2018 WEEK 14: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of April 1 – 7 to make 2018 awesome.

  1. Published 3 blog posts.
  2. Released 2 YouTube videos (Episode 041 of The Ashlee Craft Show & released my cover of Crowded House’s song ‘Archer’s Arrows’).
  3. Began editing the book I wrote last year about my Epic Florida Road Trip!
  4. Spent a lot more time sorting stuff in my house & garage to work on becoming more of a minimalist.
  5. Made 6 posts on Instagram.
  6. Reached out to someone successful in acting to ask for advice about agents, jobs, etc.
  7. Reached out to a company about them carrying the shorts I designed.
  8. Uploaded my new song Run Away to Soundcloud!
  9. Submitted my song Run Away to one website with the possibility of it being featured on their website.
  10. Drew 10 illustrations (nine of which are for a book I’m doing!) & 1 design.
  11. Wrote 1 poem.
  12. Put products with my Blobfish design on them on on Society6 Shop!
  13. Wrote 1 short story!
  14. Signed up for the Yes Supply Facebook group for female entrepreneurs.
  15. Asked five successful entrepreneurs that I respect immensely what their #1 tip was for how to get from obscurity to success & two replied!
  16. Created & set up my page on Patreon!

2018 WEEK 13: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of March 25 – 31 to make 2018 AWESOME.

Week 13 was very productive! I spent a ton of time cleaning & going through stuff in my garage & house, & I finally made the demo version of the shorts (that I put off for one year) & released the song I’ve been working on for two years!

  1. Released “Run Away”, the song I’ve been working on for two years on iTunes, Amazon, & other digital distributors!
  2. FINALLY made the demo version of my first-ever piece of clothing I designed, so I can begin on the next steps of actually getting it produced! I put this off for more than a year, so it feels great to have it done!
  3. Got rid of a ton more stuff I didn’t need. Sorted through 6 boxes of my stuff & only kept three boxes.
  4. Researched best websites to find acting jobs on & signed up with Actors Access.
  5. Edited more of the images to be used in my Udemy course!
  6. Drew 1 illustration & 4 designs!
  7. Made 3 Instagram posts.
  8. Wrote 1 poem.
  9. Did research on how to become a session musician.
  10. Published 4 blog posts!
  11. Did not do well on my eating healthy goals, but I did excellent on the exercise goals.
  12. Looked into some clothing items I’d like to get in order to help me look more like myself/my vision for myself.
  13. Published 3 YouTube videos.
  14. Signed up to be a brand ambassador for a sunglasses company that I like. Was approved!
  15. Looked into requirements for putting a course on Udemy just to make sure I do everything right while creating my first course!

2018 WEEK 9: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

Week 9 was a pretty good week, & I was able to tie up some ends that had been loose for a while.
  1. Published my Adorable Farm Animals coloring book on Amazon!
  2. Finished mixing the song I woke up with in my mind 2+ years ago, so after a few very small tweaks it will be ready to be released!
  3. Finished mixing my cover of Archer’s Arrows by Crowded House. I’ll be putting it up on YouTube as soon as I make two small adjustments.
  4. Published 1 YouTube video (The Ashlee Craft Show, Episode 036)
  5. Almost ready to officially launch one of my owl websites due to the progress I made on it this week.
  6. Made 7 Instagram posts.
  7. Spent a LOT of time cleaning & sorting through all the junk in my garage & throwing out stuff that doesn’t resonate with me anymore. Also hung up more clothes in my closet so they’re not just sitting around on the chair in my room.
  8. Wrote 3,000 words in the current novel I’m working on.
  9. Edited 51 Udemy slideshows for the course I’m making based on my 101 Ways to Love Yourself book. This is the first round of edits on the slideshows where I’m making all the quote images, doing a little text editing, & fixing some formatting.
  10. Practiced guitar 6 nights.
  11. Rode 2 miles on the exercise bike. Walked a total of 7.63 miles on the treadmill. Bought a lot more vegetables & fruits & worked on integrating them into my meals. Sorted most of my pantry & got rid of sugary foods that I don’t ACTUALLY want to eat.
  12. Published 2 blog posts.
  13. Figured out where I will be getting the base shorts for my shorts design, which will be the first piece of clothing I’ve designed. This means that soon, I’ll actually have some demo versions ready!
  14. Drew 2 new designs & 2 illustrations. Got one of my designs I did last year ready to be on posters & t-shirts, so those will be available soon!
  15. Sent interview questions to 2 more people.
  16. Read lots of high-level & educational materials, as well as did a variety of marketing things. Bought more craft supplies for my business.
  17. Wrote 1 poem.
  18. Published 2 podcasts.
  19. Read more of The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton & more of Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone.
  20. Doing better on my morning routine. I slacked for a while after the beginning of January was over but now I’ve started consistently writing five goals down each morning after I’ve woken up & meditated. My morning routine still isn’t where I’d like it to be, but it’s definitely better.

2018 Week 7: Accountability Update

White windows

Week 7 was a good week! I feel like in some ways, I could have achieved more, but I set up a lot of things I’ll be able to finish achieving in Week 8.
 
  1. Published 1 YouTube video (Episode 034 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
  2. Downloaded video clips for my mission statement video that I am working on.
  3. Wrote 10 poems.
  4. Drew 8 farm animal coloring pages for the coloring book that I am working on. Almost done with this book!
  5. Started seriously practicing & studying guitar again. I slacked off on it for a while but I missed it & I want to become really, really good at playing guitar.
  6. Made 5 Instagram posts, several of which promoted specific products of mine.
  7. Published 1 blog post.
  8. Spent a few hours sorting my Google Drive to help me organize & find my files better.
  9. Got a new haircut that makes me look like the person I want to become.
  10. Filmed 50% of a video about my new haircut.
  11. Worked on editing & creating the images for 1 of the blog interviews I am working on.
  12. Made 2 new pages on my website, including one which includes a sortable list of the interviews I have conducted.
  13. Got clearer about who I want to become. Researched a few things in this area.
  14. Networked with 1 new person.
  15. Decided to get pet crested geckos after doing a lot of research.
  16. Saw The Beach Boys in concert!
  17. Began reading “Be Obsessed or Be Average” by Grant Cardone & “Willpower Won’t Work” by Benjamin Hardy. Finished reading “I Will Follow You: A Poetry Novel” by C. J. Robinson.
  18. Slacked off on eating vegetables & on exercise. I am disappointed in this, because I want to be exceptionally healthy. I know I won’t achieve that if I don’t make healthy eating & exercise a consistent habit. I created some plans on how I can change my environment to eliminate my excuses.
  19. I felt like I lost some momentum at the beginning of the week, but I regained the momentum towards the end of the week & had a great weekend.

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 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!

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:

2018 Week 2: Accountability Update

What I did in Week Two of 2018.

I’m doing a weekly set of posts where I outline what things I did this week to get closer to achieving all my goals this year & 10X my life. Read my post, “I’m Going to Become a Millionaire in 2018” to find out WHY I’m doing this.

Week 2 of 2018 was a pretty good week! I know I got a lot done, but I still found myself feeling like I didn’t do enough on some of the days. When I wrote it out & looked back at it, it helped me realize just how much I did get done.

Here’s what I achieved in Week 2:

  1. Made 20 slideshows (out of 102 total!) to be used in my Udemy course.
  2. Wrote & published 2 blog posts.
  3. Put 1st stock photo up for sale in my online store.
  4. Contacted someone I’ve wanted to interview for my blog for a long time. She agreed to be interviewed! I sent her the questions.
  5. Set up IFTTT (ifttt.com) to help me automatically post Instagram images to Pinterest & tweet them as native photos on Twitter instead of the bland Instagram link.
  6. Utilized Twitter, my blog, & Facebook to cross-promote new books I published at the end of 2017 & YouTube videos.
  7. Monetized YouTube videos I published before being approved for monetization when I saw they weren’t monetized yet.
  8. Filmed some clips for upcoming YouTube videos. Began working on another video using these clips.
  9. Uploaded 2 episodes of my podcast to iTunes.
  10. Researched & picked out a good video editing software so I can make better YouTube videos
  11. Updated my websites with new books I published at the end of 2017.
  12. Published 1 YouTube video (Episode 030 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
  13. Recorded most of the tracks for the cover version I’m doing of the Crowded House song “Archer’s Arrows”. When I’m done recording, I will make a video including my cover of the song & upload that to YouTube.
  14. Took down Christmas/winter holiday products from my online stores in order to keep online store updated with current products.
  15. Doing okay with health goals. I DID find myself addictively reaching for sugar as a comfort food numerous times, but I tried to balance that out with eating more vegetables. I still need to eat more vegetables though. Also, I only met the bare minimum of my exercise goals. This week I’m getting a pedometer, so my weekly step count will be reported here each week too. That will motivate me to meet my exercise goals.
  16. Doing pretty well with my “live with passion” goal & more often than not, I feel good emotionally. I’m working on changing my reactions when I start feeling low in order to put myself back in the mood I need to be in.
  17. Cleaned some of my house & threw away clutter to help me meet my goal of only owning things I love.

Hope everyone else is having an amazing week too!

2017 In Review: I’m On My Way

2017 in Review: I'm On My Way

At the beginning, I was terrified. Stressed more than anything, but still terrified. The world around me was closing in, claustrophobic. There was no space, no time, no energy to breathe. “If I can just get through this…” I kept telling myself. I made myself trudge there every day even when I didn’t want to. I had to. I kept counting off the days until I would be free again. I felt like breaking down was as imminent as a heartbeat.

 

The dams were open. I had just come out of the whirlpool with the new knowledge that what I had been seeking HAD NOT BEEN THERE. I had searched for it, implored that it show up, talked to them, tried to open up, felt at home, lost it, had to remain there. For years & years, the thing that haunted me had been my own deep isolation, & through trying to find that connection I learned it had never been what I’d been looking for. I finally had the experience, but it was worth much less than the price of admission.

 

I watched as people around me changed. I drew back, quiet, the recluse in the hall. I watched them branch out & make new connections. Their connections made me jealous, sad, outcast at first. “WHY NOT ME?” I cried to the broken windowpanes. But through the months & the journey, I realized I liked solitude & connection, but only if connection was genuine, & if it was authentically valuable to me. I would hate to have friends like she has. What a change from before, when even the most deadbeat of friends would have been welcomed with open arms!

 

But I connected with things differently. I saw them differently, felt them differently. I felt the visceral satisfaction in the lighting when it was just the right way. In the photographs I saw. In the music that played over crackling speakers on vinyl. In the way it smelled in the car when the sky was just clearing from rain & that song came on the radio & I plugged into beautiful, indescribable things. I still embraced the Alien I had discovered last December, but it stopped being so self-loathing, & I learned to love it & trust it.

 

I realized I didn’t have to be like anybody else.

 

& despite my terror that 2017 was going to be bland & meaningless, mixed with my hope that it would be the year things finally began, I started finding my way.

 

I stopped doubting the way I felt about the inherent things inside me, feelings I’d carried since birth. I stopped putting on their brown-lensed goggles that made the world look dark & muddy & hopeless. My real eyes saw colors other people could not understand, & different things had meaning to me than what they found valuable. I got my sustenance from the images inside & outside of my mind, & from the specific feelings those images evoked. I stopped looking at her life like I was falling behind, like I was the late-bloomer, like there was something wrong with me. Because perhaps I was, had been blooming, but my flowers were much different than hers.

 

I let the weird, wonderful authenticity of my real self finally show through. I loved the things I loved with childlike abandon. I stopped apologizing so much for the things I should never have apologized for in the first place. I opened up to the things worth letting into my life, & finally said no to the things that stopped serving me, or never had in the first place. I stopped feeling so guilty about doing what I needed to do, especially when I saw people weren’t as disappointed by my lack of participation as I’d always thought they would be. I learned that happiness was my choice alone, & that it was separate from my circumstances.

 

Most of all, I opened up & let the Universe change me, I let it show me beauty, I let it show me awe, I let it show me pure joy. & I let myself feel those things, finally, deeply, lovingly. The Universe always had my back. It was always sitting there, hidden in the back row but cheering the loudest of all. It was always rooting for me even when I was afraid that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. Just when I thought all the lights had gone out, the Universe always showed up holding candles, slipping a crumpled piece of paper into my hand which contained a clue for what I should do next.

 

I was never alone in this.

 

& when I set out on adventures that months before I never could have began to fathom, I found myself. I found myself on the pier at sunset. I found myself in the deep night of the Everglades. I found myself in the ocean swimming with the loose shark. I found myself in the photo of pure joy I saw in my own face as I reached out to touch the animals. I found myself in the perseverance it took to push past my comfort zone & repeatedly triumph. I found myself in drive along the bridge trying to get to where I would sleep, & in the arms of beaches, quiet Atlantic waves lapping my feet at sunset. I found myself in hotel rooms, sleeping in cars, hiking the trails; in the explorations, the tribulations, the challenges, the pain, the fear, the uncertainty, the moments of sacred profoundness. I found myself in a room of people who believed they deserved better, & in the seats of concert halls as familiar music played. I found myself on the airplane, in the music I heard there, in the jazz night in the city, in the gardens, in my own courage of getting myself there, somewhere new, & back home safe. & I found myself on the hill watching the headlights go by on the highway at night, under the full moon while people skipped in time with pure, alive radiance contained in music.

 

2017 in Review: I'm On My Way

 

& I finally learned to be happy. Alone on that dark sacred highway at night, as I drove under the warm yellow streetlights illuminating the smooth dark highway, with the jazz playing deep & quiet & ineffable in the background. & the feeling bubbled up inside me, it frightened me because it was so strong & so sudden, the pure vibrating eternal radiance of the sincerest relieved joy. In that moment I learned a new emotion; spontaneous laughter sung out from my lungs in euphoria; I could not help but laugh at how beautiful everything around me was. I found myself on that drive home on the pitch-dark highway as I trusted in the golden radiance & recorded the exact color of moonlight on my arm. The moon shone down around me on the sacred fields & the tiny farmhouse & the sleeping cattle, quiet & smiling & deeply nurturing in the pale blue sacred light.

 

2017 ended up being the year of OPPORTUNITIES. Where I learned how to see opportunities where I only saw dust before; to have the courage to pursue them when I found them; to open myself up to the vulnerable faith that everything really was going to be okay & let the magic change me.

 

At the end of 2016, I summarized the year with the phrase,

 

“I did my best.”

 

But 2017 was bookended by a much more optimistic phrase:

 

“I am on my way.”

 

Because I truly feel like now, I am.

 

2018, I know you’re going to be amazing. The seeds I have sown in 2017 are going to blossom into things that will nurture me. They will blossom into big beautiful trees & the brightest neon flowers. Now I know how to make, to design, to build, to manifest an amazing year, & now I know who I am & who I’m going to be, I know that all good things are available to me.

 

& so 2018, I say this deep & from the bottom of my heart:

 

I trust you.