Celebrate 12 Years of TSLL: 12 Discoveries I Carry Forward
Sunday December 26, 2021

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“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”— Amy Poehler, Yes Please

In 2009 TSLL began a journey into the unknown of blogging. To say I am surprised by all that has unfolded during the past twelve years is beyond an understatement. But here we are – 12 years later, looking ahead to the beginning of year 13 and grateful for TSLL community and all of the sincere engagement, curiosity and determination to live a life that elevates the quality of what matters – nurturing healthy, loving relationships; discovering and honoring the true gifts that reside inside each of us; finding the courage to learn and strengthen the skills that make the difference between a life that gets us along into a life that lifts us up and reveals to us how awesome living our one and only lives can be when we live consciously and intentionally.

I continue to be a student of living a life of true contentment in my everydays. As I shared in last Monday’s podcast episode (#319), I continue to learn and apply skills that reveal themselves to be necessities and upon discovering them provide many aha moments. Much of what I discover and share are skills, as I mentioned, but others are lighter in their gravity, but still have the potential to elevate our confidence and enable us to feel our best as we travel through our everydays.

Each year on this day celebrating the anniversary of TSLL I write a post (see many at the end of this post), but unlike past years, I would like to share with you twelve discoveries I feel fortunate to have found over the course of the past twelve months. Most have been shared on the blog in one form or another (and I will link to the detailed post, This & That inclusion or episode); however others will be shared for the first time.

Nearly all of the discoveries stem from choosing to be vulnerable. Like Norman and Winnie (my niece’s pup) seen in the image above, I am striving forward and while maybe not as bravely as they embody in this photo, perhaps I need to be more fully charging forward as they exhibit. I’d like to think I am someone who takes risks. In fact, I know that I am, but as I shared with someone recently, my risks are not physical, instead my risks often deal with the heart and my dreams when it comes to my passions, my curiosities, my life path. Taking risks when it comes to my dreams has been fairly constant throughout my adult life, but when it comes to taking risks that involve my heart, I have gradually tempered doing so in this arena for a variety of reasons – not having time played a big factor and of course past pain too; however, the former, I discovered, played a more significant role than I realized and I chose to not let it be the reason any longer. So, I decided to be brave and make an equally significant change and did so in an on-the-face-of-it scary way this past spring when I retired from teaching and chose to take the risk on of being my own boss, solely without a back-up career to pay the bills.

“Vulnerability is the key to happiness. Vulnerable people are powerful people. Opening your heart and sharing it means that you’re going to get so much love in your life. It’s the way to true connection and real purpose and meaning in your life.” —Amy Poelher

I am holding on to Amy Poehler’s words because for the first time in quite some time I have felt a confounding, yet none-the-less true mixture of emotions – scared of the unknown yet not doubtful in my decision. I don’t know where that comes as it would seem the former would undermine the latter. All I can figure out is that when we honor what is a truth for our life journey, even if we cannot explain it at the moment, there is a quiet steady stream of “I can handle this”. Admittedly, having loved ones in your life who believe in you keeps the stream of quiet faith in oneself running, and for those people in my life, I am beyond grateful.

Indeed life is a journey, and so long as we forever remain the student of the course of life, I am confident each of ours will continue to surprise us each in wonderful ways.

My Great Aunt Betty gave me Amy Poehler’s book for Christmas, my first Christmas in Bend. My first Christmas when I was not able to visit her. She was in her early 90s, and she knew I would love this book. She was right and my delight and smile when I unwrapped it amazed me she knew about it, someone who was not on the internet at all, just made the gift all the more special.

So many of Poehler’s insights ring true, and many more continue to be realized as life unfolds – “any painful experience will make you see things differently”, “everybody is scared most of the time”, and “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.”

Needless to say, regarding each of the three quotes shared above, (1) losing my sweet pup Oscar, my Aunt Betty and more fully realizing my loved ones are not immortal (well, duh Shannon, but truly, when you accept this, you live differently and engage with them differently if you choose to be brave) is a truth hard to accept, but then I remember they will always be in my heart and carry that love with me and try to be love in my everyday a little bit better each day. (2) And yep, I am scared at least once every single day about something, but I either get busy doing something constructive, pick up a book to provide guidance about the skills I need to tap into or call a loved one. And as for the latter quote (3), it has made all the difference in the quality of my days.

Now to the list of discoveries thankfully I stumbled upon and want to share with you all.

1.Exercising the two key components of trustworthiness in actions no matter how others engage with us is key to a peace-filled sleep

In episode #319, trust was the topic, and the two components that make of the action of being trustworthy are to make decisions grounded in loving-kindness at all times and to live with integrity. Simple, clear and leaves no reason for regret.

2. Being brave is essential to living a life you love

3. Add retinol to your skincare regimen

~I now use Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform each night and my skin consistently looks more youthful and it helps remediate any breakouts quickly. Magic. Just, magic. (thank goodness🙃)

~like I said, not all the discoveries were life shattering, but this one, I cannot not share with you all. (it is on sale here)

4. To have loved so deeply that you grieve a loved one’s passing is a gift that only makes your heart more capable of loving well

To know love is to believe love is possible, and when you believe love is possible you can become love in your actions revealing to others who may have disbelief of said truth that indeed love exists. The more love expressed, the better for us all in this grand ole world. Too cliched, too simple, too general? Nope. Just the truth as I have learned it to be even after nursing a heart broken open making the hope for love’s possibility to arrive and awaken me again.

5. Understanding my mind, putting myself in the driver’s seat (and my mind in the backseat), changes everything for the better

6. Shedding layers of our old self is necessary in order to fully live and see all life can offer

7. Embracing and fully moving through suffering is necessary to arrive at the other side and in so doing we deepen our appreciation for how awesome our lives can be if only we would live fully

8. Gardening is a priceless hobby that can change one’s life, strengthen one’s mind and deepen one’s appreciation

9. Letting go of the stories we hold in our minds about our past, about our future, about ‘how things should go’ makes all the difference when it comes to living a life of full possibility

10. In order to welcome love into our lives, we must make room for it and most importantly, we must be love in our actions, with our thoughts and how we construct our everydays

11. Speaking of being love, it is scary because you are making yourself vulnerable. Make yourself vulnerable anyway . . .

Lose the sarcasm, the negative tone, the hedging on the side of negativity, and dare to share what you love, like, enjoy, makes you smile, laugh and what you hope for.

. . . and follow #9’s advice – let go of the story of how it should all unfold – your story will be unique and surprise even the imaginative you that you are.

12. Soak up every minute with those you love, and wish to know better

Snuggle, laugh, share a meal, a bite, a drink, book that flight together, tell them how you really feel (remember #2 – be brave), bring them tea or coffee, say thank you, allow them to be who they are and extend appreciation when they let you be you. Life is too short and we are all running out of time.


thesimplyluxuriouslife.com | The Simply Luxurious Life

23 thoughts on “Celebrate 12 Years of TSLL: 12 Discoveries I Carry Forward

  1. Very thoughtful post; summarizes a years worth of thinking. Being short with people is my unfortunate go-to when fearful—of change, of lack of control, of not knowing. And these past two years have pushed all the wrong buttons for me! But, as you say, it’s my choice as to how to deal and move myself on so that people feel my love for them over my angst!!

    1. Mpound,

      Understandably buttons have been pushed over the past two years and you are not alone. 🙂 Simply having the awareness is powerful and when you are able to give yourself self-care, catch a breath and ground yourself, you will know how to best move forward so that you engage, communicate and express what you need and how you wish to interact. Thank you for sharing what you are wrestling with. That takes courage. I appreciate your comment immensely.

  2. In the last year I have lost two puppies. I thought I could never love again. I purchased a new dachshund named Winifred Loralai. She has helped fill a void in many ways. Happy new year


    1. Stacy, Thank you for sharing and I am sorry fo4 your loss. There is no doubt in my mind Winifred will be deeply loved and your beloved pups strengthened this gift you gave them and now will give her. 😌❤️🐾

  3. Happy Anniversary Shannon! I am so glad you were courageous enough to follow your heart that December day twelve years ago, of course for obvious selfish reasons😉, but also for you–look what glories you have created and shared and are living now, because of that brave leap into the unknown many years ago. Well done. And here’s to 12+ more years!🥂💖

  4. What wonderful thoughts to ponder while approaching the new year. I had to chuckle at #3 though, but solid advice! I must say #9 is a sticky one for me, one that I really need to work on and take to heart. My life didn’t follow the path I assumed it would and now it’s time to see who I really am, not based on what others thought I am or should be, or who I have been all these years. It scares me every single day because big changes require determination, bravery and a deep breath. I will figure it out, I will find my path, I will move forward and not live in the past out of fear. Thank you, and happy New Year!

    1. Michelle,

      Big changes can indeed be scary. Investigate in little steps, seek support from those who can remain objective and not controlling or wish to sway your decision in any way, and you will find the big decision is quite clear, it is only a matter of being brave.

      I will say, once you know what you need to do, and once you make that decision, it will feel quite natural, and you will wish you had made it sooner because the relief and peace you will find is like nothing you were walking with previously as you had the burden of knowing something wasn’t quite right if only you could figure it out. Once you have figured it out, followed by making the decision, you set yourself free in more ways than you can imagine during the previous moment.

      Wishing you strength, courage and trust in yourself. xo

  5. Merry Christmas, Shannon! Thank you for the wonderful post… a quick question: are you still pleased with the Retrouve eye cream? I’m considering the purchase.

    1. Heather, GREAT question. Yes! I use Retrouvé eye cream every night. There is so much in the bottle and you use so little, I will have it for year before I refill. Love it and recommend.

      1. Oh wonderful! I’m may add it to my Beautycounter routine- need something stronger for these aging lines!
        Happy New Year to you!!

  6. In blog years, 12 years is a really long time! Particularly when you consider the growth factor of your work, the ever-changing climate of social media, and maintaining interest in a content that is evolving while introducing new concepts of living your best life and not crushing your own standards and beliefs in the process. Without valid statistics, I cannot prove just how many blogs I have followed during this period of time that no longer exist or posted the last entry in 2014 with no closure or explanation.

    I am looking forward to your upcoming posts. I am no longer surprised at just how comfortably you introduce new content from grass wallpaper, to fresh strawberries from your garden while juggling concepts of self-realization and fulfillment.

    My ever-present angst of dealing with personal loss will likely shadow my every day, but I search endlessly for opportunities to develop new coping mechanisms. Your insights and knowledge encourage me. That said, congratulations, good night, and best wishes.

    1. Lucy,

      Your words are so generous in their kindness. Thank you.

      And regarding the personal loss. I know it is great as you have shared with me in our email exchanges, but perhaps find a counselor to help you hold it in a healthy way so that it is a form of love or something you find peace with rather than a shadow. Just a suggestion because I know the loss meant you held and exchanged great love and for that having been in your life, that is a wonderful thing. My heart is with you and thank you again for your kindness and regular time shared to engage here on TSLL. xoxo

  7. Love this list. Happy Anniversary, Shannon and TSLL!

    The points about trust and vulnerability really resonate. They are critical to meaningful relationships. They’re also annoying, because they can at times lead to pain – but when you think about the joy and fulfillment we get from the relationships we have with people we trust and with whom we are vulnerable, the trade-off is worth it. This is particularly the case because, regardless of the pain of a past experience, we can and do recover and rebuild ourselves.

    Last thing – I notice so many people in this community love their pups. I have a recommendation for a feel-good show in this regard: Dog House UK, available on HBO Max. It’s a show about a rehoming center that matches people looking for a new little love with a pup that needs a home. Highly recommend!

    Happy 2022 all.


    1. Laurie,

      Thank you for all that you have shared. Your clarity on the truth of choosing to be vulnerable and trust is spot on. Oh, my goodness can doing so lead to pain, but as was shared in episode #319, when we know how to sharpen our Trust “detector”, we get better at not stepping into the wrong directions too deeply before we extricate ourselves or even have to extricate ourselves because we realize we shouldn’t step into it. By applying those skills, much unnecessary pain can be avoided. However, until we learn those skills, the pain can be immense and pain is never altogether avoidable. And I so appreciate what you shared about the trade-off of taking the risk to trust being worth it. You are so absolutely right. Thank you for your insight, and sharing your experience and reassurance to others who may be considering, but still hesitant to be vulnerable.

      Also, thank you for the show recommendation. 🙂

      Have a lovely week,


  8. I loved this. Thank you for keeping us Simply Luxurious for 12 wonderful years. I love the blog, the books and the podcasts. My favorite featured in this post is #6, something I”m working on now so I feel more ready and new for the new year!

  9. Congratulations, Shannon! 🙂 I am delighted to be be here and I am so so so glad (yep, that’s three *so*…) that you created TSLL 12 years ago.
    When several changes happen simultaneously or very close in time, some by choice, others by circumstances, it makes life more complex because we have to deal with and integrate all those change at a faster pace than we would have liked or needed, and apprehension and a touch of anxiety/ fear might – and do – creep in. That is natural and means that we are just human, not super women, or super people. The last two years in particular have been particularly hard for everyone, I suppose. But we forge ahead, we are optimistic and strong, we not only live but we try to live well. 🙂

    When I lost my eldest cat (12 years), it was not an easy time. The youngest sister did not take well to be an only pet, so after due consideration, we welcome a new kitten to our home. I was not sure that this was the right thing to do because we were still mourning – but well, it turned out to be the best for everyone. The youngest took the new kitten under her wing (or paw!) like a mummy cat. And we got our hearts full of the sweet love and all the joy – and our lives full of all the mess! – of having a new baby cat. There is no possible replacement for our eldest, that goes without saying, because pets, like people, are individuals and therefore irreplaceable. She was loved and that love being till strong in us, we want to give it to others that need it. Yes, love happens by actually loving, and being love in our daily lives. I could not agree more with this reflection point.

    Congratulations again for 12 years of great great work, and here’s to many more to come! 🙂

    1. Isabel,

      Thank you. Thank you for sharing this wisdom. My heart was warmed to read your cats are getting along so well and for sharing the truth of our dear pets and what they mean in our lives. Your understanding and sagacity mean more than you may ever know at this moment. Thank you SO very much. 😌💛

  10. Congratulations Shannon on 12 years .Quite an innings. May we enjoy many more years with you. I admire your courage to admit that you get scared about something daily . I get scared about things which are out of my control, insignificant to others probably ,but I have been working on it by distracting myself as you have suggested. It’s work in progress. You took a brave decision to give up you teaching career but the attention you have diverted to your blog is very impressive. I am excited to see how next year unfolds for you beginning with your book in the Spring.
    On the question of love. Love begets love .When we learn to truly love ourselves we will become more open to receiving it and so it will multiply in abundance. Thank you for sharing all your insights.. xx

  11. Happy anniversary Shannon! Forever grateful I found the world you’ve created here and sending you all the love as we start this next chapter in 2022.

    This post reminded me very much of a wonderful speech I heard today, talking about how short life is and how important it is to embrace what we have and do the best we can everyday. Sharing here if anyone needs a pick me up. 💙 https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/life-is-short/id1581058922?i=1000546508439

  12. Lovely post Shannon, I cannot believe it has been 12 years. Which I think means I have been reading you for at least 6 or 7..
    Your bravery in the way you have taken risks to develop TSLL is very admirable and has contributed to so much to many peoples lives, mine included.
    All are great points that ring true, the ones that stood out to me, 3, 8 and 12. I’ve been using retinol for about a year or so and it has so improved my skin. Gardening is also a great hobby of mine, being outside pottering the hours while away and the reward is beauty to enjoy. And number 12, what can I say, life is short and we’re only here once (as far as I know) so do and be what you love with the people you love.
    Best wishes for 2022

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