The Pluviophile in Me

You’re wondering what a “Pluviophile” is, aren’t you? No worries. It’s not bad. A pluviophile (n) is a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. And that’s not just a random opening sentence for this post. It’s part of the subject matter. Let’s carry on, shall we?

But, Dear Reader. before we get started, I just have to say: I don’t know which one of you sent this freezing cold weather down my way, but you can take it back now. Two days of temps in the low 20s is enough. I can’t get my steps in and that’s wreaking havoc on my HSA bonus money. So. Enough already.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot these days. You’ve been writing in and telling me I’m making a difference. I’m meeting new people who are saying “Hey – you’re that blogger! I love your blog!” and I’ve been pleased to see you are clicking the links I provide – even if my taste in music isn’t all that great! I reached over 12K visits on this site last week and while I may not be as popular as some, I am grateful that you are here with me. I’m a quality over quantity kind of gal anyway, so thank you. Thank you for being here with me on this journey.

As I stated a few posts back, my journey started in 2011 when I made my first post. The process all started when I read a blog by Josh Becker and then started following the likes of Courtney Carver and Adam Baker. And, for Heaven’s sake, let’s not forget Joshua, Ryan and Leo. In 2015 I took a break from writing. To be honest, my life was falling apart and I just didn’t feel like being chipper, if you know what I mean. I felt I didn’t have anything to offer you anyway since I was such a shitshow and therefore, I “disappeared”.

Me, launching my blog in 2011

I reemerged in 2020 as the shitstorm was beginning to dissipate. I found my focus on simplicity to be a bit different than before, though. Life’s experiences had given me several “opportunities” to let go – sometimes with the kicking of legs and gnashing of teeth. While my life was still about keeping material possessions at a minimum, I’d come out of my cocoon with ideas about how to release mental and emotional clutter (which I think adds to the ‘physical’ clutter) and I wanted to share that story.

As I looked over the posts of the last twelve months, I noticed some themes. First, I noticed there was really no theme at all. HA! I just wrote to clear my head. My ‘creepy online diary’ was a saving grace through so many life events – breakups, reunions, more breakups, death of beloved friends, job changes. I also noticed statistical trends (that’s the data analyst in me) and paid attention to the posts that received the most likes, shares, etc. Even when I deleted my personal Facebook account, the numbers grew – proving that the Universe and my friends were on board with what I was doing.

Today’s post isn’t so much about what I have to share, but more about what you can expect from me in 2022. Don’t worry – I’ll still be your foul-mouthed little friend from small-town Missouri, but I think I’ll be less bitter about it. I recently connected with someone from my past and he’s helped me to realize that small-town life isn’t so bad and the collective experiences of both our lives led us to this very moment – which frankly, is quite delightful. Last night I was surrounded by a few of my very favorite humans, talking smack and tasting bourbon…and I was so completely overwhelmed by how loved I felt in that moment that I broke down in tears when I was finally back at home alone. I can’t believe I have come this far in such a relatively short amount of time, but as I’ve said before…I’ve got grit. The last month has given me a huge sense of pride when I think of all I’ve survived the last five years – even when I felt I couldn’t face another day – because I get to stand in the moments now with people who truly love and support me. And while I love the rain…I am so very grateful I made it through the storm.

So, to bring this all around, I just want to tell you what you can expect from me – mostly so you can hold me accountable but also so you can plan ahead. There may be a random post here and there when my brain won’t shut off and those might be completely unrelated to the monthly theme – but we, together, are going to cover (in no particular order…)

Ten Things To Let Go Of In 2022

  1. The Illusion of Control
  2. Fear Of The Future
  3. The Need For “More”
  4. “Clutter” In All Forms
  5. Guilt About Letting Go
  6. “Frogs” You Haven’t Eaten
  7. Bad Money Habits
  8. Toxic Relationships
  9. Saying “Yes” To Everything
  10. Last Year’s Goals

I’m doing this so that I can be more organized with my thoughts and posts but also because I really, really, really (too many reallys?) want to work on my novel. Maybe with a little organization and planning for this blog, I can do just that.

So, before we launch into all of this, can I ask you to do me a few favors, please? I have some assignments for you. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s get to work.

Assignment 1: Define “F*ck Budget”. We are going to be spending a lot of time talking about our F*ck Budget this year. A F*ck Budget includes anything that requires your time, money, or energy. Please take 15 minutes of your week and watch this TedTalk so that you understand where I’m coming from when I mention your “F*ck Budget”. It’s important.

Assignment 2: Make A Vision Board. Back in August, I started working with a Life Coach and my first assignment was to make a list of all the important things I wanted for my life. That became a ‘Wish List’ and then grew into a vision board. If you don’t know how to create a vision board – or even what that is – here’s a link that explains it. To be clear – it does not have to be fancy or overwhelming. Mine isn’t.

Assignment 3: Watch “I’m Fine, Thanks!” – This is a short one-hour documentary that I watch EVERY YEAR in January. I got a sneak peek during its launch phase in 2011 when I donated to their Kickstarter campaign. Now, it’s on Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, and possibly Apple iTunes. A quick little search located free versions on PlutoTV and Tubi. It may be on other platforms, so if you can find it – please watch it. It will help set the pace for us as we enter this year.

Assignment 4: Send me your ideas. You can put them in the comments below, or post them on my FB page. What do you want to let go of in 2022? Material stuff? Anger? Scarcity mentality? What? I’m all ‘ears’ and I’m here to help. (I’m not a therapist – I’m just a blogger – but I feel like this blog has turned into a place where we can all open up and be real with each other.) Aren’t you tired of the bullshit life has convinced you to put up with? I know I am.

And I feel like I owe you a special THANKS. As much as I loathe social media, y’all are doing a fantastic job getting the word out for me. I really appreciate it and please feel free to continue doing it. Share my posts unabashedly!

As always, I’m leaving you with a song. It’s old and cheesy, and you’re welcome. Have a great week, Dear Reader. I’ll see you over the weekend.

Moving On and Cleaning Up

Well, Dear Reader, we are about to let 2021 close its door (Hallelujah!) and, without a doubt, I am ready. I get giddy at the thought of a blank canvas and wiping the slate clean. I’ve reinvented myself so many times in my life and faced so many setbacks that I could be bitter and angry. And, truthfully, I was for a long while. Sometimes, making the effort to live differently after living one way for so long can feel like it takes too much energy. I’ve been there. Trust me. You labored to build that wall of protection. You struggled to ignore the loneliness so you could keep others at arm’s length. You battled against yourself and your needs for so long – trying to convince yourself and others that you are better off alone. Man. I know that feeling. But, how exhausting, right?

As we shut the front door on 2021, I could end the year off by telling you how to prepare to clean up and declutter your house. It’s really what I do best. In fact, last year, I did just that. In January 2021, I encouraged folks to do this old challenge with me. I posted pictures of the items I was discarding every day on Facebook (Day 1: One item. Day 2: Two Items. Day 3: Three Items, etc.) until I had pitched over 500 items from my home. I could write about how to declutter your closet, but I already did here. I could tell you how to organize your spice rack – again, been there, done that. I could even ask you to sell all your shit and start all over again. But wait. I’ve done that too.

Let’s be honest here. I’ve evolved since I launched this blog in 2011 with this post (I know, right??) with the idea of helping you to simplify by discarding all the things you no longer need. I think my heart is still in that simplifying space, after taking a five-year break from writing and then posting this piece, it seems that now I want to help you discard outdated ideas and limiting beliefs, not just physical stuff. We tend to make everything so complicated. (Does he like me? How will I know when he likes me? How many dates do we have to have before I tell him how much I really like him? Good God, woman. Have a drink, enjoy the company. Fucking relax a little.)

However, in the same vein of telling you how to get rid of any tangible item that no longer brings you joy – I am going to ‘suggest’ ways you can let go of ‘stuff’ that no longer serves you. After all, I’m a bit bossy – but I also am walking this walk right alongside you. I’m no expert at having my shit together, but I sure am trying.

Wanna try with me? Okay, then. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s work this out.

Simplifying your mental space can be as simple as discarding clothes that no longer fit. But I posit that it will be a tad bit harder. Time and time again I saw people rationalize keeping something because it cost them so much. I get it. When you spend a lot of money on something, it’s hard to get rid of it. The same thing goes for your mental space. When you’ve lived with specific ideas and beliefs for so long, they’ve attached themselves to you as though they are your identity. I’m not telling you it will be easy to change these things. I’m simply asking you to consider a new set of ideas. Ready? Here we go.

1) Declutter your home. I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to tell you to do this. But I’m not talking about getting rid of half-used candles, broken items, and socks with holes in them (but, yeah, of course, get rid of those). I’m talking about items that hold energy you no longer need—pictures, letters, ticket stubs from concerts with old boyfriends, etc. You don’t need a bunch of stagnant energy hanging around. (Disclaimer: If you’ve experienced a death of a loved one recently, I’m not talking to you. Take all the time you need to grieve.) You other people? Build a fire. Burn it all. You don’t need to look at it anymore because it no longer serves your greater good. (Hey! A bonus song!)

2) Get rid of bad mental habits. My son has recently started saying, “I’m so stupid!” after making a mistake. This deflating self-talk is unacceptable behavior, so I make him say two nice things about himself when I hear him utter a disparaging statement. The same thing goes for you. Stop saying you’re fat. Stop feeling guilty for taking a much-needed nap. Stop apologizing for wearing ‘Mom Clothes’ around the house. Stop feeling sorry for yourself because your husband cheated on you. Wash your face; get out of the house. Make a list of all the things that make you absolutely fucking wonderful, and read the shit out of that list every time you try to tell yourself otherwise.

3) Cut out toxic people. If someone dares to tell you, to your face, that they don’t like you, then put your shoes on and walk out the door. Do not look back. Accept any apology, of course, but apologies do not have to equal reconciliation. Here’s why: You can aspire to be the most mentally healthy person on the planet, but everyone – every-fucking-one – has the potential to become toxic when they are in a toxic relationship. Get the heck out of there before the shit from their high-horsed position runs downhill and gets all over you.

4) Take charge of your money. Money is energy. It doesn’t matter if you make $12 an hour or $120; if you aren’t taking control of your financial situation, someone else is taking charge of it for you. That negativity will occupy too much space in your life and drag you down. Create a budget, set clear goals, and your financial decisions will become much more straightforward. The day I decided I wanted to build a home was when it became easier to say no to things I really didn’t need. Er, um, except this perfume. I really did need this perfume.

5) Remember that time is currency. When the pandemic first hit, I worked full time and had my massage therapy practice on the side. As a massage therapist, I wasn’t considered ‘essential’ in the first wave of COVID, so I couldn’t see clients. One night, my son commented that he liked spending time with me after school as we were coloring. We had been finding ways to spend our evening together since I wasn’t seeing clients. I closed my office right away – not because of the pandemic – but because time with my son was more important. Start getting rid of the activities that no longer bring you joy and spend that time doing something that brings greater meaning to you. When you make room for better things, better things will come. (Albeit, a bit ‘Field of Dreams’ – ish, but true nonetheless).

In summary, we often think that we should be adding to our lives for it to be better. I disagree and strongly recommend that you start subtracting. Life is complicated enough without you adding more to it. The less you own, the less clutter you have, and the less time you invest into things you don’t want to do, the simpler life becomes. When you spend time with people that drain your energy, you are not giving the Universe time to expand your trusting connections. Are you ready? I damn sure am.

In closing, here’s your song, Dear Reader. Aren’t you tired of trying to fill a void with the wrong things/people/ideas? I am, for sure. What are you getting rid of in 2022? Pounds? Clothes? A job you hate? That dumb boat? A relationship that sucks the life out of you? I’m curious. Drop me a line in the comments below.

PS…Numbers for last week’s post blew the rest of them out of the water. Thank you to whoever shared the post. If you like this post and think others might like it too, feel free to share it on social media. Hugs! See you next year!

Letting Go of Attachment

Today I took a stack of books down to one of the little free libraries about a mile from my house, freeing myself of the requirement of dusting them. As I locked the little door back on the library and walked away, I felt a bit freer but also as though, somehow, my generous contribution was making an impact on the entire Universe. A little over the top, I’m sure, but hey. Whatever gets me through the ‘unloading process’, right?

And what a great segue into the last of the Yamas in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga: Aparigraha. Aparigraha is, essentially, the art of practicing non-attachment. When translated, we often see it as the practice of non-greed or non-possessiveness. Recently I had experienced a little bit of jealousy – something I’m not necessarily prone to, so when this was introduced to me, that’s the spot in my psyche where it landed.

This Yama instructs us to only take what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. The letting go part was hard for me -,one I’m working through by trusting the Universe with the process.

Aparigrahpa introduces the art of ‘having no attachment to the outcome’. This can be misleading if you aren’t familiar with Buddhist tradition – which I’m not – but (and I could be so far off base here…) I gather that it means that you aren’t hoping for an outcome – it’s just that you have let go of the emotional attachment to the outcome. In other words, sometimes the Universe is smarter than we are. Sometimes It delivers what we want in a different time or different place – like ten years later – or maybe…maybe it delivers something so completely different, but better for us, despite our longings leading up to that.

I’m extremely good at letting go of material items but absolutely fucking awful at letting go of emotional pain. I’m working through it, which I guess is the point, but to sit here and tell you that after one yoga class on Aparigrahpa and a few weeks of trying new things that I’m all better? Well, that would be untruthful – which is the second of the Yamas.

So, I did easy stuff to work on my practice of Aparigrahpa in the weeks that followed the class. I did these minor – but important – things. I hope they can help you consider what you can do:

Purge and then purge some more. I had a garage sale. (That’s the same as a tag sale for my New England readers.) I’ve done this a million times in my lifetime and written about it here. But most of my big sales came prior to a move to another state, so this time I really focused on what was no longer serving me. There were some things I had hung onto for years, moving from place to place, because I thought I might need it someday. Graham Hill has a great TedTalk about this very thing, and when I went through my closets and drawers and boxes and bins, I simply asked myself if this was serving me and the life I wanted to have. Additionally, while I was just sitting out there in my garage, I started going through totes I had packed there. This was an interesting endeavor to say the least. I won’t go into any details, but let’s just say this: About $2000 worth of wedding photos, a wedding video and follow up photographs got shipped off to the Springfield landfill. And I am not sorry one little bit about it.

Give to others. I made an anonymous gift. Don’t get too excited. It wasn’t huge and it wasn’t the first time. But, I get a kick out of being the infamous anonymous donor. I don’t give for the recognition and I don’t expect anything in return. My concern is in the action alone – never the fruits of that action. I never want the results of the action to be my motive for giving and I’m not attached to the inaction, either. I was called to give so I gave.

Let go of the attachment. We already touched on how this affects me in relationships, so I’ll go for an explanation a little less ‘charged’. For years I didn’t write because I didn’t think I was good enough. When I stopped focusing on whether or not I was any good at it, and simply started doing it again, I was able to expand. Many great poets like Thoreu and Whitman or painters like Corot weren’t sure of what would come of their art. They simply enjoyed the process of it. I let go of the idea that my happiness was determined by what others thought and simply started writing as therapy. Therapy turned into a blog. A blog is turning into a story. A story is turning into a novel. If people read my work and like it – great. If it inspires you – even better! But, as part of Aparigraha, I am not tying my self worth to the opinions of others. I have let go of the attachment to the outcome.

So as I leave you today, I leave you with a Jason Isbell song which is one of my favorites though it sounds a bit melancholy.

I also want to ask you these things:

What are you hanging on to that no longer serves you? Is it ‘stuff’ or emotions? People? I know that letting go isn’t always simple, but sometimes it is necessary.

How are you generous – or can be more generous to those around you? When we offer the truth (like I do here in my blog to you) then we are also being generous. Let’s not forget how powerful the truth can really be. It can make all the difference in the world even if it isn’t bedazzled and perfect.

Are you attached to an outcome? Are you betraying your natural talent because of fear? If so, how can you push yourself through this and live in the beauty that is you?

I really do love to hear from you, if you are out there reading. I may not be attached to an outcome, but I do like to communicate!