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!

Image: Google

A couple weeks ago I posted on my personal social media about doing a “no-thing” year, starting November 1st after Samhain. It’s officially been one week since the start of this new focus for my personal development and I feel called to flush out my parameters for this goal.

Already I’ve noticed some points of tension:

  • Food, and/or
  • Household purchases

Living with grandma, my own personal choices are never purely concerned with me. So, how do I navigate grocery shopping when I want to stop buying “things” myself but grandma always gets whatever she wants?

Likewise, what about household items? Hand and dish soap? Toiletries?

Image: Google

Taking it Easy on Myself, to Start

Given that this commitment is for a year, I’ve decided to ease in to it for the sake of longevity. So, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I plan to get them via this challenge rather than in spite of it.

I will continue to shop for the household items and food as I have been, but will also be examining my own consumption to try and determine what “things” aren’t necessary or are only serving me. However, for the time being I am not going to be finicky about insuring I don’t consume household or food “things.” Towards the end of December I will be reevaluating this portion and further acting on the observations of these next two months.

Image: Google

So, what are the solid parameters I am starting with then?

My “No-Thing” Year Rules:

  • Stop purchasing “things” for myself
    • Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, etc
    • Make-up or Personal Toiletries
    • Books, Journals, Notebooks, etc
    • Knickknacks, Blankets, Art, etc
  • Stop purchasing “things” as gifts (because of who I am, I started collecting holiday gifts for friends/family in October, but I will be crafting/making any other gifts I might still need or focusing on gifting experiences)
  • Stop consuming food “things” personally
    • Fast foods, to-go coffees, snacks, candies, etc (packaged food-like products)
    • Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts or homemade
    • Take notice of “things” consumed as meals (packaged/premade products) by myself and grandma, looking for ways to reduce these habits and return to whole-foods
    • The hospitality of others will be accepted gratefully regardless

That being said, I anticipate a few more grey areas:

  • Gifts = will still be accepted, gratefully
  • Returns = recieved items may be exchanged for other “things”
  • My Cats = will still be getting their foods, litter, treats and toys as they always do
  • Souvenirs = not allowed; myself and others will have to be content with stories and pictures from any trips taken
  • Subscriptions, Memberships, etc = to be reevaluated, only kept/purchased if deemed necessary for my work
  • Experiences, Trips, Courses, etc = not to be limited by this commitment, but still considered on a case by case basis
  • Miscellaneous =
    • This commitment is not a justification for increased spending in other areas
    • I will not ask or “hint at” others to purchase “things” on my behalf (this doesn’t apply when asked what I would as holiday/birthday gifts)

Maintaining Flexibility

All that being said, I am excited to have opportunities to explore my consumption habits and may make adjustments and changes as I go. When I am reevaluating for 2020 at the end of December I will likely choose the next point of reevaluation, and so on.

The purpose of this commitment is to purposefully establish myself as a consumer, not to merely stop all consumption. As humans, we all consume, digest and produce waste in a variety of ways, this isn’t itself a flaw. It is over-consumption that causes imbalance and it is this trend in my own life that I desire to quell.

The minimalist lifestyle is highly appealing to me, but I am not at a place in life where I can make that drastic of a change. Therefore, I am taking more modest steps in that direction.

It makes sense to me that prior to reducing my stuff, I need to get my purchasing under control. I need to create some space to discover what is truly essential. Otherwise, I’ll simply replace what I get rid of.

Perhaps along my journey this year I will find myself naturally and organically reducing by using up things I already have. Perhaps there will come a time for more purposeful purging. Regardless, this is sure to be an illuminating experience!

With the spiritual new year fast approaching as Samhain is just over a week away, I have been quite distracted in the background of my existence, considering the milestones I will allow this to mark for me… I am feeling steadily called in the direction of simplicity, reclamation and void – creating space without the need of filling it, opening up beyond what I know – even more than ever before… I have gingerly entertained the idea of starting a “no thing” year at the dawn of 2020, ignoring my heart’s prompting to begin it before the holidays because, well honestly, Christmas is easier when you can just buy things for people (and I love buying things for people).

Alas, I cannot persist in ignoring this itch for a more soulful and conscious existence though –

Beginning Nov. 1st I will no longer be purchasing “things.” More explanations to come, but for now, I needed to make the declaration so I can start moving in that direction and adjusting my perspectives 🙏 Thank you for being available Citizens of the Internet, to receive and hold it, serving as my accountability ❤

I have not been utilizing spoken language to communicate for 10 days now and I’m officially a third of the way through my vow. I have been learning a lot and figured this was as good a time as any to post a bit of an update.

In reality, communication runs much deeper than human language

Interestingly, my abilities to continue making noises and write to communicate have made my vow more difficult rather than less. I have found myself struggling to “grunt just right” or write something as quickly or “efficiently” as possible again and again. The trouble always arises because this vow doesn’t only affect me, and I still have habits of adjusting myself for others.

I am not at an ashram, I’m still finding ways to do my work and have my relationships, yet I feel profoundly limited in my ability to give people what they want. In this way, I am being tested, but so is everyone else in my life. I am being confronted by my desire to make things easier for everyone, literally ALL THE TIME. In turn, they are also being invited to explore their expectations of me, and it’s not always comfortable or even understandable.

Human language has never been static (image: internet)

I have thoroughly succeeded in rocking the boat lately. I have been tempted to just call this “rewilding my voice” intention off on more than one occasion, but all this resistance can only mean it’s worth the effort – so I’m pushing through, and taking everyone on a growth adventure with me!

I am however, hereby changing my “I can makeep noises” rule slightly, to exclude word-like sounds. Only official grunts, growls and purrs from now on. Okay, and maybe some monkey chatter and bird whistles – but no more human-esk attempts a communication. Though who is to say where the line is unless I explore it??

Alas, I am again committed to the original commitment… But you see my difficulty?

Even if that means sticking with a difficult commitment (image: internet)

There will be no blog post for the 7th.

There with be no blog post for the 8th.

The last two days were pure MAGICK, and in this way I will hold for them eternal space.

Apotheosis

I am blessed. I am blessing.

I am a part of a global family, a universal tribe made up of men and women across this globe who speak different languages, have different cultures and yet, express and experience the same true divine love. It is this love that connects us, regardless of understanding. It is this love that has ultimately brought us across all time, space and history to the grand intersection of NOW.

I do not know them, I know them. They permeate my being with their essences and I feel for them with complete abandon and liberation. I can tell them anything. I have told them everything.

Secrets I thought I would take to my grave, I gave confessed, to strangers – and I have been generously accepted, supported and truly, powerfully loved. That is Apotheosis.

It is an enchanting example of how people are taking back their responsibility. The exact opposite of ignoring the ugly things and letting your fears control your perceived reality. This is, as the fam calls it, “facing your resistance.”

This is power.

This is magick.

This is truth.

Recognizing Fear

Yes, see it. See it so clearly you understand it enough to reconstruct what it means for you. Rearrange the way you think about fear, yes, actually change what it means to your inherent cognition.

Yes, that clearly. That intensely and vigorously. Embrace even, and most especially, the parts that you least want to discover, confront and accept.

Look your demons square in their eyes and ask their name with the commanding authority of your divine birthright.

Look your demons square in their eyes and ask their name with the commanding authority of your divine birthright. Watch their monstrous features soften as you realize you were never tormented by them, you have been tortured by your fear of them.

Dare to create a new reality for yourself in which you don’t have to slay your dragons.

Dare to create a new reality for yourself in which you don’t have to slay your dragons. Allow your dragons the opportunity to teach you.

Pain is inevitable. We must grow and adapt, which requires change and that can feel abrasive – especially if we have been practicing resistance for our whole lives, like most of us have.

But what if the dragons have divine messages and we must but learn their way of communicating to unlock the secrets and freedom our hearts have always longed for? What if monsters are beautiful, scared and lonely? What if everything we are afraid to know isn’t actually what we’re afraid of?

Image Source: Unknown (Internet)

Could it be possible to choose our pain wisely instead of simply accept the victimization we inflict upon ourselves? Can we challenge our discomforts and develope the discipline for pursuing universal optimization and the devotion of personal mastery?

What if the only thing we have to fear really, truly is fear itself and the way it robs from our happiness by distorting our perceptions of reality?

Choosing Love

It’s not easy.

It’s not simple.

It will take our whole lives.

But expansion of love is our universal destiny.

We are all divinity learning to love itself, and all we actually “have to do” is decide that we do love ourselves. That we love every last bit of our naturally subversive, gloriously imperfect and infinitely fragmented divine Self.

Acting on radical acceptance. Demanding revolutionary honesty. Accepting that all progress starts with the infinitesimal fragment that is you, me, or any specified “identity” but that it is always going to ripple out and consequently effect the whole of divine Source. This is the essence of true morality and ethics: making the responsibility of blessing your own.

This is the essence of true morality and ethics: making the responsibility of blessing your own.

We are both separate and unified. Both “I” and the “other.” We must make a choice to sacrifice the temptations of ego and fear conciousness and allow the “I” to live in service of the “other” in order to truly integrate wholeness.

We will always be tempted to be “self-ish,” masquerading as mutations and manipulations of the pure divine Source, but we always have the choice to choose true divine love – the choice to see beyond the limits of our conditions, ego and fear and embrace with all powerful grace the totality of existence, which does include even these “selves,” the “others” and yes, even our “demons” and “monsters.”

Image Source: Unknown (Internet)