My to-do list currently has “blog January brain dump” on it.
I've been wanting to write, but had writer's block and, if I'm being honest, so many other excuses. It hasn't been about time. It's been about lack of motivation, lack of discipline, or putting too much pressure on myself to have something to say. Does that happen to you? Habits are easy to make and easy to break.
The new year is usually full of content ideas, mostly involving self-improvement. However, I've decided that this year I'm NOT going to focus on self-improvement in January. It's felt freeing to delete emails without reading them when the subject line indicates that it's a variation on “new year, new you”. Delete. No courses. No challenges. No webinars. Few self-improvement commitments. I feel lighter for not over-committing and not reading every offer. My daily meditation practice is back on track and my yoga is near-daily now but they don't feel like obligations. They're self-care.
2018 Focus words
A couple of weeks into 2018 created my focus words for the year, and they have stuck: “Ease & flow” (two words, presented as one concept) and “surrender”. “Surrender” to me means doing things rather than avoiding them out of fear – not letting the fear of looking silly or fear of lacking approval stop me. When I meditate, I'll chant the loudest “sat nam”. When I'm out someplace people are dancing, I'll dance like no one is watching. When a song comes on, I'll sing a little louder than under my breath. The other day at Walmart, another woman walked by me singing along to the song that was playing. It's not just me that sings in public.
Some years the focus words come easily to me, some years they take longer. This year it took a couple of meditation sessions before they spoke to me.
I can talk about gratitude, introspection and my path for 2018 but I feel that's been done year after year. I can talk about what I did or didn't do in the past year. Regrets, what I'm looking forward to. I don't want to rehash. I don't want to judge myself. I want to live like each moment is full of possibility and each day is a reset.
2018 will be a year of change and it might be the year I distribute all of the educational materials that I've created. It will be the year I start filling my client roster. It will be the year of making dreams come true.
I've been finding inspiration in podcasts. Not in self-improvement podcasts, but podcast hosts who successfully work on several projects. I listen to a lot of nerdy entertainment podcasts. For years I've listened to The Nerdist – celebrity interviews but not in a fluffy sort of way. These are the sorts of conversations that anyone would have with a friend that they're getting to know. What inspires me: A lot of working actors create their own projects and opportunities. I do a lot of contract work. TV and film projects are like contract work (granted – some run for many years but it's never guaranteed). It's another perspective and another kick in the pants to create my own opportunities.
Genuine Health fermented organic gut superfoods+. Prebiotics help to improve gut health and this formula is made from 21 fermented organic plant-based superfoods. A word of caution: While it didn't cause bloating (as the packaging boasts), the first few times I used it I had wicked flatulence.
Roasted chicory root. We recently moved and bought a coffee maker, and we've been making coffee at home every day. After hearing my partner suggest adding chicory root to our coffee, I included some with my last iHerborder. Chicory root contains inulin – a prebiotic, polyphenols – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, among other benefits. After trying chicory root in coffee and then on its own with cream (like a coffee substitute), I'm wondering where it's been my whole life. It tastes roasty and chocolatey. Maybe this will work for my chocolate cravings.
Not a new discovery, but this winter, in particular, I'm appreciating my Living Libations Rose Glow face cream. It's on sale right now, which I didn't know until I went to their website to get the product link.
What I've been reading, what I'm currently reading and what's next on my reading list
(Contains affiliate links):
Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson. I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies because I like to get inside people's heads (or in the case of autobiographies, the version they want to present). I like to learn about people. Human psychology fascinates me. Branson interests me because he has dyslexia and ADD and he's built what he's built. I had a copy from the library and had to return it before I was done, but will be giving it another read in the upcoming months and perhaps I'll share some nuggets of wisdom.
Year of Yes by Shona Rhimes. I downloaded this to my Kindle recently. The current Kindle price is $1.99. It's one of my next reads.
The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman. I picked it up from the library this week and I'm going to try a new method of taking notes as I read. I highlight and flag books I own but I can't highlight a library book.
I recently watched the show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. It's too dark to binge too much at a time but I found that watching 2 episodes at a time was perfect.
Also on Netflix: The new season of Grace and Frankie was released last week. This season's cast includes Talia Shire and Lisa Kudrow.
If you're not watching The Good Place (NBC), you should. Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Need I say more? Some episodes are better than others, but that's TV for you. Is there anything Bell can't do?
Not recent, but I watched the award-winning mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows from 2014 last year and was pleased with this week's announcement that it's being turned into a series. I don't like horror, but I'm down with comedy horror and vampires in a Real World setting end up being hilarious when written and performed well. It sounds like a concept that could have begun with a stand-up comedy routine. Watch the movie trailer.
The movie Ingrid Goes West, starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen and Wyatt Russell is a good commentary on social media fame. The premise sounds like the movie could be the latest Single White Female plot, but it's not at all. It won a Screenwriting award at last year's Sundance Film Festival and has been nominated for a bunch of other awards. Hulu is currently streaming it. I don't watch a lot of movies.
In November I became hooked on two musicals: Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away. The latter originated in Canada. For about 6 weeks I listened to them regularly.
Podcasts, wellness-related: Sivana podcast and YogaHacks, both hosted by yoga teacher Brett Larkin, whom I adore. The Yogahealer podcast hosted bt Cate Stillman. Balanced Bites with Diane Sanfillipo. The Brain Warrior's Way with Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen. These are just a few of the podcasts I'm subscribed to and I don't listen to every episode. Generally, I listen while I'm walking my dog and sometimes while making dinner.
Podcasts, business: Sometimes I listen to The Fizzle Show, The Tim Ferriss Show, Side Hustle School (hosted by Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle, The $100 Startup and other books) and the Foundr Magazine Podcast
Podcast, entertainment: I recently discovered Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, another podcast with an actor interviewing actors. I was going to share my favourite interviews from this one but when I looked at the list I realized that there were a half dozen or so. I haven't listened to every episode.
If you're reading this, give me your recommendations of movies, TV, podcasts and books.