Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Life Success Manifesto

Sometimes I check in with myself and ask the serious questions again. Like, am I happy? Do I have what I want out of life? Am I living my passions? Soul-searching is important. More important than New Year's Resolutions, I'd say.

I wrote this manifesto, if you will, last year (maybe even 18 months ago), but I re-read it and it all still applies.

I wanted to put this out on the blog for two reasons.

1) I want an easy place to reference it, so I can look back and make sure I'm still on course for the things that matter to me, and to see if my definitions, wants, and necessities change at all, over time. I suspect course correction throughout our lives is one way to reclaim our joy and happiness.

2) I hope that by publishing mine here that you will be inspired to contemplate your own truths--discover and consider what brings you joy and allows you to live life with personal integrity. And I hope that this exercise is useful to you.


My definition of life success is to look at the world with my glass half full--to find magic in the mundane, and beauty and meaning in the pain. And to keep learning and growing every day.

My definition of career success is to have meaningful work that I can take pride in and one where I can feel passion and joy for while working at it.

What I want:

I want to live my life's purpose--whatever that manifests itself as.

I want reasonable access to my children and friends. I want almost daily (if possible) access to my lover and partner and fiancé, Ali.

I want to not be part of the problem. I don't want to contribute to global warming, the destruction of rain forests or bees, or the filling of the landfills.

I want to create good things: books, clothes, food, a cozy and welcoming and safe home, and I want to entertain at home more.

I want Humphrey, my dog, to not be stressed and scared and anxious. I want all three of my dogs to feel loved and safe.

I want Aubrey and Robert, my children, to find relief from their afflictions, and to develop healthy coping mechanisms for them. (Collectively, they invisibly suffer from misophonia, Asperger's Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, depression, and social anxiety.)

I want to sell enough books and earn enough money from public speaking, workshops, and editing to equal a net return of $1000/month. (I can live comfortably on that in Costa Rica.)

I want to travel around the world from the money I earn speaking, or on book sales and retreats, or for the speaking gig organizer to pay my expenses and the flight to get there. And I want family to travel with me.

I want location independence. Freedom to pick up and move whenever I want.

I want to grow and learn until I die. I want wonderment and joy and curiosity and laughter.

I want to walk my talk and to live somewhere where I can afford this.

I want access to free or low cost health care.

I want a certain amount of self-sustanable sufficiency. If I can't have my dream homestead, I want to at least have indoor plants and as many containers for gardening as we can inside, and I can still can and preserve farm food and I can sew some of our clothes, for example.

I want to be active. Hiking, yoga.

I want bodywork on a regular basis.

I am unwilling to live without:

An internet connection--so i can work wherever I am, as a writer, and so I can keep in touch easily with my family and friends.

Nature. Everyday. Somehow. And natural beauty. I need to see green and smell the weird algae oxygen tree water smell. I need to hear birds or the wind or howler monkeys. I need to be able to sit on dirt and feel the fresh air on my face.

I need solitude a section of each day to ground and center and listen within.

I need connection with other humans.

And to learn and try new things frequently.

What are your definitions of success? What are you unwilling to live without?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Truths I Learned at a Retreat

Back in August, I went on a retreat to Idaho. I went with my former mother-in-law, a neat 73-year-old lady who loves to laugh. She continued her walk across the United States, and I worked on my novel Herbal Junction.

There were a few moments of truth that stood out to me while I was there. I thought they might resonate with you, too.

(1) Looking at a body of water is the cure.

(2) Listening to music is more intimate than I remembered.

(3) Acknowledge the beginning and end of a day. 

Witness the turning of the earth by observing the sunrise and sunset, when I can.

(4) Watch and greet the wildlife I see. Even if it's a desiccated carcass of a small animal.

(5) Flesh-eating mosquitoes don't seem to matter anymore when I'm taking pictures of red sunsets.

(6) Journaling OUTSIDE. (That's all I'll say.)