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!

I started vow of silence on Wednesday. Until the night of my performance, I am not vocally communicating with others.

I am writing. I am making noises. I am talking to my cats, singing to myself and practicing my set in private (my musician is the only one who is going to be hearing my voice this month).

Source: Facebook

Mostly though, for this month, I’m exploring my silence. So far, it’s already been quite illuminating.

I’ve learned vocal reaction and response can happen long before any conscious choice/decision, much of it is automatic and conditioned. Another lesson I’m a bit more surprised by, is my ability to over complicate and be excessive even in nonverbal communication.

Image: Facebook

The latter has looked like chaotic body movements or tantrums of non-linguistic sounds and facial expressions. The former has mostly been knee jerk, “trash” or throw away “habit” responses. For example, never before have I realized the extent of my nervous humor before!

Though these insights are sure to be useful, what I’m really most excited about for this journey are my intentions. The first is honestly akin to “becoming less reactive,” but feels more rightly defined as “creating space between stimuli and response.”

Image: Facebook

Often I get overly excited by communication, especially when it’s about things I actually care about, and in that excitement-oriented mania I lose sight of the purpose of communication. So, in part, this vow is about increasing the value of my own communication. I plan to do this, not by eliminating my responses, but by allowing myself the time to curate and design them with more care and consideration.

Secondly, and similarly, I am attempting to train what I’ve come to call “verbal processing” out of my communication habits. I have found myself able to talk topics in circles, in order to imagine and explmore every perspective, often even playing “devil’s advocate” just to ensure no view point is left behind.

Also known as my favorite hobby…

Honestly, I find verbal processing fun. That’s why it’s become a habit. Still, it does nothing for the potency and power of my words.

Ultimately, my purpose will require I do my “verbal processing” internally, so that when I do speak, the thoughts I am presenting are a collected and cohesive whole. This will provide others the gems of my experience and analysis without having to muddle through the garbage to get them. Again, increasing the value of my spoken word.

Image: Facebook

Finally, and perhaps most fun, I am exploring rewilding my voice for a few creative projects. This is why I am allowing myself to make non-linguistic sounds.

So far I have been absolutely delighted by one occasion of non-verbal sound exploding from myself. I growled and grunted and clicked, utilizing my physical form, movement and every muscle in my face to communicate my intentions.

It felt wild.

It felt really, really, really good.

I am so excited that I am just 3 days in and have so much more time to explore the silence. Who knows what my voice will actually be like on the other side?! But, I am sure excited to find out!

My rules

I was taught to fear
the other

never knowing
it was always myself

I hated “them” for things
I remembered

about myself
things only “I” was guilty of

Yet, it was through others’
forgiving embrace

I discovered
how forgiveness heals

Turning their love inward
accepting myself

breaking free
releasing self-judgements

In these ways, I am saved
by others

once judged
by my own denied insecurities

So yes, I am healing me
not selfishly

but selflessly
knowing I must to love All

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)

Searching for some inspiration, I shuffled through the prompts in a journaling app. There were a few I felt no spark from, but I knew when I found the one. “What does personal development and growth mean to you?”

After all, this blog is called Optimal Mastery. It’s obvious I’m invested in progress, but I haven’t actually talked about what that means to me on the blog yet. Well, here it goes!

Optimal = better than perfect

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of optimization for years now. Ever since taking philosophy classes in college, I’ve wanted to learn more and more that allows me to live better and better. Sustainability, cooperation, appreciation – things that amplify blessings and benefits get my heart racing.

I don’t want to just own any home. I want to own a home with a negative carbon footprint, that’s completely off-grid and self-sustaining long term.

I don’t want to just do any work. I want to write, publish and create from around the world, on my own time, and still live more luxuriously than most.

I don’t want to be just any human. I want to be a person who’s learning and exploring each and every day. Someone who serves others, honors herself and invests in her convictions. Optimization, to me, means never giving up on my own personal best.

Mastery = getting personal

Mastery is the “how to my why.” Essentially, I believe optimization can only be achieved through personal mastery. Self-control, discipline, but also awareness, patience and compassion are all a part of it.

By committing to oneself, to master oneself, one commits to becoming both their own student as well as teacher. It requires life long recommitments too.

Optimization isn’t a static goal, and neither is the tool of mastery. It is ever fluid, its disciplines and devotions ever fluctuating, flowing and reforming as it is informed again and again through the awareness of presence.

A Lifelong Dedication to Refinement

In all, Optimal Mastery means I will never stop learning, growing and evolving. It doesnt mean I must be perfect. It doesn’t even mean I believe perfection exists. It does mean I’ll always be asking myself the hard questions.

I want to live a full and complete life. I want to leave it all “out there.” I want to test my limits, prove my strengths and develop my weaknesses past my comforts, conditions or excuses. I want to live my life on purpose and create intentional meaning.

So that’s what personal development means to me. That’s why my daily blog is called Optimal Mastery. That’s how you all got to be so lucky as to witness the messy art of my growing.