first Udemy course. I’m working on a course RIGHT NOW that’s based on my 101 Ways to Love Yourself course. I still have a pretty long way to go on it, but it’s going to be an amazing, comprehensive course. It will have more than 100 videos, many worksheets, podcast versions of each episode, & much more.
  • Go to A LOT more amazing concerts & other awesome places/events. I have some of these activities planned already. I’m making sure I always have something to look forward to doing. I learned in the past year that adding to my “experience library” is something that adds immense value to my life.
  • Release at least two more apps for iOS devices. Last year, I released my “Adorable Fall Stickers” app for iOS devices, & I have a few more apps in the works.
  • Travel to a state I’ve never been to, travel somewhere else in Florida, & travel to another country. This was on the list last year. I did go somewhere else in Florida & to another state, both of which were goals on the previous list. I’m refreshing this goal because I want to do the same thing this year but with different places.
  • Become a certified ethical hacker. Ethical hacking has always fascinated me. If nothing more it will help me educate myself about web security for my own benefit. I bought the Udemy course, & now I just have to DO THE COURSE.
  • Go on another road trip. An RV would be amazing to help me achieve my road trip goals. I would love the feeling of being able to have a mini-home I can take anywhere.
  • Buy an RV. An RV would be amazing to help me achieve my road trip goals, & I would love the feeling of being able to have a mini-home I can take anywhere.
  • Become a life coach. I love helping & coaching other people achieve their goals & live their best lives. I realized that last year, so becoming a life coach is definitely going to be something I pursue in 2018.
  • Direct, produce, write, film, & act in a full-length indie film. This was on last year’s list & I didn’t do it. Which means I HAVE to do it this year. I love film, I love acting, & I think it would be super-awesome to actually make my own film. I’ve completed four short films, but I’m taking the bull by the horns this time & making a feature-length film.
  • Expand my network & make genuine friends. Everybody can benefit from this, & it’s something I definitely need to do. It’s also outside of my current comfort zone, so you know what that means? I have to do it to grow.
  • Get all the domains I have purchased but never made websites out of made into websites & making money for me. I currently own 10 or 11 domains, & I’m only using three of them. I’ve owned some of the domains for years & still haven’t made them public. This is embarrassing. They’re sitting around costing me money & no one can see them. So VERY SOON, all these sites are going to be up & running, & I’m going to post links to them on this blog when I do!
  • Become a fashion designer & start selling my first original clothing design. I have some great designs that I will release over the next few months. I’m so excited about seeing them when they’re done. I’ll be even more thrilled to be able to wear them myself, & being able to share them with others.
  • Walk a marathon. Last year, I walked a 5k. I need to challenge myself physically. I don’t enjoy running, but I did want a goal that was out of my (current) league, so I chose this. I know it will require a lot of training, but I’m ready to train. This will also help me achieve my goal of making 2018 my healthiest year yet.
  • Launch several products that I have in the works. Many of these are things I’ve wanted to do for forever. It’s time I made them something you can buy!
  • Complete all the online courses I have purchased. I bought them, & like my domains, they can’t benefit me until I use them.
  • Read 75 books. In 2016, I read almost no books. In 2017, I read 57 books. My goal for 2018 is 75 books. Another stretch goal, but I’m going to do my best! Besides, for a book-lover like me, the idea of reading 75 books & gaining all that knowledge makes me drool.
  • Interview more people for my blog. I love doing this, & I have a few people slated for this right now. It’s so much fun, I love the value I’m able to provide whomever I’m interviewing, & I always learn a ton.
  • Grow my online store. I have so many products, product ideas, & new designs that I can’t wait to show you!
  • Become more of a minimalist. I made progress here in the last year (it was on the 2017 list too) but I have a lot more progress to make. To echo what I said in my 2017 blurb about it,

    “This means excluding things – physical things, mental things, wasted time, unhappiness – to make more room for the things that really do feel good. I’m not trying to have as few things as possible, but as many things that make me happy with as few unnecessary things as possible. I really like this quote from this article I was reading earlier, titled Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi. ‘Everything in my life become my favorite thing.’ I want to live my life like that. “

  • Become a contributor to the Entrepreneur Magazine website. They’re one of my favorite websites. It would be an honor to be considered “good enough” to be a contributor. This will require me to improve & hone my writing skills, so it’s a good challenge.
  • Partner up with some of my favorite brands & companies in a way which benefits us both. With these new products & new ideas that I will launch in 2018, I’m going to add a LOT of value to the brands I partner up with.
You can stay updated on these projects & follow me on my favorite platforms with these links: