I’m not the most nostalgic person. Or so I’ve always thought.

I don’t have keepsakes or buy myself souvenirs when I travel (though for others is a different story). I’ve enjoyed getting older and truly believe the best is yet to come. Yet, I also still have friends from childhood and revel in memories often.

Today I saw an old friend. I drove my niece and nephew to hang out with her and her kids. It’s actually been several years since we’ve really even hung out, yet, we picked up like we never skipped a beat.

We talked about the past – memories and nostalgia. We swapped stories of thens and nows, catching each other up on various things. Surprisingly unsurprised that our paths shared similarities even as time and space had separated us.

Despite everything, all the changes and differences we’ve undertaken, what we shared in the past was no more real than our connection now. The nostalgia was underwhelming because the present was fully enveloping.

So perhaps that’s it? I’ve never really felt nostalgic because I’ve never truly felt better about the past than I do the present. Granted, I’ve markedly and purposefully improved my life so there is some bias as well, but I find the possibility interesting enough to keep exploring.

Perhaps that’s also why tradition has never felt quite right to me either.

I’ve always wondered why just because something has been done, it should continue to be done. I was a terror at holidays, always refusing to participate in decorating or festivities because no one could tell me why we were doing them. The Christmas tree was the worst: “why are we killing a tree? Why do we bring it inside? Why are we decorating? Why does the whole family come over?”

Interestingly, once I could apply present purpose to the seasonal commotion I became a much jollier person. Paganism taught me about Yule and Saturnalia, and suddenly bringing greenery and raising the spirits of your loved ones through shared meals made sense. The ancient customs weren’t about religion as much as combating what we now call seasonal affective disorder. We celebrate to inspire joy, and that makes sense to me so I’m perfectly content now.

I missed my friend Heather. I could’ve talked myself out of reaching out to her, I have before, but I didn’t. I could’ve just been nostalgic, but I made my feelings something actionable instead. I’ve brought the past and the present together, creating more opportunities of the same in the future, and I’m grateful I did.

I don’t want to think about how things were or could have been, I want to create my bliss in every moment. Even if that means doing more about what I’m tempted to miss or iconify.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the website has transformed, once again. If you’ve been a reader for any length of time now, you have seen this happen many times and may be wondering why.

After all, this type of inconsistent online presence behavior goes against every tenet of branding and marketing out there. “Stay consistent,” “focus on being recognizable” and “when people see your branding they should feel assured and comfortable” are not uncommon tips to find around the bloggosphere – but, their not for me.

Optimal Mastery isn’t about trying to make people comfortable. It’s not even about collecting readers or followers. No, Optimal Mastery’s purpose is much more transparent, vulnerable and raw then that.

That’s why the site changes so often, it’s a reflection of myself. I am always changing, transforming and reinventing mayryanna, and so, it feels most authentic when my blog does these somersaults too.

If you’re looking for carefully controlled consistency, meticulously manicured media and steadily streamed standards – LOOK ELSEWHERE! Optimal Mastery won’t ever settle.

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)

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