JOY

Lately, I've been suffering from a bout of catastrophic thinking. Do you do this? It is a thing and I've only known it to be a thing for few years now when I heard Maria Bamford talking about it on a WTF pod with Marc Maron. I don't know if it's been all of the celebrity deaths this year or just the general suckiness of 2016, but this week I had to drive my kids a couple of hours away to visit family and I'd decided that we would definitely have a wreck, my house would burn down and my cat would get run over. And once the thoughts start, they just cycle over and over until I'm exhausted. I thought for a minute that I was the only one plagued by this, me and Maria Bamford, but when I posed the question in a secret Facebook group, turns out I'm not the special snowflake that I always assume I am. This is something I've always done and since the monkeys are no longer sedated, the intensity has only gotten worse in sobriety.

Simultaneous to the recent feelings of dread, this word has been jumping out to surprise me from every corner. It has passed through my ears from podcasts, shown up in my tarot cards and horoscopes, and has even taken center stage from all of my recent book recommendations. Just as change and death are inevitable, so is paradox, and thank god because this word has given me a way to distract and redirect my thoughts. I decided to make it my word to focus on in the coming year. Much like my chosen word for 2016, EVOLVE, kept me focused had me saying YES to so much that I couldn't help but evolve, I'm determined to continue my quest to find what brings me joy, and do that. I'm determined to find joy in giving and receiving, find joy in community, creativity, in the bigness and the mundane. I realize that joy won't necessarily always be waiting for me in toilet cleaning and dental chairs, but if there is one key that unlocks this whole thing we call existence, it is that our thoughts create our experiences, and those include roadtrips and toilet cleaning.

Today, on January 1, I climbed 1000 feet up a giant granite rock into this big, blue beautiful sky. Even as shit may swirl around us, I will keep filling up my joy cup. Let me know if you need some. 

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock

Evolve.

Do you pick a word for the coming year? For 2015, I didn't officially pick a word but it picked me and kept showing up in my life over and over. That word was THRIVE. For the first time in a couple of decades (yes, decades), I really feel like I did more than survive, I thrived. I started things that I wanted to start, I did things, actually followed through with action, I joined some amazing communities, in person and on-line and I tried to just raise the tide so others could rise with me. It's really been an amazing year and it's been so long since I've said that. I am marveling at the fact that I can reflect back on an entire year and see every ebb and flow with such clarity. There are no gaps, no missing weeks or entire months gone. I can see it all, big, wide and open. I am in awe and it is nothing short of a miracle. 

In picking a word for 2016, I got a little more intentional, so much so that I thought Intention would be the word. There was also Abundance and that wasn't so much as to manifest abundance but to acknowledge the abundance that already exists in my life. Then there was Supernova! That came to me from Rob Brezsny's astrology forecast for the 2016 Gemini. I could just visualize 2016 blasting the brightest light as my old stories and fears burned out to make way for a new star.  Great imagery, right? And then I went hiking with my family a few days ago at one of my favorite places in Texas. It's called Enchanted Rock and it holds my spirit, this place. We found a butterfly in a grassy enclave in the granite and she chose my word for me. I think she was dying and she was beautiful.

Evolve. Evolve into this new star, this next, new layer of life. Evolve to my better, best self. Evolve this site, the stories I want to share, the community I want to build. 

How will you evolve? Do you have a word for 2016? Comment away!

And if you want some brass tacks, some tactical information, intention and purpose, here it is: I will be adding more consistent content and creative ideas to the blog. I will be featuring more stories in the Meet the Unruffled section, which bytheway, if you know or happen to be someone in recovery who relies on your creative pursuit to guide your journey AND you live in TEXAS (sorry, this is my baby *cough*controlfreak*cough* and for now, I'm the sole photographer) and you want to be featured, please contact me! And I will be adding art/product from featured Unruffled artists in the Marketplace. You will also be able to find more essays from me over on the Since Right Now/Recovery Revolution's amazing site and I'll be on the podcast next week (Ackkk! first of the year, no pressure, right?). Love these guys, love their work, check them out if you haven't. And more, MORE. Big, wide, open, blessed and lucky. Happy 2016! And if you need help recovering, please reach out, you don't have to feel this way ever again. If you extend your hand even one inch, I promise I (or someone) will grab it. Big love.