Welcome 2019! (Ch-ch-ch-changes!) [changes part 1]

I am so excited to start 2019. It just feels good. Like, I’m not filled with typical #newyearnewyou delusions like usual (“I’m going to lose 50 pounds! I’m going to get out of debt! I’m going to finish anything I start!”), but instead, I just feel like I’m back where I need to be.

In early 2017 I started having what I would consider a mental breakdown. I had been out of work since 2013 and had been focusing almost all my energy and attention on Zu Foos. At first it was exciting and enriching, but soon it became stressful as my fun candles and potions became something I needed to sell in order to pay my bills every month. The more stressed I got, the less I actually did. I spent more and more time inside my own head, creating narratives that didn’t make sense and painting myself as some sort of misunderstood artist. I was so lonely, spending most of my time alone, worrying about my ability to support myself, worrying about disappointing my family, worrying about losing my friends, worrying about everything. Some of the things I worried about were valid, but so, so much of it was a pure creation of my sad and angry brain.

Just when I thought I had reached my breaking point, and that I would surely crumble in on myself, my mom died. I still remember getting out of the shower and seeing Ashley, my wife, with a weird shaken look on her face. She had just gotten off the phone. “That was the police. Your mom died.”

Less than a week after my 31st birthday, I started the greatest sadness of my life. I was very close to my mom, spending hours at a time talking, cooking, eating, and laughing with her. Her sudden and unexpected disappearance from my life is something I’m still grappling with and is something that, frankly, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully recover from.

Barbara Carrellas taught me to always look for the gift. It was in this moment that I discovered the light in the dark. I had already believed that I had hit rock bottom. I felt so low that I wondered if I could even go on. Then mom died and what I thought was rock bottom exploded away from me, allowing me to fall even farther, farther than I thought was possible. I fell so low that it eventually stopped meaning anything. Trauma on top of trauma acted like some sort of cosmic reset button.

As I grieved and allowed myself to heal, I went one step further and started looking for jobs, going to interviews, going out with friends, and learning to interact with the world again. Finally, a year and a half after everything broke, I’m starting to see clearly again. I’m starting to feel and hear and understand and everything feels new.

So, it feels right to revisit Zu Foos, something I started to keep myself in the moment, at this moment.

I started Zu Foos as an idea, a concept, not a business. I’m a sucker, though, for DIY success stories (MLMs got me twice), and before I knew it I had a DBA and a TIN and a business checking account and I was legit and ready to win.

I spent hours and days researching, learning, and ingesting as much as I could about the nature of small business. I watched videos about how to market myself and about SEO and about profit margins and, as you can probably guess, this moved me far from my idealistic dream of mindfulness, and right into the world of mental breakdown. While I’ve been healing over the last year or so I’ve largely put Zu Foos on hold. I’ve attended no fairs, I’ve made very little new product, I’ve done almost nothing to promote myself.

And now I know that I was doing all that because my ideology, my ethics, were shifting. 2019 will be all about realigning Zu Foos with what has been its purpose all along: keeping my feet on the ground and trusting where they take me.

You’ll notice small and slow changes over the year, but here are some major points to be aware of:

  • I will no longer be a supplier. I’ll no longer be selling single herbs and single essential oils. Buying stuff in bulk and repackaging it doesn’t feed my soul, and adding another middleman to the process doesn’t help your wallet. 
  • I will no longer offer spiritual services. One of the most important things I’ve come to realize in this past year is that I need to use my intuition and my connection to Spirit to nourish my own soul. It’s my intention to create affordable resources to help you to do the same (learn to read tarot for yourself, learn to practice reiki on yourself, etc). You’ll see these as PDFs/ebooks and you can expect them [insert optimistic time frame here]. In the meantime, I’d be thrilled to offer my insight and experience with your own practices. Are you having a hard time understanding a tarot spread you did for yourself? Did you have a vision during a reiki self-healing that doesn’t make sense? Message me on Instagram (@zufoos) and I’d be happy to help you figure it out. 
  • I will no longer passively engage with quackery. This means that my relationship with essential oils and reiki is going to change quite a bit. While I have lots of feelings that I’ve been wrestling with for some time, I haven’t officially changed my stance. Keep an eye out for blog posts specifically dealing with essential oils, reiki, and other stuff. 

This is all about reconnecting with my authenticity, something that “owning a business” made me forget. My goal for 2019 (and beyond!) is to do what feels good, and to share as much as I can. It’s my intent to make stuff I love to make and if it sells, it sells. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I don’t want to put too much energy on the sales end of this anymore. That part doesn’t feel good.

So, I’ve told you what I won’t be doing anymore, but what will I be doing in 2019? I’ll be slowly creating new stuff I love and offering it for sale as it happens. You’ll see more candles, rosaries (and maybe other jewelry), incense, and oil blends (which will replace existing perfumes. I really hope to phase out roller balls and replace them with 30 ml dropper bottles). All of these things will be made in the spirit of new age woo, but won’t be dependant on it. By that I mean that I will continue to make things that look, feel, and smell good, but that will be designed to function inside a religious setting, or outside of one. It would be disingenuous of me to sell “witchy goods” when I’m not really a witch. I’m more of a woodsy spiritual hermit, and I want to make things that reflect that unwillingness to put a name or a label or even a deity on myself. I want to make tools that I can use for my purposes, and that you can use for your unique purposes.

Rochester in the winter can be a little bleak - but look at that frozen waterfall! It's beautiful.

So here’s to 2019: a year to more deeply connect with my authentic self, and a year to do everything in my power to share that authenticity with you. While these changes are happening reach out to me (leave a comment here or hit me up on Instagram) if you have any comments, questions, or concerns.

Last year I did a tarot forecast spread, pulling one card for each of the following 12 months. My card for this month is Death. It’s fitting on multiple levels, though I have a feeling that the deep and persistent change that card speaks of is only just beginning. Always be changing. Always be growing.

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What does 2019 hold for you? Do you have any goals or resolutions that you intend to keep? Does this new year feel any different from past new years?


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