#63: Choosing a word for the year, what I learned about “wealth” being my word for 2022, navigating the unknown, my relationship with my work and what really matters to me, writing a book, & life playing chess

Episode description:

Every year I choose a word to symbolize the energy and theme of the year. This word isn’t really a conscious choice so much as it is the word that feels most true, what life is asking me to learn about.

My word for this year was Wealth, and I talked about what I gained and what I lost, reorienting to what matters most to me and how I will want to have lived when it’s time for me to go.

I also touch on how to choose your own word for the year and how to use this as a tool to examine your life.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Full episode transcript:

Demetra (00:00:18):

Hello, hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Demetra Gray Show. I did not plan at all on recording this podcast today, but then I was out from my walk and it just started running through my head and I was like, this just is ready to come out now. So here we are, <laugh>, I’m like near a brewery and there’s roosters and dogs and lots of nature sounds, so hopefully the sound is good enough. <laugh>. That’s what we aim for, that it is decent. Um, anyway, so I really, it’s the end of 2022, what a year. And I, last year I did an episode, uh, talking about my word for the year and kind of going through what ended up showing up for me and how that word informed my year. I always, I’ve chosen a word for the year, for the past, maybe like, has that been four years now?


So, let’s see, the first one, let’s see if I could, I should have gone back and looked at them all before I recorded, but alas, I did not. So what is the fir The first year that I did it, I believe my word was expansion, which I think was 2019. I recounted all of this, um, in last year’s episode, so I’m not gonna probably go through like each past year if you want to hear. Actually, it would probably be really interesting to listen to, um, last year’s episode, either before or after this one, because I’m curious, like my word for this year was wealth, and I talked about that a little bit last year, and I’m actually curious to hear like what I thought that it was going to be versus what it was. Um, but anyway, the cons, I’ll just touch on like the concept of choosing a word for the year in, in that it’s, it’s not a mental choice of like, some people do this, um, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but the way I do it is that it’s not a mental choice of this is the thing that I want to bring in this year.


It’s more a dropping into my body and what is the word? Like what is the energy that wants to be like, that is going to be the theme of my life in the next year, and I can kind of feel into that. And it’s usually not the thing that I would necessarily choose, but, um, it’s led me to some very interesting places. So the, in 2019 I, the word was expansion, and that was the year I ended up going viral twice I think. And, um, kind of a one sentence synopsis is that I ended up going viral. And, um, my, then at the end of the year, my like, Instagram grew. I like crossed 10 K followers. I was so excited. My business grew, I started making more money. I guess it was the first year of my business, so of course I was making like I <laugh>, but in September I’m thinking like right before my Instagram got shut down, I made the most in a month I’d ever made.


And I was like, it’s all working and my reach is growing. And then Instagram shut me down. And, um, I, I often find with that, with the words of the year come these deep lessons in a way that I would never expect if you’re into astrology. I feel like choosing the word of the year has often had this Saturn energy to it for me, where Saturn is the planet of lessons and um, like structure and can kind of be intense at times when it’s teaching us, but ultimately it’s teaching us for our own good and we’re learning things for our own good. And so choosing a word for the year, like the word has had this kind of energy to it to me of the word comes through and I’m like, this is supposed to be the word, but then what ends up happening is not what I would necessarily expect.


Um, and I’ve since learned to not really expect much of anything, but just to be willing to go on the ride with it to see what happens. And I think it’s been a nice grounding piece, peace for me to come back to, to like, I like having this sort of cornerstone for the year that I can keep returning to. I don’t actually know what cornerstone is <laugh>, but I feel like what I mean is a thing I can return to again and again that feels grounded. Um, and the word having a word for the year, it’s not something that I continuously think about. Like when my word was expansion, I wasn’t thinking about like, how can I expand more? And I wasn’t thinking about it every week being like, how is expansion playing into my life? It’s more of a set it and forget it, um, where I will choose the word and feel into it and be like, this is the word for the year, and then allow it to teach me and allow that theme to move through my life in whatever way it does.


So that was the lesson of expansion ultimately was I got to <laugh> experience, rapid expansion and to be like, oh, there’s not always benefits to that. Like, it’s not as great as it may seem on the outside. And I also got to experience what does it mean when this all gets shut down? And then, um, ultimately that was the birth of my website. Like I hadn’t really paid much attention to my website because my social media had been so much easier for me and I got kind of lazy and I was like, oh, I can just like do my business all on social media. And then when it got banned and I couldn’t get it back, it was a big introduction for me into, um, more of the responsibility of my website and my, um, showing up in a way that is more long term sustainable.


And 2019 was also the year that I met Jordan. So it was a big year all around. Um, what was the <laugh>, what was my word for 2020? Why can’t I remember it? Because I would’ve chosen it in the end of 2020. For 2021. My word was responsibility. For this year, my word was wealth. You guys, this is not gonna be a great thing <laugh> if I can’t remember what my own word was. Let me see if it’s in the podcast description here. I can also, I’ll give you the number two of last year’s episode. Not that it’s like that hard to find. Um, number eight, it was early on. Oh, it doesn’t even say in the description. Oh, no, <laugh>. Okay, well if you guys, this will be a teaser. If you guys want to hear about what my word for the year was in 2020, you’ll have to go back and listen to episode eight, um, which I recorded here ago.


Maybe it’ll come back to me. So 2021, my word for the year. Oh, oh, I remember. Oh no, okay, <laugh>, I remember that my word was abundance. I remember it because, um, Jordan and I made it our wifi password I think for a little bit, or we were going to, anyway, my word was abundance and it was a really interesting word. Was it abundance? It was abundance and rooting. Okay, I remember it was abundance and rooting. It was both. I chose both words and I ultimately, it ended up being more, uh, rooting, like rooting like r o o t i n g, like roots into the earth. And it was such a funny word that I chose because, um, for me, the current theme in my life was I had moved to Vancouver in the fall and of 2019, and then with 2020 it felt like I was really like rooting into a place.


Little did I know that we would all experience a pandemic that would root me quite solidly into a place, in a way I thoroughly did not expect, as I don’t think any of us could have expected. And I got to experience a lot of ins and outs of rooting and abundance in like, what, what, um, what does that really mean in terms of when everything shut down and you can’t see anyone and you can’t, like, it is a very interesting process. Um, and I talked through all of these words more in detail, I believe in last year’s episode and what they meant for me. And then the word for 2021 was responsibility. And that was the year that I started my food journey and started really feeding myself and looking at this pattern of really not wanting to be responsible for myself on a very basic level of just caring for myself, caring for my body, feeding myself.


And it was time. And even showing up to my business in a more committed way. Up until that point, I had never really done something that I was really committed to. And um, I, I had done these sort of programs like here and there and they were like little things and I had someone on one clients, but they weren’t on a consistent schedule. And nothing in my life had really been that consistent. And then this year of responsibility, it was a lot about not just taking care of my body, but also taking care of my work and the people that I held in ways that were consistent. And consistency is something I resisted and struggled with for a long time. And that year really taught me how to show up. And it was the year that I created my program Dirt, which is now over.


Um, but that was, I, I ended up doing that for a year and a half just over that I think. And, um, so it was huge for me to do something to show up consistently with people on live calls and for that long of a period of time. Then this year, what I really want to talk about is this year my word for the year was wealth. And it ended up being quite the journey actually. I think it’s really interesting when we choose these words, um, or when these words come in, like it’s similar to the year of expansion where I learned what it was like, and I knew that this would probably happen with wealth, which is why I was a bit terrified of it. Like I really didn’t want it to be my word at all. And it, it, it ends up being this, you get to have it and then you get to not have it and you get to experience what it’s all like.


And I think that’s the purpose of life in a lot of ways, to get, to have all of these different experiences. And for me, it’s one of my favorite pieces about life to get to experience both sides of the same thing to whatever purpose I am able to, of course, we’re never going to all be able to have the experiences of each other. Like I can’t just choose an identity and be like, I wanna have the experience of this thing. But I have noticed and enjoyed in my life when I’ve gotten to like, something about my body journey that I’ve actually really appreciated is the fact that in terms of living a well lived life in, in my perception of it, I’ve gotten to experience what it’s like to be skinny and what it’s like to be fat. And for most people that might be kind of like, who cares?


Or like, um, they don’t wanna experience being fat or whatever. Um, but for me that’s something that I really value and not for any reasons. Like, oh, I get to like, I feel like some people would say this cuz they’d be like, oh, I get to be in every other people’s shoes and it gives me more, um, compassion or, and maybe like, I’m sure that’s there, but that’s not the reason I value it. The reason I value it is because I feel like when I’m living in my life, I want to get the most out of life that I can. I wanna get the most from life that I can and have the most experiences that I can. And when I die, I want to feel like I lived my life very fully and very true to who I am. And I don’t often check in with this question of like, it’s not a conscious question that I check in with of, um, when I die, am I gonna be happy with this? But it is definitely a consistent narrative that I’ve had probably honestly since my brother’s accident. Like it’s, it’s, I think coming that close face to face with any kind of death or loss often forces this onto people if they don’t, um, end up learning it from other places. But for me, I felt like I felt like, or I feel like I want to be able to experience all of life in a way that is


For me, I want to be able to experience all of life to it’s most full in the way that I, in a way that also aligns with my choices, I guess. Like, I want to, it’s not that I wanna have every experience possible, but I wanna have every experience of the ones that are given to me and the ones that I feel pulled to. And so in my body journey, it wasn’t like I was like, oh, I want to get fat now so that I have the experience of being fat. But when it has happened, I’ve noticed how I’ve gotten to experience a lot of different sides of the same thing. And it is something that I think about when I think at the end of my life, I’m happy that I experienced both just because I got to have bo like I got to have both bodies.


I got to experience what both were like. And maybe that’s part of my underlying, I think part of my natural personality really is this desire for more and to just have this, I definitely have this quality where, um, Jordan has, has, it’s something that Jordan really loves about me. He’s talked about it like, uh, an example he uses is he thinks that this, the way that I squeeze a lemon is just the best thing ever. Um, because apparently most people would squeeze a lemon with like a few fingers, whereas I take my whole fist and just like, don’t care if it gets all over everything or all over my hands. And he thinks that it’s such a microcosm of the way that I experience life. And I think, um, with these words for the year, it feels this is usually a very quiet road. And now <laugh>, all these cars are coming along.


This is a big truck, so we’re just gonna have to wait until it goes by. Sometimes I’ll tell you a not that nice thing about myself is that often when I’m out walking, this is not a good way to be. I’m not proud of this, but I’ll just tell it to you that often when I’m out walking, I have cars drive by when I’m listening to something or, um, uh, people will walk by or their dogs will be annoying or like things and I feel this irritation or I’m just like, go away. But <laugh>, there’s no reason to feel that irritation because the cars are allowed to be on the road. You know, like there’s nothing that says the road, this like public road just because geometry is here, nobody else is allowed to come. And so I notice it in myself and I’m like, this really is very hypocritical and like not very, uh, it’s hypocritical because when I am causing distraction or sound for other people, I typically do not care because I’m like, it’s a public space too bad. But when I’m in the public space, I feel this rise of your like, I’m just like, be quiet, which is not fair, um, is not nice quality, but I have it. Uh, so anyway, oh, now all of the, all of the things are conspiring. This is, my dad always used to say


He would think like the world was conspiring against him. Maybe that’s where it comes from. Anyway, we’re just gonna keep going. Um, so the thing about the words for the year is that I, I have found that they often bring in both sides or they bring in a deeper layer. Like with the rootedness, it was like, yeah, you think you know what rooted means, but like <laugh> here’s a different experience of rooted that you probably never imagined or thought you could have. So, um, anyway, with wealth, it’s been really interesting. It’s come up for me a couple times this year. I think something that’s really interesting is that the, this was my first six figure year in my business and by a good amount. And, um, I think, I think I crossed six figures like halfway through the year. I’d have to go look, but I’m pretty sure, um, and I could, like, I shut all my programs down, now I have the hiccups.


Oh my God, <laugh>,


What a way to finish out the year. I, um, focused dere




Um, I’m laughing because I said to myself the other day, I was like, I’m never gonna do this. Like, I was listening to the recording back from a different one, a bit of it to hear the sound and I was like, this is not good. I need to not walk and talk. But now I’m walking and talking and now it’s like the loudest that it’s ever been. Oh, life. So wealth, money I made, I i I would have kept, what I’m trying to say is that I would’ve, I think I would’ve kept on this trajectory. Of course we can never know for sure, but judging by the trajectory I was on, I could have had a multiple six figure year if I had kept, uh, doing my programs and announced another thing. Like it been very easy. And


What I never expected was that I would leave this whole community I was a part of and lose essentially, uh, my teacher and my beliefs in all my friends and just a lot of, not all my friends, but my friends that were a part of that. And, uh, so many different aspects. And it was kind of like, for me, my experience of it was that ultimately I might have thought that that was wealth, but it was this false experience of wealth. It all fell away so easily. And I think that something that it did was shift me into this deeper questioning of what is wealth really. And it wasn’t necessarily a conscious question, but when I look back at the last few months, and I look back at this year, it was a thread that was through everything of the money. Like money is just one aspect of wealth, right?


And I could have kept building all this money, this business, and I could have, I could have just kept doing exactly what I was doing and made more money and continued on this trajectory, which we can assume probably was continuing to go up. And for myself, it’s just not, I’m not interested in anything that is no longer aligned for me. And so I will always, I have always, and I will always, the, the something I’ve done most consistently in my life is to continuously choose something that is, um, like even if it seems that it’s going to be to my detriment to lose it, that I will choose to leave something when it is time and I will, I will choose to move into the things that are true for me. And, and this undercurrent of life, this thing that I have always felt, which I used to term the feminine, which I would not term anymore.


Um, I am finding different language. I don’t think it’s the same thing, um, is that I’ll always follow what what life is asking of me and what life is presenting to me. And we’ll just call it life. Like that is really how I experience it, is just life presents me and pulls me and asks me to do different things and to, um, learn different things. And I’ve felt this relationship with life sometimes in a way where I feel like <laugh>, like I’ve sometimes described it many years ago in my poetry as like me versus life. Like sometimes it’s felt like it, it has often felt like life and I are playing chess and, but ultimately I believe that it’s all for my benefit. Like I, I think ultimately we’re both on the same team, but sometimes when things are happening in my life, like when I met Jordan, so much has happened lately.


Maybe I’ll get into more. Um, and I experience it as like, what a play <laugh> by life. Like what a move. And I’m delighted by it often. Uh, sometimes they’re not the most pleasant things. Sometimes I’m sad or sometimes I have like my human feelings. But when I feel my sense of how I experience the world, it feels like life and I are playing chess. It’s like, here’s this move that you never, like if you’ve played chess, you know the feeling of when you think you’re playing a certain game and then someone makes a move and you’re like, whoa. Like now we’re playing an entirely different game. And I didn’t see that coming at all.


And I feel like my response to that has always been to show up for it and to be willing to play with life in that way and to be like, I trust where the game is headed and I will continue to play with you. Like, okay. And, uh, yeah. So with the word wealth, I thought I had this idea of wealth and I thought, like last year when I chose it, I remember kind of being like, I knew better than to assume what I what would happen. But I did have a thought of like, will I invest more or will I <laugh>? Like what might I do? And I think there’s a few things that I’ve learned that really don’t have anything. Well, you could, I guess you could talk about investing in a different way, but for me, the undoing of my online world and how I perceived myself as a person in this online space and this whole world I was a part of has just came undone. And it, it landed me very quickly in this place of what is, what you could frame it as what’s actually really important to me. You could also frame it as what is wealth to me?


What am I really wanting? What do I really want? And a big part of that for me was online community. That was a big piece of my learning from this year was just how much time I was investing into online friends that I had never met. And how much safer actually it really is to live a life that’s, uh, lived mostly online and to, you know, maybe you do meet people ever in person, but if it’s not an extended, well I’ll say I’m not here. I’m not like trying to cast judgment on anybody else. I’m just saying that for me, if it’s not an extended what’s most mm, what is teach, what teaches me the most is, is in-person relationship with an in-person community. So people who are, I want to build relationship, this is what I ultimately felt was like, what am I doing? Like I’m wasting all of my time with these connections because I wanna seek out people who are in these bubbles that I’m in. And I’ve done it for many years. It’s not just, um, it’s not necessarily just to one, um, particular thing. Like I I, since I started writing online, I’ve had like from online trainings and different people that I met, like I would make these connections and then feel this pressure to keep them because we’re in this thing together and we’re all doing the same thing. And


Actually what I actually value for me personally, other people might not value this is in person community and being known and seen by people around me in real life who see me day to day, week over week who get to see me in all my different phases and interacting with all different types of people. I think we’ve gotten largely away from a lot of that as a world, like maybe not a world, definitely not a world society. Like in Canada and America, where I am, I’ll say, um, I feel like


There’s just this lack of, for a lot of people, this community, like we used to have these big communities, these huge tribes of people, and we used to have people around us all the time. And it’s interesting, I think at one point in my life I wanted to go off alone or I wanted to travel alone. I think a lot of my traveling was rooted in this even though I’m not. And when I say this, like I’m not trying to, it’s not that I think my traveling was bad or was never true, it’s just that now I can see a different layer of it that I didn’t see before, which is that when I wanted to be a digital nomad, a big part of the draw of that was never having community, like only having transient community that I was in a lot more control over because I got to sh I got to control when I showed up, who saw me when I could leave at any time that kind of life.


And it’s a good way to feel like you’re, like, for me, I felt like I was experiencing so much and making connections with all these people and had so many friends in all different places, but really none of them were actually that deep in the way that it can only be when you’re rooted somewhere. Like think of trying to date someone long distance for years on end. There’s a day-to-day life that’s not happening. And for me, what I realized was, this is really important, Jordan and I moved out here to this more rural island and a large part of the draw. And the thing I was equally terrified of was the community aspect. A huge part. Like I I said I wanted community, but when it came time to actually buy a house I was shocked at. What came up for me was how terrified I was of community.


It was like, I, I was like, fuck, I’m gonna be in this place where just two grocery stores and well, maybe three if you count the other, but like there’s, I’m gonna likely see people that I know all over the place. And part of me was like, yes, <laugh>, I want that. And then part of me was like, fuck, I don’t want this at all. I’d rather be this anonymous person on the internet who gets to control exactly how I am presented. And even if I don’t get to control how other people perceive me, I get to control my image of what I decide to put out and how I decide to be and who I decide that I I am. It’s a lot more challenging, I think, to be in relationship with a lot of different people and a lot of different types of people in real life. And so I felt like to me, I was like, wow, talk about investing <laugh>. Like where am I investing my energy? Where am I investing my time? And I want to actually be investing my energy into the people around me? And it was really amazing actually. I feel like I decided to, I was like, I wanna have in-person friends


And this online stuff, like I just feel not done with my business, but done with this particular way that I’ve been relating to it and showing up for it and this particular way that I’ve been in online relationship. And I, it, it felt like the moment that I was that clear and decided that suddenly I had all these in-person friends and a lot of them are still new friends, but they’re, I just feel like I’m able to


Show up and invest in them in a way that I haven’t really before. I haven’t in a long time. I’ll say I think in, in college and I think in two, in two different colleges, I think I had some of that for sure, but I didn’t have, I think a lot of people get that too when they go to college. And I didn’t really have the college experience because I quit <laugh>. Like I quit so many times. I was already moving around. So I would make friends for a little and then I would lose them and, and move on. And even if we didn’t immediately, like we eventually would lose touch or would just kind of grow apart. And, um,


I found myself the normal things that have come up for me and in friendship throughout my life. Like, oh, well, I’ll just wait for these people to ask me to hang out or all like, kind of hold back to see if they like me. Like I, I just started confronting those pieces and I was like, no, I’m gonna extend, like, I’m gonna be the one that asked to hang out. I’m gonna be the one that makes an effort and like I’m gonna show up in the way that I want to be shown up for it. I’m gonna show up as someone who values in-person friendship and in-person, um, connection and then see what happens. And when I did that, it happened so quickly and I cried a lot on my birthday because we had like, I think nine of us all together and I was just like, how did this occur?


Like, and it really occurred just from me letting people in and being willing to be vulnerable and be seen in, in real life. And, um, so that was one aspect of it. And I think another fear me was that choosing to shut all my programs down. Like that’s one particular type of wealth, the thing that continues to build and grow over time. Something that was already making me a lot of money and would’ve continued to make me a lot of money and choosing to shut it all down because it just didn’t feel true anymore. Ultimately, it just, like, I didn’t feel as aligned with certain things and I just felt like this is like, it’s time for it to end. And I felt this way that I have felt at multiple other instances of my life where I’m like, I don’t know what’s next, but I’m done.


Like, not this thing anymore. I’m done with this and I’m willing to sit in the discomfort of not knowing what’s next. And I feel that this is a really important, important part of life that people don’t take seriously. And I have found it, at least in my experience of life and my relationship with life, that it has been essential for me. There have been many times that I have left what I was doing when I sold my yoga studio, when I quit school, uh, when I left my last relationship. There have been so many times where I have realized that a thing just was not true. Maybe it was true for a while, and then I’m like, oh, I totally see where this is off and it’s no longer true and it can just switch like that. And, um, I’ve gotten better over time. Like I think personally, I think I did a pretty good job at, uh, transitioning all of my clients, um, out like dirt is still wrapping up technically, uh, this month.


And I did a number of calls to close things out. Um, but in general, like I, when I was younger, I used to just kind of cut and run, which is like, okay, that’s it. Now the end <laugh>, like, instead of being with it as it ended. And for me with my business, I think, um, not that my whole business has ended, but that, uh, that iteration of it, I was just, I was with it as it ended. And, um, I feel good about that. And for me, stepping into this unknown is very difficult. It feels, I, every time it’s happened, I felt very lost and very, like, I just don’t know. And it’s, it’s an uncomfortable place to be in our society because people often wanna know. They’re like, okay, well you’re ending this thing. Like, what’s your plan? <laugh>, what are you doing next? Um, when I left, when I, like, I sold the yoga studio that I owned when I was 22.


Um, everyone was like, well, if you’re gonna do that, like, are you gonna go back to school? Like, what are you gonna do? And I was like, I don’t know. Um, actually it was that way when I left school before the yoga studio too, is that way when I left school twice, I guess each time I left school technically. But, um, the first time or the, um, time that I’m thinking of before the yoga studio, it was like, I had already quit three schools. I was just like, I don’t know, but I’m not this like, it’s just not right anymore. And I think it took that time. It must have taken June, July, August, September, maybe it took three or four months before the studio dropped in. And the opportunity for that was, I was like, oh, this is what I’ve been waiting for and I got to open my own studio.


And, um, <affirmative>, it’s not what I would’ve ever expected, but it happened. And then when I left school, like each time I’ve left something, there’s been this period of time where it’s like, I’m not sure. And this time it was while I have this underlying trust that I’ve developed because of, um, just how many times it has now occurred there, there I was really not expecting it. Like I had really felt like I was building this thing that would be my thing for many years. And when I chose to close it all down and I was like the, like leaving, this is true for me. Like all this is just, I’m just done with it.


I had to sit with what is the next thing, what’s gonna come in and I didn’t know. And then you go through all these phases of like, well, what if I never know <laugh>? What if I, what if it, what if it never happens? And what if this time is the time that it doesn’t occur? And um, maybe you might be like, what if it only happens for DeMare, it doesn’t happen for me. Or like, whatever the thoughts are, you know, it’s like we always have this distrust of it. And for me, I was really in this kind of lost place. I was like, maybe I’ll do this thing, maybe I’ll do this other thing. Maybe I’ll, like, I did the, uh, the cooking project that I sent out to my email list just for free. I was just like, here’s this thing. <laugh>. Like, I’ve kept my energy moving. Like I kept, I’ve kept creating things, I’ve kept doing the podcast. Um, there’s been stuff I’ve still kept doing, but I feel like the clarity, the focus of things for me was just, I was like, I don’t know. I feel kind of like just a few episodes goes. I think mid-November, uh, so like a month ago I was saying, I think in the podcast, like I feel pretty lost. Like I just don’t know what I’m doing. And, and I’ll tell you the story because as as it happens, um,


It’s just like the most magical occurrence that I’m still just amazed by. Uh, on December 1st I got a message from this woman, so this is how it often happens. Like things just kind of come out of nowhere and you’re like, what? This thing <laugh>? Like, I didn’t know that was gonna happen. And so, um, I’ve been playing around like I told you, like, I’ve been thinking like, well, I maybe I’ll like expand on this cooking project thing that I did. Or I, for a while I was like, maybe I’ll write a book about grief. Like, I was kinda like, I wanna write a book about something, like I have all this time. Like what am I gonna do? Maybe I’ll write. I was like, I don’t know how to write a book and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And on December 1st I got a message from this woman and she was like, hi, Detra, I’ve been reading your writing and I had two sisters that died in a car accident, and thank you for your pieces. They’ve been really helping me. She linked to one. She was like, especially this one. She’s like, I hope you write a book one day.


And I was just like, wow. It really struck me because I, it’s particularly special to me to connect with people who have had siblings that have like, who have also lost their siblings in some way. And, um,


She wrote to me and I had been feeling really heavy because it was the week leading up to my brother’s accident day. Like that was December 3rd, the 11 year anniversary of that. And she wrote me on December 1st, and I wrote back to her, and then I clicked on her page and her handle, you can go look and find her if you want, but she’s taking time off online. So I think she’s gonna shift her business. I don’t know what she’s doing, but you can go look. Her handle is right with Chloe. I think there’s two underscores in the middle. And she, um, I, I clicked on her page and it turns out that she is a writing coach and she had written a memoir about, uh, the car accident that killed her sisters. And, um, I was like, I need to read this book <laugh>, and even though it’s only available in Australia, I like made it happen.


I was like, I’m, I’m determined to get this book no matter what. Uh, so I, I, uh, got this book and I wrote her and I was like, I got, I just bought your book. And, um, I was like, I am thinking of writing a book, but like, I’m just very in the beginning stages. And she automatically assumed I was writing a memoir and I was like, I was reading through her stuff and in her like content, she addresses all these different pieces of resistance, um, for writing and for, she mentioned how she used to think memoir was super, like self-indulgent. And she talks about that and she talks about just like all these different pieces of resistance I had to writing a book and she started talking to me, like assuming that I was gonna write a memoir. And I was like, fuck <laugh>. Like, there’s this part of me that’s just like, no, I can’t write a memoir.


I can’t write about my life. I have to write about something. Like I have to teach. I have to like, I have to write a book that’s about like knowledge or information. Like, I, I was like, I can’t, and this is just my own wound of like, you might be surprised I have this, but <laugh> I do, like, I am like, I can’t talk about myself. Like no one wants, like, I’m just, I still have this piece that’s like, even though so much of my business and my life is me talking about myself, it was so ingrained into me when I was young that like Ture talks too much and she talks about herself too much of like all of these things that it’s still there. Like I’m like, I can’t write a memoir, like how important do I think I am? And I was talking to this woman and I was like, oh my God, this is the thing. And the next day, because of my, uh, interaction with her, I started writing. Um, I wrote the post that I had written on on December 2nd on like the day before to the post that I wrote on my website to mark the 11 year anniversary like I do every year. I’ve written a thing to mark that. And,


Um, I wrote this piece and it just poured out of me. And then I was like, oh my God, like I have to write the book. And it became really clear, this distinction that I’ve been having of like, it would seem on the surface that writing a memoir is all about me, but actually there’s this way I I’m still not entirely sure on how to speak to it very clearly because I think it’s still something I am sorting through. But I feel like there’s this completion that happened for me in my leaving this whole community and my shutting down my business in the way that it had been where I was just like, there’s a place where I can see how I’ve been making my business all about me and I’m just ready for it to not be about me. And there’s a distinction that I can feel, but I can’t quite articulate yet where it’s not that I’m gonna stop talking about my life or about myself at all, but there’s a way that I relate to it. Whereas before, I think it was, there were still pieces of how am I being perceived? What is the image that I want to show up as,


Who am I, who am I being? Am I being the thing? Am I being whatever? And it feels like there is a shift happening to, it’s not about that at all. Like, it’s just about, I think for me the feeling is like, the words don’t really work. It’s like, I was gonna say like, how can my life be helpful to others? But even helpful is not quite the right word. It’s like, and I felt this when I wrote my poetry books when I, it’s, it’s felt like life has continuously brought me to my knees over and over and over again and continuously humbled me and shown me all this magic and all of these incredible things and so much pain, but so much beauty. And, and in return, can I create something that will give back to that, that will honor that I’ll say I would never be able to, I feel in my relationship to life, I feel that I would never be able to give back all of that. It’s given me, but I feel that perhaps the least I can can do is honor it. And I would say that is the thing that has driven a lot of my creation and that I


In some ways have gotten away from when learning from different people and their different beliefs and, and ways of viewing that. But for me, that’s the underlying driver of like, the least I can fucking do is the least I can do is give back to life. The least I can do is create something that attempts to honor the magic of what I have experienced and what has been given to me. And


I’ve resisted that in a lot of ways. Like there’s, because I’m quite creative, there are a lot of things like I can create and I have a lot of different interests, so I can very easily be like, maybe I’ll have a business about cooking. Maybe I’ll like write a whole thing about cooking. Maybe I’ll like do all these other things. And it’s like, I think Jordan and I have a similar thread of this. It, it’s felt like there’s a lot of things I can do and excel at doing and that appear, um, successful or appear, but I’m, I’m avoiding the underlying thing. I think the only time I haven’t really avoided the underlying thing is when I wrote my books of poetry, um, which came out, you can find them on Amazon. If you search Demetric Nicks, they’re probably under still, but they came out in 19 20 19 and 2020. And there’s just this way that I, it’s just like this is the thing. So when this woman wrote to me, I was like, fuck, this is it. Like this is the next phase. And um, on December 3rd, the anniversary of the accident, I woke up and I started writing


And this woman offered me a session with her and I did a call with her and we got to meet and connect, which was really fun. And, uh, just really beau and just wild, right? It’s like the internet for as much as I can’t stand it sometimes it is such an incredible place. It’s like, how, how I, how did we find each other and how is this happening? And every, every single day since I’ve wo woken up and written, and I feel like, I don’t know what it will become or what it will turn into exactly, but I’m sure it will take many, many years, most likely. But for me, starting to write and writing down my life yes, has been really deeply nourishing to me in a way that it feels, even though there are so many things in my life that I love, like it just feels like this is the only thing that matters is writing this thing. And that is also wealth to me, like being, serving the, I think in a lot of ways, yeah, it, it feels like honoring what life has given to me and, and the way that I’ve moved through life. It feels honoring of myself and it also feels like <laugh> on some level. Like what else are we doing here all together? Um,


I think that being in service to other people is important and this, what can I contribute? What else are we doing if we’re not all contributing, contributing to each other? And I’ve met people who disagree. And I, I think that for me, I just think, oh, there’s ducks over there,




They’re all making these sounds like waddling. I think that to me it’s what I have always felt through my writing and the heart of why I’ve always written. I used to think it was about my expression and I think that’s there, like my self-expression is important, but I used to think it was like the thing that ruled me. And I don’t actually think it is that because when I trace back to different experiences I’ve had and the ways that I’ve written about them, I think really what it’s, it’s always been is this, I think my writing has always been, my work in a lot of ways has been this like, call out to the universe of like, is anybody else out here with me? Like, is anyone else? Like, here I am, where are you <laugh>, are you there? And to have written for so long and to have my work somehow end up finding people, people finding my work who have wildly similar life experiences to me has just been the most humbling, beautiful thing that has happened with all of it. It’s just like, wow. Another woman wrote to me whose brother, she also weirdly lives in Australia. Her, uh,


Brother was in a motorcycle accident and he is in a very similar state to my brother. They both have a, uh, traumatic brain injury and we have been connecting and it’s just like, wow, what <laugh>? Like we live on the other side of the world and like how that it happens. A woman wrote me an email the other day, a few weeks ago, um, I think just, I can’t remember if she was thanking me for my podcast or what it started as, but she was sharing her life with me. And it was insane the amount of similarities we’ve had in people’s work through whose we’ve gone through and experiences we’ve had of it and um, like health things that we’ve had, like all this different stuff. And I was just like, how does this happen? It’s incredible, really. So we got off of the topic of wealth, a little <laugh>, but I think that that, like, as I’m ending the year, it’s a huge piece of what I’m, I think it’s really like the only piece that I’m really sitting with is, and, and I think it is wealth in a sense of, I think it’s what do I actually value? Like what actually matters to me? There’s a lot of things I can play at doing a lot of things that I can be, a lot of ways that I can be perceived, a lot of things I can make and experiences I can have, but what actually matters to me


And not to my idea of things or my mind, but to my heart. If you wet like my, my body, what matters at the end of the day when I die, what matters? When I die, I’ll be happy that I wrote a book because it’s the only thing that could even begin to contribute back to what I’ve been given <affirmative>. Like at least I can leave life saying thank you. That’s how I feel. So when it comes to next year’s word, oh, well I guess I didn’t like, to me all of that is like, what is wealth actually? What is real wealth? The money part is p is certainly a part of it for me. Um, but I guess the question is also like, what is, what is it being created by? Um,




The word for next year. I think I felt this for many months now. Let me feel, I think that this is still true. I’ll let you know if it shifts, but for right now, um, what’s been coming in the last few months of my word for next year is fertility. And I’ll tell you from now, as usual, <laugh>, part of me does not want this to be the word at all. Um, because even though I’d like to get pregnant the end of next year,


Um, I feel like it’s a little bit dangerous to have this be the word because I really want to get pregnant next year. And part of me is like, well, if I make this word judging by my past experiences <laugh>, like what if, like what if it wants me to learn about fertility by not letting you be fertile? You know? And so there’s this aspect of like, do I really wanna call that in? But ultimately it’s, I don’t think it’s really my choice. Like I, I always will choose what’s really there and that’s been there, but I could also see it, meaning I I could also see there being an exploration for me of what does it mean to have a fertile life? Fertile people say fertile, fertile, fertile life. I better learn how to say the word if it’s gonna be my word for the <laugh>.


Um, what does it mean? What does it mean to have a fertile business? What does it mean to have a fertile life? And I think there’s a way that I am moving in. I think Jordan and I both are moving into this showing up for our businesses a lot more, like showing up for people a lot more. And I think we both have had, we, our processes often mirror each other quite a lot. And I think there’s been a way that for Jordan and me, we can both hide a little bit on like not wanting to show up fully and be fully involved and fully present and, and really creates the amount that we are capable of creating. And maybe we’ll do another episode where we talk about all this more together, but when I think about the word fertility, I also think of, of the abundance of creation.


And so I’m curious to see what I learn about that and, and if that’s part of it as well. I think it’s definitely up for me, um, body wise and baby wise. And I wonder too, like what is required for me to have a fertile life. So those are the questions I’ll be sitting with. And if you are going to choose your word as well, I would invite you to do it by just being really quiet with yourself for a few minutes, maybe going for a walk or something without any distraction and just contemplating like, what is the truest thing? Like what’s the word? And usually a good sign is that like, I think it would be kind of suspect if you came up with a word and you were like, yeah, that’s my word, <laugh>. Like usually there is, there’s an aspect of fear with it that I think is important for knowing that you’re really playing at your edge. And yeah, so you can experiment with that and see, uh, but I have found that it’s a really beautiful practice that roots me down throughout the year and that it ends up being a really nice tool for reflection because technically, and I wouldn’t worry either about, like, I don’t, you can’t really choose the wrong word, right? Like it’s, it’s a little up for debate. Like


My experience of it is that I get really quiet and the word just drops in and it’s like, this is the next thing, but where does that come from for sure. I don’t know. And I think that my word, my choice of expansion the first year was probably a bit more mental. So I don’t think there’s a wrong way to do it. Like if you try to do it and you’re like, I’m not sure, but like maybe this, I would just go with that. Like I would choose the one, even if you’re, like, if you spent some time contemplating and you’re like, I don’t know if this is it, like maybe I’m not quite accessing it, I would still just go with it. And in my experience, if you choose the thing that’s not really the thing, uh, it will become clear like, like pretty soon after, like in the next week you’ll be like, actually, I don’t really think that’s it. I think it’s actually this. And if not, like there’s no harm in, uh, choosing a word. And then like, I think we could technically do it with any word. Um, like it’s a tool to be able to examine the year with,


And I like to, my felt experience of it is that I, I feel like as I go through the year, me and the word are holding hands. Like, it’s just like, yeah, okay, we’re gonna like link actually. Yeah, it’s like we’re gonna link arms and just like go through the year together and we’re gonna teach each other and just like see what happens. And then at the end of the year it’ll be like, thank you so much time for a new friend for the year like that. So best of luck in feeling into yours and what that might be.


Happy 2023. I hope. I, I hope that you do take some time to reflect on the last year, even if you didn’t have a word for the last year. Uh, and I think something Jordan and I are going to do quite a lot of, uh, this December is really looking deeply at the year behind us as well as the year ahead. And I think that’s an important part of the process that we often miss. So I invite you to contemplate the year behind you and what you wanna bring in, in the year ahead. And we’ll be planning a lot more this year than we ever have. And I am super excited for that actually. Like, I, I’ve just never been ready to plan. It’s not been my thing. I’ve rolled my eyes at it and I’m like, I’m ready to plan. Like, I’m just, I feel like there’s been this permission for this part of me that, uh, I’ve shut down for quite a while and I’m just like, I like to do these things and <laugh>. Um, yeah, I think it’ll be fun. So let me know. Um, I’d love to hear from you if you wanna write in and tell me what your word is or what came up for you. That’s just demetra demetra gray.com and you can, uh, subscribe to the email list if you wanna stay connected there. It’s just dere.com/newsletter. Happy new year and I’ll talk to you soon.