Monday, November 18th, 2019
This is what gets me through the day, no joke.
A fellow-writer friend sent me a message this morning:
"How do you do it? With just the things I know you've gone through, how do you come out on top? What do you do to motivate yourself every day? I've got so much I want to do, and yet for some reason, still let things not get done. Any suggestions?
"What do I get done??" I asked.
"Come on, you've been knocked down, picked yourself up, and started a business. What do you do to motivate yourself?
"I don't do anything. I just love what I do." I replied.
"Thought maybe you had some ritual to keep you going."
Immediately, I thought about what I do every morning when I first wake up. And then the list went on from there. This is what has evolved from 10 years of practicing lots of different philosophies, ideas, programs and exercises. This is what I sent to my friend:
I make a mental gratitude list in my head every morning. I say it out loud to myself, usually when I'm in the bathtub or shower.
Meditate and Visualize.
Create my day.
Make the bed.
Wash the dishes.
Pick up around me.
Never leave a mess.
Take an action.
Put together a project.
Start gathering the pieces.
Let go of all expectations.
Keep moving on to the next project without skipping a beat. I don't let things get me down, ever.
Drink lots of water.
Listen to good music all day long.
Limit phone time (I barely ever talk or text.)
Limit social media (use it for work.)
Stay off the computer (unless working.)
Read articles of interest every day.
Be present in every moment.
Make time for my closest relationships.
Schedule self-care days.
I don't do it all. I delegate and empower others.
I pray before every meal, giving gratitude.
That's about it. He asked me what a "self-care day" meant. This is what I said:
My self-care day looks like this:
This morning's message chat with my friend sparked this Blog, and it was a good reminder to myself. I guess I do have rituals, and I do know what I'm doing, even though most of the time I don't realize it. By the way, it's not like I have a rituals checklist everyday either. These are the things I do on a daily basis without thinking about it, they just come naturally.
What am I doing today? Well, it's 2:00 in the afternoon, and I'm on Ritual #5. I'm putting together my business's 2020 marketing plan.
A Past Chapter
You know that moment when you instinctively know that a part of your life is done? For me, it's something I can't force, and most of the time I don't even know it's over. It just hits me like a ton of bricks. I literally wake up one morning and it's blindingly clear.
I re-read parts of The Secret Butterfly Trail this morning, and that's when the ah-ha moment happened. That person, the one I used to be, doesn't exist anymore. Just like I'm not 10 years old anymore, that version of me is gone. It's the same as the version of me that existed 10 years ago - she is no longer. That life is just a memory now. I am a whole new person. I don't resemble who I was 10 years ago in any way whatsoever.
I think that's part of the miracle of life, that we keep growing and moving forward, whether we want to or not. And it always sneaks up on me, when I wake up one random morning and realize I am not who I was before (thank goddess!)
That's where I'm at today, looking back on that person I was and feeling a little sad. I don't miss her, you can bet on that. But there is a melancholy about it, a little bitter-sweet feeling. I am so far removed from her, that I can look at her as if she is a separate entity. A ghost, maybe. A hologram, perhaps. It's a relief that I no longer carry her burdens. And it's reassuring to see now what I couldn't see then. A lot of hard work has paid off, and now it's visible to me.
All of that said, it is now time to let go of her in every way. The Secret Butterfly Trail is a glimpse into a short period of time when she existed. Mind you, when I write a book I burn the journals from which the material came from, which is why I write in the first place. I journal and journal for years and years, then a book is born. Afterward, the journals are burned in a little ceremonial thing I do for myself, and then I can move on with my life. Writing, for me, is an ongoing therapy.
A new book is incubating now, the growth process is very real. Some days I feel bloated, almost like I'm pregnant, getting ready to birth this thing. No joke, it's like that. It's always like that when I'm busy writing a new book.
What does all of this mean for you?
I'm clearing the shelves, making room for what's coming next. and I mean that literally and figuratively. I have a limited supply of paperback copies ready to go. I want them gone before the new book is released. Autographed copies are just $25 online (this includes shipping in the U.S.). Once this supply is gone, there will be no other signed copies left.
The Secret Butterfly Trail is an easy read. Straight out of my journals and straight onto the pages. It's also part of a series of books I'm writing called An Ordinary Life., which began with God Knocked Me Off My Bike, released in 2010, which is being re-edited. Here's a short description of The Secret Butterfly Trail:
"Troubled by my past and seeking a new life, I suddenly found myself homeless and meandering through the heart of the Midwest. From New Mexico, I traveled to Michigan to live with my son and his family. With nothing but a bike and a backpack, I made my way following the trails of southwestern Michigan. Two thousand miles away, my ex-husband’s suicide drove me into the winter of my deep despair. Reconsidering the choices I had made in my life, I did what was for me, the unthinkable. I traveled back to my hometown in New England which I had left 21 years earlier. On a quest to find a final resting place for my ex-husband’s ashes, I found more. In death, he led me back home to face what I had run from in the first place – myself. This is a story of death and rebirth, of despair and hope, the journey of my lifetime." - Zushka Biros
Of course, The Secret Butterfly Trail will remain for sale on Amazon, Kindle, Nook and iBooks, indefinitely. But the paperback copies I have in my studio will not. Once they are sold out, I will not be reordering any more. Buy the book for yourself, or as a gift for someone else. It's easy, just click HERE, select "Autographed" and follow the prompts.
Thank you for taking these books off my hands, and making room for the next case of new books, badass is the new pretty (in lowercase purposely, by the way). Subscribe to my Blog and get the latest updates on the new book, and all the books I'm writing, including how to pre-order before they go live. And thank you all for supporting me through the years, for the wonderful reviews on Amazon, and encouraging me to keep writing.
"Can I pre-order the book?"
"Will it be ready in time for Black Friday?"
"What is it about?"
Well, I can tell you this: No, and no - the book will not be ready in time for Black Friday, nor will you be able to pre-order it anytime soon. Life got in the way. A lot has happened this year, not all good, not all bad. I got engaged to my best friend, moved into the house of my dreams, my business expanded by leaps and bounds, and I got healthy and lost a lot of weight. Needless to say, I have more energy than I've had in many years, my health issues are nowhere near as terrible as they once were, and I have the support of a good man. In a nutshell, it's been one hell of a growth year - on steroids, turbo-charged.
Here's the thing, growth isn't painless. Period. It's been a big struggle for me, an uncomfortable insecure, self-doubting 10 1/2 months. I finally took that leap, jumped off the proverbial cliff while trying to build an airplane on the way down. Entrepreneurship is no rose garden. On paper, the plan looked great. In real life, the paper lit itself on fire and I was left scrambling, with my hair ablaze.
I chose this. I chose every little bit of it. I set a goal in motion three years ago, and I tripped and fell every step of the way. There's no college course or seminar that I could have taken to prepare me for anything remotely close to what I've experienced. Mistake after mistake, there were lots of days when I thought I should pack it up, start over again and go out there and get a job. But I was so far removed from that ideal, I had no clue how to go backwards. Perhaps that was a blessing.
Great mentors have inspired me over the years. I am grateful for the one-on-one advice, no doubt about it - powerful successful women who broke through all kinds of barriers, and made it. So, I was next to make it, right? I think so... right?? (Insert sound of crickets here.)
Okay, so I failed. Not once, not twice, oh hell I don't know, I lost track of how many times. But the one thing I do know is really simple. Failure IS growth. It is falling and getting back up again, and falling again and getting back up again and again. The truth is, I wouldn't be as strong as I am right now had I not failed time and time again.
Mind you, failing is not fun. It can be heartbreaking, even. I don't honestly know if there will ever come a time when I stop failing. Truth be told, if life becomes too easy for me I'll probably get bored. I am an ever-evolving human, destined for greatness by way of the bumpiest road on the planet. And I am totally okay with that. I have had plenty of smooth roads, they get me through until the next big bump blocks my path. And those smooth roads will appear again when the time is right. That time is not now.
"Badass is the New Pretty - what is it about?"
This book is full of stories, journal entries, writings about the times when I thought I'd die, or the world would end (which is the same thing, isn't it?) It's about crawling through the muck and the thorns, digging up whatever needed to be uncovered about myself, exposing it to the light and the storms. It's about stripping away all that was no longer necessary, which was basically e v e r y t h i n g, and getting to the core of what makes me tick. It's about getting real, and I mean really real, not with anyone else, not because of anything else, and certainly not because anyone told me I had to. I did it all through osmosis - an organically natural state of being, brought to yours truly by way of something much bigger than myself. Basically it's about all the fucked up shit I've done over decades of my life, clinging to what I was taught, or what I thought was right, or what I dug my nails into and tried to control. And how all of that got me absolutely nowhere.
Badass, to me, is the letting go and surrendering of everything, starting from ground zero and building myself up from the roots. It is being authentically and originally me, without self-judgement or feeling fearful of what others think about me. Badass is freedom, total liberation from all lies I told myself. And I know I'm not alone. There are plenty of women in this world going through, or have been through, the same thing.
No longer did I care about being judged by how pretty I was. To be a badass means being okay with who you are, shedding the mask and exposing your true beauty - stretchmarks, wrinkles, scars and all (literally and metaphorically). It means speaking your truth about what's real, being fearless and sharing all the parts of yourself that you were told to hide, that you were told were ugly. Pretty has an all-new meaning, now doesn't it?
The term, Badass is the New Pretty, is the raw and real female goddess warrior, because that is exactly who we were born to be. It is the metamorphosis, the blossoming of the lotus out of the mud. We were born strong, it was the world that beat us down. We women were dealt a bad hand. Now, we have a voice, we are empowered, we are badasses and we are pretty because of that. Is there anything more beautiful than a woman who is uniquely herself, fearless and self-confident? I'll answer that for you - NO, there isn't.
I'm still assembling my mess, putting my words and stories into some type of order that makes it readable. I'm sharing my disorderly life experiences with you. I don't proclaim to be a guru that will show you the way. This is not a self-help book, and I am certainly not an authority on anything. This book is full of relatable experiences - some, heart-wrenching; some, hysterical; some, downright nightmarish. But all of them, honest, and a common thread that most women can identify with.
If there is anything badass about me, it is the fact that I have no filter, I cut through all the bullshit and lay it all out on the table. I can serve it up just as well as any man. The time of the polite, quiet, little lady is over. I'm here to give us all permission to be exactly who we are - spiritually, sexually, artistically, creatively, any way you want to be. Go make that first million, have a baby, build a house, build an empire - do whatever you were told you couldn't do by yourself. They lied. You could always do it by yourself. And you can always choose to build your life with someone, if that's what you want.
So, here's to all the badass women of the world. May you stay strong, gather your goddess tribe around you, put your feet in the mud, release any and all things that are toxic and no longer serve your vision. Bathe naked in the moonlight, dance every chance you get, eat that slice of cake, travel and set your roots firmly in yourself. Cheers!
Here's the deal - before I can jabber on and on in this blog, we need to get something straight - what the hell is Mercury Retrograde?
The term retrograde comes from the Latin word retrogradus, which literally means “backward step.” As the name suggests, retrograde is when a planet appears to go backward in its orbit, as viewed from Earth. Astronomers refer to this as “apparent retrograde motion,” because it is an optical illusion. The opposite of retrograde is direct or prograde motion. Prograde motion is the term astronomers prefer, while astrologers are more prone to use the term “direct” motion.
So what does all of that have to do with people wanting to hide in their rooms for weeks at a time? Those who dread Mercury’s retrograde motion say that, when the planet travels backward, its power to positively influence these domains is stifled, leading to chaos. Believers in the malevolent power of Mercury retrograde blame the phenomenon for everything from arguments to lost mail or luggage to automobile accidents, and warn people to hold back on conducting important business during this time. Of course, few of us can afford to hide under our beds for three weeks, so for most people, life goes on as usual during Mercury retrograde. And if you choose to be more cautious during this time, well, a little extra caution never hurt anyone.
So what does all of that mean for me? Well, I can tell you this - these past 7 days have been anything but normal. Not that I really prefer normal, but it's been a bit much for me to handle. Nothing outrageous has happened (knock on wood), but holy cow! Talk about one thing after another thing after another fucked up thing!
People not getting back to me, or just not showing up at all; waiting for someone to finish something so I could do my part, but they were waiting on another person to finish their part - the domino effect just won't quit. And it's not just me, everyone around me is experiencing some truly screwed up stuff too. I mean, what are the odds of your dog locking you out of your car when you stopped for gas on your cross-country trip - not once, but twice?? I saw a friend blow up at one of his family members, the calmest guy in the world, mind you. Friends suffering depression, problems at work, disagreements with their family members. My car broke down, literally stalled while driving downhill, and I'm talking a really big hill! my cellphone decided not to work, then it did, and then it didn't again. My WiFi did the same thing, so did my computer. And it was only during the time I needed them so I could get work done. I even had to cancel a workshop, something I have never had to do before.
All of this is insignificant, I know. None of it is life-threatening. There's just a bunch of stupid little things going on all at the same time, making me feel like I'm running in circles. From what I gather, we will be out of Mercury Retrograde after the 20th of the month, just in time for the beginning of the holidays, thank God. I can't even imagine dealing with a family holiday in the thick of it.
So, for those of us who are extra-sensitive, especially me being a full-blown Scorpio while the retrograde is in Scorpio, fear not! There is hope. Maybe a drink is in order, I really don't know. But, for today I can tell you this: I spent my time in pajamas, on this cold stormy day on the mountain, drinking coffee and listening to good old CD's, while attempting to work from my home-office on my computer. Did I succeed? No, but that's totally fine. I spent the day in a peaceful warm house, grateful for hot water and good food. Now that the evening is headed into night, I'm typing this blog while clothes spin around in the dryer. I don't know about you, but for this former homeless veteran of the gutter, I'm pretty much in heaven right about now, despite how the planets are aligned, or not.
There is no moral to this story. Just that, I was forced to slow down and remember that I am not in control. I am grateful to be alive, for this life that I'm living, for so many things I can't even count them all. And that's better than I've been in many long years. Mercury Retro-what? You've got nothing on me.
Stay warm, sleep well, and thanks for reading.
I am living the dream, one day at a time, and sharing my experiences with you.
If you liked what you read today, you may make a contribution and support my writing. Much gratitude!
© 2016 ZUSHKA BIROS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.