MAGIC HOURS: 2018 WAS THE YEAR I DECIDED WHICH WORLD I WANT TO LIVE IN

I started out in the blackest pit, but I could still see a small patch of yellow sunlight as I lied in the bottom of the hole. I scribbled on papers around me; this time I’m going to get out this time I’m going to get out. With moist yearning eyes I raised my eyes towards the sky & hoped that some bit of warmth would make its way through to the inside.

That I would not only make it, but making SOMETHING of it. Something I could be proud of.

The roaring cacophony of quiet drowned out myself as I stood at the edge of a sea I had no knowledge of, falling into the same coping pattern I had always escaped from radical change by using.

 

Wokandapix / Pixabay

She stood at the top of the pit, spitting down onto me & shrieking with laughter. I was dragged through the dirt. They threw putrid mud down into the hole, cackling at my inability to rise up. I numbed out, tried to dissociate from my experience in any way possible. Even if the whole numbing was a temporary fix, a question, possibly dangerous. But it couldn’t be more dangerous than it would be to leave me unchecked, left to my own devices, exposed & able to do worse things. She was not my worst enemy, nor was he, nor were they. I was. So I faded back just enough that I could crawl through each day & wake up again the next. Never enough time. That was okay though, maybe better. But I could never escape enough.

Was there really anything beautiful about acting as the tragic figure I’d written myself to be, but never really wanted to become?

I had just come out of the whirlpool with the new knowledge that what I had been seeking HAD NOT BEEN THERE. I finally had the experience, but it was worth much less than the price of admission.

Rakicevic Nenad

Then the world exploded; all that I knew fell out from under me & was replaced, rebuilt, reinvented.

In the best way possible.

I woke up one day. It felt sudden, but I’d been slowly waking up for the past few weeks. And it struck me as soon as sunlight touched my skin: I was becoming sad less often. I had realized my sorrow for what it was: an illusion I had firmly believed in & lived, but one that didn’t have to be real for me any longer. It HAD been real: the pain was too fresh, the blood too vivid, the scars too deep for it to have been all in my mind. But as easily as it had planted its deadly seed deep inside the soil of my meadow, I could slowly pull the roots out from under the soil & destroy the plant before it destroyed the whole world I saw. The whole world I wanted to believe in.

And once I realized I had let the tiny yearning to feel something, the tiny yearning to understand melancholy, grow to such ugly proportions, it began to dissolve. It ceased to grow. It began to fade back into the darkness which it had come from.

jplenio / Pixabay

And then another day, I woke up & realized I wasn’t sad anymore.

I have discovered that joy is always more interesting than sorrow. Each day I bask in the pure gloriousness of living that way. I am already a success. The binary of success & failure has always been an illusion. I have cut the threads holding me to what I once was: afraid of the future & afraid of what people would think. And now I am myself again.

I have finally decided what world I want to live in.

I do not have to beat myself down & stay hidden & bleeding under the highway overpass in the darkest night. There is a whole other world on top of this one, layers of worlds, & I am the explorer discovering them all. Each one feeling better than the next, & I am the one finally letting myself feel good. The world I lived in was not tied to circumstance, but to choice. My choice.

I have seen both sides of the coin. I have lived in both dimensions. Both are equally as real, but it is always me who decides which one I will live in. And by the simple shift in perspective; flipping the switch & crawling through folds of energy until I am firmly back on the level I rebirthed myself on. The Vortex is real.

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 found myself. She sat there alone & frightened, but I brought her back into the light. 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. 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.

It turns out, the environment I most needed to change was the environment inside me.

And there I was, slowly & quietly chipping away at the darkness which had held me back for so long. Slowly building a better foundation, brick by brick.

I was afraid to let myself be happy because I was so used to being sad & afraid that a future that felt good was also an uncertain one. At least with sorrow, I had its cold stale hand to hold, a familiarity I knew I could always return to. With sorrow, at least I knew what my future would feel like & how I would cope with it.

When I realized it had all been a sham, the walls shattered, & I found myself free in a meadow of sunlight.

What had once been a darkness I relished & lovingly extracted every ounce of pain from now became a song I’d never liked but heard play too many times on the radio. My old standby patterns weren’t beautiful & tragic – they were just boring, & didn’t allow half enough time for me to merely exist & simply be. Too much of it was shrouded in routine & in monotonous pandering to the politics touted by over-idolized figures I wanted nothing to do with.

Sometimes before I would wonder what it would be like to disappear & reappear somewhere else, my future free & with my slate cleaned.

No baggage to carry, no fight against my own glass ceiling upper limits. And in a way, I have. I have found the hidden door in the forest, concealed behind twisted wooden vines, & I have stepped firmly from the land of darkness & into the light. I have approached the door & grasped the gold handle, stepped in the fallen leaves & heard the crunch of the new moon in the starless sky. I have stood in sudden afternoon light holding that door handle, hand frozen, afraid to move forward, refusing to accept that I AM WORTHY ALREADY.

Too separated to accept that the Universe will always love me anyways.

Too devastated by the secret knowledge that all along, another world has been parading in tandem with this one, & I could have stepped into it at any moment had I been ready sooner.

And then I opened the door.

Sunlight spilled forth. I trust you, I trust you. I picked the road leading in the direction of the same breeze I’d felt on the beach & in the city, one which wordlessly murmurs of home. And I have found that home.

The whole world is fresh. The whole world has been reborn. The Phoenix has risen from the ashes, ready to believe in its own greatness again. She would be proud if she saw me, to see what she becomes. To see she becomes the person she needed when she was a kid.

I know now that I have what it takes & have the tools to do anything & become anything that I choose to. The whole world is new, & yet it’s been there all along, waiting for me. Everything looks different, everything feels different, because now I see everything through the lens of vibrant optimism instead of the mournful, violent grays of sadness. I realized I have a choice in how I feel & what world I choose to see. In whether I struggle to survive, or flourish & thrive.

I feel like I finally decided which world I want to live in.

I have found the magic again.

2018 WEEK 20 :: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of May 13 – May 19 to make my life amazing.

JuergenPM / Pixabay

  1. Published 2 blog posts.
  2. Published 2 YouTube videos.
  3. Moved my crested geckos (Toe Bean, Baby Pineapple, & Pinewheel Shark) into their new enclosures! Built their new enclosures & set everything up in them.
  4. Edited a lot more of my road trip book.
  5. Made 4 Instagram posts.
  6. Made a mockup version of a charity t-shirt I designed & sent it to the charity to see if they were interested in using it.
  7. Connected with 1 new person
  8. Worked on editing images for my upcoming 101 Ways to Love Yourself Udemy course.
  9. Saw The Doobie Brothers & Steely Dan in concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheater!
  10. Made 3 illustrations for my Perfect Dat book, including the cover. Started painting the illustrations to color them in.
  11. Researched pet reptiles.
  12. Wrote 3 poems.

2018 WEEK 18: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of April 29 – May 5 to make my life awesome.

cocoparisienne / Pixabay

  1. Decided to live my life by this idea: “If I were living an exceptional life, would I do this?”
  2. Finished writing & PUBLISHED a new book – 50 Adorable Moose Facts!
  3. Cleaned a lot in my house to get ready for moving & to become more of a minimalist.
  4. Colored 3 pages worth of the illustrations for my upcoming Apple iMessage sticker app! Edited the images & began working on app.
  5. Published 2 YouTube videos (Episode 045 of The Ashlee Craft Show & a video of my dog eating a taco) using my new microphone, so the sound quality is much better!
  6. Watched Jim Rohn’s The Art of Exceptional Living
  7. Looked up some prices for travel plans I have for this year.
  8. Made a big list of goals for this year, a really nice updated one!
  9. Researched best disinfectants for reptile cages other than bleach.
  10. Did research on some more pet reptiles I’m interested in getting.
  11. Made 2 Instagram posts.
  12. Made 1 illustration for my upcoming book.
  13. Did a lot of editing on my Epic Florida Road Trip Book.
  14. Saw Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Blackfoot, Jimmie Vaughn, & Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert at the MidFlorida Credit Unit Ampitheatre.
  15. Worked on updating my Shopify store with new product categories!

2018 WEEK 17: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of April 22 thru 28 to make my life AMAZING.

Schwoaze / Pixabay

  1. Worked a lot on revamping & expanding my Shopify store. Shoutout to the Shopify plugin Buddha MegaMenu for allowing me to make sub-sub-categories for my menu!
  2. Came up with a great idea for a new sticker app, which you’ll hear about soon! Drew all the stickers for it!
  3. Drew more illustrations for one of my upcoming books!
  4. Drew 1 new design & numerous illustrations.
  5. Made 5 Instagram posts.
  6. Practiced being more sociable, opening up to people more, & not over-monitoring what I’m doing when interacting with people (that’s been a big problem of mine for a long time).
  7. Helped my mom harvest vegetables from our yard. They were so good!
  8. Cleaned & organized all my craft supply bins to make it easier for me to find them.
  9. Had fun running around inside Life.
  10. Saw Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy & Alan Parsons Project in concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall!

2018 WEEK 16 :: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

artyangel / Pixabay

  1. Thought a lot about how to make life more fun & how to live by fun as a principle.
  2. Worked a lot on revamping my Shopify store by doing a MAJOR redesign & expansion of the categories to prepare for TONS OF NEW PRODUCTS we’re adding soon!
  3. Published 2 YouTube videos (Episode 043 of The Ashlee Craft Show & a video about my first time at the skatepark).
  4. Made 5 Instagram posts.
  5. Wrote 3 poems.
  6. Published 1 blog post.
  7. Made list of marketing ideas.
  8. Researched some new cool things I’d like to get more into & add to my repertoire.
  9. Researched “shadowbanned” Instagram hashtags so I can avoid them.
  10. Went to a skatepark for the first time & got awesome footage for a video!

2018 WEEK 15 :: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of April 8 – 14 to make my life awesome.

manfredrichter / Pixabay

  1. Published 2 YouTube videos (an episode of The Ashlee Craft Show & the first video in my Produce Exploration series, about Rome Apples). Made video intro for Produce Exploration show.
  2. Learned & did tons of research on dropshipping. Brainstormed a ton of ideas about things I want to try with this & new ideas for products. Read the Shopify dropshipping guide.
  3. Made list of companies I can do illustrations for.
  4. Made 1 new design
  5. Ordered the free Shopify card chip reader that plugs into your phone so soon I can sell things in person & not just online.
  6. Wrote & published 1 blog post.
  7. Connected with 1 new person!
  8. Made 4 Instagram posts.
  9. Added 24 new products to SHOP Ashlee Craft & released 1 new design on Society6.
  10. Sent out one marketing newsletter to my email list.
  11. Planned a new book I’m working on.
  12. Bought another awesome enamel pin from PinPartyPost for my enamel pin collection.
  13. Made 1 art collage.
  14. Sent an illustration to one person I want to connect with to add value to them & sent them a friend request.
  15. Bought some stuff I needed in order to make some new products I’ll be releasing soon!
  16. Saw Jimmy Buffet + The Eagles concert at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL.
  17. Cleaned a lot in my house to get closer to my minimalism goals, including 85+ books to donate.

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.