FI BOOK CLUB

I am planning to read 12 books around financial independence in 2022, 1 per month, and am going to host a book club to discuss the book of the month on the 4th Friday of each month. I am in California, USA, and planning to do this from 7-8:30pm PST. If you can make it, DM me your email address and I’ll add you to the google cal invite! The books I’ve chosen are in the next image. Hope everyone is ready to claim abundance in 2022! 💸

New Years Manifestations

About 5 years ago I changed my phrasing from “New Years Resolutions” to “New Years Goals”. This has served me incredibly well. It took the stigma off of “Resolutions” – popularly perceived as something you say but don’t do. This flip of terminology gave it a different meaning to be something more attainable based on personal goals that I was already working towards. It felt more achievable, and since that flip I tend to accomplish 90-95% of the goals I defined by the end of the calendar year.

I do a quick check in each quarter, and in June I do a full audit to see if I need to recalibrate or re-prioritize anything on the list to make sure each goal is still relevant and attainable. There is nothing wrong with pivoting if something you wished for is no longer serving you. Life is a continuous self-discovery and the only thing that is important is genuinely listening to yourself and overcoming any fear or anxiety that is keeping you from that level of authenticity in your outward life.

I have multiple sections, or categories, that each get their own short list of goals that I want to achieve. I try to keep it “realistic” in terms of quantity and attainability, but I am also a big believer, and proven experiencer, of Manifesting, Alchemy, and Law of Attraction. This has played a huge role in my achievements as I’ve dialed in on that over the past few years.

This year I am updating my language again, to encapsulate the Manifested life I want to achieve in the upcoming year. Some of the things I put on my list the past 2 years I considered “stretch goals”, and some of the things on my list I had no control over, like a specific credit score number that I wanted to hit. Not only did they come to fruition, they came forth even grander than I could’ve predicted. I know this was a bit of a combination from my manifestation practice, as well as a little naïveté or doubt of what I was capable of accomplishing, or perhaps, simply not dreaming big enough. So it felt more appropriate to upgrade this practice to New Years Manifestations. Huzzah! Let the magic unfold!

I started doing categories in 2018 and this has been a work in progress, but the intent was to simplify so it doesn’t become this endless unattainable list. With categories, I can pick 2-3 things per category and it isn’t overwhelming because they are usually related to the greater good of that category. In 2018 I called it Health, Hearth, Heart. If it didn’t fall under one of those categories then it wasn’t worth recording because those were the areas I wanted to focus my attention in 2018.

In 2019 I think I forgot about my categories in a way or maybe I just got really statistic focused because my list is shown as quarters: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. I think this is where I started feeling the call to have regular check ins with myself so not to fall into the well known trap of going all in for January and then throwing it all out the window by February. I wanted to make sure I was holding myself accountable. This strategy is also great for breaking things up into bite sized chunks which can prevent overwhelm if you have a really big goal to hit by the end of the year.

I should mention, I start drafting the resolutions for the upcoming year in November and solidify in mid December. This gives me ample time to consider if it’s something I genuinely want or if it is fleeting. As my practice develops, my goals tend to compound over time so this process has been getting easier each year.

For 2020 I reverted to the category idea but I only had 2 main areas that I wanted to focus heavily on: finance and fitness. I also had a monthly travel plan that was adjunct to my goals, but did not make it onto the actual New Years Goals List because I decided to clump it into the finance section. You need money to travel right? Of course that was all squelched with the pandemic, however, it actually catapulted the financial goals I had on the list. It worked out in unexpected ways, particularly with improving my discipline around budgeting and cash flowing my adventures as opposed to going into debt for them. 2020 was also the year I became consumer debt free and I wouldn’t trade that accomplishment for anything.

In 2021 I really finessed the category concept and I may repeat this for 2022 because it still resonates with what I want to put my attention on: Finance, Wellness, Creative, Travel. I decided to make travel it’s own category because it is much more than a budget line. Travel gives me life. It is a spiritual experience for me in many ways. Immersing in other cultures and interacting with the incredible humans on this planet, especially where “old world values” still thrive and people aren’t inundated with commerce the way we are in the US, is affirming as a global citizen of this planet. To witness humanity at its finest, participate in genuine community, dance, break bread, and share laughter is everything. Simply put, I feel more human when I travel, and this is a huge relief to my sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, among many, many other benefits.

Wellness will always be on my list moving forward. Historically my self care has been the last of my priorities but no longer. You can not fill from an empty well. I will give to myself first in order to better serve the world. This comes in many forms and will focus on all things mind, body, spirit. Run a race every quarter, practice meditation, optimize nutrition, keep a gratitude journal…these types of things are crucial for a life well lived.

On this blog you will see that the Finance section is under the Wellness category. This is by design. Financial wellness is a part of that larger equation. If you are stressed about money or your future, it is harder to care for your body and your mind. Financial stress can deplete everything, above and beyond what a spa day could give you. Sure, with meditation and affirmations you can rise above but that is easier said than done. Coming from the deep, dark poverty that I was raised in I can say first hand it is hard to even consider mediation when you are straining to put food on the table or keep shelter over your head. There is a difference between thriving and surviving, and surviving doesn’t leave room for much else. The pursuit of financial independence is a wellness practice as much as a self preservation practice. Since it is more tactile and nuanced, however, I give it its own category for a New Years reset.

Whether you call it New Years Resolutions, Goals, or Manifestations, it is a great practice for personal growth. If you miss and it’s still important you can try again. In 2015 I was in burnout, I was scatter brained, and I felt lost. I made a resolution for 2016 to “Simplify My Life”. That was it. That was my only resolution that year. I dove all in and you know what I found out? Things had gotten pretty complicated. In order to actually simplify my life, I had alot of things to close out and re-prioritize. I made the same resolution for 2 more years before I felt like I had accomplished my goal. And I have no shame in my time frame. Persistence is the key. It’s not about checking something off a list, it’s about growth. Pure and simple.

I hope seeing my process and structure is helpful and gives renewed hope that New Years Resolutions do not need to be flighty or fantastic. It’s just an aid for designing your life to be exactly as you wish it to be. I’ll be digging into my 2022 Manifestations soon so stay tuned. What are some resolutions, goals, manifestations you want to energize next year?

YES, YOU

Wherever you are on your journey

even if it is day 1

or just starting to take your first step

whatever your journey entails

you are not too late

you are not too far behind

you are not inferior

you are deserving

you are amazing

you are love

you are a force

you can do anything

CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY

Remember, you are the designer of your life, not the manager.

You, and only you, have the power to make a change.

What is more frightening, venturing into the unknown, or living the rest of your entire life unhappy and unsatisfied, always wondering “what if”?

Satisfaction is alive and well on the other side of fear.

Be brave. I believe in you.

THE DAILY HAPPY

People often ask me how I stay so positive in tough times. How could I begin to abbreviate what I’ve transformed? It goes deep yo.

The truth is I’ve been through more “Big T” traumas than you can count on one hand and it’s for this exact reason that I work hard to stay positive. Without getting into too much detail I’ll say this, there were two main catapults that have landed me at this vantage point. The first was an abusive and unstable childhood, to put it lightly. Once I escaped that prison I knew resolutely what I did NOT want to be, so I had alot of incentive to follow my dreams and never give up. Just as I was getting into the groove of being a badass and owning my life, as if I hadn’t been through enough already, my rebirth into positivity was almost taken away from me again when I was assaulted a mere 3 weeks after my little brother’s suicide. As hard as it was, I knew that if I stayed down for too long it would be letting my rapist win. From that day forward I made a decision to “refuse to be a victim”. It didn’t happen overnight, but the commitment was resolute.

Refusing to be a victim has taken years of practice, of breakdowns, of therapy, of giving up, of getting back up again. At the end of the day we all need reminders; this is a choice. Your attitude is a choice. Your perspective is a choice. Yes, absolutely honor the hurt, acknowledge the pain, (denial is not healthy), but you can’t wallow. It’s too hard to climb out of that downward spiral once it gains traction. So I speak a different truth into existence. I use mantras to lift me up. And I’ll be damned, it works. So much so that I just want to shout it to the world : “heyyyyyy – it’s not easy but it works! Don’t give up!”

Print the image of this mantra out and speak a new / improved loving reality for yourself. Speak it in a meditation, in the mirror, on a walk, hiding in the bathroom at work – whatever works for you. Practice makes perfect, and it does get easier. You just gotta believe. 💫

luv, dlux

ps for a sliding scale donation of $3 – $20 I can update the graphic to be your portrait or an image of your choice. To request, use the contact page and reference “THE DAILY HAPPY”.

~ Never Give Up ~

A B U N D A N C E

Hello Beauties!

My recent social media fast worked wonders for my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It was both productive and restorative and I can’t wait to share my projects and insights with you through forthcoming posts. 

Today I want to talk about opening to abundance. I was inspired on this topic while walking my dog through the Oakland neighborhoods this afternoon. There is so much incredible plant life everywhere. The juxtaposition of the urban jungle meshed so intricately with the gorgeous flora thriving within this harsh environment always gets me p-u-m-p-e-d. I picked a few flowers that were poppin’ off to bring a little spark of joy to my minimalist abode and the word jumped into my heart: ABUNDANCE.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on my practice of habit stacking. One of the areas I’ve improved this is to do a moving meditation while walking my dog, and making the walks longer so we are getting more exercise as well. So that’s meditation, exercise, and taking care of my pup all in one. Triple Habit Stack! I open a 30 minute guided meditation on youtube, pop in my earbuds, and set out. I don’t watch the content, but rather just listen to the audio while taking in the sights on our stroll. I’ve been practicing this walking meditation for 30 minutes a day, but on the weekends when I have more time I’ve been doing an hour.

This has been infinitely fulfilling because my sweet pup, Venus Vega Dlux, aka VVDlux, aka Queen V, loves it and she is absolutely bursting with delight anytime we are moving and exploring. Plus, adding a 30 minute meditation to my day has been life altering. I am a busy body and have always been bad at sitting still, so incorporating a moving meditation has been incredibly rewarding, and entirely more realistic, for me.

In order for abundance to find us, we must first make space for it. Part of this entails letting go of things that don’t serve us, especially in the mental space. Letting go of a scarcity mentality is first and foremost. Fear is the birthplace of a scarcity mindset. We are seeing this in full force through the lens of the pandemic. It is fear of lack of supplies that makes people horde. With an abundance mindset, you know there is always enough for all of us.

How do we move through fear in order to lean into an abundance mindset? You can not eliminate fear, you can only walk through it. This is the only way. On the other side of fear is liberation. There is no feeling like it, when you conquer your fears. Identify your fear, then imagine how you would feel once you’ve dismantled it. Embrace this vision every time you are confronted by fear. This is how you will eventually dominate it. It is like working a muscle; the more you use it, the easier it gets. I can’t tell you that it won’t be hard, but I can tell you that it is worth it, very very worth it. Once you start seeing with this perspective, abundance becomes obvious all around you. It is beautiful, endless, and exponential, just like you. ❤

Redwing 40

My minimalism mission meant it was time to go separate ways with my sweet Kelty Redwing 40 hiking pack that I got when I was traveling in Vermont. I bumbled around the gorgeous state and then took a long beautiful train ride down to NYC after about a month or so of walking the long country roads (getting chased by viscious cows), watching the leaves change every shade of red, yellow, and amber, and discovering maple everything for the first time. I took my Redwing to many United States, and rocked it especially hard in my grand finale state, Alaska. I traveled with it to Europe for 6 weeks of early winter all over the continent from Ireland to Hungary to Portugal and beyond. It is abundantly roomy and the compression straps can suck it down to feel like a daypack. It fits in the overhead bin of a plane, or under the seat of a train. When I’ve been lucky enough to get both seats on a long bus ride through Western Europe it sits by my side and I’d fall over onto it like a perfectly sized mushy cuddle buddy. Sometimes it was even my pillow on the New York Subway after a long day of urban trekking.

I have discovered that I have a little bit of a bag obsession. As I pare down in my glorious minimalism, I have found that I simply have too many bags. Too many ways to carry and stow and trek. I know this because most things, like my wardrobe, have been a cinch for me to downsize. I hate clothes for the most part. I am too rough and tumble to be fashionable. I get into an overwhelming tizzy when I have to shop for anything fabric related. Forget sewing! Textiles have a mind of their own and I can not handle the way they change form and shape without warning. Give me power tools over a sewing machine any day. I am OCD clean at home but what happens after laundry is washed? I can’t seem to find it in me to simply hang these things on a hanger and be done with the task. I dump the basket on my bed so I am “forced” to put them away before I go to sleep ~ but NO ~ this does not happen. Putting the clothes away simply never happens with ease. Later, tired and ready to go to bed, I grab the heap and throw it on the lounge chair and go promptly to sleep. The next day I am shuffling through the mad pile to dress myself and the shit goes spilling all over the floor. After a few days the dirty is starting to get mixed up with the clean and, DAMMIT, again, Amy?! Anyway, it’s a nightmare. So I promptly got rid of all but a capsule wardrobe in about 4 whole minutes when I decided to do the 100 Thing Challenge and go hardcore minimalist. So now I have no clothes. I have BAGS. Holy Cats! I’m a bag lady! Ummm…

SO. I was having the hard talk with myself and realized it’s time for some tough love. I simply must downsize, even my precious bag collection, for my ever inspiring minimalist lifestyle. As a Tiny House Movement Wannabe, it just makes sense. Less is more! How many hiking bags do I really need? I already got rid of 3 lightweight generic backpacks. Along with this Kelty I still have a North Face pack and my trusty Lowe Alpine that I got in 1990 when I first started hiking and climbing in the Pocono Mountains. Home turf Pennsylvania say whaaaat! I also have a gym backpack, a beach tote, a waterprood gecko swim bag, a messenger bag…needless to say there are many more vessels in my collection.

I’ve had a few things sitting on Craigslist for the past month collecting dust and trolls and I didn’t really feel like dealing with that forum so I decided to try posting it to a local Facebook garage sale page I recently began following. I couldn’t remember what I paid for it, at least $150, possibly $180. I posted it for $50. Then I looked it up and it is selling for new on Amazon for $264, and it’s an older model. Whoa! Did I pay that much? I never did think too much about what I spend on quality outdoor gear. I barely shop as it is so when I do go for a high ticket item it’s usually worth it. Still, even though I bought it in 2012, 4 years ago, all of those trips I took it on tallied to only about 6 months of use. I take great care of my gear. Wiping dust off with rubbing alcohol, shaking out the debris regularly, keeping the excess straps bound neatly to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. I always hang my hiking bags in the closet between uses, all zipped up and compressed, so pretty. I copied the Product Description and Bag Features from Kelty and posted it with a couple of pics. To my surprise I had a nearly immediate hit. A woman liked, commented, and sent me a direct message shortly after I posted. Well, that was fairly easy.

We agreed to meet at a nearby coffee shop the following afternoon. I slept as hard as ever since I’m now doing bricks to train for my first triathlon. I woke up at 5am ready to conquer the to do list and saw the appointment on my calendar to sell my Redwing. I suddenly had a hint of seller’s remorse. Not as much of a hint, really – more of an onslaught. “This thing is in excellent shape,” I thought. “Have I been underutilizing this bag?” “Should I sell the Lowe Alpine instead? The Kelty is newer technology! What am I doing??” I continued to wonder if I was doing the right thing as I dragged myself out of my house to deliver it to its soon-to-be new owner. Maybe she won’t like it. Maybe she will find it awkward. Yet, lo and behold, when I met her, I couldn’t help myself: my REI member-salesgirl persona came tumbling out all over as I excitedly showed her all the cool features. How it was so big and so small at the same time. The trick velcro side pockets that opened up for tent poles or walking sticks. The secret camelback compartment that opened through the top while doubling over enough to still keep the rain out. Comfy, slim straps for the female torso and an external spine that distributes the weight absolutely perfectly. So much back padding! The perfect bedroll straps, the countless carabiner loops on the bottom, the compartments, the top loading ~ OHEMGEE~.

It was a hard break up, but at the end, my knapsack was starting a new love affair. The best part came when she told me she will be using it to hike the Continental Divide!!! All of a sudden, I was ABOUT IT. YES. So much YES. “Prior to the trip, planning, preparation, and training can take anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. The trip itself takes about six months on foot, when averaging 17 miles per day.”** I am grateful to provide something so useful to this woman’s incredible journey and the look on her face told me she was super pumped! Kelly got her Kelty and I am stoked to know this Redwing has many more adventures ahead. Bon Voyage!

**continentaldividetrail.org