It’s official: today marks the last day of my year-long commitment to daily blogging. In many ways, this Optimal Mastery experiment has become so much more than just a blog, and yet, it feels as though that first initial, simple commitment has made all the difference in my life throughout 2019.

Screenshot of my blog stats today! I DID IT!

I have been contemplating this ending while also considering my possibilities for 2020 – including those available for this blog – and I even briefly thought that I might not continue blogging, instead focusing on content campaigns that I can more easily monetize. I never considered for a moment that I would stop entirely (you know, aside from those quarter- and mid-year “why the heck am I doing this” slumps), but I wanted to be sure I was renewing and adjusting my commitments according to my progress and not just trying to copy/paste my past success.

The reality is though, I have recieved far to many benefits to ever stop blogging daily.

Ever?!

Yes, EVER!

Committing to Life

A picture of the tattoo on my left forearm that I shared in one of my first blogs in January of 2019

If you’re thinking that’s a pretty bold statement, you’d be right. Believe me, I know. Daily blogging is hard, frustrating, exposing and uncomfortable – but it is also incredibly healing, gratifying, clarifying and powerful.

Daily blogging is not the best way to build a profitable online empire, but the truth is: my purpose for starting this blog was never about making money. Optimal Mastery is all about the daily grind, being better than perfect and appreciating the messy art of growing. Without the imperfections and messiness that daily blogging organically creates, all of that vulnerability and transparency would become necessary to manufacture, which is certainly an impossible task.

MOST POPULAR BLOG POST OF 2019: Ah yes, hello Social Anxiety and Insecurity, my old chums

It is with this understanding that I am proud to officially announce my recommitment to daily blogging for not only 2020, but the entirety of my foreseeable future!

Playing with Potentials

That being said, now that I’ve built-in the habit of daily blogging, continuing to do so isn’t really a goal or challenge anymore. I desire more from myself in 2020 than merely riding on the coattails of the previous decade. In fact, my human desire for progress shouts from within that this year’s goal must be even harder, better and GRANDER!

POETRY SHARED IN 2019: OVER 150 TOTAL ORIGINAL POEMS PUBLISHED, WITH MORE THAN 60 NEW POEMS BEING WRITTEN THIS YEAR.

Now, I am tempering that enthusiasm with some wisdom, knowing that it’s the simple resolutions that stick (if I had detailed what “qualified” as blogging every day at the beginning of 2019, I would have failed miserably). So, I need something flexible, adjustable, modifiable but also powerful… and I want to do a year-long commitment again because I found it to be so motivating and momentum building over time…

I feel like that’s a pretty appropriate number of words to have written throughout 2019, hbu?

At first I toyed with different ideas for the blog: expanding the website, diversifying content, focusing on video – but it’s all too prescriptive and restrictive to end up being a successful year-long commitment. I do think I will make changes and keep building Optimal Mastery in order to offer more and more value to my readers as well as expand my reach this next year, but it’s no longer going to have center stage.

This year I am committing to my daily spiritual practice!

2020: 366 Days of Sadhana

I have been making attempts at a consistent daily spiritual practice for a while now. Sometimes it goes really well but as soon as I miss a day, it seems to derail, sometimes for weeks at a time.

A picture of Sammi sneaking some cuddles during a Sadhana in January 2019

Stressful times, busy times, while I’m traveling – those days when I really need it the most are the ones in which it seems to be missed the most as well. It’s been frustrating, disheartening and even saddening at times – but that’s all about to change.

I hereby officially commit to 366 Sadhana practices over the course of 2020’s 366 days. That means, similarly to this blogging committment, that I am not defining what a Sadhana must contain or being so strict that I cannot “catch-up” on days (though I have learned from this experiment that that freedom comes with its own costs).

TRIPS TAKEN IN 2019: SEATTLE AND VANCOUVER, MARCH; COSTA RICA, MAY-JUNE; CHICAGO, SEPTEMBER; WISCONSIN, NOVEMBER.

I am committing to sitting on my yoga mat and/or meditation pillow, at least 366 times this coming year. Yup, that’s it – I am merely committing to sitting every day!

Working with Organic Flow

If you ask any regular gym goer, yogi or meditator what the hardest part of their discipline is they will probably tell you: “showing up.” Once someone is actually on the mat, at the gym or sitting in a meditation pose, the natural motivation to act accordingly is stimulated. The challenge in motivation comes before that first initial, but incredibly powerful action. This is what I hope to be triggering for myself in 2020 with this new commitment.

There may be a few days when literally all I do is sit down on my mat, feel sorry for myself and make an excuse, justifying doing no more – but the likelihood of that continuing day after day is quite low. I truly love my spiritual practice. I enjoy meditation, yoga, mantra, Reiki and Divination immensely. My problem with consistency in my devotion always arises from being “too busy,” “tired” or otherwise distracted.

ART CREATED AND SHARED ON THE BLOG IN 2019: “Psychedelic Aspens,” Acrylic and Paper on Canvas; “Return to the Void,” Oil on Canvas; “Textures 123 Series,” Acrylic on Canvas; “Alien Landscape,” Acrylic on Canvas.

With this commitment, those excuses and justifications don’t matter anymore. I can be busy and sit. I can be tired and sit. Heck, I can even be distracted all day long and forget all about my commitment all together, yet still sit for even a brief moment that night or the next morning when I remember (which in and of itself is a powerful metaphysical action of realigning with my commitment).

An image from Facebook that I shared in another blog just this past week – I REALLY like it

Blessings for a Blessed New Decade

With this new year-long commitment planted firmly in my heart, I am ecstatic to begin this brand new decade with all of you! I am also overjoyed to continue this journey of Optimal Mastery, showing up here every day, at both my best and my worst.

Thank you all for taking this incredible journey with me! Here’s to looking forward to all that we have yet to discover together.

Aaand here’s something fresh, just for this post (found on Facebook)

Blessed Be my Beloveds and so long 2019!

This past week has been a doozy for me. I had to go back and look at last week’s Divination just to get a grip for this week’s spread – and of course, found comfort seeing the obstacles, prayers and discomfort all laid out for me even before the week had started. I’m telling you, being the channel does not excuse you from having to learn the lessons…

Regardless, the wheel keeps turning and the lessons keep coming – it’s time for a new week and new discoveries! Let’s dive right in:

True Metamorphosis

The Oracle Decks used this week: Kuan Yin, Dragonfae and Dragon

A caterpillar does not simply become a butterfly, it must first undergo complete dissolution into cosmic goop and be stitched anew, cell by cell, via its transformation. In this same way, seeking our highest expression requires an ability to let go of what we think we know in order to fully trust in the wisdom that’s “beyond” us (in this instance, namely our egos).

As we officially begin a new year and new decade this week, we are all being called to consider our own metamorphosis. What might we become if we become what we were always destined to be?

Trusting Our Own Truth

Orchid Priestess of Destiny- Kuan Yin Oracle Deck

This beautiful Kuan Yin card asks us to go within, deep within, to those places inside of our soul that persist beyond conditioning and compromise. We are being called back to that place of Destiny.

To do this, we must understand that destiny and karma are not opposed. The soul must fulfill its destiny, but it also has to navigate karma all along the way in order to do so.

Often, there is a sense that if something is destined it will come to pass no matter what. This is true, but not in the sense that fate clears the way and sets things up so that karma isn’t an issue at all. Destiny will come to pass no matter what, even if you have to struggle through thousands of years of karma to make it happen.

This card asks us to find that truth, the one that persists beyond the coordination of this time and place, straight into the purest extension of our infinity. We are all being called to return to our most pure and potent potentiality, that central point of being in which we are empowered to act with clarity and discernment – even avoiding unnecessary karma through an alignment with our eternal destiny – but how do we do that exactly?

Listening for Our Own Voice

The Listener – Oracle of the Dragonfae Deck

We all need to just shut the f^ck up. Seriously.

Information is like a plague upon our modern world, and in all our desperation to attain knowledge we have lost something that was already gifted to us from the beginning of time: wisdom. That still, small voice that exists even amidst deafening silence is the key – we must return to that place of “peace that passes understanding” within us.

In many ways, this is a conscious stripping away of justifications, excuses and “evidences” we have hard saught throughout our karmic cycles. As such an act of destruction and decay, it will be painful and we may even experience feelings of sorrow and grief. This discomfort is actually a great sign that you are doing the work and decluttering your destiny of unnecessary karma.

In Buddhism we can learn that attachments are the roots of our suffering, and therefore to truly detach will often require a purge of that suffering. This isn’t to say that every attachment is undesirable or unjustifiable; in truth, grief is the cost of love, but that doesn’t make love an unworthy pursuit. Rather, acceptance of grief along with love can keep us from attaching to unrealistic expectations of love, ultimately making the experience of that love more conscientious and fulfilling.

It is in this same way that listening, coming into our stillness and quiet, can reacquaint us with the wisdom on the other side of our knowledge. Sacred silence offers us the space to rediscover our endlessness and the endlessness of our world. It can help break up densities and shift perspectives, reaquainting us with the true magick of our wisdom that extends beyond mere understanding and enables us to find faith.

Making a Universal Stand

Earth Dragon – Dragon Oracle Cards Deck

This final card has a beautiful duplicity to it. It portends both clearing as well as grounding. Perhaps the clearing is the less obvious power play here, so let’s start there.

Earth isn’t merely a passive entity on which we enact our life’s dramas, but rather an active and powerful spiritual body, ever working alongside us on our spiritual paths. There is a reason we bury people when they die and why all life eventually decays and “returns to the earth,” this planet is a powerful alchemist, capable of taking in and reabsorbing matter, which also enables her own infinite destiny of creation.

In this way we see the pattern of metamorphosis emerging again. The earth is in a constant state of metamorphosis, as we all are, and it is in this place that we find her power of clearing.

This isn’t a clearing in which all is forgotten, never to be remembered and thus everything is fundamentally changed forever, having no entanglements to the past at all. Rather, this is the true clearing work of decomposition and reconstruction. This clearing work recognizes that for something to truly be no more, it must become something else.

This is why truth and destiny are eternal: the past is never truly gone, just merely recycled into the future. We have all heard that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” and this is why. There is truly “nothing new under the sun.”

Which is precisely where we can find our grounding: not in the elements that will endlessly change, but in the integrity of cosmic flux and change itself. What remains despite all else? What are the things that cannot be destroyed? What of these cosmic and eternal powers exist within us?

The Power of Coming Undone

As we all set out to begin this new era, may we be bold and brave – may we be able to strip away the unnecessary karma and realign with our true destinies. Might we all be willing to submit ourselves fully to the alchemical processes of existence and be reduced to the bare necessities of spirit and soul in order to be restitched through our own Divine metamorphoses.

May the fear, conditioning and justifications of the past all decay and dissolve into the primal, cosmic soup of endless possibilities once again. May we all dare to dream new dreams, and might they all be filled by the most ancient and holy Truth. In these ways, might we all be realigned with our destinies and begin 2020 with the empowerment and freedom of finally releasing our unnecessary karma.

Blessed Be my Beloveds, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This poem was only written a few months ago but, I didn’t have the strength to post it then.

My daddy’d be ashamed
tried his best to groom me
teach me how to handle well

Kept my friends away, fearing
the rebellion I had inside –
his ego had to blame them

My daddy’d wish my body away
my dirty, sexy, filthy, desired body
Shame clinging to modest pride

Kept me away the best he could
sheltered and controlled by him
His demons consumed my young life 

My daddy’d tell me I’ll burn in hell
meaning it deep where his soul fumes 
but I’ll laugh for having been there

Kept chained by the lies of his mind
tortured as long as I let his fear in mine –
I escaped once, I’ll never have to again

Sit Down.
It doesn’t matter that you’re uncomfortable next to that boy who keeps trying to put his hand on your butt. Stop squirming. Stay. Just slap him away. Boys will be boys, that’s his way of complimenting you. You should be flattered to have his attention. Just ignore him if it bothers you. Get over it. Don’t you dare stand up, you’re being disruptive. Don’t you dare scream, settle down, you’re overreacting. No you can’t move, your autonomy isn’t a concern, just deal with it. You’re going to have to your whole life, might as well learn young.

Shut Up. 
I don’t care what he said to you, he’s only joking. He wouldn’t really rape you and your “bitch” friends like you all “deserve.” He’s just venting. He’s upset that you rejected him, that his taunts and teasing didn’t make you want to fall to his feet and suck him off. It’s understandable, why are you so upset? What do you expect when you don’t give him what he wants? Freedom of speech and all, you’ve got to give him that respect. Just keep your mouth shut and take it. Ladies are seen and not heard after all.

Smile.
Ignore the chills going up your spine and the curdling in your gut as his hand slides across your lower back, brushing just the top of your ass with his fingers. It’s your father after all and he needs you to stand nice and tall, look pretty for all the people he wants to show you off to. Don’t mind the hair on the back of your neck, it’s not important that you feel sick or that you have no rights over where or how you exist. A nice pretty prop, to complement his picture-perfect delusions. That’s all you are, an object to be used to make the men in your life feel and look good.

Sit down. Shut up. Smile.
That’s your place, be grateful you have one.

This is an old bit of cultural critique writing I did years ago for an online project called Naturally Subversive.

It’s not uncommon in today’s modern culture to be exposed, though the truth of this indoctrination is not often what it’s thought to be. It’s not the popular punk or rock culture or even the dark underworlds of suppressed culture that are doing the direst of damage to tender young psyches. Rather, children are thrust into various societal ‘forming’ situations (institutionalized), each adjoined with numerous expectations and alien (outside) perspectives. Being told what to look like, what to sound like, what to act like, what to be like – ultimately coached into effectively believing only one thing: they, in and of only themselves, are not ‘enough’ (valuable) or worse, they are ‘the problem.’ Confidence and resilience of human spirit are being stripped from them more and more with each stern correction, each advertisement promoting their fabricated ‘lack,’ and each time they’re coached into making a decision out of fear rather than discovery.

Image: Facebook

Where and why and how this all came about might be interesting. The ‘who’ that started this type of judgmental trend may have a few words in which we could discover some answers. The past, however, is not the point. There is nothing to be done about what’s already happened; we must take action and make changes. The future is equally futile, especially at a time when we’ve injected so much physical uncertainty within its unending spiritual promise. It is for these reasons that we will focus on the here and now, the only actionable place in the whole of our existence.

Image: Facebook

Still, we must continue beyond our first inclination. It is not so much about a physical here (America -> Colorado -> Fort Collins) or now (2015 -> April -> 2nd) as it is the present (your presence). Places and dates mean nothing because they themselves are merely tools created to assist our fractional understanding, or as Einstein said: “time only exists so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” In these moments that pass as you’re reading this, come back into the present, return to your self and the source of your reality – find your part of the all-sustaining energy, that place in you where everything really does happen all at once. This may be very uncomfortable, especially if you haven’t done it before. You may feel a strong urgency to distract yourself with some menial task or dismiss this as ‘mumbo jumbo’ and yet, you know what it is I’m asking of you, even if you have never thought of it before.

Image: Beautifully Raw Belle

Truth remains. In fact, truth is the only constant; by very definition, is has to be is what is. Thus, despite having ‘lost it’ you know what your center is. You may have a vague sense of place (‘home’) or a distinct feeling (‘peace’) that marks it for you, and though it’s not something in and of itself to fear, your semi-conscious awareness of this within yourself is frightening. Let’s examine that: where did this feeling of unease within your being come from? Who told you that remaining within yourself was dangerous? Did someone punish you for your playful careless daydreaming as a child (or adult)? What response to this peaceful meditation are you fearful of?

Image: Facebook

Personally, there are many things revealed when I start probing my pain or discomfort, and this is great because it allows me to confront anything that isn’t true. For example: when I return to my presence, I often get distracted with thought of tasks that I need ‘to do.’ These thoughts are usually also accompanied by thoughts of how/why I should do these things, which in turn are also accompanied by other thoughts that get more vicious and demeaning the longer I choose to ignore them, saying things like: ‘I’m just lazy, that’s why I’m not doing what I’ve decided is important,’ or ‘This is crazy, I’m crazy – how could this ‘presence’ stuff really matter when I haven’t done x, y, and z yet!’ Hurtful? Potentially, but why? Why am I so desperate to bully myself into ‘doing?’ The discomfort I feel about not accomplishing tasks is a means of self-manipulation. Initially, this belief was engrained in me as a child because my father was very task oriented and I quickly learned to associate the discomfort of his disapproval with not completing tasks. Unfortunately, like many lessons learned young, this experience morphed into a template within which I organized my life: menial tasks became important to me because I was afraid of my dad and the punishment I would receive if I didn’t have a list of accomplishments crossed off each day, but they remained important to me because I never challenged that fear.

Image: Facebook

As an adult I don’t have to worry about disappointing my dad, yet for years I’ve allowed myself to be a victim of my anxious nerves, fearful of never having done ‘enough’ to justify my being alive that day. It’s only been through a lifetime of self-query that I even began to notice what was going on. At nights I’ll still sometimes find myself scrambling to clean up so that my house meets extinct standards, yet, this phenomenon is no longer threatening to me because I’ve been actively reframing the way I see discomfort. I know now that the remnants of our past are not there to haunt us (unless we so chose) but rather as beacons of hope for what could be different. Now, when I find myself worked up into frenzy over some trivial task I just stop and ask myself “what’s more important, this task or my presence?” As you can imagine, there’s only one way it’s ever answered.

Image: Facebook

When I’m all worked up, my presence itself becomes tumultuous: not only can I feel the physical discomforts of anxiety, it’s always coupled with mental confusion and emotional turmoil as well. When I allow it, my presence can be disgustingly fractured into shards of bitterness, anger, confusion, distrust, loneliness, despair, selfishness, panic, etc… Without even realizing, I have the ability to morph into an entity that gives off ‘negative vibes’ and consequently negatively affect everything in my path. Of course, it’s only in taking back control of my presence that I can affectively change the impact of my reality. By changing the meaning of my discomfort from an indication of fault on my part to an indication of a fault on the part of imposed perceptions, I am able to take back the control they otherwise run away with.

Image: Facebook

It’s important to remember that this ‘take back,’ however forceful it may sound, isn’t an aggravated act. It isn’t an act of anger or frustration because those discomforts would be other indications of some underlying misunderstanding. Instead, this ‘take back’ is a gracious act of acceptance and understanding. The problem was never that we didn’t have power, but that we didn’t know we had power and were to afraid to investigate. Rather than indicators of necessary avoidance, pains are an indicator of needed attention. If I broke my ankle and refused to even look at it for fear of the pain I would in essence be dooming myself to living with it (and its inevitable complications) for the rest of my life, dragging myself about in terrible ignorance for fear of what has already come to be: the pain itself (because we were told, and ended up believing, that pain = bad). No, if I am to heal and recover, I must acknowledge the break and furthermore, I must let it be examined fully. I must be attentive to the pain and notice the wheres, hows, and intensities of it if I ever hope to recover from the break. Pain within our presence is no different: it’s merely an invitation to heal.

Image: Facebook

I would like to offer you encouragement and support, with hope that you might turn back to your pain and extend both acceptance and love. Weep if you must, I know I did upon realizing how horrifically I’d been treating myself. I couldn’t help but dislodge all of my suppressed emotions all at once, and that wasn’t just okay, it was powerful and transformative. YOU ARE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. No task, no title, and no other ‘measure’ used to differentiate and define you have any real power unless you have given it that power. Go ahead, get curious about your pains and discover for yourself what damage you’ve been unknowingly inflicting on yourself, and then begin your true important work: the process of healing. Tell yourself you are sorry, tell yourself you forgive you, let the waves of peace, comfort, love, and connection you’ve been fighting back against pull you in and wrap you up. Allow yourself to fall into the simplicity of your breath, take comfort that this responsibility and even that of your heart beat have been taken from you that you might LIVE! Allow yourself to dissolve back into the center, float past the ‘shoulds,’ ‘woulds,’ and ‘musts’ until you find the truth again. Push back against the lies until you can declare: I am enough!

Image: Facebook