Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Okay, going back to my recurring answer about quitting my job.  Yes, obviously it is a big deal to me, and apparently the only thing I'm going to remember this year by.

SO!  The wisest decision I made this year was to give myself a deadline of when I was going to quit my job.

I don't know how exactly this came about.  Probably influenced by astrology or tarot cards or some other metaphysical thing.  But I felt that I had to take action NOW!  And I knew that if I didn't set a deadline for myself, excuses would always come up.  The idea being of course, that there would be all this stuff that I could do to prepare for it.  Which I didn't.  Of course.

I set the deadline to tell my boss on the day of our monthly meeting.  So I went in to work anxious, knowing that TODAY WAS THE DAY that my life was going to change. 

And then she rescheduled.

Holy crap.  I could barely contain myself.  I thought I was going to vomit.

But contain myself I did.  And luckily, she rescheduled for later that day, or perhaps the next.  Soon enough that I didn't have an aneurysm.  And for that I'm grateful.

And she actually was quite supportive!  So, that was good, because I was scared she was going to look at me and say, "Are you NUTS?".  But she didn't.  Instead, she pointed out my qualities that would help me on my endeavor.

My endeavor of which, at the time, came out sounding like gobbledigook.  But, having to repeat the reason why I was quitting over and over, my business began to really take shape.  By putting out there in the open, instead of just letting it brew around in my mind, constantly altering itself, it began to become solid.  And I got to hear peoples feedback and ideas, which was helpful.

And then finally, after I quit my job, I thought, wow, I could actually do this.

Let's see if I

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I must admit, my favorite party of the year was the party that began the year.  My New Years Eve party.  Despite the initial set-back of it being "that time of the month" and having to change my dress and clean a cushion (yes, TMI, but this is real life dear), the party was a riproaring success.  Complete with a great view of fireworks off the Space Needle, two broken glasses and a broken martini shaker, and to top it all off, drunken guys mooning us below our window.  It was amazing.  I so enjoyed watching my friends have such a great time, and plying them with alcohol.

I also knew that it was a great omen for the year ahead, and omen which has held true.  I look forward to this years party, and the magic, chaos, and shenanigans that it will unfold unto us. 

So, there
Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

Okay, AWKWARD!  It's amazing how easy it is to tear ourselves down.  If they had asked me for a list of my faults, I would happily rattle it off.  But to talk about what makes you beautiful?  I get all awkward and shy.  After all, I don't want to seem like I'm full of myself or something.  And that's the problem with our culture, or perhaps our humanity.  We so quickly focus on our negatives and not our positives.  So no wonder we have to hide ourselves in booze/pills/food/television/you name it.

But now to stop avoiding the question.

Things that make me different.  I have crazy dreams and actually go after them.  When I wanted to live in Ireland, even though I didn't know how it could happen, I found a way to live there for 7 months interning at a peace and reconciliation center.  When I wanted to go to Peru, even though I only had made $4000 that year, I created a class through the university I was studying at, and spent two months there, living off financial aid.   I go out and audition.  I went after the top rated acting schools in the country, and got accepted, and moved there, even though I had never been on the east coast.  I've had mad wild crushes on guys, and actually asked them out.  I believe everything is possible and that I can have it in my life, I just need to reach for it.  It doesn't take a million dollars, or superhuman effort.  It just takes trying.  And so many people don't even try at all, which makes me sad.  They give up on themselves before they even reach their arms out.  They would be amazed to find what is possible.

But I understand, as I've fallen into that trap myself in recent years.  And now, cue music as I recite that I quit my job and am venturing out on my own.  Please read previous posts for further details on that, because I really hate being a broken record on all that.

Do you want to know what really propels me into action, though?  I get sick of listening to myself.  It's true.  That's all it is.  I go on and on and on about how I want to do something.  There was a distinct moment that I remember when I was talking to a friend about how I wanted to live in Ireland (and she wanted to live in Peru), and I just thought to myself "SHUT UP and do something".  Nobody wants to hear you go on and on about something when you aren't even willing to DO anything about it.  So I looked up stuff on the internet that day, found an internship to apply for, and less than a year later I was living in Ireland, having the best time of my life.

Of course, there are many other things that make me different, but I'm going to stick with that right now, because I feel like that is enough.  And it seems appropriate at this moment.

And what do I do that lights people up?  I make them laugh.  I tell entertaining stories, or make sarcastic remarks, or say inappropriate things that catch them off guard.  It's my favorite thing, when I can whip out a snarky comment that cracks my coworker out, or throw out a comment that people repeat for days.  At least, that is what I see lights people up.  I have a suspicion that my enthusiasm also lights people up.  I get caught up in things, and apparently my enthusiasm can be infectious.  I like that.  One of the best compliments is when after I've gone on about whatever, the person tells me that I've inspired them, and they're going to go out and do something about it.

So.  I guess that is what I have to say about THAT.
Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Community!  And we're not just talking about the TV show here.  Well, finally, an answer I can give that does not involve what I've already been writing about.  Success.  And as lazy as I am, I'm going to use the same answer for both parts of the question, so THERE!

As you may recall, I've gone Paleo this year.  Paleo being a way of eating, for the most part, though does extend into other parts of one's life.  Essentially, the idea is that we should eat similarly to the way we evolved to eat, and that the medical issues western people face to day is due to our diet.  Specifically our grain based diet.  So, to eat Paleo means to eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Some through in dairy (at this point I do), and there are a lot of finer points that are quibbled over, which I will not go into here, as that is not what this is about.

What this is about is Community.  Now that the explanatory statement has been laid down, I can talk about the community that I'm grateful for, and that is the Paleo community, but more specifically, my local group.  When I first was interested in Paleo, back in about 2000 or so, their was a big void out there, with a slim pickings of sites.  But now, there is an explosion of blogs and other sources of information where we can support each other.  And I am so grateful for all that info that is out there.

But more so, I'm grateful for the group that got started here in Seattle this year.  We get together every month or so, and eat.  EAT!  And it is fantastic.  Because we all "get it".  And we don't have to ask what is in each little thing.  We know that everything is safe to eat, and we won't have to worry about passing on the corn chips.  And we have some fantastic cooks & bakers, and get to try the most delicious things.

But more so, it is so great to come together as a community over food.  There is something about food that really unites people, you can see that this is why all the festivals, celebrations, and holidays focus on food.  Because it is a wonderful way to come together.

And I'm pretty lucky, because I actually like everyone in the group.  They are all good people.  How great is that?  And they're fun, and come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  So it is nice not only to eat with them, but to hang with them and talk with them.  So, good times for all!  And it doesn't hurt that Paleo tends to draw attractive young men.  ;)

Moving on!  This is also the community that I'd like to more deeply connect with in the year ahead.  And I'd love to see us even do some public events, so we can share our knowledge and delicious food with others out there who may be struggling with their health that can find a way to thrive.  There is also a national event that is going to happen this year, the Ancestral Health Symposium, and I GOTS to get myself there!  It is going to be the Who's Who of the Paleo world. 

Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I am tempted to be foofy on my answer, to say "I made time" or "I made space", but I think I'm going to tackle this one literally, because I think I've been foofy enough.

A ha!  The last thing I made!  I kept searching for a craft in my head, but realize the last thing I made was electronic.  The last thing I made was a budget spreadsheet for my dear friends Hannah and Eric, who would like a little more deliberateness in their lives.

I'm CRAZY anal retentive about my finances.  Because I LOVE it.  Not that you would know it from the amount of debt I carry around.  But, ah well, so be it.

So, a while back, I created a spreadsheet that maps out month by month your debt, that looks at how much you pay each month and what the balance would be.  And the beauty is that I set up a calculation that will factor in the interest on the debt.  So, I can look at my credit card debt and see that if I pay $30 a month, I will still owe x amount after 3 years, or that I will have it paid off in a year and a half.  It is a fun way for me to play with money.  I also have a line for my savings account as well.  I move money around, and say, but what if I put that extra $100 here, what would happen....  And then I start thinking about the day that I gray out that line, and don't worry about that debt no more.

So.  That is what I made.  And I hope it brings success and prosperity to my dear friends.

Now.  Looking ahead.  You know what I want to make?  What I want to make, but need time and resources?  What is burning away at my little fingertips to do?

I want to make mosaics.  I've always loved mosaics, and even have a coffee and end table that my father threatens to throw out the window every time I move because it is too heavy.  But I love 'em. 

After my trip through southern Europe this year, I became even more inspired.  It was so amazing to see the beautiful mosaics that they made in Greece and Italy, and the more contemporary style that Gaudi used in Barcelona.  DEE-LISH-US. 

So.  That's what I want to do.

so there.
Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

See?  Another one with the same answer!  Everyone, tune in for the next post, where I tell you that I quit my job.  Oh, did I tell you I quit my job?  Yeah. that happened.

Though really it isn't my job I let go of.  It's my distrust.  My distrust of myself, and distrust of the universe, and distrust of fate.  I had to let go of  the belief that I'd be doomed, DOOMED!  if I went out on my own two feet.  That I would be a big whopping failure.  I don't know why I think that.  I don't think I'd be a failure in any job I had, quite the opposite.  I'm quite confident that whatever job I'm hired to do I will make the most of it and push it beyond that.

So, why would working for myself be any different?

Is it because I'm willing to work wonderfully within a box I'm given, but when you take away the boundaries, my energy will just run all over the place, like a big oozing monster?

Or is it because I don't trust myself to do what is right for myself?  I trust myself to take care of other people, and put others first.  But when I have to put myself first, I'm going to let myself down?

Yet, I don't think I have a problem putting myself first in many ways.  As many of the people who know me well can attest.  Ha ha. Hm.

I guess I feel that what I have to offer is somehow less valuable.  Or less desirable.  Or just less.

So, that, THAT is what I'm letting go of this year.  And I'm glad to be done with it.

Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

So I guess this is the one that stopped me up, that constipated my writing these things.  And now that I'm sitting down to write it, I know why.

Wonder.  I don't know if I did cultivate a sense of wonder in my life this year.

Now, that's not true.  Now that I write that, I know that is not true at all.  Shame on me.

The wonder that I experienced this year is a wonder of myself.  That this year, I have taken the step to overcome all the mental resistance I've inherited from our culture to starting out on my own.  I still am amazed that I've decided to leave all this security behind.  I'm in awe of my ability to just leap, not knowing what will catch me, but knowing, that like Alice, there will be a bottom somewhere, and that place will be magical.

Although I'm starting to worry that all my posts are going to go the same.  That all I'm going to talk about is how this year I quit my job.  Which is a little half-assed, because I'm still working it, and haven't actually left yet.  I haven't actually hit the ground.  I'm still in mid-air.

I am behind on my reverb posts!  I've been slacking.  I've been sitting in a pool of my own drool.  I've been picking my nose while watching Brady Bunch reruns.

So I better get my ass out of the grass and start reverberating.

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

It's dark.  In the background behind us sounds weave their way to us on the breeze of those who are still drinking up the evening.  But where we are is quiet, framing the sounds of the ocean crashing before our feet.

We laugh, giddy with life and giddy with alcohol, as we settle into the warm sand beneath us.  We sip on our fruity alcohol furtively, knowing the illegality of the act that we are engaging in, but also safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to us, not on this glorious night.

We're in Hawaii.  That's true.  THAT happened. 

"Take this in." I say to Hannah.  Or she says to me.  Does it really matter much?  When you've known each other since the age of eight, conversation often becomes co-authored.  They are her words as much as they are mine.

I breathe in the soft warm air that dances around our skin, and feel alive.  I'm here.  She's here.  We've made it so far in our friendship, through dramas and stories, separations and excuses.  And finally we find ourselves fully straddled in adulthood, and are okay with that.  And we're okay with each other, all the trials and tribulations having been washed out to sea long before this warm beach evening.

And everything is okay.  We are caught in this timeless moment, together, knowing that we are rolling around in the deliciousness that life has to offer with our mouths open and bellies full.

At the same time, we know this is but one moment that we are adding to the scrap book of our friendship, and there are many blank pages before us that we can paste down the experiences of our exquisite lives.

Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?

At first I thought, well this is kinda dumb, it isn't like writing is a big priority for me.  I'm not a professional writer, so it isn't a daily experience or focus for me.  And the prompt really isn't about reflecting on the year behind or the year ahead.  And what an odd question, not what stands in your way (time, energy), but what do you DO that DOESN'T contribute to your writing.  I don't like the wording, it's hard to answer, because it feels like a double negative or something.

And then I thought, stop right there.  Maybe, just maybe, there is something to be gotten from this question.  Maybe I'm the double negative.

After all, when I was young, I was a writing FANATIC.  I had pages and pages of stories that I would hand write out in my spare time, on my school breaks, whenever.  And I would read them aloud to anyone who stood still long enough to listen.  In elementary school, I was even allowed to stand up and read them to the class.  Well, until I got a bit too risque.  I guess they didn't think talking about drugs and urine was very appropriate for a third grade audience.  Prudes.

And then, as I entered high school, it all dried up.  And I barely write at all now, as evidenced from my sporadic blog posts.  My fiction writing is even rarer.  I keep thinking that I should write.  But I just never really get around to it.

So, what is it that I do each day that doesn't contribute to my writing?  What is it?

In a sense, everything contributes to my writing.  I soak life up.  I listen to the turns of phrases, the intonations and innuendos of the discussions around me.  I pay attention to the why's behind people's behavior, and to the rhythm of the plot of the movie I'm watching.  Or the story I'm reading.  Everything I do contributes to the mosaic of my interpretation of life, and that interpretation shapes how I write, and what I write about.

And yet, I don't write.  Not really.  So something must be getting in the way.  I could be lazy, and say work gets in my way.  Which is true.  I do look forward to having my own business, where I will set aside optimal time to write every day.  So it is true, but it isn't really fair.

I think the truth is just that I'd rather escape, rather slip into someone else's head than to slip into mine.  I sometimes have a hard time just being grounded in life itself, and immersing myself in what life, and my creativity, has to offer.  It is easier for me to stare at a screen, whether television or computer, than to look out the window and listen to my breathing.

And can I eliminate it, the need to escape?  I hope so, though not completely, I don't think.  But , as this year moves forward, and I begin to take ownership of my life, and all the bounty and consequences that come with that, I think that I will be pulled into the present, to deal with the now.  I intend to focus on enjoying the sweetness of life, and to look for it all around me, instead of focusing on the bitter, which is so easy to do.

So yeah.  In all of that, I do hope that my writing will sprout, beyond the pages of my random blog postings.

But, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.