Blessed Solstice, Merry Yule

and so, dear readers, the end of the year is upon us.
This year, I’m doing things a little differently than I have in the past.  My new year is beginning on the Solstice, with the longest night.  The following day marks the returning of the light, and I’d like to begin my new year with the promise of bright days to follow.

As I do every year, I like to recap what goals I’ve met, and set goals for the new year.

Personal Goals Met:
*Observed and celebrated Samhain, Mabon, and Yule (this week)
*Read 1 book per month
*Read over 52 books this year
*Kept up with household chores
*Started memorial tattoo

Dance Goals Met:
*Took 1 workshop with OOT dancer
*Performed 3+ times

This past year, my CDFs were:

Cultivated:  grounded, rooted, earthy, and immersed in culture.
Magical: witchy, observant of magic all around
Connected: closer relationships
Stong: physically, mentally, emotionally
Cozy: comfortable, relaxed
Playful: playful with friends and family

I feel  like I embodied a lot of these this year, particularly Cozy, Cultivated, and Magical.  I spent quite a lot of time drinking tea, cuddled in bed or in the bath with a good book.

This year has been interesting.   It hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been spectacular either.  This year has definitely been one of growth.  Outgrowing practices, people, bad behaviors.  Losing people.  Gaining others.  Connecting with different people.   I danced quite a bit.  I spent quite a lot of time with the love of my life, and with my family.  I feel as though I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge and perspective this year too.

I’m looking forward to the new year.   2017 wasn’t spectacular, but it was a pretty good year.  Lots of learning experiences.  I feel that 2018 is going to be amazing.

So, without further ado, my goals for 2018:

Personal Goals:
*Finish editing Morgan’s book
*Get fit, strong, and healthy
*write my own stories, 1 day per week
*Read 104 books
*Start language study again
*Cook more
*Fit into costumes again
*More planning time
*Monthly date nights
*Monthly friend dates

Dance Goals:
*1 workshop/private lesson with local dancer
*1 workshop with OOT dancer/musician
*1 OOT workshop
*Perform 3+ times
*2-3 times a week practice/drilling
*Purchase Karim’s sagat DVD

My CDFs for 2018 are:

Limitless: without limits in every aspect of my life.
Delight: 
Pure joy.  Playfulness.  Magic.
Sage:
Wise, and powerful as fuck.
Stimulating:
Intelligence, wit, conversation, sex
Passionate:
filled with passion for life and my loved ones
Magical:
witchy, filled with wonder at the real, every day magic in the world.

Life is what you make it.  With the returning of the light, may this year be bright and full of promise, and goodness.

I want to wish my readers, my loved ones, very happy holidays, whatever you celebrate or don’t.  Have a safe and happy new year, and may 2018 be full of joy and love for you.

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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.

The year in review, and goals for 2016

What a whirlwind this year has been.  Highs, lows, ups, downs.  Sadness, elation.

My year started off fairly well in January, with good times with my love.  January also saw the return of my kidney pain, and my meeting my new doctors.

February was a month I will never forget.  Some low and sad points, but the best memory was on February 20, at Gordon Ramsay Steak with 5 of our closest friends, Morgan proposed to me.  I never in a million years thought that I would ever get married.  He had said time and time again that he didn’t want to get married ever again.  The proposal was sweet, and romantic, and a complete surprise.  The fact that I was able to share it with some of my closest friends was amazing.

In April, I had an exploratory procedure with my new surgeon, so that he could see exactly what he was dealing with to correct my kidney issues.

In June, Morgan and I traveled to LA to see Underworld live in concert.  THAT was amazing.  I danced all night long.  We got to see the original line up, which was incredible.

Also in June, I took Karim Nagi’s “Music Raqs” workshop for the second time.  I learned SO much, and his class really sparked my desire to dance again.

July 11, I had my second robotic pyloplasty on my right kidney.  My surgeon took many more precautions than my previous surgeon did, to ensure that I’d recover with minimal issues.

In September, at the prompting of a dear friend, I participated in my very first Belly Dance Competition: So You Think You Can Bellydance at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive.  I learned two choreographies, and made it into the Top 12 dancers.  I realized two dreams in one night:  To perform on the Flamingo Library Theater Stage, and to improvise a live drum solo with Issam Houshan.  I had so much fun, I learned SO much, and I made some great friends.

Learning those routines, and performing again has given me the dance bug again.  In October, along with three other talented dancers, I performed the fusion choreography (and another short, sassy piece) at the Halloween Hafla.  The troupe was asked to perform in January at the Steampunk Convention!

November was probably the most memorable, the most monumental month of them all.  On November 6, surrounded by friends and family, from near and far, Morgan and I were married.  It was by far the most perfect day I’ve ever had.  The ceremony was officiated by a dear friend, and it could not have been more perfect for us.  It was funny.  It was touching.  It focused on love, communications, and D&D.  Nothing has changed in our relationship, yet everything has.  I find myself wanting to be a better person, to do more, to take better care of us…

Which leads me into my goals for 2016!  I’m actually working on separate goals:  Life goals, Personal goals, and Dance goals.  Some of these are lofty goals that will not be accomplished in one year.  The point is to start working towards them, so that they are more easily achieved when the time is right.

Life Goals:

  1. Start repairing my credit.  (Pay down my medical debt.  Open a checking account.  Open a credit card, and use once a month, and pay off immediately, in small amounts.)
  2.  Save money.  Whether its $10 a week, or $100 a month, I want to put money away for a rainy day/emergency/vacation/down payment on a house.
  3. Take courses/learn about first time home buyer assistance.

 

Personal Goals:

  1. Asses the risks/recovery time for the tubal ligation surgery, and schedule.
  2. Find a new primary care doctor.
  3. Set realistic workout goals. (Starting 3x per week, etc)
  4. 10-15 minute morning meditation/planning time daily during the week.
  5. Keep up with household chores. (sweeping/dusting)
  6. Check off a couple more items from my 40 before 4o list.
  7. Find a more fulfilling and better paying job/promotion at current job.
  8. Eat more veggies.
  9. Get more information for Arab Studies degree/Apply for Grants/Apply for admission.

 

Dance goals:

  1. Attend at least 1 local workshop.
  2. Volunteer for the LVBDI
  3. Daily practice
  4. If I travel to another city for more than 1 day, schedule a private lesson with a dancer there.
  5. Continue to collaborate with local dancers for fun duets and group pieces, in all styles.
  6. Find and take 1 session of classes from a local Raqs Sharqi dancer.

 

With 2015 being so amazing, even with the low points, I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016.  I feel that it will be a year of personal growth, change, and progress.  I will become a better version of myself, in all aspects:  a better person, a better wife, a better dancer, a better friend.

May your new year be safe, and happy.  May your goals and resolutions be attainable.  May 2016 be filled with love, happiness, and abundance.

Happy New Year, everyone.

40 before 40…a bucket list of sorts…

A dear friend of mine created a 40 before 40 bucket list a couple of years ago.

I followed her lead and made my own, either a year or two ago.   After reading the blog about the 100 things list…I decided to look up my 40 before 40…

Surprisingly…I’m actually able to cross a few things off!! Not a bad little start!!! I can’t wait to cross more off.

  1. Travel to Ireland.
  2. Learn to play a few songs on the guitar.
  3. Have a decent savings for a down payment for a house.
  4. Eat at Guy Savoy’s Vegas restaurant.
  5. Travel somewhere in the US I’ve never been, on vacation with Morgan.
  6. Cook at least 5 recipes from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
  7. Make Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington.
  8. Learn to speak Arabic semi-fluently.
  9. Make my own wine or beer.
  10. Dance in NY or Boston.
  11. Run a 5K.
  12. Dance in a pro-show.
  13. Find a job that’s satisfying, while allowing me to be financially secure.
  14. Publish my blog about suicide somewhere (paid.)
  15. Learn to Sew.
  16. Finish my arms/sleeves tattoos.
  17. Learn to make hollandaise from scratch.
  18. Develop a home yoga practice, 1-2 times per week.
  19. Kill my own dinner. (Fishing, hunting)
  20. Write a song.
  21. Go to/cosplay at GenCon.
  22. Go to the Doctor Who museum in Cardiff.
  23. Perform and record “Ghost,” and send to VNV Nation.
  24. Read the books on the “100 books to read before you die”list.
  25. Buy a car with a warranty.
  26. Plant a garden.
  27. Learn to knit socks.
  28. Knit a sweater.
  29. Knit a blanket.
  30. Get my CCW.
  31. Find out and resolve what is causing me pain in my abdominal region.
  32. Learn to hand make pasta.
  33. Volunteer at least 5 times (once a year)
  34. Go to a book signing with Neil Gaiman.
  35. Host a 1950s themed cocktail party.
  36. Make Elite Gold.
  37. Visit all of my Yelp bookmarks.
  38. Try Uni.
  39. Enter a karaoke contest.
  40. Pay off all medical debt.

Happy New Year…Happy New Mina. :)

Oh 2013.

You know, every year, when I write my end of the year blog, I like to think that I’ve learned a lot, and that there will be nothing but goodness in the coming year.

 

This year, is so different, because I really have changed a lot.

 

Not changed so much, in the sense that I’m a completely brand new person, or that I’m in a new city, or anything crazy like that…

 

This year I’m changed in the fact that I can say with 100% honesty that I really love my life. I love who I’ve grown to be this year, and can’t wait to see where the journey of 2014 will take me.

 

Sure, there are still things that I’d like to change. I want to be more disciplined in my health habits, I want to save more money, I’d like a better job.

 

But all in all, what I’ve learned from this last year is to treasure the moment that you’re in, because you don’t know how long it will last.

 

This year, I’ve made many new and amazing friends, some of whom are living halfway across the world. I’ve shared amazing moments of dance, and emotion with some of these new friends.

 

This year I’ve learned so much more about love than I ever thought possible…love of others and love of myself…I’ve learned that it is a wonderful thing to be loved by people…and I have felt a lot of love from my friends, and family. But even greater is to love others with complete abandon. I’ve learned that in order to really love others, you have to love yourself…really truly love yourself…and while I may still think that I’m overweight, etc, I love who I am becoming inside.

 

I could not have learned these lessons without the help of some very special friends, old and new. You all know who you are. Even if I don’t get to talk to you or see you as often as I’d like, I hope you all know how much I love you.

 

This year too, I’ve learned something about forgiveness, of self and of others. Its always been hard for me, and to be honest, I still struggle. But there is something amazing that happens when you look at a person, or look at yourself and you say “I forgive you. Its in the past. Lets move on together and enjoy life.” Its so freeing!!!!

 

I still hold grudges and get mad. Trust me. 😉 But when I do find the strength and the courage to forgive, its amazing.

 

I’m tearing up as I think about these things…this year has been incredible.

 

There has been pain, sorrow, and loss…there always are moments like this in life. But the moments of bliss, joy, love, and wonder have greatly outnumbered the bad.

 

I have a long way to go in this journey. I count myself as very lucky and very blessed to know that I have a handful of people that I know in my heart will be there with me every step of the way.

 

To all of you, may your 2014 be filled with love, abundance, forgiveness, grace, and moments that take your breath away.

My goals for this year are simple:

 

I will love more.

I will give more.

I will spend more time face to face than on facebook.

I will be creative.

I will dance. A lot. Just try to stop me. 😉

I will forgive more.

And most importantly, I will be present more. I will enjoy every day of my life, and even when I’m sick, and whiny, and feeling like I’m going to die, I will remind myself of what a precious gift my life is.   Image