I finally had some time this morning after a busy month of celebrating holidays and travel to look back on 2021. What a wild ride it was! I had a lot of fun creating this video of many RiseUP milestones.
I highly recommend taking time to reflect on your life periodically - the New Year has become a natural time to do so, but really we can do it whenever we feel pulled to do so.
When you look back and see all you have learned, accomplished or endured you will gain clarity on where you want to go and create momentum and motivation in your life to get there.
I love you all! Here's to 2022 and more adventures.
Here is a month by month break down of major events in my life this past year:
January: Moved to Florida, one of my best friends and soulmates died by overdose/suicide
February: Cut WAY back on Facebook
March: Quit Facebook and actually delete my account. Started listening to Tom Woods podcast as a new habit
April: ?? What did I do?! Settled into Florida life I guess - ha! My Facebook account of 12+ years is officially deleted. (They give you 30 days to reactivate from the time you delete your account).
May: Heard Stu McLaren's name mentioned on the Tom Wood's show. It was nothing to do with his courses or membership but about something he said about businesses... it piqued my interest enough to go back to his episode. From there I found Stu's Live Free workshop (it was starting almost immediately!) I tuned in a lot for a couple of days. In a matter of days I went from having no plans of starting a business, to scribbling in a notebook what I could offer the world, to signing up for Tribe.
I had to get back on FB and start a new account. I started from scratch with a friends list.
June: Tribe! My birthday! My first Live! Announce my FML
July 4th-8th: FML, my goal was 5 and I ended up with 8 Founding members (including my mom :-)
August: Tribe Live and getting a groove. Celebrate 1 month of my RiseUP membership.
September: I challenge myself to go Live every day and host my first Interview.
October: I celebrate 10 years of my blog, Together Walking in a "Blogiversary Celebration". I gave a book away each week and highlighted some of my best posts from the decade. I hosted my second interview.
Also, I lost my online teaching job (teaching English) due to new Chinese government regulations. The good news is I get more sleep now and can focus on my membership!
November: I launched a free "webinar experience", reopened doors and welcomed one new member. For the first time I shared personal stories of the how the RiseUP vision has impacted people, interviewing my amazing friends Laura Swain and 2 of my founding members, Lisa and Adam. This second launch was a lot of work and I only got one new member BUT I have a lot more figured out and set up for future launches now!
December: I was a guest on the Tom Woods podcast! My free private group and email list continued to slowly grow.
Also, we sold our house. I soaked up the holidays with my family and we end the year with an epic road trip.
Whew! What a ride.
Thanks for reading. I think that I'm ready to look forward now. I'm looking forward to being more disciplined, balanced and intentional in 2022. I have a lot of ideas (probably too many!) but most importantly I feel patient and determined. This is what I want to do and it will take time, but if I keep showing up I know more goodness is inevitable!
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
In 2020 I lost one of my best friends. Not because of any concrete actions on my part. In fact if you had looked at our lives, we probably behaved similarly. No, I lost my friend because I asked questions and expressed unpopular opinions. The really interesting part, was that she knew I had the beliefs I did for years prior, but 2020 is when everything came bubbling to the surface and it was no longer possible for her to compartmentalize or ignore our differences.
This friend (let's call her Jennifer) unfriended me on Facebook without any communication. Again - this was one of my best friends. She didn't message, call or follow up in any way. We had been trying to have conversations about controversial issues for years and had come to a place of "agree to disagree" because we loved each enough to stay friends.
For months after Jennifer unfriended me on Facebook without a word, I compartmentalized myself. I thought I'd let the "crazy" settle. I knew that we loved each other and our friendship mattered to both of us, so I didn't really think it was the end. After about 4 months I reached out and her response put the final nail in our friendship's coffin. It stung. It was the beginning of a difficult journey for me.
I recently created an online experience that outlines what I believe are fundamental problems in our society. One of the problems is that we have lost touch with our intuition. I've recently begun to think about how I am NOT a very good judge of character at all. My husband is. He has always had great instincts about people. Not me. I fall in love hard and quickly with people. Everyone is my "best friend". I think there are a couple of variables at play in this tendency of mine. The first aspect is admirable and based in a true love for humanity, people, and the diversity of individuals. I love learning people's stories, making new friends and connecting with people. I truly believe that we all have the same human needs and have so much more in common than we differ on.
But I have come to think that there is more to my indiscriminate people-loving. Being "nice" and people pleasing is deeply embedded in my psyche. I replaced whatever instincts I had about reading a person's true character with a societal construct that it was good to "be friends" with everyone.
I have shed many of my long time friendships these past 20+ months. Looking back I can see all sorts of red flags that I ignored in order to keep friendships alive. See exhibit 1 below, Red is my ex-friend, Blue is me. These emails occurred in January of 2020. And I still remained steady in my friendship even when Jennifer admitted that she had done no research but didn't think vaccine mandates were immoral. See? Red flag.
In reality Jennifer did me a favor when she cut me off. Do I agree with how she did it? No. Do I wish we could have had real, adult conversations about our differences? Yes. As my wise daughter said this year: "I think that people need to learn how to disagree better."
But I experienced an extreme "leveling up" in my life when she decided we couldn't be friends anymore. I had been holding back and keeping quiet. Not anymore.
It's taken more than a year for me to get to the level of peace and acceptance that I am currently at. It has been difficult to navigate this loss. I often felt obsessive, immature and weird because I thought about Jennifer so much and how much her rejection hurt me. One breakthrough occurred for me when I wrote the post Burning Bridges, Building Bridges, or...? I am not closing the door on anyone. If any friends want to reconnect and have real conversations with me, I will welcome them back with an open heart.
Jennifer is not the only relationship that I've lost or that has been drastically altered by these past 2 years. What hurts me most is the seeming inability to have difficult discussions, the lack of curiosity and how people who you thought loved you, seem to be able to throw away everything they know about you and your character in exchange for some mainstream headlines.
Even after experiencing so much hurt, I am still very grateful for the journey I've been on because I have a new level of confidence and love in my life. I am slowly healing and working on forgiving people who have let me down. I'm learning to tune into my intuition and trust myself more. It takes practice and time but it's worth it. Because now I find myself in relationship with people who actually love and value ALL of me, not just the parts they agree with. The friends that remain when you allow your whole self to shine (or as much as is possible) are your true friends.
The people who are in my life now are absolutely amazing! Both new relationships and old, the people who stand by me now feed my soul and support me in all ways. And because of that, I wouldn't change a thing.
Elliott Freed sat down to chat with me on how we as individuals can become stronger and what we can do in these "interesting" new times. What is his advice to the average person? What do we focus on if we want something different?
Find Elliott's book here: http://vaccineprimer.weebly.com/
Find him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/elliott.freed
More books here: https://realitydistilledintowords.weebly.com/
To get a Free copy of "Words to Inspire Action", which includes Elliott's quote along with 10 other thought leaders, including RFK Jr, Zuby, Del Bigtree and more, go here: https://www.subscribepage.com/wordstoinspireaction
ps we had tech issues - zoom didn't work, so I quickly improvised and hosted Elliott in a private group I have on Facebook. Luckily, my daughter (she is my IT person, ha!) had me set up with a program that can screen capture. However, I was paranoid that I wasn't recording, so you will see me check that several times.
Also Elliott's microphone got soft a few times and Carter was being loud too, but overall I am thrilled with this first interview! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think and share with anyone you think might be helped or inspired by this conversation. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
I think that this simple question encapsulates a key element of the divide that keeps getting deeper in society. There are those of us who want to get busy living and those that are so focused on avoiding death they've forsaken Living for some amount of time (aka get busy dying).
I feel so good right now. Like, maybe the best I've ever felt in my life. I feel free and light and content and happy and creative... well, you get the idea.
But believe me, this has not always been the case and even in very recent times was not how I felt. In 2019 I may have appeared "fine" when I was with most people, but inside I had a huge battle going on inside of me. I was researching the you-know-whats just about every day. I wept and agonized and read and thought (and thought and thought.) It was not an easy year.
And then, of course, 2020 came! Personally 2020-early 2021 had some very difficult challenges for me. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, we got an official confirmation that Carter is on the autism spectrum AND lockdowns started THE EXACT WEEK he was going to begin a program, one of my best and oldest friends "unfriended" me on social media and in "real life", my grandpa was hospitalized and then died months later, and finally in January 2021 one of my best friends and soul sisters died from overdose.
But honestly, I dealt pretty well with most of it, and I attribute my ability to cope with the work I had done in the months and years leading up to 2020. The hardest things were losing friends, becoming estranged from loved ones and making a decision to move.
I'm going to tell you something you don't want to hear - what you fear, very well could happen.
I was so scared - of having to move again, of losing loved ones, and of us losing our jobs. And so far 2/3 of those things have happened. And the third, losing our jobs, is a very real possibility in the near future.
And yet - all of these things I was scared of happening were possibly the best thing that could have happened to me. Moving has gotten me and my energy moving in a whole new way, losing my friend and other loved ones has made me braver and more open than ever... and so what I lost has turned out to be some of the biggest gifts of my life.
So if you are feeling... obsessed, scared, anxious, alone, stressed, and just generally not good about life - I understand. I've been there. And I'm here to tell you - it won't last forever because that is the nature of Life - things change. And also - there are things that you are in control of that can help you navigate whatever it is challenging you in your life.
I believe at the top of the list are three things: Knowledge, Intuition, and Community. When we get really grounded in these things our lives transform in beautiful ways we can't even imagine. I will keep sharing how I've been able to walk this path and continue to practice what helps when I get thrown back into old mindsets and habits.
Sending love to you all! Get busy Living Today - I know you can do it!
There are many ways to tell if a source is worthy of your time and trust and plenty of red flags that signal they are not.
Let's start with Red Flags:
On the other hand sources that you can trust do the opposite:
Do you have sources that fit these criteria? One person that came onto my radar in 2019 is RFK Jr. He was supposed to participate in a debate during the 2019 measles "blow up" (I'll leave it up to you to interpret that phrase!) The whole panel from Yale canceled on him (Yale Bailed) so instead he spoke to a group of people that came to watch. You can watch that video here. In that talk he spoke about the Gardasil vaccine and some astounding (not in a good way) parts of the safety study design. He invited everyone of us there to check what he was saying. So I did. And he was right. I wrote a blogpost about it here. Ever since then I've paid close attention to what RFK Jr has to say. He's extremely intelligent and has an incredible grasp of history, law, science and politics.
A second source of information that has been invaluable to me is The HighWire and Del Bigtree. Del is fearless in tackling controversial topics and does extremely thorough interviews. He asks tough questions but remains respectful and he doesn't always 100% agree with the people he interviews. Last year during lockdowns I was very impressed because The HighWire always reported on crucial new information 2 weeks to a month before any corporate news source did. Here is a segment about that called, "Ahead of the Curve". The HighWire gets into scientific studies, breaks them down, brings in a myriad of experts, scientists and doctors and provides the links to all of their sources.
One thing I learned last year is that there are innumerable good, honest and extremely intelligent people on our planet. That is amazing! So many people are speaking up and trying to get through to the general public - Science is NOT settled and there are many different theories and ideas out there about what is going on in the world. The most humble admit that they don't know all the answers. I'm not talking about the following: "I ordered you to do something last week and now I'm ordering you to do something different this week because the Science changed and I was wrong." I'm talking about honest-to-God humility that invites questions and mistakes and gives recommendations not orders.
Because of the plethora of people sharing information, the supply we have access to is literally endless. Recently I have settled on a couple of sources to check in with. Because if we're not careful we can get in "Seek mode" which looks like this: seek, seek, seek and seek some more. In Seek Mode we always want more. Our need for more information is practically insatiable! While this may be beneficial for some people (for example: researchers!), for many of us getting in Seek Mode for extended periods is disruptive and not our healthiest state. I encourage people to find 1-3 sources to check in with regularly if you feel like you need updates.
I hope this was helpful! Please let me know what I missed - this is not by any means a comprehensive list. It is what comes to my mind when I think of what sources I trust and don't trust.
What are your favorite sources of information? Why do you trust them? Have you ever been in Seek Mode? Please let us know in the comments!
The RiseUP community is open for members for the next 4 days only - Doors will close the night of Thursday July 8th. (by midnight Friday or when I wake up if I go to sleep early, ha!) Click here to join now.
The graphic above outlines who the RiseUP community is for. Basically, if you're ready to get your energy moving in a positive way, learn more about Unplugging (from mainstream education, media and medicine) and want to be part of an awesome community that supports medical freedom - this community is for you!
Founding members will play an extra special role in shaping the direction we go it. This is a brand spanking new idea - barely 2 months in the making! I envision us making goals - big and small - encouraging one another, and taking steps that will not only improve our own lives but our loved ones' lives and communities too!
The Founding member price is $10 per month. It's a no brainer - if you have any interest at all, you should join! We're going to have fun together and start making changes. Not only that, but you will keep this price for as long as you are a member in good standing. This means that when I reopen the doors and raise the price, your price stays at $10 per month. Sweet!
The membership includes a private Facebook group only for members, content delivered to your email from yours truly, group zoom calls, and anything else that we come up with together!
If you have any questions, please comment here or private message me. You can also check out my YouTube channel for more information. As always, thank you for all the love and support as I start this new project.
I help medical freedom advocates and "new normal" skeptics overcome their fears by creating a like-minded virtual community, energizing individuals to take empowered action in their lives.
I've started to put my vision out into the world - sharing via Lives and recorded videos. I've covered "Who" and "Why You Can Do It" (click on the links to watch the videos on YouTUbe - bonus, you can speed me up there!) Next week I plan to get into more practical details - what is this membership and community? What can you expect to get each week?
Here is a summary of the information I've covered:
The RiseUP Community is for Medical Freedom advocates. This is the number one characteristic that unites our community. This is not a politically active group, but a community for individuals to be supported in moving past fears and into empowered action. People newer to the ideals of medical freedom may have been overwhelmed in the past 15 months by the amount of information and level of corruption. On the other hand - more experienced medical freedom advocates found ourselves diving deep into researching. Many of us became quite obsessed and this research easily turned into a full time job.
The RiseUP community is for supporting those of us who are ready to move our energy past fear, anxiety, overwhelm and obsession and begin to build something new in our individual lives. While we may be building different things in our lives, the positive energy we generate in our online community will spill out to our families and local communities, inspiring others to do the same! It's a big goal, I know! But I really believe we are up to the task.
Why do I know you can do this? Because we all are capable of doing these things! To be human, is to have unique challenges that we are called to overcome. In fact, I know you can do whatever it is you are called to do with your wild and precious life without me.
Why am I telling you that if I want you to join my membership? Because I want you to know that this is true: You are capable and you don't need me. I want you to start taking those steps whether you join RiseUP or not. The most important thing in the world right now is for you to believe in yourself and to start taking positive action in your life. Imagine what is possible when we all believe and act accordingly!
I also know that we are more powerful when we work together. So if you need a little help getting yourself moving - I'm here for you, and whole RiseUP community will be too!
So I've defined "Who?" "Why?" and "Where" (online and in our individual lives/communities). This week I am going to make clearer the concrete "What". What is the structure of this community, what can you expect each week? This will also encompass "When", in that we talk about what the time commitment of RiseUP entails.
I hope this further illuminates my vision! I am so excited to hear from you with any questions or things I can further clarify.
I have a book of daily inspiring quotes that I look at frequently. My friend who died in January gave it to me last year. It was a huge blessing in my life as I worked my way through it. These quotes helped me keep perspective through a very challenging period of time. And now as I read may way through it for a second time, it brings me comfort. I feel my friend's presence and love the wisdom that she left for me to learn and relearn.
June 5th is my birthday. This is the quote from that day and I found it perfect. I would say that the past year was defined in large part by losing two of my best friends. One to death and one who chose to end our relationship. I have been talking and writing about it a lot - that's because it is something that I think about a lot. It is the work I am doing.
The great news is that I am making progress! How do I know? I'm thinking about it less. My energy is moving again and I am feeling more positive about life generally, and about my (ex)friend more specifically. The gratitude I feel is growing - for the lessons I learned from going through this and also for the friendship that I had for over a decade of my life.
I found this quote to be perfect on my birthday. For a long time last year I compartmentalized the hurt and pain of losing an important relationship. That was actually appropriate for a while - I wasn't sure if the loss was permanent and so I patiently waited. As it became clearer that this friend was truly ending our relationship, I had to go deeper in processing that information. It wasn't a simple thing; letting go rarely is. I had to let myself be angry and hurt. I had to let myself be a little obsessive - even if that felt immature and unproductive. I had to talk about it to people that love and support me. I had to write down what I was feeling - Why was I angry and hurt? I wrote about why it sucked and wasn't fair and all the things that I wanted to tell that person, but couldn't.
And now? Well, I can say I am closer to forgiving. It is a process. But I know that the work is paying off because I am facing forward and moving again. My birthday was awesome! I have always been good about celebrating with the people that are willing and able to be with me at any given time - Love What Is. Forgiving is part of being able to do just that.
Have you had to let go of relationships recently? What helps you forgive and move on?
So I revealed my membership name: RisingUP with Susan May! The "UP" signifies "Unplugging Peacefully" - what does that mean?
I know for many people "unplugging" signifies taking time away from technology, screens and social media. And I agree that there are many benefits to doing that in an intentional way. But for me "Unplugging" means something deeper.
I know that my family dealt with all of the 2020 madness better because we had "unplugged" from the mainstream in several essential ways. We had unplugged from the mainstream education system, medical system and the media. We are slowly unplugging from "The Matrix". We still are "plugged in" in other ways, but those 3 aspects made our lives much less stressful.
For me, unplugging doesn't necessarily mean cutting myself off from Facebook and my iPhone. It means I am intentionally - carefully and thoughtfully - choosing where I get my information from and why. I examine the motivations of my sources and if they have *my* and *my family's* best interests at heart.
Why "Unplugging Peacefully"? Well besides the fact that I'm Peace obsessed, I know that it is possible to unplug from the mainstream (matrix!) in a gentle way. I've been doing it for more than 15 years. I've learned how to go my own way without being angry and bitter, without getting in people's faces that don't agree with me and without getting into heated arguments with experts who try to give me advice I don't believe in.
My goal is to share how I've done this and help others Unplug Peacefully. So many people have been shaken this past year and feel confused and alone. The wonderful news is - you are not alone! I know this year has been disorienting, but life on the other side is really wonderful. The most beautiful Life become possible when we face our fears and take action in spite of them.
What aspects of mainstream society are you ready to unplug from?
In 2020 many governments around the world implemented lockdowns. The severity and length has varied greatly from one geographic location to another, but very few people in the world completely escaped them. The results were people isolating in their homes (Stay home, Stay Safe! and Together Alone! - or is it Alone Together? I can never remember, but whichever one it is - I HATE IT. And I usually avoid the word "hate".)
People limited who they saw, how many people they saw, how often they left their homes and the world slowed down significantly.
Over a year later and things seem to be slowly heading in a healthier direction. But in that time there were families that literally stayed apart for months or even more than a year. Grandparents didn't see or hug their grandchildren and some didn't even get to meet their new grandbabies for many months after they were born.
Gyms were closed. Parks and playground were closed. Anxiety skyrocketed - of course it did! We were literally trying an experiment out on almost the entire world's population, an unprecedented event in all of humanity's existence.
Look at that graphic above. Look at what promotes each of those happiness hormones. These are the ones that jump out at me: socializing, physical touch, and helping others (oxytocin), sun exposure and nature walks (serotonin), exercise and laughing (endorphins), achieving a goal and getting enough sleep (dopamine).
Considering the restrictions that were put upon people and the habits that emerged, it is safe to say that a large part of our population has been deprived of their fair share of these "happiness hormones".
But maybe being sad in these circumstances isn't such a bad thing. "Why I'm Happy I'm Sad" explores one man's experience and why he eventually realized it was a good thing that he was sad. He says:
In essence, the last year of pandemic has taken its toll on me, and even now whenever I put on a mask, read the social distancing signs in these establishments, or listen to reminders on the radio to be safe, I become depressed or angry.
I read another blog post of a writer I follow who described her relapse with depression. I suspect most of us know someone struggling with clinical depression. She said she didn't seek help for a long time because she wasn't sure if it was just from lockdowns. Well, maybe it *is* from lockdowns and maybe you need help too! It's amazing that people are trying to rationalize and talk themselves out of lockdown induced depression by telling themselves that they are "lucky" they don't have it worse or "What are you doing to do? It's a pandemic!"
No, no, NO! It's not normal to be locked down, it's not healthy and we all need to resist the idea and push back against anyone insisting that it *is* or *should* be part of our "new" normal.
It is normal to feel sad and depressed in these circumstances though. Maybe you will get a little bit of relief realizing that it's not you, it's a messed up situation.
And then - go take a walk outside in the sun with your giggling children, stop to hug them, maybe even talk to a neighbor! Get those happiness hormones moving again!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.