2019 focus word.

Every year, I choose a focus word to set my intention for the year. That focus word ends up becoming a theme for the following twelve months; it shapes my experiences and acts as an arrow in the bountiful light, and as a lantern when my path plunges into darkness, into the valley of my own shadow.

Last year, my word was “goddess,” which helped me to learn that connecting with divinity isn’t simply about ecstasy; it is about connecting with even the rage and the madness and the grief that goddesses go through in their own stories. It is about knowing oneself as one knows the night and the day: not hating some traits and preferring others, but rather accepting, loving, and embracing both as vital parts of life, and moving through them with ease, as Persephone does between earth and the underworld.

In 2017, my word was “self-love.” It was a word that led to me going on a three day, three night vision fast in the mountains, it led to my relationship with my daughter’s father transforming from domestic partnership to a co-parenting friendship, it led to me cleaning up my diet, and it put me on the path to greater self-awareness. It also gave me a deeper understanding of what self-love truly means: it’s not all bubble baths and lazy Sundays. It’s also looking critically at the parts of our lives (inner and outer) that are no longer serving our growth or the growth of the other people involved, and replacing those parts with things that do serve us and all involved.

Normally, I choose a focus word for my year before the new year even starts. But, deep in grief, my word for 2019 could not find me; I wasn’t listening to anything but the earthquakes in my chest.

Finally, nearly two months after the beginning of the new year (and three months after one of my best friends died) and a night before snow began to fall on this Oregon city, my word came to me: lush.

Lush as in beneficial growth.

Lush as in slowness that is not stasis but is, rather, rich with meaning, mindfulness, and possibility.

Lush as in vivid sensory moments. As in not a moment wasted. Every moment noticed and appreciated for the lusciousness it holds.

Lush as in the mundane becoming magical.

Lush as in living my life like I’m in a Hayao Miyasaki film:

Lush as in a focus on beauty regardless, or because of, circumstance.

As with my past focus words, this word will be both a question and an answer given to myself on a regular basis:

What can I do to make this situation more lush, 
more meaningful, more beautiful, more in service to my growth?

Embody lusciousness. Engage the senses in vivid and 
sacred ways. Let the material lead to the spiritual,
by appreciating the world as it is,
not as my mind thinks it should be —
yet, not being too attached to it.
Lush, not as an end goal, but rather — 
as an avenue to Spirit.

This year, the year I descend from my head into my body.

Into my heart. My gut. My womb.

The year I am not wishing: the year I am doing. The year I am loving. The year I am passion, peace, grounding, and creation all at the same time: the year I am like a deeply rooted, steadily growing plant. Every day worthwhile. Every day making a life.

Because nature does not hurry. Nature doesn’t overthink or over-analyze.

Nature grows. Lets go of what no longer serves. Rests. Then grows some more.

Lush as in nature. Lush as in



Monday Obsessions.

spotify obsessions: what i’ve had on repeat this week

  • Xiuhtezcatl ‘s album Break Free. This extraordinary man is the rapper version of Nahko Bear (who I’ve been a fan of for years). If you like music centered on spiritual activism, you’ll love this artist.
  • Fearless Soul’s playlist Spiritual Workout – Intense Presence EDM Gym Fitness Workout. This playlist alternates between ‘normal’ EDM songs … and Law of Attraction speeches set to EDM music. This playlist is awesome if you want to get a confidence and motivation boost while you do your cardio (or you’re walking to work, which is what I use it for)!
  • alxrnbrdmusic’s playlist Indie/Indie-Folk Compilation – Winter 2018. This playlist is my go-to for staring out the window at the winter rain and wind while a cup of tea warms my hands. 
  • Yaima. A woman with an incredible voice, super-chill songs, and a message of love and personal growth.

bookworm Obsessions: what I’ve been reading this week.

  • So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. A must-read for every single white person who wants to be an effective and non-patronizing ally for black people, indigenous people, and people of color. I learned so much from this book that I hadn’t been aware of before, such as “tone policing” and “the model minority myth.” This book is fantastic for oppressed demographics to read as well, as Oluo provides a lot of suggestions for them to stand up for and care for themselves in a world that is constantly demanding their emotional labor while at the same time mostly ignoring their needs.
  • The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford. Personal growth and self-care does nothing if it’s focused solely on ignoring the dark side of life and bathing yourself in glitter bath bombs. This book is an effective and widely acclaimed course that explains in understandable and relatable ways exactly what our Shadows are, why accepting and integrating our Shadows is some of the most important personal growth work we can do, and provides exercises in every chapter for how to do exactly that. If you’re ready for some real progress in your spiritual path, this is the book for you. Be prepared to cry, to laugh, to discover things about yourself you never knew, and to write pages and pages and pages in your journal.
  • The Brie’s Submission series by Red Phoenix. This is my go-to smut series for when I need something fun instead of serious, but it’s not just a smut series. This series is written by a real submissive, in a real D/S relationship, and serves as a peek into the BDSM and D/S world for people who have only ever experienced vanilla relationships. Phoenix does an extraordinary job with these books — unlike other kinky novels I’ve read, the characters are relatable, with depth and the ability to pull at my heartstrings. The plot is interesting and fun and, at times, heartbreaking. 

film obsessions: what I’ve been watching this week.

  • Netflix stand-up comedy. Iliza’s Elder Millenial got me laughing tears, and Trevor Noah delivers a show that is both hilarious and thought-provoking.
  • The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix. This movie is both heart-breaking and feel-good. 
  • The CW’s reimagining of Charmed. This new version of Charmed has had mixed reviews, due to its radical differences from the original; however, being the sort of person who likes to watch movies and shows for themselves rather than comparing them to their “originals,” I rather like it. I love that they’ve woven many widely-talked-about modern issues into the new series, including LGBTQ+ issues and #metoo-era subjects like consent and prominent men outed as sexual predators. The fact that the Charmed Ones are women of color is the icing on the cake. My only complaint thus far is that their whitelighter acts much as their authority figure, rather than as a guide; his patronizing quality right from the get-go has gotten on my nerves. Something I loved about the original was how independent and self-sufficient the Charmed Ones were — much of their challenges and strengths were borne out of having to figure it all out themselves (for the most part). 

This is a new weekly series I’ve decided to try out. I hope you enjoyed it, and I look forward to posting again soon!