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New Year

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Innehåll tillhandahållet av The Wonder Podcast. Allt poddinnehåll inklusive avsnitt, grafik och podcastbeskrivningar laddas upp och tillhandahålls direkt av The Wonder Podcast eller deras podcastplattformspartner. Om du tror att någon använder ditt upphovsrättsskyddade verk utan din tillåtelse kan du följa processen som beskrivs här https://sv.player.fm/legal.

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Introduction and Welcome
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Yucca: Welcome back to The Wonder Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Jekka.

Mark: And I'm Mark.

Reflecting on the End of the Year
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Yucca: And today we are talking about the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. So once again, here we are at the end of a year,

Mark: Yeah, so it's a good time for reflecting on what the, what this round of the cycle has been, and then looking forward into the next year we were saying before we started to record, we're still in that, that kind of held breath in the middle of, of the winter solstice season, at least in the, in the northern hemisphere, where Everything seems to kind of stop for a moment, even though there's this frenzy of activity in your personal life, most, many people are not working.

There's just a kind of suspension of ordinariness, and there's this moment of what can be a really reflective still time, as well as a very festive time,

Yucca: right? This episode should actually come out Christmas morning. So, early Christmas morning,

Mark: always a tranquil and reflective time.

Yucca: Yes, very relaxed, there's nothing going on.

Discussing the Timing of the New Year
---

Yucca: Before we get into all of that, let's talk about the timing of the New Year. Okay. Because we're talking about the calendar switching New Year, which many people count as the New Year. For me, that's usually what I go with. That's the turning of the calendar.

But for some folks, it's actually at Hallow, some people it's the Solstice, some people change at the Equinox, right? When's New Year's for you?

Mark: I have two tracks for that, and they're offset by about ten days.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: For me, the beginning of the sacred cycle of the year is at the winter solstice. But then there's the calendar year, which, you know, as we say, when you're dating something, what number do you put at the end of the of, of the date that you're writing, that changes on January 1st, and so January 1st is also a hinge point, a moment when there's a transition, and that gives us the opportunity to do what we're doing today, which is look back, kind of review what that's all been like for the past cycle, and then imagine and dream forward into the new cycle.

Yucca: Mm hmm. For me it's very fuzzy because since I don't have, typically I'm not working on the 31st or the 1st. The exact moment there isn't really a switch over, it's just this sort of fuzzy time period where it's like, oh yeah, it's the new year. I think, kinda, now I gotta get used to writing this other date, but it hasn't really happened yet.

it Really takes about until February to get used to it being a different year.

Mark: Mm.

Reflections on the Past Year
---

Yucca: So, and some years just don't feel like they happened, especially in the last few years because of how things were so different with COVID, where some years just, like, feel like they're missing.

Mark: Yeah, 2020, I mean, when it happened, 2020 felt like the longest year ever.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And then 2021 was like a continuation of the longest year ever, it was just more of the same. anD when the various Restrictions were relaxed, it almost felt like, it almost felt like that hadn't happened at all.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Perception of Time
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Mark: Like, it was just this sort of separate time when we were all indoors and staying away from everyone but it was outside of history somehow.

Yucca: It was almost like we went from 19 to 22.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: Like, those, those years, I mean, they're there, but they're not in some ways. It's very, very odd. And this year So much has happened. It's actually quite difficult to keep track of what happened this year and what wasn't this year. Just thinking about what happened within this calendar year.

It's, it's been a very full year.

Mark: it really has. I mean, everything from floods and earthquakes and volcano eruptions to, you know, political happenings here and there and wars and humanitarian crises, you know, and of course that's what the news feeds us, which is all the bad news,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: BuT I think it's fair to say that this is a very uncertain time for a lot of people.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Changes in the Work Environment
---

Mark: I think about You know, in the, in the business world, in the economy, there's this huge movement of companies that are sort of hanging on by their fingernails to their old model and wanting to go back to 2019, and insisting that their workers come back to the office, and the workers are saying, actually, no, thank you,

Yucca: Mm

Mark: uh, this works much better for me in my life, and I'm not going.

And it's, it's a very interesting standoff,

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: And it's one that I think the, the labor force, the working force is winning. I, I don't think that this idea about you have to be sitting in a chair in a cubicle in order to do your job is, is gonna succeed over the long term.

Yucca: Right. At least within certain sectors. There are certain ones that are in person.

Mark: Oh, service industries, for sure. Yeah, I mean, those people have to be there and doing their thing. I'm thinking specifically of people that were in an office. Yeah, people who were in an office and then were able to leave, which of course is a tremendous privilege.

Challenges of Remote Work
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Mark: I now work fully remotely, and although there are things that are hard about it, like, for example, the fact that you could not register an organization to receive federal funding through, like, a cost sharing agreement or something like that, or a grant with the federal government if you don't have a physical address. Because the Patriot Act regulations consider that dodgy. So I, in order to prove that we really exist, I'm going to have to change the address on our bank account of my employer to my personal address, print out the, the, the bank statement that shows that address, and then change it back to the P. O. box that we have.

Because we're a fully remote company and we don't have an office. So, it's just silly.

Yucca: Wow. And you're not gonna, you don't have any zoning problems that are gonna come from that?

Mark: No,

Yucca: Okay. Yeah. Because there's certain areas where you gotta watch out for that, that you're not allowed to have particular businesses

Mark: a

Yucca: areas and, you know.

Mark: I'm sure that that's true, but considering that it's going to last for less than 24 hours I don't really think it's a problem. The primary issue is, I think, they want to know where they can go to find a human being who is working for this company. And has some responsibility if they need to come after us for some reason.

And I, there wouldn't be any reason they would need to come after us. I mean, we're a nonprofit organization. We can't even get in trouble with them for taxes.

Yucca: Mm hmm. Yeah. But, but they can't go to a P. O. box. So.

Mark: right. That's right. So we have to, I'm going to paint a target on my door and, and invite them to come find me.

Reflection on Personal and Global Events
---

Yucca: So, this year, though, there's things that have been happening on a big scale,

Mark: yes,

Yucca: and our personal lives, of course, are interwoven with that, right? But at the same time, a lot of what happens in our own lives really doesn't have a lot to do with the outside workings of, you know, what's happening with floods and hurricanes and wars and, you know, life just goes on.

for listening. for regular folk.

Looking Back and Looking Forward
---

Yucca: And so each of us, you know, us, you and me, Mark, and everyone listening, we've all had our own years, our own lives that have happened, and I, we were talking a lot about this last week, about the, about solstice being this wonderful time for reflection. I think that's a, we can continue that in, and, and think about the whole year.

And what has that meant to us, and what are some of the lessons that we have learned? Because we have learned lessons, right? And what are those? Mm

Mark: of those lessons are things that have crossed our minds consciously, right? Like, okay, this is a situation that doesn't work for me, this is a situation that does work for me this is an activity that really feeds me and helps me to feel energized and happy. thIs is something that is a total waste of time that I've been doing for my entire life, and I'm gonna stop, you know, those kinds of things.

But then there's also the sort of the subconscious part, the, uh, the reflection on what can be called shadow work, you know, where you look at All right, there were certainly challenges this year. I mean, I don't think I know of anyone who didn't have a challenge this year. Did I ride those out, and what did I learn from them, and what did they tell me about myself,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: right?

What do they tell me about who I am? Because I think that one of the things that people are really struggling with right now is that we've been through a bunch of hardship with the pandemic and the Trump years and just a lot of really,

Yucca: with the economy,

Mark: yes, all that stuff. And you know, people, people still feel kind of beat up in many ways and very uncertain.

And so, kind of digging down to find out, well, how do I live with that uncertainty? Am I doing okay? Am I, am I kind of walking, wounded, depressed right now? Not, not in a, in a So much a debilitating sense is just kind of a muffling sense, where you don't feel things as much as you used to, and the kinds of things that you enjoy doing, maybe you don't enjoy doing them quite so much.

The Importance of Self-Reflection
---

Mark: I think it's a good time for sort of a diagnostic take on, on how our mental health is going, and what in life is really serving us, and what in life is not.

Yucca: Right?

Setting Goals and Intentions for the New Year
---

Yucca: Yeah, and thinking about that, the choice and intention that we have in that, right? What do we want? What is serving us? And what, what do we want? How do we want to be in this life? Is that something that I choose or you choose to continue to do? Because it is When it comes to how we're responding, it ultimately is a choice, right?

It's not a choice whether, to us as individuals, whether who's in office or what wars are happening, right? But, but how am I, how am I going to respond is something that I have some influence over, and this is just a good time to think about that. Yeah.

Mark: Yes. How am I going to show up to reality?

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And a perfectly legitimate approach to that, by the way, is a nice dash of escapism. You know, play your Dungeons and Dragons and watch your Netflix. I mean, checking out for a little while is something that can actually help support you at times when things seem a little overwhelming or unbearable.

I mean, you probably want to curate those experiences so you're not watching super depressing movies. Maybe that's not the road you want to follow.

Yucca: Unless that does it for you, right? My, my partner will look at things that are like, will get on Reddit and, you know, see the, the terrible relationships and the like, am I the asshole threads and go, wow, my life's not that bad.

Mark: life is good, yeah!

Yucca: that to be very, like, helpful. Now, if I look at that stuff, I just get it.

so worked up and it makes it worse for me, but for some people that really does help. So it, so, you know, know yourself on that. Does that help? Does that not help? You know, what are you consuming? And is that, is that leading you in the way that you want to be developing yourself right now or not?

Mark: absolutely. Yeah, that's well said. So, I think there's an opportunity, I mean, one thing that I do on New Year's Eve is I have a dark mirror. Which is a piece of, a circular piece of heavily tinted glass, which I then painted black on the back and put in a frame. Actually first I put a piece of cardboard in the frame and then the glass over the top of that so that there would be some, some backing so that it would be less likely to break the mirror, um, but then I also drew various sigils and arcane symbols and stuff on the cardboard before I put the glass on top of it, so they're, they're down in there somewhere.

Yucca: So there's these layers. Okay.

Mark: You can't see them at all through the glass, but they're there. And what I like to do is to sort of, you know, light a candle and contemplate my face in this dark mirror on New Year's Eve. I've only done it for a couple of years, but it's a cool thing. You can see this shadowy outline of your face.

And if you just keep gazing into it, it all sort of dissolves into geometric shapes. And you just Then you find your mind wandering to particular places and things and ideas and thoughts and, and it's a It's an opportunity to check in with the subconscious, to sort of dip in a little bit and find out, well, what's going on down there? So, that's something you could do, I mean, by candlelight, you could do that with a regular mirror.

Yucca: And then you get that lovely flickering with that.

Mark: right, yeah. So, something to think about, or some other form of, you know, so called divination, like reading Tarot, or whatever those are. I like the ones, for this kind of work, I like the ones where you work essentially with random imagery and then see what your mind makes out of it, right?

Like serumancy, dripping candle wax into water,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: and it creates shapes as it, you know, cools. And you can see different animals and symbols and all that kind of stuff.

Yucca: Yeah?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Mm hmm. I like the imagery of that. Mm hmm. Mm

Mark: So that's looking back. That's, that's the work of reflection, which I think every person who really wants to be happy and wise has to do some of that. You know, you got to look at yourself. You got to look at the world. And there's, uh, you know, there's, there's a level of simply coming to terms and saying, okay, that's real.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: another level of going. And I'm grateful for all this other stuff that's going on, right? So, you know, the world is a very complex mixture. It's not like thumbs up, thumbs down, and the same is true of ourselves as individuals. And just coming to grips with all of that and having a level of acceptance and gratitude is very helpful, I think.

thAt goes back to that thing about the three big lessons that I talk about. The big Okay, the big thank you and the big wow,

Yucca: Right, so there's the reflection component there's the looking back and there's also the looking forward. Now I think the looking back, you've got to be able to do that, I think that really does need to come first, or part of it, to be able to look forward to What is it that you want, right?

Mark: yeah,

Yucca: And as we talked about last time, we're kind of in this dreaming period.

We may not really be planting those seeds yet, but we are deciding what are those seeds that we might want to plant. What do we need to do to prepare?

Mark: right.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that goes into the ritual things that people do at the New Year around resolutions and all that kind of stuff, right? Because I mean, A New Year's resolution is rooted in an imagined self that has changed. It's like, okay, I picture myself and I do not drink six cups of coffee a day.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And that's great. You know, it's great to have a vision for where you want to go as a person, whether it's something minor or something major. Personally, I don't do New Year's resolutions, and the reason that I don't do them is that the popular framing of them is kind of like the little drummer boy game, where it's like once you lose, it's over.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: And if you're really trying to do something hard to change yourself, you have to give yourself some slack. If you're trying to get sober, and you do that for a week and then you have a drink, you don't quit trying to get sober, you just start over, right?

Yucca: Right, you get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: So I think that one of the things that sometimes we are very good at or don't have a lot of practice in is that, that getting back up part and planning in how, what could go wrong and how am I going to respond when it does go wrong.

Mark: Good point.

Yucca: And I think that If you are incorporating that into your planning, whatever it is, whether you're planning your financial future, or the process of quitting smoking or drinking, or all of those, any of those things, you are, you're being more realistic, first of all, about the world that we live in, because mistakes do happen.

You're, you're building in resilience to being able to better achieve whatever that is. So I think that's a really important step that we forget to do.

Mark: Yes. And the self compassion step in there as well. Not excuse making, but recognizing that we're all fallible and that any kind of real personal transformation that's the kind of thing that a New Year's resolution might be made about is not easy, right? It's just not easy. And, um, it is remarkable the degree to which our behaviors as humans are.

The Power of Habit and Routine
---

Mark: Habitual.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: You know, we have routines for our day, we have routines for making our coffee, we have routines for, you know, what we do about lunch, we have just lots and lots of routines, routines, you know, when we're getting ready to go to bed.

Yucca: And there's a very, very practical reason for all of that. So that all of that isn't taking up our space for the other stuff that we need to be doing. For all the other stuff we need to be thinking about. We're not, every time we make our coffee, we aren't going through those steps. We're not giving it the mental energy.

Mark: Right. Okay,

Yucca: something else.

Mark: water.

Yucca: Yes, oh wait, when I move my hand, yeah, that's all, that's all just ingrained so that we can do other things and pay attention to the things that might matter more. Now there's today probably not a tiger about to getcha, but we needed the space to be able to be aware for a possible tiger to get to.

Now we're thinking about the interaction that we're going to have with our colleague or whatever we're going to tell to our uncle when they say that super offensive thing. But, yeah.

Mark: Yeah. And so, because, because so much of what we do is this sort of pre programmed pathway of habit. It can be very hard to reprogram that stuff, because once you start the process, the rest of the steps are automatic. You do this, and then all of those other things just naturally follow. And to be able to be self aware enough in any given moment to say, wait, I'm not going to go any further with this.

I'm going to do something else. That is an effort, and it, it requires some real focus, and if you're not able to do it all the time, it requires some real compassion with yourself, so that instead of feeling like a failure or, you know, a moral degenerate, you just feel like someone who is trying to do something hard and is learning how to do it.

Yucca: Yeah. And another component is that, that doing those hard things is a skill, um, and sometimes we try to jump to, to a bigger task than we might be ready for, than a bigger change, right? Sometimes we might need to make some smaller changes, get good at practicing. That change before we go to something even bigger.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: And that's just going to depend on whatever it is that you're working on. Mm. Mm

Mark: So, having said all that, I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions because, as I said, the idea is that it's like a piece of glass. It's like, if it's broken, then it's no longer of any use. And, So, to me, that's just, it's a very, well, frankly, a very Protestant way of looking at things. It's got a lot of judgment folded into it, and it just doesn't really work for me.

Setting Themes Instead of Resolutions
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Mark: So what I like to do is to set themes for the new year that are kind of areas that I'm going to pay attention to and work to foster in my life.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: So, like, last year, My theme this year, actually, my themes were prosperity and security, um, because I hadn't had a job for a year and eight months at that point.

I needed to get a job.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: you know, and I did get a job and now I'm working in it and it's lively.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: It's if, you know, Folks that are listening to the podcast that have been on the Facebook or Discord communities know that I am about to be appointed as the Interim Executive Director of the environmental organization that I work for, and there are crises that we are dealing with that are very challenging, and they're going to land in my lap when the previous Executive Director leaves, which was already planned before the crises happened.

So, it's not his fault, but still it's, it's a very lively time, and I'm not getting time off at the holidays that I expected to get because I've got to work through the end of the year when he goes. So, but I got a job, and it's a good job working for The protection of wilderness and, and wild places and biodiversity hotspots.

So that's, that's pretty cool work to be doing.

Yucca: Yeah, so you like to set themes instead of resolutions. And is that something that you do, um, at the same time as your dark mirror ritual? Or is that a separate thing for you?

Mark: That's kind of a separate thing. And it doesn't necessarily have to happen like on New Year's Day. Usually I, I do it in the first week of the year, something like that. Just as things are starting to get rolling again, the, the normality is reasserting itself after the strange, still frenzied window of the holidays.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: Um, so yeah, that's, that's generally when I do it, and I'm still not clear about what my themes will be for the coming year. Um, but I've started thinking about it. Right?

Yucca: hmm. Mm

Mark: Uh, I, I do have the, the advantage of not having, I mean, I'm going to my Ritual Circles Yule Gathering today, which is sort of my big social Christmas y, Yule y thing.

Um, but, I have no plans on Christmas Day itself, so You know, at least that I get off, uh, and I don't know, I'm, I'm gonna try to pry out some more time next week if I possibly can, but it really just depends on what's going on.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: How about you? What are your New Year's practices?

Yucca: It's not particularly formal. I, I do like the resolutions it, as long as it has the what we were built, we were talking about built into it where it isn't like a, oh well, I messed it up and can't try again. But I'm, I'm more of a fan of making choices and resolutions. When I, when it comes up, right?

So I think that this is a really important time of year to be doing reflection, but I try and do that throughout the year. aNd I'm a little hesitant about the doing anything where I say, oh, I'll wait till Start it on Monday, or start at the beginning of the month, or start at the beginning of the year, because that stuff actually means you don't really want to do it, right?

You're not going to do it. If you're really going to do it, start now. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not Monday, now. So I'm kind of in that camp of just like, if I'm going to do it, yeah, I'm a kind of cold turkey person, right? Or pull the band aid off, where just, I'm just going to do it. But know that sometimes I will slip up.

And then I have to be, and I can't do the whole, oh, well, I guess, you know, I slipped up, I'll, you know, I'll just do it again and start better tomorrow. Nope, you just gotta be on it. And that's just my particular personality that I've

Mark: Huh.

Yucca: Some people are very different with that. But I do like the idea of there being a time where people are reflecting on what they want and actively deciding to make a change.

Whether that ends up working out or not is a different thing, but I think that it's really important to have that. So I value that that's something that our culture does. I think we could work on the skills around that.

Mark: Yeah, that, that's, that's a good point, too. The, yes, there are skills required to have that kind of discipline and, and self compassion. You know, the other thing I wanted to put a word in for is We tend to think of New Year's resolutions as always being something that's like, you know, taking your medicine.

It's some, you know, I'm going to abstain from something or I'm going to

Yucca: Well, the classic one is I'm going to go to the gym every

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: the going to the gym is the classic one, right? Yeah. Or losing that 20 pounds.

Mark: Yes. Whereas It's also possible to have resolutions that are about good things that you want to add into your life, right? You know, you, you, you could certainly say to yourself, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm gonna carve out Sunday afternoons and I'm gonna go for a hike every Sunday afternoon.

That's what I'm gonna do.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that's good for you. I mean, that, that, that would be a pleasurable experience that you'd be doing for yourself. You know, something that's additive to your life, you know, it could be I'm going to start having date nights and I'm going to have more sex in my life. It could be I'm going to make sure that I get to that restaurant that I love so much once a month. You know, any of those things.

Yucca: And let's, let's take one of those as an example. Let's say it's the going for a hike on Sundays, right?

Planning for Success in the New Year
---

Yucca: If that is the thing that you're thinking about, well, you can go, okay, well, What can I do right now to help set that up to be more likely for me to be able to do that? And for me, that would be, I'm going to put it in my calendar right now.

It's pretty easy to do that. I have a digital cal I like, I have a physical and a digital, but my digital is my main one, then I copy it onto my physical and go, okay, I'm going to see that on my calendar every day.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: And then I'm going to think about, okay, well, what am I going to do If the weather is XYZ, right?

Okay, I'm going to set it up right now that I have the equipment that I need to be able to do it. So if it's raining, I'm not going to go, oh, I guess I can't go out because I don't have a raincoat. I just got myself a raincoat, so I can go out, right? I've looked up places that I can go. So when you're in this, like, I'm, when you're in the moment of deciding that that's what you're going to do, you've got energy around it.

Think about how you can set yourself up to succeed in that.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, in the hiking example, I think one thing that you can do immediately is go get yourself a pair of hiking boots.

Yucca: Yeah, right? Get yourself the hiking boots and figure out some of the places. Maybe find a group, if that's what you want to do. Maybe you don't want to go with a group, but is there a group that That is doing it, that you could, that you could join with and then have the positive peer pressure component to it, right?

And we always say peer pressure is like this bad thing, but sometimes it's really helpful, right? Like, we've said it before, if this podcast was just one of us trying to do it, Wouldn't have worked, right? Because each week I know, oh, Mark's gonna be there waiting for me. Okay, I'm gonna do it. Whereas if it was just me by myself, we would have gotten a few episodes in 2020 and that'd be it. Right?

Mark: Well, yeah, there is something about being accountable to other people. And creating whatever it is that you're trying to do to build some accountability expectation on the part of other people. I know meetup. com tends to have lots of hiking groups and, you know, people that like to do various outdoor things, so that's a resource that you can look for.

Yucca: Right. And of course, whatever your goal is, I just grabbed that one because that was an easy one to talk about, right? But, but the point of it is to think about what's going to help me succeed, what might get in the way, how can I respond when that does happen? Because it, there will be a day that the weather is off.

There will be a day that you're feeling sick. There will be, those things will happen. So, what are you going to do when they do? Mm

Mark: right. And the good news is that as you start doing the thing and enjoying it, since we're talking about things that are additive, that are, that are, you know, that are pleasurable in your life, Um, it will feel weirder and weirder not to do it, because we are creatures of routine, right? And you can get that routine making pattern on your side if you just build up some consistency.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: So starting at least with a social group, and I find that a social group is good for hiking. I mean, I like solo hiking a lot, but One thing that a social group is good for is that interactions with other people will tend to distract you from whether your body is hurting or not.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: know, if you're having a conversation on the trail and your legs are starting to hurt, you'll, you'll tend to tamp that down to continue the conversation on the trail.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: So, you know, while you're building strength.

Yucca: Right. All right, well, Mark, are there other things that you can think about for this turning of the year?

Mark: You know, not really. My birthday is two days after New Year's Day, and so the two of them often, you know, they kind of get mushed together. And So the reflection piece tends to be, for me, it tends to be not just the last year, but also, like, life,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: What have I done? What am I doing? Where am I going?

You know, all those kinds of big questions. So I do like to consider those as well, but I think that's really more of a birthday thing. You could do that at any time of the year,

Yucca: Right,

Mark: but a birthday is a good opportunity for it.

Yucca: yeah, I think all of what we've been talking about is great for birthday whatever time of year your birthday is,

Mark: Yeah. Even the resolutions, it's like a gift to yourself, right? You're gonna improve something.

Yucca: new year, it's not the calendar's new year, but you're starting again,

Mark: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. And yep, and mine actually falls on a Wednesday, like the day I was born this year.

Yucca: Oh, I was also born on a Wednesday.

Mark: Where are you? We're full of woe!

Yucca: Yes. I've always liked Wednesday because when I was little, I learned to spell it as Wed nest day. And so every time I write the word, I say Wed nest day in my mind, even decades later. So I've just always enjoyed that day.

Mark: That's great.

Yucca: So, just the little things to make. Make things fun and enjoyable,

Mark: Sure. Yeah.

Closing Thoughts and Farewell
---

Yucca: Well, we will see everyone again.

I think our next episode will be the first. So we won't see all of you until the 2024. Yes. Wow. That sounds like a sci fi date. That doesn't sound real.

Mark: God, it's, it's, well, you know, there's so,

Yucca: Shouldn't it be like some Book series, or like, sci fi action should be named 20, 24.

Mark: You know, there are times when my partner Nemea and I, we look at some of the technological things that are happening and we just say we're living in the future. You know, we remember what it was like in the 70s when a Texas Instruments TI 30 hand calculator was both expensive and rare and, and incredibly powerful, right? And now, you know, now we're doing custom gene based healthcare for people.

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: It's like, it's amazing.

Yucca: it's a cool time to be alive, right? That's something we should say, it's been, for all the challenges that are world is facing and that we're facing and the crises and all of that. It's also really, there's a lot of cool stuff

Mark: there is,

Yucca: and just the things we get to learn and the tools we have to study with and, and the opportunities that just didn't exist before.

Mark: Right? Right.

Yucca: Yeah, there's a, there's a lot, there's a lot to be really grateful for.

Mark: Absolutely, and there's, of course, a lot of improvement that needs to happen on many fronts, and that's our responsibility as people who want a better world, um, but I mean, I've known some activists who have fallen into this terrible hole of everything is awful and they're just cynical about everything because it doesn't meet their perfect dream. I don't remember who said it, but something like inside cynic is a frustrated optimist. aNd, uh, no, a frustrated idealist. That was it, a frustrated idealist. And I really work hard not to have that happen, because I think it's such a narrow view of the world. The world is amazing. Life is an amazing ride.

And yes, there are terrible things in it, and that's just how it is. The big okay.

Yucca: Yep,

Mark: Yeah. Well, Yucca, thank you so much. I wish you a Merry Christmas, um,

Yucca: and a happy new

Mark: a Happy New Year. Yes whatever your celebrations are over the course of the next week I hope that you enjoy them and spend them loved and warm and cozy.

Yucca: and we'll see y'all next year.

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New Year

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Introduction and Welcome
---

Yucca: Welcome back to The Wonder Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Jekka.

Mark: And I'm Mark.

Reflecting on the End of the Year
---

Yucca: And today we are talking about the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. So once again, here we are at the end of a year,

Mark: Yeah, so it's a good time for reflecting on what the, what this round of the cycle has been, and then looking forward into the next year we were saying before we started to record, we're still in that, that kind of held breath in the middle of, of the winter solstice season, at least in the, in the northern hemisphere, where Everything seems to kind of stop for a moment, even though there's this frenzy of activity in your personal life, most, many people are not working.

There's just a kind of suspension of ordinariness, and there's this moment of what can be a really reflective still time, as well as a very festive time,

Yucca: right? This episode should actually come out Christmas morning. So, early Christmas morning,

Mark: always a tranquil and reflective time.

Yucca: Yes, very relaxed, there's nothing going on.

Discussing the Timing of the New Year
---

Yucca: Before we get into all of that, let's talk about the timing of the New Year. Okay. Because we're talking about the calendar switching New Year, which many people count as the New Year. For me, that's usually what I go with. That's the turning of the calendar.

But for some folks, it's actually at Hallow, some people it's the Solstice, some people change at the Equinox, right? When's New Year's for you?

Mark: I have two tracks for that, and they're offset by about ten days.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: For me, the beginning of the sacred cycle of the year is at the winter solstice. But then there's the calendar year, which, you know, as we say, when you're dating something, what number do you put at the end of the of, of the date that you're writing, that changes on January 1st, and so January 1st is also a hinge point, a moment when there's a transition, and that gives us the opportunity to do what we're doing today, which is look back, kind of review what that's all been like for the past cycle, and then imagine and dream forward into the new cycle.

Yucca: Mm hmm. For me it's very fuzzy because since I don't have, typically I'm not working on the 31st or the 1st. The exact moment there isn't really a switch over, it's just this sort of fuzzy time period where it's like, oh yeah, it's the new year. I think, kinda, now I gotta get used to writing this other date, but it hasn't really happened yet.

it Really takes about until February to get used to it being a different year.

Mark: Mm.

Reflections on the Past Year
---

Yucca: So, and some years just don't feel like they happened, especially in the last few years because of how things were so different with COVID, where some years just, like, feel like they're missing.

Mark: Yeah, 2020, I mean, when it happened, 2020 felt like the longest year ever.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And then 2021 was like a continuation of the longest year ever, it was just more of the same. anD when the various Restrictions were relaxed, it almost felt like, it almost felt like that hadn't happened at all.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Perception of Time
---

Mark: Like, it was just this sort of separate time when we were all indoors and staying away from everyone but it was outside of history somehow.

Yucca: It was almost like we went from 19 to 22.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: Like, those, those years, I mean, they're there, but they're not in some ways. It's very, very odd. And this year So much has happened. It's actually quite difficult to keep track of what happened this year and what wasn't this year. Just thinking about what happened within this calendar year.

It's, it's been a very full year.

Mark: it really has. I mean, everything from floods and earthquakes and volcano eruptions to, you know, political happenings here and there and wars and humanitarian crises, you know, and of course that's what the news feeds us, which is all the bad news,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: BuT I think it's fair to say that this is a very uncertain time for a lot of people.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Changes in the Work Environment
---

Mark: I think about You know, in the, in the business world, in the economy, there's this huge movement of companies that are sort of hanging on by their fingernails to their old model and wanting to go back to 2019, and insisting that their workers come back to the office, and the workers are saying, actually, no, thank you,

Yucca: Mm

Mark: uh, this works much better for me in my life, and I'm not going.

And it's, it's a very interesting standoff,

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: And it's one that I think the, the labor force, the working force is winning. I, I don't think that this idea about you have to be sitting in a chair in a cubicle in order to do your job is, is gonna succeed over the long term.

Yucca: Right. At least within certain sectors. There are certain ones that are in person.

Mark: Oh, service industries, for sure. Yeah, I mean, those people have to be there and doing their thing. I'm thinking specifically of people that were in an office. Yeah, people who were in an office and then were able to leave, which of course is a tremendous privilege.

Challenges of Remote Work
---

Mark: I now work fully remotely, and although there are things that are hard about it, like, for example, the fact that you could not register an organization to receive federal funding through, like, a cost sharing agreement or something like that, or a grant with the federal government if you don't have a physical address. Because the Patriot Act regulations consider that dodgy. So I, in order to prove that we really exist, I'm going to have to change the address on our bank account of my employer to my personal address, print out the, the, the bank statement that shows that address, and then change it back to the P. O. box that we have.

Because we're a fully remote company and we don't have an office. So, it's just silly.

Yucca: Wow. And you're not gonna, you don't have any zoning problems that are gonna come from that?

Mark: No,

Yucca: Okay. Yeah. Because there's certain areas where you gotta watch out for that, that you're not allowed to have particular businesses

Mark: a

Yucca: areas and, you know.

Mark: I'm sure that that's true, but considering that it's going to last for less than 24 hours I don't really think it's a problem. The primary issue is, I think, they want to know where they can go to find a human being who is working for this company. And has some responsibility if they need to come after us for some reason.

And I, there wouldn't be any reason they would need to come after us. I mean, we're a nonprofit organization. We can't even get in trouble with them for taxes.

Yucca: Mm hmm. Yeah. But, but they can't go to a P. O. box. So.

Mark: right. That's right. So we have to, I'm going to paint a target on my door and, and invite them to come find me.

Reflection on Personal and Global Events
---

Yucca: So, this year, though, there's things that have been happening on a big scale,

Mark: yes,

Yucca: and our personal lives, of course, are interwoven with that, right? But at the same time, a lot of what happens in our own lives really doesn't have a lot to do with the outside workings of, you know, what's happening with floods and hurricanes and wars and, you know, life just goes on.

for listening. for regular folk.

Looking Back and Looking Forward
---

Yucca: And so each of us, you know, us, you and me, Mark, and everyone listening, we've all had our own years, our own lives that have happened, and I, we were talking a lot about this last week, about the, about solstice being this wonderful time for reflection. I think that's a, we can continue that in, and, and think about the whole year.

And what has that meant to us, and what are some of the lessons that we have learned? Because we have learned lessons, right? And what are those? Mm

Mark: of those lessons are things that have crossed our minds consciously, right? Like, okay, this is a situation that doesn't work for me, this is a situation that does work for me this is an activity that really feeds me and helps me to feel energized and happy. thIs is something that is a total waste of time that I've been doing for my entire life, and I'm gonna stop, you know, those kinds of things.

But then there's also the sort of the subconscious part, the, uh, the reflection on what can be called shadow work, you know, where you look at All right, there were certainly challenges this year. I mean, I don't think I know of anyone who didn't have a challenge this year. Did I ride those out, and what did I learn from them, and what did they tell me about myself,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: right?

What do they tell me about who I am? Because I think that one of the things that people are really struggling with right now is that we've been through a bunch of hardship with the pandemic and the Trump years and just a lot of really,

Yucca: with the economy,

Mark: yes, all that stuff. And you know, people, people still feel kind of beat up in many ways and very uncertain.

And so, kind of digging down to find out, well, how do I live with that uncertainty? Am I doing okay? Am I, am I kind of walking, wounded, depressed right now? Not, not in a, in a So much a debilitating sense is just kind of a muffling sense, where you don't feel things as much as you used to, and the kinds of things that you enjoy doing, maybe you don't enjoy doing them quite so much.

The Importance of Self-Reflection
---

Mark: I think it's a good time for sort of a diagnostic take on, on how our mental health is going, and what in life is really serving us, and what in life is not.

Yucca: Right?

Setting Goals and Intentions for the New Year
---

Yucca: Yeah, and thinking about that, the choice and intention that we have in that, right? What do we want? What is serving us? And what, what do we want? How do we want to be in this life? Is that something that I choose or you choose to continue to do? Because it is When it comes to how we're responding, it ultimately is a choice, right?

It's not a choice whether, to us as individuals, whether who's in office or what wars are happening, right? But, but how am I, how am I going to respond is something that I have some influence over, and this is just a good time to think about that. Yeah.

Mark: Yes. How am I going to show up to reality?

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And a perfectly legitimate approach to that, by the way, is a nice dash of escapism. You know, play your Dungeons and Dragons and watch your Netflix. I mean, checking out for a little while is something that can actually help support you at times when things seem a little overwhelming or unbearable.

I mean, you probably want to curate those experiences so you're not watching super depressing movies. Maybe that's not the road you want to follow.

Yucca: Unless that does it for you, right? My, my partner will look at things that are like, will get on Reddit and, you know, see the, the terrible relationships and the like, am I the asshole threads and go, wow, my life's not that bad.

Mark: life is good, yeah!

Yucca: that to be very, like, helpful. Now, if I look at that stuff, I just get it.

so worked up and it makes it worse for me, but for some people that really does help. So it, so, you know, know yourself on that. Does that help? Does that not help? You know, what are you consuming? And is that, is that leading you in the way that you want to be developing yourself right now or not?

Mark: absolutely. Yeah, that's well said. So, I think there's an opportunity, I mean, one thing that I do on New Year's Eve is I have a dark mirror. Which is a piece of, a circular piece of heavily tinted glass, which I then painted black on the back and put in a frame. Actually first I put a piece of cardboard in the frame and then the glass over the top of that so that there would be some, some backing so that it would be less likely to break the mirror, um, but then I also drew various sigils and arcane symbols and stuff on the cardboard before I put the glass on top of it, so they're, they're down in there somewhere.

Yucca: So there's these layers. Okay.

Mark: You can't see them at all through the glass, but they're there. And what I like to do is to sort of, you know, light a candle and contemplate my face in this dark mirror on New Year's Eve. I've only done it for a couple of years, but it's a cool thing. You can see this shadowy outline of your face.

And if you just keep gazing into it, it all sort of dissolves into geometric shapes. And you just Then you find your mind wandering to particular places and things and ideas and thoughts and, and it's a It's an opportunity to check in with the subconscious, to sort of dip in a little bit and find out, well, what's going on down there? So, that's something you could do, I mean, by candlelight, you could do that with a regular mirror.

Yucca: And then you get that lovely flickering with that.

Mark: right, yeah. So, something to think about, or some other form of, you know, so called divination, like reading Tarot, or whatever those are. I like the ones, for this kind of work, I like the ones where you work essentially with random imagery and then see what your mind makes out of it, right?

Like serumancy, dripping candle wax into water,

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: and it creates shapes as it, you know, cools. And you can see different animals and symbols and all that kind of stuff.

Yucca: Yeah?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Mm hmm. I like the imagery of that. Mm hmm. Mm

Mark: So that's looking back. That's, that's the work of reflection, which I think every person who really wants to be happy and wise has to do some of that. You know, you got to look at yourself. You got to look at the world. And there's, uh, you know, there's, there's a level of simply coming to terms and saying, okay, that's real.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: another level of going. And I'm grateful for all this other stuff that's going on, right? So, you know, the world is a very complex mixture. It's not like thumbs up, thumbs down, and the same is true of ourselves as individuals. And just coming to grips with all of that and having a level of acceptance and gratitude is very helpful, I think.

thAt goes back to that thing about the three big lessons that I talk about. The big Okay, the big thank you and the big wow,

Yucca: Right, so there's the reflection component there's the looking back and there's also the looking forward. Now I think the looking back, you've got to be able to do that, I think that really does need to come first, or part of it, to be able to look forward to What is it that you want, right?

Mark: yeah,

Yucca: And as we talked about last time, we're kind of in this dreaming period.

We may not really be planting those seeds yet, but we are deciding what are those seeds that we might want to plant. What do we need to do to prepare?

Mark: right.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that goes into the ritual things that people do at the New Year around resolutions and all that kind of stuff, right? Because I mean, A New Year's resolution is rooted in an imagined self that has changed. It's like, okay, I picture myself and I do not drink six cups of coffee a day.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: And that's great. You know, it's great to have a vision for where you want to go as a person, whether it's something minor or something major. Personally, I don't do New Year's resolutions, and the reason that I don't do them is that the popular framing of them is kind of like the little drummer boy game, where it's like once you lose, it's over.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: And if you're really trying to do something hard to change yourself, you have to give yourself some slack. If you're trying to get sober, and you do that for a week and then you have a drink, you don't quit trying to get sober, you just start over, right?

Yucca: Right, you get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: So I think that one of the things that sometimes we are very good at or don't have a lot of practice in is that, that getting back up part and planning in how, what could go wrong and how am I going to respond when it does go wrong.

Mark: Good point.

Yucca: And I think that If you are incorporating that into your planning, whatever it is, whether you're planning your financial future, or the process of quitting smoking or drinking, or all of those, any of those things, you are, you're being more realistic, first of all, about the world that we live in, because mistakes do happen.

You're, you're building in resilience to being able to better achieve whatever that is. So I think that's a really important step that we forget to do.

Mark: Yes. And the self compassion step in there as well. Not excuse making, but recognizing that we're all fallible and that any kind of real personal transformation that's the kind of thing that a New Year's resolution might be made about is not easy, right? It's just not easy. And, um, it is remarkable the degree to which our behaviors as humans are.

The Power of Habit and Routine
---

Mark: Habitual.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: You know, we have routines for our day, we have routines for making our coffee, we have routines for, you know, what we do about lunch, we have just lots and lots of routines, routines, you know, when we're getting ready to go to bed.

Yucca: And there's a very, very practical reason for all of that. So that all of that isn't taking up our space for the other stuff that we need to be doing. For all the other stuff we need to be thinking about. We're not, every time we make our coffee, we aren't going through those steps. We're not giving it the mental energy.

Mark: Right. Okay,

Yucca: something else.

Mark: water.

Yucca: Yes, oh wait, when I move my hand, yeah, that's all, that's all just ingrained so that we can do other things and pay attention to the things that might matter more. Now there's today probably not a tiger about to getcha, but we needed the space to be able to be aware for a possible tiger to get to.

Now we're thinking about the interaction that we're going to have with our colleague or whatever we're going to tell to our uncle when they say that super offensive thing. But, yeah.

Mark: Yeah. And so, because, because so much of what we do is this sort of pre programmed pathway of habit. It can be very hard to reprogram that stuff, because once you start the process, the rest of the steps are automatic. You do this, and then all of those other things just naturally follow. And to be able to be self aware enough in any given moment to say, wait, I'm not going to go any further with this.

I'm going to do something else. That is an effort, and it, it requires some real focus, and if you're not able to do it all the time, it requires some real compassion with yourself, so that instead of feeling like a failure or, you know, a moral degenerate, you just feel like someone who is trying to do something hard and is learning how to do it.

Yucca: Yeah. And another component is that, that doing those hard things is a skill, um, and sometimes we try to jump to, to a bigger task than we might be ready for, than a bigger change, right? Sometimes we might need to make some smaller changes, get good at practicing. That change before we go to something even bigger.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: And that's just going to depend on whatever it is that you're working on. Mm. Mm

Mark: So, having said all that, I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions because, as I said, the idea is that it's like a piece of glass. It's like, if it's broken, then it's no longer of any use. And, So, to me, that's just, it's a very, well, frankly, a very Protestant way of looking at things. It's got a lot of judgment folded into it, and it just doesn't really work for me.

Setting Themes Instead of Resolutions
---

Mark: So what I like to do is to set themes for the new year that are kind of areas that I'm going to pay attention to and work to foster in my life.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: So, like, last year, My theme this year, actually, my themes were prosperity and security, um, because I hadn't had a job for a year and eight months at that point.

I needed to get a job.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: you know, and I did get a job and now I'm working in it and it's lively.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: It's if, you know, Folks that are listening to the podcast that have been on the Facebook or Discord communities know that I am about to be appointed as the Interim Executive Director of the environmental organization that I work for, and there are crises that we are dealing with that are very challenging, and they're going to land in my lap when the previous Executive Director leaves, which was already planned before the crises happened.

So, it's not his fault, but still it's, it's a very lively time, and I'm not getting time off at the holidays that I expected to get because I've got to work through the end of the year when he goes. So, but I got a job, and it's a good job working for The protection of wilderness and, and wild places and biodiversity hotspots.

So that's, that's pretty cool work to be doing.

Yucca: Yeah, so you like to set themes instead of resolutions. And is that something that you do, um, at the same time as your dark mirror ritual? Or is that a separate thing for you?

Mark: That's kind of a separate thing. And it doesn't necessarily have to happen like on New Year's Day. Usually I, I do it in the first week of the year, something like that. Just as things are starting to get rolling again, the, the normality is reasserting itself after the strange, still frenzied window of the holidays.

Yucca: Mm

Mark: Um, so yeah, that's, that's generally when I do it, and I'm still not clear about what my themes will be for the coming year. Um, but I've started thinking about it. Right?

Yucca: hmm. Mm

Mark: Uh, I, I do have the, the advantage of not having, I mean, I'm going to my Ritual Circles Yule Gathering today, which is sort of my big social Christmas y, Yule y thing.

Um, but, I have no plans on Christmas Day itself, so You know, at least that I get off, uh, and I don't know, I'm, I'm gonna try to pry out some more time next week if I possibly can, but it really just depends on what's going on.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: How about you? What are your New Year's practices?

Yucca: It's not particularly formal. I, I do like the resolutions it, as long as it has the what we were built, we were talking about built into it where it isn't like a, oh well, I messed it up and can't try again. But I'm, I'm more of a fan of making choices and resolutions. When I, when it comes up, right?

So I think that this is a really important time of year to be doing reflection, but I try and do that throughout the year. aNd I'm a little hesitant about the doing anything where I say, oh, I'll wait till Start it on Monday, or start at the beginning of the month, or start at the beginning of the year, because that stuff actually means you don't really want to do it, right?

You're not going to do it. If you're really going to do it, start now. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not Monday, now. So I'm kind of in that camp of just like, if I'm going to do it, yeah, I'm a kind of cold turkey person, right? Or pull the band aid off, where just, I'm just going to do it. But know that sometimes I will slip up.

And then I have to be, and I can't do the whole, oh, well, I guess, you know, I slipped up, I'll, you know, I'll just do it again and start better tomorrow. Nope, you just gotta be on it. And that's just my particular personality that I've

Mark: Huh.

Yucca: Some people are very different with that. But I do like the idea of there being a time where people are reflecting on what they want and actively deciding to make a change.

Whether that ends up working out or not is a different thing, but I think that it's really important to have that. So I value that that's something that our culture does. I think we could work on the skills around that.

Mark: Yeah, that, that's, that's a good point, too. The, yes, there are skills required to have that kind of discipline and, and self compassion. You know, the other thing I wanted to put a word in for is We tend to think of New Year's resolutions as always being something that's like, you know, taking your medicine.

It's some, you know, I'm going to abstain from something or I'm going to

Yucca: Well, the classic one is I'm going to go to the gym every

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: the going to the gym is the classic one, right? Yeah. Or losing that 20 pounds.

Mark: Yes. Whereas It's also possible to have resolutions that are about good things that you want to add into your life, right? You know, you, you, you could certainly say to yourself, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm gonna carve out Sunday afternoons and I'm gonna go for a hike every Sunday afternoon.

That's what I'm gonna do.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that's good for you. I mean, that, that, that would be a pleasurable experience that you'd be doing for yourself. You know, something that's additive to your life, you know, it could be I'm going to start having date nights and I'm going to have more sex in my life. It could be I'm going to make sure that I get to that restaurant that I love so much once a month. You know, any of those things.

Yucca: And let's, let's take one of those as an example. Let's say it's the going for a hike on Sundays, right?

Planning for Success in the New Year
---

Yucca: If that is the thing that you're thinking about, well, you can go, okay, well, What can I do right now to help set that up to be more likely for me to be able to do that? And for me, that would be, I'm going to put it in my calendar right now.

It's pretty easy to do that. I have a digital cal I like, I have a physical and a digital, but my digital is my main one, then I copy it onto my physical and go, okay, I'm going to see that on my calendar every day.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: And then I'm going to think about, okay, well, what am I going to do If the weather is XYZ, right?

Okay, I'm going to set it up right now that I have the equipment that I need to be able to do it. So if it's raining, I'm not going to go, oh, I guess I can't go out because I don't have a raincoat. I just got myself a raincoat, so I can go out, right? I've looked up places that I can go. So when you're in this, like, I'm, when you're in the moment of deciding that that's what you're going to do, you've got energy around it.

Think about how you can set yourself up to succeed in that.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, in the hiking example, I think one thing that you can do immediately is go get yourself a pair of hiking boots.

Yucca: Yeah, right? Get yourself the hiking boots and figure out some of the places. Maybe find a group, if that's what you want to do. Maybe you don't want to go with a group, but is there a group that That is doing it, that you could, that you could join with and then have the positive peer pressure component to it, right?

And we always say peer pressure is like this bad thing, but sometimes it's really helpful, right? Like, we've said it before, if this podcast was just one of us trying to do it, Wouldn't have worked, right? Because each week I know, oh, Mark's gonna be there waiting for me. Okay, I'm gonna do it. Whereas if it was just me by myself, we would have gotten a few episodes in 2020 and that'd be it. Right?

Mark: Well, yeah, there is something about being accountable to other people. And creating whatever it is that you're trying to do to build some accountability expectation on the part of other people. I know meetup. com tends to have lots of hiking groups and, you know, people that like to do various outdoor things, so that's a resource that you can look for.

Yucca: Right. And of course, whatever your goal is, I just grabbed that one because that was an easy one to talk about, right? But, but the point of it is to think about what's going to help me succeed, what might get in the way, how can I respond when that does happen? Because it, there will be a day that the weather is off.

There will be a day that you're feeling sick. There will be, those things will happen. So, what are you going to do when they do? Mm

Mark: right. And the good news is that as you start doing the thing and enjoying it, since we're talking about things that are additive, that are, that are, you know, that are pleasurable in your life, Um, it will feel weirder and weirder not to do it, because we are creatures of routine, right? And you can get that routine making pattern on your side if you just build up some consistency.

Yucca: hmm.

Mark: So starting at least with a social group, and I find that a social group is good for hiking. I mean, I like solo hiking a lot, but One thing that a social group is good for is that interactions with other people will tend to distract you from whether your body is hurting or not.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: know, if you're having a conversation on the trail and your legs are starting to hurt, you'll, you'll tend to tamp that down to continue the conversation on the trail.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: So, you know, while you're building strength.

Yucca: Right. All right, well, Mark, are there other things that you can think about for this turning of the year?

Mark: You know, not really. My birthday is two days after New Year's Day, and so the two of them often, you know, they kind of get mushed together. And So the reflection piece tends to be, for me, it tends to be not just the last year, but also, like, life,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: What have I done? What am I doing? Where am I going?

You know, all those kinds of big questions. So I do like to consider those as well, but I think that's really more of a birthday thing. You could do that at any time of the year,

Yucca: Right,

Mark: but a birthday is a good opportunity for it.

Yucca: yeah, I think all of what we've been talking about is great for birthday whatever time of year your birthday is,

Mark: Yeah. Even the resolutions, it's like a gift to yourself, right? You're gonna improve something.

Yucca: new year, it's not the calendar's new year, but you're starting again,

Mark: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. And yep, and mine actually falls on a Wednesday, like the day I was born this year.

Yucca: Oh, I was also born on a Wednesday.

Mark: Where are you? We're full of woe!

Yucca: Yes. I've always liked Wednesday because when I was little, I learned to spell it as Wed nest day. And so every time I write the word, I say Wed nest day in my mind, even decades later. So I've just always enjoyed that day.

Mark: That's great.

Yucca: So, just the little things to make. Make things fun and enjoyable,

Mark: Sure. Yeah.

Closing Thoughts and Farewell
---

Yucca: Well, we will see everyone again.

I think our next episode will be the first. So we won't see all of you until the 2024. Yes. Wow. That sounds like a sci fi date. That doesn't sound real.

Mark: God, it's, it's, well, you know, there's so,

Yucca: Shouldn't it be like some Book series, or like, sci fi action should be named 20, 24.

Mark: You know, there are times when my partner Nemea and I, we look at some of the technological things that are happening and we just say we're living in the future. You know, we remember what it was like in the 70s when a Texas Instruments TI 30 hand calculator was both expensive and rare and, and incredibly powerful, right? And now, you know, now we're doing custom gene based healthcare for people.

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: It's like, it's amazing.

Yucca: it's a cool time to be alive, right? That's something we should say, it's been, for all the challenges that are world is facing and that we're facing and the crises and all of that. It's also really, there's a lot of cool stuff

Mark: there is,

Yucca: and just the things we get to learn and the tools we have to study with and, and the opportunities that just didn't exist before.

Mark: Right? Right.

Yucca: Yeah, there's a, there's a lot, there's a lot to be really grateful for.

Mark: Absolutely, and there's, of course, a lot of improvement that needs to happen on many fronts, and that's our responsibility as people who want a better world, um, but I mean, I've known some activists who have fallen into this terrible hole of everything is awful and they're just cynical about everything because it doesn't meet their perfect dream. I don't remember who said it, but something like inside cynic is a frustrated optimist. aNd, uh, no, a frustrated idealist. That was it, a frustrated idealist. And I really work hard not to have that happen, because I think it's such a narrow view of the world. The world is amazing. Life is an amazing ride.

And yes, there are terrible things in it, and that's just how it is. The big okay.

Yucca: Yep,

Mark: Yeah. Well, Yucca, thank you so much. I wish you a Merry Christmas, um,

Yucca: and a happy new

Mark: a Happy New Year. Yes whatever your celebrations are over the course of the next week I hope that you enjoy them and spend them loved and warm and cozy.

Yucca: and we'll see y'all next year.

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