What I Learned From Rock Climbing

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on January 17th, 2017. Enjoy!

You can’t fall if you don’t climb… But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground!” – Unknown

In December 2017, I joined a climbing gym, Planet Granite, & since then, climbing has quickly become one of my favorite ways to stay in shape. As someone who is still very much afraid of heights, I never thought that I’d grow to love it as much as I do now. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the way it’s slowly influencing my way of life & overall mentality. I now often find myself applying the following core values & lessons learned from climbing to my every day life.

Fear Is All In Your Head

I first approached climbing as a way to get over my fear of heights. As expected, during my first few climbs, I let my fear get the best of me. I found myself giving up halfway up the wall or three-quarters of the way up, with my legs quivering ready to be lowered back onto the ground immediately. But over time, I was slowly able to gain confidence & climb higher & attempt higher walls without hesitation. I’ve learned that fear only exists in your head, & as long as you work through your fear calmly & rationally, there is no fear you can’t overcome.

Trust Your Counterpart

It’s daunting to “literally” put your life in someone else’s hands, but in life as well as climbing, you’re not the only variable in an equation. I’ve learned that I thrive the most when I have another person’s best interest at heart. When climbing, you & your counterpart must work as a team & do whatever it takes to allow the other person to succeed. Encouragement, clear communication, constructive criticism, & care for another’s safety are all critical components to successful relationships. Without trust in your counterpart, things can go from bad to worse really quickly. Fear can cause you to become stagnant on the wall or even worse, never feel ready to leave the ground. 

 You Can Reach The Top

While you may not reach the top on your first try, you may even have to take several different approaches to get there, but it will happen if you want it badly enough. I never thought I’d have to think as hard as I do, while suspended in the air. I tend to focus on going at a pace I’m comfortable with, focusing on one problem at a time. The most important thing is to keep moving, no matter how slow. Like in life, the unique journey you take to reach your goals is just as important as reaching the peak of your climb. And when you get there, feel free to revel in your triumph, because you deserve it! 

XO Denise 

anonymous couple lying on hill at seaside and enjoying sunset time

When You’re “Just a Friend”

“You, you got what I need but you say he’s just a friend. But you say he’s just a friend” – Biz Markie

With the passing of Biz Markie (RIP) on Friday, July 16th, I felt compelled to listen to his smash hit “Just a Friend”. It also inspires today’s blog post. Finding love is so hard nowadays because we’re terrified of cutting off all of our other options & defining a relationship as exclusive. But the longer you collect friends & push away the option that wants to call you their own & be more than friends, the longer it will take you to find true love.

“So please listen to the message that I say

Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend” – Biz Markie

After my first 2 boyfriends, the boys that I dated in my early 20s only wanted to be friends with benefits or took their sweet time & let me walk away completely for days, weeks, or even months before deciding to finally call me their “girlfriend”. It wasn’t until my late 20s/early 30s that I became more firm with setting my relationship boundaries. After the first few dates, I let my man know that I’m only looking to spend time with someone who’s looking for something real. Young adults need to pull out their dictionary or at the very least Google the definition of friend. A friend is someone with whom you share a mutual affection, excluding sexual relations. Yes, you can hang out & spend time with your friends. But you DO NOT engage in anything sexual with your friends.

Biz Markie warned society in September 1989 when he released his song. Don’t ever talk to someone who says they have a “friend”. Anyone who calls their romantic interests “friends” knows EXACTLY what they’re doing. I don’t recommend ever willingly putting yourself in a love triangle. Because whether you’re chosen over other options or not, it’s not a winning situation any way you try to spin it. If someone you’re dating says you’re a friend or has other people whom they keep in touch with that they are also friends with, without delving deeper into their actual “friendship”. Take it as a major red flag!

You deserve a relationship that is real. The person you end up with should love you & exclaim it proudly because you’re not just their friend. You should be their whole world, & they should be yours! Don’t feel bad for setting boundaries & rejecting new romantic partners because they have a “friend” or only want to label you as their “friend”. Know that you are enough & worthy of an exclusive relationship.

XO Denise

tray of fruits and coffee near powered on laptop on brown table

Things to Stop Doing on Social Media

The past 7 months of 2021 are the happiest months that I’ve had since Social Media came on the scene in the early 2000s. At 10 years old, my dad allowed me to create my first AOL screen name, dkjoyce. Then, at 11 years old, I taught myself HTML & JavaScript coding & created my first website “Neecie’s Mystic Universe” hosted by Angelfire. Since 1999, I’ve been maintaining a public online presence, which ultimately became the demise of my happiness. Beginning with MySpace, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., I got caught up in the world of who has the most friends/followers, likes, & retweets/shares. While I thought getting validation from others made me happy, instead, I realize now that it’s everything I’ve stopped doing that’s made me the happiest. That said, if you’ve been looking for solutions to help your mental health, here’s a list of things to STOP doing on Social Media.

Things to STOP Doing on Social Media:

  1. Believing that your Social Media channels determine your self-worth
  2. Checking who has viewed your Instagram Stories
  3. Comparing yourself to others
  4. Deleting posts or tweets that don’t have enough engagement
  5. Feeling embarrassed about the things that give you joy
  6. Following celebrities or influencers who make you feel bad about yourself or your life
  7. Reading old comments, DMs, & threads
  8. Refreshing your notifications
  9. Scrolling back in time & dwelling about the past
  10. Trying to impress others

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Remember, Social Media is everyone’s life through rose-colored glasses. Do not let having amazing content to post, a huge following, or more likes than the average person determine how you perceive yourself. Personally, I hate the Memories tab on Facebook. Now, when I see something that I posted for attention from 10+ years ago, I delete it immediately. I now use my Social Media as a visual journal & a platform to share who I truly am & what I love with the world.

XO Denise

dry rose flower next to broken heart shaped cookie

Karmic Relationships

If you’ve had unsuccessful relationships, know that it’s common to have several relationships in your lifetime. Not everyone immediately meets their soulmate & lives happily ever after with them. While all relationships have their ups & downs, karmic relationships are typically doomed from the start to teach you necessary lessons to become a better person. Different from the well-known, loving relationship of two soulmates, a karmic relationship is often dramatic, tumultuous, & temporary.

Karmic Relationships

I believe that every relationship I’ve entered into so far has been a karmic relationship. I now take ownership of my past karmic behaviors, as I’ve definitely been a karmic partner to others in the past. But the key indicator of a truly loving relationship is genuine care, honesty, kindness, & unconditional love. Here are some examples & key indicators that you’re in a karmic relationship, or you are actually the karmic.

Abuse

Any form of abuse can be present in a karmic relationship, including emotional, financial, physical, psychological, sexual, etc. I am very self-aware. Through reflecting on my past relationships, I can admit that I was physically abusive to one of my exes.

On a road trip, my boyfriend wanted to drive Highway 1 from SoCal back to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being young & impatient, I hated that this transformed a normally 5 hour car ride into a 12+ hour road trip, because he needed to stop several times to take pictures. I was moody & rude to him the entire drive up, because let’s face it, I was selfish.

I hated that he wanted to do what he wanted despite how I felt. At 18 years old, I expected him to bend over backward to make sure I was happy. I basically chose to throw a tantrum like a child in his car. As a way to cheer me up & lighten the mood, he decided to swerve the car back & forth along the road. He laughed as he watched me sway with the car, thinking it was funny & that it would make me smile.

Instead, it made me even more angry. I yelled at him for driving recklessly because another car could come rapidly around one of the turns, cause him to swerve off the road completely & off a cliff, killing us both. I called him annoying & immature, & I started to physically hit him on his arms, back, & shoulders to stop him from swerving in fear for my life & my safety. At the time, I felt justified for being physically abusive towards him, but considering how I behaved that entire day, I can see now that we were both karmic to each other in our karmic relationship.

Cheating

Cheating, emotional or physical cheating on any level, is another indicator of a karmic relationship & karmic behavior. Within the same college relationship, we both cheated on each other. Since he lived in SoCal & I lived in the Bay Area, we were only physically together for about 8 months during the year for school.

The Summer before we broke up, he started cheating on me with his co-worker at the gym he worked at. And the semester before that, I emotionally cheated on him with my TA. By breaking his trust, he no longer trusted me to have any male friends. And while I thought it was ridiculous at the time, I don’t blame him for that anymore. Discovering that he had been cheating on me all Summer with his co-worker a month after we broke up is what hurt the most.

As someone who has emotionally cheated & found out about other options my past boyfriends hid from me, know that entertaining other options & emotionally cheating is just as bad as physically cheating on your partner. If you already have a replacement or possible replacements lined up, you never truly loved your partner or respected your relationship with them.

By learning from emotionally cheating on my boyfriend, I don’t tolerate cheating of any kind. When I’m in a committed relationship, I ignore anyone who slides into my DMs or offers to buy me a drink at a club. Because in order to find a committed partner, I know that I need to fully commit to my partner too.

If my ex boyfriend suddenly has a new girlfriend days or weeks following our breakup, I can now recognize & accept that I was in a karmic relationship. Just as I am faithful & loyal to my current partner, I need & want my partner to choose me & only me.

Insulting & Unsupportive

Karmic relationships are often conditional. If your partner only wants to date you if you act, behave, or look a certain way, you’re probably in a karmic relationship. If your partner endlessly tries to change you, puts you down, or is unsupportive of your hopes & dreams, they’re probably a karmic partner.

As outlined in my Palm Springs blog post, I’ve had a lot of issues with past karmic partners. One of my exes told me that the “sexy” faces I make are unattractive. Another ex was obsessed with me & tried to control everything I did down to how I ate. My other ex told me that I was charging too much for my Oracle & Tarot services right before I decided to launch in February 2021.

But I’m happy to say that going forward, I only want to date someone who loves me exactly as I am. I don’t want to be with someone who wants to control me. And I only want to date someone who supports my ambition, drive, & entrepreneurial mindset. I know what my time & energy is worth. So whether I want to change my career to become an Interior Designer, go back to school for my MBA, or raise my pricing for my Oracle & Tarot services, because I feel overbooked, my future partner will support me & believe in me just as much as I believe in myself.

The Relationship Ends

Karmic relationships are meant to come to an end once the lesson has been fulfilled. They can start out as passionate & all-consuming, then quickly burn out as quickly as they started. So considering that I’m still single & none of my past relationships have lasted, I can only assume that they were all karmic.

For a long time, I was a firm believer in not giving second chances. As someone who believes in true, unconditional love, my heart has been dragged through the mud, stabbed, & stolen without my love being returned more times that I’d like to admit. Now I’ve learned that while I’m still allowed to love unconditionally, getting a second chance to win my heart is a privilege. I should never continue to give love to a person or a situation if it compromises my integrity.

Have you ever been in a Karmic Relationship? How did it end? And what did you learn from it? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise

SOURCES

MindBodyGreen

chrysanthemum on pile of books on table

Words of Wisdom

I am lucky to have the most amazing family members. Because of them, I have lots of great advice from over the years. But today, I’m going to share two of my favorite words of wisdom that I hold closest to my heart.

“Accept the fact that you’re a dork, & your life will be a lot easier.” – My Dad

While I forget the context, this is one of my favorite things my Dad has ever said to me. In life, we often get too caught up in how others view us. Too many people are prisoners to their ego. Instead of being authentic & genuine, they’re too busy trying to look “cool”, desperate to not be labeled as weird or different. By accepting the fact that I’m a dork, I’m able to escape my ego. I can be myself without fear, which in turn makes my life easier as well.

“It is your greatest misfortune if you have never met me.” – My Great-Grandmother, Leonora San Agustin

My great-grandmother, Leonora San Agustin, is one of the most influential women in Asia. She became the first female Chemical Engineer in the Philippines in 1939. This quote is one of my favorites. She inspires me to always be myself, & anyone who isn’t for me. The loss isn’t mine. It’s their misfortune if they never get or want the opportunity to meet me. My Lola Leonie is a go-getter, & she always succeeds in anything she put her mind to. She is brilliant, & I know that she passed down her intelligence & writing skills to me. Please check out this brilliant article she wrote in 2007 at 92 years old!

What are the best words of wisdom or advice given to you? Please share them in a comment below.

XO Denise

spiral notebooks placed on white cloth with burning candle

My Daily Gratitude List

Every day, I take a moment to list all of the things I’m grateful for in a daily gratitude list. I find that when I give thanks for everything that I’ve been blessed with, it allows me to make even more room for good things to enter my life. Today, I want to publicly share what I’m thankful for in hopes that it inspires you to remember how lucky you are every day as well.

My Typical Daily Gratitude List

I am grateful for…

  • My Life
  • Being in good health
  • My Family
  • Having great Friends
  • My cutie pug, Pogi
  • Having an apartment
  • Access to clean, drinking water
  • Having food in my fridge
  • My gifts
  • XOdenisejoyce Divination Community on Instagram & Twitter
  • My blog readers, social media followers, & YouTube channel subscribers
  • The gym in my apartment building
  • Having a Peloton bike in the apartment gym
  • The rooftop pool to swim laps in
  • Having money in my bank accounts
  • My car

Key Takeaways

If you notice, I usually list the things I’m grateful for in order of importance. I am thankful to be alive first & foremost. Without my life, I wouldn’t be here on Earth period. Then, I give thanks to the people & pets in my life, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I then continue to list the basic human necessities that we all need to live a decent life, i.e. my home, water, food, etc. The remaining list items are specific to me & are special, not necessities, but I’m grateful to have them because others in the world aren’t as lucky.

Do you list the things you’re grateful for every day? If not, what would be on your list? I’d love to discuss your thoughts on my daily gratitude list in the comments.

XO Denise