Friends!! Happy Happy Old Year!
So many excellent essays and posts everywhere for the New Year, are you soaking them in? Do they lift you up? What stands out for you from 2022?
I have to say, I’m ready for things to be easier and lighter. These last two years were pretty damn shitty for a slew of reasons… and I don’t necessarily wish for anything different. What doesn’t kill us often does make us stronger, and not always. Some of it just maims and scars, and we could be just as strong and well without it. Whatever, it all just is.
Love and gratitude stand out for me… Also commitment, resilience, and of course connection. Connection, actually, is both the beginning and end of getting through hard times, no? The trust, love, strength, respect, and attention we share hold us all up, bond us closer through crucibles of crisis, and magnify themselves, don’t you think?
Three posts resonate in particular with me this week, which I share below. May they lift or ground you, whichever you need. May you notice and receive whatever else you need as well, to start 2023 in peace and confidence, and to sustain that sense of “I’ Got This,” no matter what comes. Oh and as usual, I’ve included my list of books and notable media at the end. Books in [brackets] are yet to be finished; entries in bold are my favorites. My home Word file denotes romance novels in blue, but I think you can figure it out based just on the titles. There is a theme emerging among the romances I love; maybe more on that later. 😉 I created ‘Inspo’ on Spotify soon after writing the Playlist post last month, along with separate ones for writing and workouts. That subscription is well worth the cost!
ONWARD, my friends. All we have is this one life, with one another. Let us make the most of it all, ya?
Let It Be So
Donna Ashworth wrote the poem “When I Go,” which inspired my post of the same title. In her message for 2023, she reminds us to treat ourselves with a little more acceptance, compassion, and generosity. I wholeheartedly concur–if we can do this better for ourselves, then we are much more likely and able to do it for one another:
“Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?
“Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?
“I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived.
“And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life…”
Follow the link to read the rest.
Holding ourselves in acceptance and compassion can manifest in specific practices; we can frame them as resolutions, intentions, hopes, or whatever. For me right now, it all still comes back to self-awareness, self-regulation, and community building… Mindful, peaceful intention in action and interaction, or something like that.
I only recently found Rachel Marie Martin, and her work resonates so far, especially her 23 ‘rules.’ I choose to hold them loosely, some more than others, and I look forward to seeing which ones recur in my psyche over the months to come. If the excerpt here speaks to you, check out the entire list on her Facebook page.
1. Stare fear in the face. So often fear stops us. Instead live fearless – knowing when to stop and when to move and when to be brave.
2. Invest in your friends. Good friends listen and show up. Do the same. Friendship is give and take and give and take. Friends are the ultimate gift.
4. Guilt doesn’t need to dictate choices. Don’t let guilt stop you from taking care of yourself. Guilt keeps one stuck.
5. Read real books again. Watch a mini-series. Start jogging. Do something that is not work, not chores, but simply that makes you happy.
6. Love your body. Your aging body. Yes, that. And stop lamenting the wrinkles, but embrace them as another year lived.
How many times do ‘relationship’ and ‘connection’ occur on this blog, I wonder? More times than most other nouns/ideas, I bet. They are my Why. And yet, they are inadequate words to truly express the depth to which I mean them. So I was especially grateful years ago to find John O’Donohue’s explanation of anam cara, ‘soul friend’ in Celtic. That direct translation hardly captures the meaning, either, and his book of this title is a bit dense and esoteric. So I thank Maria Popova for her long form delve, “Anam Cara and the Essence of True Friendship”. Her essays read slowly in the best way–leisurely yet intense intellectual consideration, like sipping the smoothest bittersweet Belgian hot chocolate. I picture the cafe where my best friend from college (an anam cara, for sure) and I always sat, with all the time in the world, enjoying each other’s company and whatever random wonders occurred to us. Read her post in a warm, comfy chair, including the most eloquent quotes from O’Donohue’s writing:
“With the anam cara you could share your inner-most self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the ‘friend of your soul.’ The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. There is no cage for the soul. The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship.
“A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you… The one you love, your anam cara, your soul friend, is the truest mirror to reflect your soul. The honesty and clarity of true friendship also brings out the real contour of your spirit.”
And she puts his words in 21st Century context with crystal clarity of their profound, countercultural importance:
“…being an anam cara requires of a purposeful presence — it asks that we show up with absolute integrity of intention. That interior intentionality, O’Donohue suggests, is what sets the true anam cara apart from the acquaintance or the casual friend — a distinction all the more important today, in a culture where we throw the word “friend” around all too hastily, designating little more than perfunctory affiliation. But this faculty of showing up must be an active presence rather than a mere abstraction — the person who declares herself a friend but shirks when the other’s soul most needs seeing is not an anam cara.”
It’s all so much, isn’t it? So much stimulation, emotion, tragedy, possibility, uncertainty, profundity, incredulity, and so much more. *deep breath*
Maybe one of the more important life lessons, that can only come with living it longer, is to hold it all with stronger yet looser conviction. To realize my own mission and have it validated gives me confidence. It also frees me to let go those who can’t see, don’t come along, or even reject it. We all walk our own paths; you don’t have to come on my journey. If our paths cross in a ditch or other obstruction, or your trail looks more interesting or efficient than the one I’m on, I can change directions and choose a new route for a while. There are infinite ways to get to where I’m going. I can just really enjoy and revel in the view as I walk.
To the New Year. Another cycle begins. Bring it.
- Pathways to Possibility by Rozamund Stone Zander
- Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray
- 52 Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner
- Useful Delusions by Shankar Vedantham and Bill Mesler
- A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
- The Wisdom of Your Body by Hillary McBride
- Be Water, My Friend by Shannon Lee
- Summary of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, by Readtrepreneur Publishing on Hoopla Digital
- Curious by Ian Leslie
- The Icepick Surgeon by Sam Kean
- The Other Dr. Gilmer by Benjamin Gilmer
- The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
- [The Mindful Therapist by Daniel Seigel]
- Plays Well With Others by Eric Barker
- [Atlas of the Heartby Brené Brown]
- High Conflict by Amanda Ripley
- The Lightmakers’ Manifesto by Karen Walrond
- Power Moves by Adam Grant
- Mentors by Russell Brand
- I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy
- I Must Say by Martin Short
- Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi
- Be Quiet, Be Heard by Susan Glaser and Peter Glaser
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
- Buried Deep by Margot Hunt
- Dirtbag Anthropology by Kate Willett
- The All or Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel
- [The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion]
- Welcome to Your Teenager’s Brain by Abigail Baird
- The Way Out by Peter Coleman
- Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
- A Republic, If You Can Keep It by Neil Gorsuch
- The Egg and Other Stories by Andy Weir
- The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan
- Playing For Keeps by Kendall Ryan
- Part-time Lover by Lauren Blakely
- The Ruthless Gentleman by Louise Bay
- Delayed Gratification by Lauren Blakely
- Instant Gratification by Lauren Blakely
- Kismet by Lauren Blakely
- The Dream Guy Next Door by Lauren Blakely
- Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely
- Private Player by Louise Bay
- Not Until You by Corinne Michaels
- If I Only Knew by Corrine Michaels
- Satisfaction Guaranteed by Lauren Blakely
- Consumed By You by Lauren Blakely
- One of Those Flings by Lauren Blakely
- Your French Kisses by Lauren Blakely
- P.S. It’s Always Been You, Parts 1, 2, & 3 by Lauren Blakely
- Special Delivery by Lauren Blakely
- Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely
- Cocktail by Lauren Smith
- Bossy Brit by Kendall Ryan
- One Hot Scandal by Anna Durand
- Melt For Him by Lauren Blakely
- Portrait of a Thief by Grace D Li
- Lethal in a Kilt by Anna Durand
- The British Bastard by Anna Durand
- Irresistible In a Kilt by Anna Durand
- The Pretending Plot by Lauren Blakely
- One Hot Christmas by Anna Durand
- One Hot Crush by Anna Durand
- One Hot Chance by Anna Durand
- One Hot Roomie by Anna Durand
- Heired Lines by Magan Vernon
- The Bromantic Comedies by Erin Mallon
- Royally Endowed by Emma Chase
- Brit vs. Scot by Anna Durand
- One Hot Escape by Anna Durand
- The Duke’s Twin by Lauren Smith
- Forever Be Mine by Lauren Smith
- Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
- Royally Matched by Emma Chase
- Rory In a Kilt by Anna Durand
- One Hot Rumor by Anna Durand
- Sweet Liar by Laurelin Paige
- Sweet Fate by Laurelin Paige
- Incendiary in a Kilt by Anna Durand
- He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Iris Morland
- My Rebound by Carrie Ann Ryan
- Devastating in a Kilt by Anna Durand
- Two Pretty Lies by Kelleigh Clare
- Rivalry by Laurelin Paige
- Ruin by Laurelin Paige
- Revenge by Laurelin Paige
- [Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabriel Zevin]
- Rising by Laurelin Paige
- The Break-Up Album by Lauren Blakely
- Big Ben by Nana Malone
- The Benefactor by Nana Malone
- For Her Benefit by Nana Malone
- Work For It by Talia Hibbert
- Justice Falling by Audrey Carlan
- Perfect Chaos by Jodi Ellen Malpas
- The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
- The Opposite of Woe by John Hickenlooper
- Relentless in a Kilt by Anna Durand
- Humble Pi by Matt Parker (started in 2021)
- Beginner’s Mind by Yo-Yo Ma
- The Earl of London by Louise Bay
- Unzipped by Lauren Blakely
- Cheeky Royal by Nana Malone
- Cheeky King by Nana Malone
- Royally Remembered by Emma Chase
- [Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison]
- Misadventures With a Time Traveler by Angel Payne
TED Radio Hour
–What Leadership Looks Like https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ted-radio-hour/id523121474?i=1000559059996
–What We Gain From Pain https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/what-we-gain-from-pain/
—Separating Yourself From the Pack https://hidden-brain.simplecast.com/episodes/separating-yourself-from-the-pack-AXNnRTlI
–Reframing Your Reality Part 1 https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/reframing-your-reality-part-1/
–Reframing Your Reality Part 2 https://hidden-brain.simplecast.com/episodes/reframing-your-reality-part-ii-WQxXOCRz
–How to See Yourself Clearly https://hidden-brain.simplecast.com/episodes/you-2-0-how-to-see-yourself-clearly-YFbSe_NE
–Making the World a Safer Place https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/making-the-world-a-safer-place/
Peter Attia Drive
—David Epstein, on Breaking With Your Tribe https://davidepstein.bulletin.com/the-bestselling-author-of-high-conflict-explains-what-it-takes-for-someone-to-break-with-their-political-tribe/
—Peter Coleman, On Abortion, Now Is the Time to Talk
–Michael Bungay Stanier, 5 Questions to Deepen Trust Audio Lesson https://www.mbs.works/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/5-Questions-to-Deepen-Trust-Audio-Lesson-by-MBS.mp3
Spotify Inspo playlist