So long, 2016. You will not be missed.

This year has been a rough one for a lot of people.
From the death of legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher , to the presidential election that still has me praying that I’ll wake up and this terrible dream will be over…a lot of folks have had a rough time this year.

We have too.
Long time friends have vanished, without so much as a “Fuck you.”  We moved and are struggling to pay things off, with car repairs, old bills, and new.  (We are getting there though.  Thankfully.)

This year has also been pretty damned amazing though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dwelling on the negative side of life will never be helpful.  Acknowledging negativity, and allowing yourself to be in your feelings is one thing…but to dwell.  To let the bad fester…that’s not helpful.

What amazing things happened this year?
Well.
I got to spend some amazing time with friends this year.  Whether we were going to see The Cure, VNV Nation, exploring Disneyland, fan girling over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gothing up a good friend, playing poker, playing D&D, playing disc golf, painting, dancing, drinking, eating cheese, seeing each other for the first time in 5 years, singing,  moving, laughing, crying, or visiting the Goddess temple and sharing struggles and successes…2016 was an incredible time for being with true, real friends.

I celebrated one year of marriage with my amazing husband.  That right there feels like a huge accomplishment, even if it was the easiest thing that either of us did all year.  Being with Morgan is easy.  Even when we disagree, argue, fight, or completely misunderstand each other.  With the things we’ve gone through this year, I love that our relationship only grows stronger every day.

I embodied 6 of the 7 CDFs (core desired feelings) I set for myself this year.
1. Bliss:  I was able to find a lot of good in many things this year, many of them simple pleasures.
2. Resilient:  This year has thrown me some curve balls.  But here I am.  Bouncing back.  Coming back stronger.
3. Sparkly:  I danced  A LOT this year!  I performed at 2 haflas, Steam-A-Thon Steampunk convention, and a fundraiser hosted by a dear friend.  I took a workshop AND was able to take a 6 week long raqs sharqi class with Aradia!
4.  Abundance:  This one was hard, because my focus was always on financial abundance, which…to be honest…we don’t have.  And we haven’t found it yet.  (I’m convinced 2017 will be the year we get to catch up AND save, but more on that later.)  This year, I was reminded of the abundance of LOVE and COMPASSION I have…I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me.  Who help me.  Who listen to me.  I am, in that aspect, abundantly blessed, and rich beyond measure.
5. Uncluttered: This one started at the old house after Pat disappeared.  We cleaned up.  We organized.  We threw things away.  We had a house that was fit to throw parties in!
Then we moved, and we got even more uncluttered.  The apartment is small, and while we do have SOME spaces that are a little cluttered, its nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the house.
6.  Healthy:  I’m most proud of this one.  Since my surgery last year, I’ve been mostly healthy this year.  Minimal pain, and that’s just been recently.   I haven’t had as many colds…I’ve been eating better, and exercising too.  Health is SO important to me, now that I have it back, I intend to keep it, and work hard for it.
(*side note, the one I didn’t really get to much was “steamy” but I might keep it as an honorary CDF for this year…embody my sensuality and sexuality a little more this year.)

I also set several goals last year that I actually met!!  There’s nothing better than reaching a goal.  Here’s what I accomplished last year:
1. Found a primary care doctor
2. Had my tubal ligation
3. Set workout goals, and started working out 3 times a week.
4. Set up and use planning time in the mornings (bullet journal)
5. Keep up with household chores
6. Eat more veggies
7. Take 1 local dance workshop
8. Take 1 session of raqs sharqi classes
9. Collaborate with local dancers for fun.

I’m really proud of myself and my progress!  So, as 2017 approaches, I am preparing myself for a stellar year.  I am visualizing and manifesting greatness and success for myself and for Morgan, and all of my friends.  I have 3 categories of goals again this year, and I’m excited to get started!

Life Goals:
1.  Find a better/better paying/more fulfilling job.
2. Save money.
3. Repair my credit/pay off medical debt.

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 62 pounds.
2. Get fit, strong, and healthy.
3. Observe and celebrate solstices, and holidays: Samhain/Yule, etc.
4. Read AT LEAST 1 book per month
5. Attempt to read 1 book a week (52 books this year.)
6. Continue to keep up with chores.
7.  Run a 5K/7K
8. Finally get memorial tattoo.

Dance Goals:
1. Daily/3 times a week practice
2. Take 1 local workshop
3. Take a workshop/private class with an OOT dancer (example:  When I go to San Diego, take a detour through L.A. to study with Aubre, Courtney, Princess Farhana, etc)
4. Perform/record the duet that Nina and I have choreographed, and send to VNV Nation.
5. Perform at least 3 times
6. Try to attend the Arab Dance Seminar

I’ve set my Core Desired Feelings for 2017 as well, and I’m really excited about them.  Here’s how I want to feel this year:
2017cdfs
1. Cultivated: I love this word.  This encompasses so many feelings that I want to experience.  I want to feel cultured.  Intellectual.  Intelligent.  Rooted.  Earthy.  I want to read books, I want to experience new music, see art galleries, sing, dance.  I want to explore my roots and my spirituality.  I want to learn more about my spiritual path, but in a grounded way.  I want to be more cerebral, but keep my emotions in tact.  Cultivated, for me, has all of those feelings and emotions and plans all wrapped up into one.
2. Magical:  This means so many things to me.  I’m exploring actual magick, and learning about witchcraft.  I know that magick is real, and I want to have magick in my life.
I also want to be amazed by life.  To find sparkly wonder everywhere.  I want to take people on a magical journey with my dancing.  I want to spend time with my head in the clouds.  I want to be entranced and enraptured by life itself.
3. Connected:  I want to feel more connected to my family and friends.  I want to spend less time with my phone in my hand, and more time face to face.  Laughing.  Talking.  Singing.  Eating.  I want to connect with people.  I want to connect with music when I dance. To connect to culture, and spirituality.
4.  Strong:  Strength is something I desire in all areas of my life.
I want to be physically strong.  To do pull-ups.  Push-ups.  Weighted squats.  Lift heavy things.  To be able to run a 5K or 7K.
I want to be mentally strong.  To be able to lift myself out of my depressive times.  To deal with stress in healthy ways.
I want to be strong when it comes to my resolve:  to find a new job.  I don’t want to be complacent about this anymore, and this is going to require a TON of strength to move outside of my comfort zone.
I want to be financially strong.  Bills are paid, in full, on time.  Debts are repaid.  There is money in the bank for a rainy day.  I live abundantly, all my needs and the needs of my husband are met.  We are strong and successful.
5. Cozy:  Cozy brings to mind comfort.  I have a tendency to put off self care and self love.  I don’t take down time until I am completely exhausted.  Cozy, to me, is curling up on the couch with my love and the dogs with a hot cuppa and a good book.  Cozy is a nice, long, hot bubble bath with more tea or wine.  Relaxing.  Blankets, and sweaters, and snuggles.  2017 I will take better care of myself.  I will not be afraid to say “No thank you” to plans, and to just stay in and relax.  To have a night in where I read one of my 52 books.
6.  Playful:  We, as adults, don’t play much anymore.  I feel very stressed, and tired all the time because of work.  I want to find a job where I can be playful.  Where I don’t have to be serious all of the time.  A job where I can have a bit of  fun.
I want to take the dogs for walks and to the park, and play with them.  Throw balls, chase them, run with them.
I want to play with my husband…he likes to be goofy and playful, and I tend to be cranky and old.  I don’t want to do that.  The key to a long life is laughter and fun.  And I want to play.
I want to play games with friends.  Game nights, poker nights, disc golf.
I want my life to be playful.  My dancing to be playful.
Let’s Play!

As the new year arrives, and we release the crazy year 2016, I want to thank you all, each of you who read this, for coming on this journey with me.

May your New Year’s eve be fun, filled with joy and laughter.
Be safe.

And may 2017 bring you closer to your goals, and leave you feeling the way YOU want to feel!

Happy New Year.

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Journey into Bullet Journaling…

Yes, its true.

I’ve hopped on “the bandwagon” and started a Bullet Journal.
Someone I know mentioned this lovely little system on a Facebook group I’m a part of, and I was intrigued.  I love journals!  I love planners!  I love keeping track of my time using fun, tried and true methods!  SIGN ME UP!

I have a mild obsession with planners, notebooks, school supplies…I thrill over new pens and markers, I swoon at the scent of new colored pencils, and notebooks?  Give me ALL of them!

I made the mistake of doing a quick google/Pinterest search about bullet journals, (or #bujo for Instagrammers)and was immediately overwhelmed.  So many beautiful pictures of art, doodles, trackers, spreads, layouts!  It was inspiring, but a little frightening at the same time.  I’m not artistic.  Do I need to be artistic to do this?

The good news?  Nope!  You don’t need to have an artistic bone in your body to be a successful bullet journaler!

I watched this handy dandy video, which set my mind at ease.  The actual process for bullet journaling is SO easy, simple,and minimal!  I hope you’ll watch the video, but you basically have monthly, weekly, and daily “logs” where you record tasks, events, and notes.

Bullet Journaling, like so many things, has taken off all over the world.  The awesome thing about it is, its completely open to interpretation and expression.

I’ve modified the set up several times now.  I’ve been using this system for 3 months, and its very helpful in making sure that I take care of things that I tend to forget about.  I’m still working out which layout is best for me.  I felt that daily logs weren’t beneficial, because I’m honestly  not all that busy, but at the moment, weeklies are feeling very small, and like I don’t have enough space for everything that I want to log.  I may have to find a happy medium.  And a bigger notebook!

That’s the other amazing thing about this system.  Unlike other planners you have to order and wait for, you can use literally ANY notebook for this!  Of course, the Bullet Journal website sells notebooks specially designed for this system.  The many Facebook groups I’m a part of (seriously, I’m in 3 or 4 groups JUST for people who Bullet Journal!) tend to recommend Leuchtturm, or Moleskine notebooks.  Some people recommend just a standard Composition Notebook.   Me?  Right now, I’m using this beautiful journal that was gifted to me last Christmas.  This particular journal feels too small for me, but its definitely getting the job done.

A lot of people have asked me “Don’t you have an app for all that?”  “Why not just keep your calendar on your phone?”  “Don’t you hate having to lug a notebook and pen with you all the time?”

The answers, for me, were simple.
1. I don’t have access to my phone all the time.  In fact, the majority of my day, I cannot take my phone out.  At work, I only get to have my phone out during breaks and lunch.  Plus, I really want to start unplugging more.  I feel like I’m attached to my phone when I’m out, and I don’t like that.  I don’t want to add one more thing to the list of reasons why I NEED my phone.
2. I’ve never had much luck getting my calendars to work on my phones anyway: reminders don’t occur, or the events just don’t save.
3.  I always have pens with me anyway, and have you SEEN my purse?  That thing is a bottomless pit of doom.  Carrying one notebook is definitely not going to make a difference in how heavy it is!  Plus, this way, I don’t have random post-it notes floating around my purse anymore.

I love the freedom I feel with this system.  I can keep track of my work schedule, what days I’m working overtime, when my husband has gigs and court dates, etc.  Plus, like many bujo users, I also use mine to keep track of other things like water intake, workouts, knitting projects, and my weight loss!  I’ve also done two monthly challenges that I track as well.

I’ve added a few pictures below, so that you can see the progress I’ve made in my bullet journal.  You can see that I’ve gone from daily logs to a more weekly approach, at least for now, and how things are working for me.  I’ve also included pictures of my tracker pages and challenge pages:  my “No Candy October Challenge” spread, and “No Coffee November” spread.  I had a Countdown to California page where I was able to count down the days before our trip to see our favorite band and go to Universal Studios.  And finally, the spread keeping track of my knitting progress on 6 projects I’m working on.

If you are artistic, you can decorate, draw,  washi tape, etc to your heart’s content. That’s the beauty of this system.   It can be tailored to your liking!

I’ll leave you with the photos.  If you have questions,  let me know!  Check out Instagram and Pinterest for some awesome ideas! please excuse my sloppy handwriting.

This is the “yearly” spread at the beginning of the journal, or the “future log.”

This is what my first two monthly spreads looked like. Simple.

This is the new monthly layout I’m trying.

This was the first daily layout i used.

Slightly different daily. Had some fun trying out a “hand”: the American Horror Story font/hand!

Daily spreads were a little too much, so i moved to a weekly.

My current weekly

Countdown tracker

October’s Challenge: a sticker for every day I didn’t have a candy bar.

“No Coffee November”

My weight tracker!