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  1. My Happy New Year I’ve been blessed in abundance in 2022, with the end of the year glittering with moments of miracles and love. That doesn’t mean it was easy, or simple, or that there isn’t work left to do. In many ways, this land of abundance is alien, and I’m making my way into 2023 a little star-struck from it all, and with no small amount of culture shock. How to live in this space, amplify it and honor it? How to make sure I don’t squander the gifts with a scarcity mindset, or from anxiety? How can I go forward in love? This is a time of having set down the weapons; the sword stands at rest in its scabbard; the bow has been unstrung. There is no fight and I have no enemies. The Way forward is one of gentleness, a time of tending to my Self and my Spirit as I would tend a newly-laid garden bed, rich and fertile. In the lunar calendar, this is the end of the year, a time when all things should be squared away, buttoned up, and arguments ironed out. For the Celts, this was a time of looking forward as the earth tilts towards the light, culminating in Imbolc, a time to sweep the house and set the fields to right for the coming gifts of Spring. The Christian liturgical calendar brings Epiphany, a time of revelation and gifts, the joy of the end of waiting in the dark, the manifestation of the miracle. These traditions focus on looking at our everyday lives in ways that we can prepare for the coming abundance, making ourselves ready to receive very real blessings. This challenge, the goal is to take stock, see what’s what, and make a plan from there. Will there be a spreadsheet? Possibly, but the numbers are less important than the measurement. Because the universe loves me and wants me to be happy.
  2. Procrastination is persistent. After walking briskly for most of the day, stepping off the path, taking short cuts and doubling back to hide her tracks, the tall demon is still behind Scalyfreak, gradully drawing closer and showing no signs of giving up. This is a problem, because while demons do not tire Scalyfreak does, and walking for an entire day without a break is exhausting. Walking through the night will be even more of a problem, because demons don't need sleep either, and all the inconvenient consequences of uninterrupted day-long exertion are making themselves known... heavy legs, slow reflexes, an inability to stay focused, and very noise is unexpected and unnerving. This can't continue. Scalyfreak needs to rest, to eat and sleep, and she needs to do it in a place where the demon can't get to her while she sleeps. Fortunately, the forest she's walking through now is familiar to Scalyfreak, and her tired legs find an unexpected small burst of energy to carry her faster towards her destination. The paved path comes into view, swept clean and maintained as always, and the marble building the path leads to is clear of vines and weeds, well repaired, and with the doors wide open and welcoming to all tied travelers. Scalyfreak eagerly crosses the threshold and enters the temple hall with a sigh of relief. The dim light is warm and soothing, the clear air is calming and helps Scalyfreak relax as she sets her bedroll on the floor right below the altar and devours some of the rations in her backpack. She also drinks deeply from her water skin, knowing she will be able to fill it from the well behind the altar before she leaves. Soon enough Scalyfreak settles in for the night and falls asleep, all worries about Procrastination forgotten because for tonight at least she is safe. After all, no demon can enter the Temple of Iron. Before diving into the “few and small” goals for this challenge period, here's a brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: After time off from work, life, and challenges, I am finally posting my new challenge. It's about halfway into the challenge period, or thereabouts, so I'm more for less on track with how I normally do these things. Recover HP (physical health) This goal will have two parts: Walk every day, with or without the Happy Sidekick. Lift things. Specifically, barbell things … it's time to reestablish the gym habit. To meet this goal, I need to actually go to the gym at least three out of seven evenings in a week. Restore Mana (Mental Health) Same goal as last challenge – meditate every day. I have a history of really struggling to remember to do this on days that are not work days, so taken three week off from work over the holidays really interfered with this habit.. Regenerate Stamina (emotional bandwidth) Also same goal as the last challenge: Deliberately do at least one thing every day for no other reason than because I know I will enjoy it. I predict that a lot of this will involve the Feisty Sidekick, simply because he craves attention and affection, and playing with a kitten is good for Mana recovery as well as Stamina.
  3. I kinda oopsed out of the last challenge. I started strong, immediately got pregnant (so far so good) and lost momentum. This challenge is all about trying to put a gentle effort in the right direction with both mind and body. Food: Our restaurant eating and spending is going a little off the deep end. Goal is to make a meal plan every Sunday. Bonus points for sticking to the meal plan, but we do so much better when we HAVE one even without 100% adherence. I'm a little nervous about this because my appetite has been unpredictable, and some days I just have a craving and I will probably cry if I can't have it. Other days I absolutely cannot eat something that is put in front of me. Sometimes it's a meat, sometimes a veggie, sometimes something strongly scented of garlic or cardamom or some random thing. But a huge part of having a plan is the husband knowing what he's gonna be eating, because I am usually happy to dig something out of the small hoard of generally "safe" foods we've been buying to make sure I'll almost always eat SOMETHING. Me eating yogurt and apples one night, a real home-cooked meal the next and buttered pasta the third is probably better than rotating between takeout pizza, takeout Thai, takeout Indian and takeout burgers, especially since some of those come with sugary drinks. Exercise: My endurance has definitely taken a nosedive. I'd like to work up to either a walk or prenatal yoga every morning. Week 1: yoga Monday. Week 2: Add walk Thursday. Week 3: Add yoga Friday. Week 4: Add walk Tuesday. Week 5: Add yoga Wednesday. Don't worry about duration. If it's a 2 minute walk or yoga that's totally fine. Mental: Stick to meditation. I've had a miscarriage earlier in the year, and meditation along with just kind of a low-info diet with regards to pregnancy has been keeping me more level than I even was last pregnancy pre-loss (I was a total wreck psychologically all the way from the positive test through confirmation of a non-growing fetus; ironically I felt better after than confirmation that before... I'm always better with an actual bad thing happened than a possible one. Anyway.). My goal is simply to meditate a minimum of once daily for around 10 minutes. I use the headspace app, just because I find guidance useful. I had completed their support after miscarriage series and trying to conceive series just before I got pregnant, did the pregnancy series in the last 30 days, and now plan to re-do the basics packs and maybe some of the advancing your practice packs or whatever before revisiting the pregnancy series. However, I want to remind myself to be flexible and be willing to seek and drop in to a different series or one-off if I feel that's what I need in order to maintain the most calm mental state I can reach. Bonus goal: I'm always tired. If I need a nap, take a nap.
  4. Behind my home there is a field, and beyond the field a hill named Gloria. The last in a line, it’s not high or beautiful, but the sun sets on it in autumn and bathes it in orange and purple. A creek flows over it from the low mountains further distant, breaking out to a low waterfall that pools and trails off along the edge of the meadow. In dreams I sit at the edge of the pool, watching the water tumble down, waiting for peace to wash over me. Today, I decided to go searching for it. Passing behind the cascade I see an opening, no larger than a door, tucked behind a rocky outcrop. I step in and find myself in a narrow passage, gently ascending, which turns sharply to the right after several feet and then curves in a near-perfect semicircle back to the left, like a giant question mark carved in the sandstone. Reaching the end of the arc, I find myself in a small circular antechamber. A fire is set in the center of the room, keeping it warm and bright. Large, smooth benches are carved into the stone on either side, their backs blending seamlessly the walls forming a dome high overhead. Directly opposite the tunnel, another doorway stands flanked by delicately carved columns. Passing through the second doorway, I find myself what must have started as a natural grotto but has been carved out to form three perfectly cubic chambers. The center, where I stand, is empty – the floor level, swept clean, with natural light spilling in from above. This, I know, is a space suited for movement, for testing and strengthening the body. To my right, another chamber practically glows with a verdant green. A small tree has taken root there, fed by a small rivulet that trickles in from the opening above. The tree bears sweet yellow fruit, and I know this to be a place of rest and nourishment. To the left opens a study, complete with bookshelves, two leather chairs, and a small fireplace of its own; a perfect space for inquiry and contemplation. I’m not surprised to see this – somehow I’ve known that this place is mine. Somehow I know that, though the rooms are tended by an elderly man and refreshed daily by a boy of no more than ten years, I am the only one who has ever been here. Somehow I know that this is not a home, but a sanctuary. I resolve to return, and awaken. ______________________ The disciplines for winter (2 challenges) look like this: Body Fuel – macro balance, hydration, coffee reduction, resting with 14/10 intermittent fasting Work – 2 runs weekly, 2 Pilates sessions weekly, 2 long walks weekly, 1 full rest day (workouts at least 30 minutes plus dynamic warmup and 10-minute yoga cooldown) Heart Play – Daily bass guitar practice, self-care practice 2x weekly Love – 1 “love language” practice for a family member daily Spirit Grow – Daily learning in Duolingo and/or professional or growth reading Pray – Daily metta practice or meditation/contemplative prayer Rest – At least 7 hours sleep per night, 1 full rest day per week Accountability: Weekly weigh-in on Sunday just to track progress (long-term goal is moving toward ideal weight of about 190...the delta is about 15 pounds at the moment) Weekly scorecard posted here.
  5. Been doing a lot of reflecting. Having your Saturnalia festivities interrupted by having to evacuate the house due to pipes busting will do that. Mostly just seems to be an appropriate moment in my life to get back into the challenges. I experienced something of a mini-mental breakdown last week that had me staring at my basement wall from the time I clocked out of work until going to bed that night. I think I just broke under the stress. I've been existing as a Work Completion Machine(tm) in some capacity or another since I began my career change. At the time, it made sense to prioritize building my reputation as a guy who got shit done. That, and my anxiety never let me shake the fear that I was always just one wrong step away from being thrown out on my ass. And then there was my relationships, also mostly driven by fear. Will I get kicked out of the tribe for being too liberal? Or not liberal enough? Or for being an atheist? For speaking my mind? Because I didn't bring a casserole or a bottle of wine to the dinner party? In other words, I kept putting everyone and everything else ahead of myself. To the point where, when my therapist, a few sessions back, asked me what my values were, I had no answer for her. I've lost track of my identity. And, at the same time, I find it leaking out everywhere. I inject my identity and my ego into conversations so much that every interaction feels like one of those ninja course challenges where I'm trying to verbally dash across the spinning log to say all the right things, crack the right jokes, and not offend the wrong sensibilities. My social interactions become this weird dance where I'm both trying to shield my ego from danger while also ordering it to dance for other people's entertainment. That changes now. This challenge is dedicated to me. I'm putting my own mask first. I'm looking out for my needs and my wants. And I'm starting by taking on my demons. I might turn this into a narrative. Could be fun. A sort of demon hunter thriller. At least build in some form of gamification. We'll see. For now, this challenge is still a work in progress. Challenge Goals. By 2/4/2023 (end of challenge): 1. 170 minutes meditated (5 mins per challenge day less 2 cheat days). 2. 10 salads prepared (2 per week). 3. 2 braises prepared. 4. 2 bicycle trips. 5. No more than 12 video game hours. 6. Update NF daily. 40 hours extra work (i.e. work in addition to my usual 40) by the end of the challenge. -------------------------- Challenge progress: 1. 26/170 minutes meditated. 2. 2/10 salads prepared. 3. 1/2 braises prepared. 4. 0/2 bicycle trips completed. 5. 8/12 video game hours. 6. 5/40 extra work hours. Last updated: 1/8/2023.
  6. I went over all of the warm-up exercises with my physiotherapist, so it's time to work them into my routine somewhere. I'm enjoying the content of my job, but it's a bit of a mental warfare there socially. Part of me wonders if the reason why I'm not starting to look for job openings is because it's giving me the hits I need while I'm detoxing from my familial abuse cycles. And, just like that, by writing it out, I realize: asking the question is answering it. Alright. I guess I'll start looking to create mental space to start browsing vacancies.
  7. Totally fell off the NF map in 2022, but more importantly, not off the cliff when it came to many of my goals! After a few too many health things, including closing out the year getting over COVID, I'm ready for some new beginnings. Body: I want to continue to cement my fitness goal as functional movement and increases when they come, rather than the more unhealthy cultural goals I implicitly hold. A. Continue 2-3 strength workouts per week; continue daily walks Goal: Introduce a flexibility program 3 times per week. B. Became too impulsive. Goal: Limit fast food, aiming for no more than once per week; fruit and/or vegetable per meal Mind Goal: Daily reading, professionally and leisurely Spirit: continued contemplative prayer Goal: New daily devotional pattern of reading and prayer Bonus Goal: I have begun a writing project. Spend three days a week, minimum, an hour each day.
  8. In the spirit of time honored Rebellion tradition of doing an un-challenge at the end of the year, I am going to carry over the relaxation and careful selection of battles into this last short challenge period of 2022. There will be music. Possibly kitten pictures. This is all.
  9. Jié Xī ( the rebel formerly known as Magdalena Ravenclaw) attempts her first 12 Week Year (over the next 3 NFR challenges). Shortly before the New Year, I discovered the book, The 12 Week Year. While I am applying it mostly to business goals, I am also going to use it to attempt to achieve my fitness goals. I have to have a Week Accountability Meeting (which means log in here at least weekly and report on my progress). It is also suggested to have a Daily Huddle (which would be logging in daily just long enough to say if I accomplished the previous day's goals). Main 12 Week Quest : Zip My Coat(s). Not sure what weight/pounds that will be, but I am trying to focus on something less abstract and more profitable than seeing a number on the scale. I like coats the way many women like shoes. But I've gained weight after 2 kids (now 4 and 6) and though I lost 30 of the 60 gained during pregnancy, I'd like to get the rest off and get back into most of my nicer clothes. But, I recently realized why I have failed at my weight loss attempts for the past 4 years. It's because I am no longer fat / in the obese category as I was for 4 years. I'm not thin by any means (I'm in the overweight category), but I don't hate what I see anymore in the mirror, so the discomfort of not snacking or enjoying pizza does not outweigh the discomfort of not liking my reflection. So in other words my "long-term vision" (lose weight) which is suppossed to keep me motivated and focused on my goal (of not snacking) isn't working because my actual goal is "don't be fat" and I achieved it. With that in mind, my new goals are more fitness oriented. I will be 45 this year, and while writing my 5, 10, and 15 year vision (for 12 Week Year) of who and where I want to be, I realized my goal is to maintain (or up) my current level of fitness. We went to the zoo the other day, and while my mom and MiL went to the restroom, I ran up and down 3 flights of stairs. I want to be able to do that at 50, 55, and 60. I don't want age to stop me at anything fitness-wise. So, I need to get stronger and more flexible (which is part of this 12 week year goal) and then maintain that level of strength and flexibility. But working on that should by default help me achieve weight loss as well and so my goal is to be able to zip my puffer coat and button my 2 wool coats. Maybe, I will take pictures of how much they won't close. Side Quest/Warrior Goal: Do one complete pull up (or chin up). I've never done either one in my adult life (now in my 40's), and I have an old shoulder injury in the left and new shoulder injury I've only just recovered from in the right. So, in the event that a pull up is unrealistic to achieve in 12 weeks, I am leaving myself the chin up option. Also, I usually get up from the floor by doing split squat, putting both hands of my front knee, and pushing up with an old lady groan. No more. I watched a YouTube video on how to get up from the floor gracefully and have incorporated that into my lower body routine. The video pointed out that I have poor ankle mobility, so I will be incorporating an ankle mobility workout into my lower body routine. Side Quest/Druid Goal: Touch my toes. I've never done this in my adult life either. From sitting, my hands are about just past my knees (wrists over knees). From standing, my back is flat as a table (would like for my chest to touch my thighs). Again, I have no idea if this is a realistic goal or not. But there is bound to be flexibility improvements if I actually do yoga 3+ days a week (compared to 3x a year, which is about the norm for me). Any improvement would be nice. I have two yoga routines (one is a 10 minute full body, the other is a 12 minute leg and hip focus). I've also taken up Tai Chi Sword (I have two swords complete with tassels) and am really enjoying it. I tried a Tai Chi workout without the swords and it was boring / too slow. But put swords in my hands and I can do slow and deliberate like a boss, lol. But the TCS is not actually part of my goal. It's more a fun hobby that I took up that compliments my fitness goals.
  10. (Video of the 1930s Movie Scene of Christmas Present) Here in MN we are fully in Christmas Spirit, especially as the snow has come down and the cold is settling in. As the nights are getting longer. I'm far from being a Scrooge. However, I have some scars from Past years and worries of the future. I am being urged to do one thing. Sit in the present time. I have been urged to do this for a very long time, I however have a new understanding. To choose the discipline to sit with myself. I thought a nice Christmas spin, is sitting with the Ghost of Christmas Present. The happy and scary of seeing what i have setup for myself. The goal of this challenge is to take some time to be in the moment. Not just sit and meditate but to work on quieting the inner noise and allow room for something deeper. Ways I am going to focus this on this challenge: Continue a Morning Meditation Practice. Silence the noise in my home and be present in my life. I'm planning on keeping my phone and computer off unless to have intentional time on the computer. To allow for more intentional time. Take time to be thankful for what I have. I'm going to try to setup a practice to create a trigger to stop be thank 3-5 times a day Have a smoothie every morning. This for me has caused such an intentional practice, and also has been a helpful plan in my eating plan. Show up to my NF Coach goals daily. Stop worrying about the Future and the Pass and focus on what the plan is daily. Make room for Christmas Spirit in my home. Cleaning and decluttering for the new year. I also realize this is a perfect time to add some holiday cheer in my own apartment. This Challenge's Sidequest: Host a Christmas Feast. Due to being intentional with my time, I am putting the focus away from the computer. My goal is to check in at least weekly!
  11. Last challenge I had just started treatment for Lyme disease. I was really excited to get started, and then.... e The coconut hit me in the head. The antibiotics + anti vertigo meds won, and I had to take it MUCH easier than originally planned or thought. I thought I had set up a challenge to help me support healing, but a challenge was more than I could handle - in order to heal I needed to take that time off. The good news is that instead, I focused on two things: Healing (sleep, really, honestly) Focusing on things I could do - general around the house yard work and movement, planning the home gym, getting the equipment ordered (and for some set up), etc. Doc said we're looking at 6ish months for recovery, but it's going to be a slow build back. So while I was hoping I could just kick the lyme into the ocean... it looks like it's gonna be more like a slow roll and wash out to sea. I am feeling a LOT better - just need to be realistic here with what is possible. My goal is to be ready to do an actual lifting program starting in January. This is a very realistic timeline based on my experience with my recovery so far. But In order to do that, I need to focus on getting my dailies (or, pulling from a previous challenge, my garden), in order - and start actually training again, and getting my body ready to handle a heavier program. So it's time to get up put on my war paint (this stuff works like chalk, right? you just lather it on?) and gear up cuz it's go time While this list looks like a lot, outside of the movement goals, it's actually just a slow add on / slight modifications of what I'm doing already. 1) MOVEMENT: I have been able to keep up with walking each morning, and plan to continue to do the same. Row every day (at least 500m) Mobility work 5x/week (5 min minimum) Strength train 3x/week 2) NUTRITION Nutrition hasn't been bad, but I have been eating mostly just intuitively and I'm going to need to start paying more attention as I start to train again to make sure I'm getting enough of the right foods. I think this will be ezpz - and shouldn't be too far off what I'm doing. 4-6 servings of protein every day 4-6 servings of veggies every day 3) LIFE Go outside every afternoon (if the weather is terrible, I can be in the garage) - the simple act of walking outside helps my day so much, so let's make in an actual goal Yoga Nidra at night before bed - I am already taking the time to lay in the dark, I just now need to add the yoga nidra element Check in here at least 4x/week (this forces me to check in on my goals, so it's going to be an actual goal) And that's it! Good luck y'all!
  12. Last challenge was about embracing the stillness, and as we enter the final days of the year, the nights seem to be gobbling up the daylight, and the thin sunshine buffeted by wind, rain, and and a cold that crawls through the cracks. I have a list of things that need to be buttoned up before the end of the year. My focus this round is to go slowly, making time and space for what supports and sustains me. I've found that when I do this, and go gently, all the rest falls into place. Happy Solstice, friends.
  13. Hello, hello, This challenge I'll be trying to actually fulfill a regular daily goal. Yeah, I know, I might be asking too much of myself here. But I have a fitness regimen coming up with the fysiotherapist (I got myself in my new city of residence #2, which is where I work so I'll just keep this one even if I move elsewhere come Spring) & I want to get that going. The way I'll do that is to create mental and emotional space by firing my meditation practice back up. Aaand I think I might need to do something I did as a teen, which is to try different meditation styles until I find what works best for me again. Because what worked best for me back then, worked well for me until 2019. Then since then I kind of feel like I need to turn a new leaf, I guess. Besides my depression symptoms flaring back up like never before, they've subsided now and I cannot figure out a different reason why I can't just jump on the ol' bandwagon. Ah well. So make time for meditation every day. Is my one and only repetitive goal. I also need to cut Gordian knots with regards to which new health insurance to get. Do some (re)organisation in my financial administration. It's a work in progress. Get a new phone membership & cancel my old one (which was tied to me living at my parental home).
  14. Main Quest: Don't Gain Weight from now until January 10 (and lose the little I gained over this Thanksgiving weekend) Side Quest: Practice Tai Chi Sword (3x a week minimum) Side Quest: Lift Weights (4x a week minimum) Main Quest. I've been struggling to get out of the 160's for months. Months and months and months. (Technically about 2 years. But let's not go there.) I finally hit 159 mid November, then shot back up to 163. Then back to 159 right before thanksgiving. I'm sure I'm up again . . . but I refuse to get on the scale. Need a few more days between Thanksgiving and now. Once I'm back at 159, I am hoping to maintain that from now through the Christmas holiday. If I can actually lose some too, that would be cool. But if I can just enter 2023 in the 150's even if it's 159, I'll be stoked. Side Quests. Tai Chi Sword and Weight Lifting. Basically just trying to be consistent. I do both about 2-3x a week. I would like to get that to 4-6x a week. I would love for it to become so second nature that I actually notice when I don't workout (and miss it!) rather than, late at night, realizing, oh, man, I forgot to workout again. My life is a bit out of the norm right now (have family visiting), but I will have my house to myself again come next week (Dec 5th). At that time, it'll be much easier to get back into my normal routine (less food in the house, less junk food in the house, less eating out). So this week, I'm trying to get back to 159, but there's still several more "family eating events" between now and then. I've been upping my workouts to try and compensate. I'm glad my December social calendar is pretty empty after this coming weekend, lol.
  15. Intro: Preparations indeed. The second half of 2022 was a rollercoaster and 2023 has a big change in store for our family: a new baby boy. Pumpkin and Sweet Pea are very excited and will be amazing siblings. Pumpkin is excited he's getting a brother this time and Sweet Pea wants to meet 'her' baby already. The last couple months have been,,, rough. I'm feeling more myself now and I feel the need to get back to my habits so I can stay in this much better headspace. (Though running is now on the back burner, obviously. Switched to walking for now.) 1. Set up the 2023 BuJo. I've picked up a new journal already. Some of my 2022 spreads were really effective but others are embarrassingly blank... I need to evaluate what worked and what didn't. I also need to put some thought into what I need from my journal for the next 6 months. Its going to look different from last year's journal. And that's okay. This is also lowkey 2023 goal planning with Bard. We do this every year in December. It's good, we really bond over excitement for the new year. The goals typically influence some of my spreads. 2. Start Konmari Method. This is probably nesting, but it's really overdue. We moved into this house when Sweet Pea was 6 weeks old. We've been here 2 years and if I don't put the house in order before baby gets here, it will be 2+ more years before its done. I can't handle another 2 years of barely contained chaos. Bard is on board and enthusiastic so we're diving in. Clothes start this weekend. The KonMari spread will be in the 2023 journal.
  16. The view from the top of this small mountain is magnificent, and Scalyfreak enjoys every moment of the long lunch break she takes in the sun, while admiring the view. She especially takes care to admire the view of the road leading up to her mountain top, in case anyone was following her or just happens to travel in the same direction. And sure enough, just as she's finished up her meal, Scalyfreak sees movement on the road. One solitary figure, moving on two legs... tall too, with a strangely familiar silhouette. It could be Procrastination. Hmmm. Scalyfreak glances over at her weapons, taken off for the meal, but kept within easy reach, and contemplates what to do. Wait for the creature and ambush it? Or finish her eating, pack up quickly, and leave before the demon notices her. It's an easy decision. Life is difficult enough without seeking out battles against powerful enemies. And so Scalyfreak quickly dons her weapons, packs up her gear and start walking swiftly down the side of the mountain, in a direction that takes her away from the approaching Procrastination, eating her last roll of bread as she goes. Before diving into the “few and small” goals for this challenge period, here's a brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: Since I know I'm going to have a couple of major disruptions during this challenge (visits from family members, as well as time off from work), I'm keeping it simple and continuing to do what has worked well in the past, while focusing on consistency. Recover HP (physical health) Continue with my Darebee program (Square 1 – super simple and low effort, which removes almost all excuses). The official goal is to complete one single set. Just one. That's easy. I can do one single set no matter what kind of day I've had. Assuming I meet my goal of one set per day, I will finished Square 1 during this challenge. So my secondary HP goal is to select the program I'll move on to after completing Square 1. Restore Mana (Mental Health) Same goal as last challenge – meditate every day. I have a history of really struggling to remember to do this on days that are not work days, and I'm about to have two weeks of time off from work during this challenge. Regenerate Stamina (emotional bandwidth) Also same goal as the last challenge: Deliberately do at least one thing every day for no other reason than because I know I will enjoy it.
  17. As I write this, I’m moving at a sloth’s pace, as I have been all week. I mentioned on Wednesday that it seems I just can’t get out of second gear, but what I’ve discovered along the way is that second gear is actually just fine: everything is getting done, and nothing is getting broken. This is The Way. The rest of the week saw an increase in slowness until I’m nearly a caricature of movement. In t’ai chi many years ago, my instructor watched as I completed the form at my slow, methodical pace and then nodded and said “Now do it just like that, but slower.” I feel as though that’s what’s happening now: The earth is tilting away from the sun, and the Universe has seen my good efforts of the past six months and said: “Now do it just like that, but slower.” Then, as now, I had no clue how to go slower. My only guide was the one rule I found that made sense for t’ai chi: Finish each move before you go on to the next. Putting that into practice resulted in a deeper center, a form that led (literally) from my heart. This is where I am this round: leading my life from the heart, deepening my center, nurturing each movement before going on to the next. My specific focus this challenge is to work on and with my immediate environment, clearing the deck, allowing space and time for each slow movement. The Tao has a chapter about nothing being hurried and everything getting done. The chapter ends, “In stillness all under heaven rests.” This is my focal point for the remainder of the year, for there is action that will be needed. I have items that need to be purged. I have a relationship with my daughter to nurture. I have class work to complete. I have a job that needs attendance. My supports along the way include the sauna, acupuncture, and simple food. And lots of rest. This is a different sort of training, one marked not by numbers but by availability: my energy must be gathered, my view unencumbered. This is the stillness of the moment before the arrow is loosed.
  18. Well, hello there! Thumbnail background: Major disruption to the last challenge led to a reevaluation of the epic goals led to a toned down autumn (and a name change). Time to get back on the horse with a little lighter outlook. Diet goal: dial in the macros, dial down the evening carb fest. Meal planning and tracking is in order, plus setting the hard stop at 8pm. I’ll call it a good day if macros are within 20% of goal for now, and if there’s no eating after 8. Workout goal: 2 strength and 2 cardio per week, at least 30 minutes each, and at least 10 minutes yoga daily. I think last time I was wearing myself down, so we’ll see how this feels. Lifestyle goals: Daily meditation, proper sleep, and less chemical energy management. At least 10 minutes meditation once per day (hoping for more). Lights out by 10:30, at least 7.5 hours sleep daily. No more than 3 cups of coffee, at least 4 cups water daily, and no more than 4 servings of alcohol per week. That’s a pretty gentle goal set, but I’m feeling like I need to build the base a little longer, build intensity a little more slowly, be a little gentler on the body but a little harder on the mind. Here goes!
  19. Main Objectives: Save money Prevent costs by investing in durable conveniency Make my nest Hone my Craft (job) Main goals: Breathe Keep finding joy in the struggle Don't worry about the rest The rest: No 2 consecutive evenings without doing some dishes Yoga before bed Give body physical rest starting 11PM
  20. Howdy folks! Long time no see. I guess I've finally reached the limit of how much stress and being backed into a corner I can endure and I lashed out at work on Friday. This is not acceptable. I don't want it to happen ever again. So it's back to basics. This is one of these dry, checking boxes, types of challenges. There is a lot of venting that needs to happen but that is not what I want to happen here. This place is for focus. I am not planning on taking energy to actively try to answer comments, this challenge is specifically to give me leeway not to care and focus all my resources toward recovering and rebuilding my mental health. While I thank you deeply for the support you have provided so far, and for the support you may provide going forward, you should not come here with expectations. My goal is self-reflection and self-tracking. 3 areas of focus : Mindset Rest: take out my sleeping bag, go somewhere remote, sleep. No computer, no phone, no internet, just an alarm buzzer in case I need it. Checking time for this is 10 pm. Protect your time: take 30 minutes for myself in the morning at work and freeze the Wednesday morning to work on my own projects. During those hours, I don't exist. No phones, no emails and most importantly, no interruptions from coworkers. To enforce this, earbuds will be on during those times. This will be communicated in no equivocal terms on Wednesdey 2nd, morning. Checks : [ ] went out by 10 pm [ ] took my 30 minutes of freedom in the morning [ ] worked on my projects on Wednesday morning Eating Cook and eat every morning: 1 croque-monsieur, 1 egg, 1 mug of coffee. Cook and eat in the evening: stir fry of vegetables and potatoes, 1 meat. Drink herbal tea instead of coffee during the afternoon, at work. Checks : [ ] ate breakfast [ ] drank no coffee at work this afternoon [ ] ate dinner Exercising Alternate between core exercise days and running days. Practice low effort pseudo tai-chi as warmup-cooldown Checks : [ ] did exercise today [ ] did practice some pseudo tai-chi And this is it. Start date is tomorrow, I'm off to gear on and fill my pantry today. Be great and overcome.
  21. Happy to do my 8th challenge here! Check out my last challenge:
  22. Welcome, dear folks, to a reboot. I made a topic earlier this challenge but I find myself needing a new one. I won't make it a habit. The challenge goals, which were not formulated yet, are as follows: - Drink at least 1,5 liter of water + tea - Find the fun in the struggle - Show up (don't worry about the rest) The rest: - Take mini-meditations during work time (keep my job while in chaos) - Take a walk during lunch time - Journal and write down what I feel and what I want every evening - Don't leave dirty dishes for more than two evenings in a row
  23. I've decided to embrace RangerBrain and enjoy some variety as well as maintain a consistent core of practice. Base: Log food and activity in WW's app Do SOME sort of workout daily Participate in the NF Walking challenge All of the base goals are on a spectrum of success, and any activity that is an improvement on the slough of despair and inaction will count as success. Fun: The Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos is the inspiration for daily activities and/or study. Every day, I'll do something that would fit within the focus of the 5 Strixhaven University colleges. More about that will emerge as the challenge progresses, but I will be taking a pottery class (throwing on the wheel) during the challenge. Since this is a fairly light semester, I MAY also write some fanfiction as I go.
  24. Okay, so beginning of last challenge, things were feeling like this: Right now, things are feeling a bit better, like this: My goal is by the end of the challenge, for things feel like this: TL:DR; (or really, too long to write and there's no need to bore everyone with details We sold our house in May with the intention of full time travel, and in a total plot twist we have decided to stay in New England and take over my mother's property, which has been challenging on a lot of fronts (both in amount of work involved and the emotional elements). After 2.5 months, we now have the majority of her stuff out of the house, we have the basic repairs done that make this property livable, and a lot of the paperwork is almost done, so it's starting to finally feel like we can breathe a bit and start to actually settle in without having 100 urgent things banging down at us constantly. I'm also entering my last year of my 30's during this challenge, and while I'm inherently okay with aging and don't have an issue with it, I am definitely starting to have a lot of feels around it and I'm sure the fact we're moving my mother into senior housing and looking at her "final" phase in life isn't helping the emotions. This is going to be a heavily druid challenge, really, because yoga will be a forefront. I've been able to really keep up: Daily Walks (just hit 1,000 in a row yesterday) Veggies with every meal Water Things that are going better after last challenge, but I'm still struggling with: Movement: I hit daily movement most days in the form of yard work and moving stuff and cleaning, but I need to start actually doing full workouts again. Nightly Stretching/Yoga: I started off last challenge with 1-2x a week and now I'm stretching a good 6/7 nights Routine: With everything as crazy as it's been, everything's changing often and it's been Relaxing and calming down: I feel like I'm constantly in go-go-go mode and can't turn off. This is affecting both my physical and mental health and my anxiety is through the roof because of it. I've been experimenting with yoga nidra and some general breathing stuff, and that's already helping, but I'm definitely in the very beginning of learning to practice these things. I started logging food with MacroFactor, and am loving it. I'm NOT going to make this a goal, but just wanted to make note I am doing it and working on it, but it's the lowest of my priorities and is something that will start to feel easier the better I get at my actual goals. So, with that, since routine is a part of the problem, instead of trying to write out and stick to a perfect routine, I'm going to tie different time constraints into my goals. Obviously if I don't make time constraints, I'm not going to either not do it or not give myself credit for doing it, but the goal is to build in some anchors within my day at which I take care of myself, and that I'm not forgetting about it till 11pm. GOALS: 1) Be outside for my walk within 30 minutes of waking up I've got the daily walking in the morning first thing habit down (just hit 1,000 days in a row yesterday!), but what we don't have defined is what is "first thing". One of my scheduling struggles is getting out of bed on time, for no reason other than I don't have schedule restraints that prevent me from doing so, being the most eastern located person on my team. So the goal is to get outside and be walking within 30 min of that alarm and waking up. Eventually, I'd like that to be less, but for now, even 20 seems unrealistic. 2) Yoga Nidra, Breathing, or Meditation Every single day. You'll notice this is my second listed goal, because it needs to be a priority and is going to be insanely hard for me to do. I don't have to do these well, but I do need to put in an effort. I specifically want to focus on Yoga Nidra, as it's highly recommended in therapy circles with some things I'm struggling with with a lot of great data to back it up, but breathing exercises or meditation would work as an alternative in a pinch. My goal is to do this after lunch each day, before heading back to work, but any time throughout the day works. 3) Daily Exercise of at least 30 minutes. I will do this before work at least 3 days each work week, and the rest of the days I need to start by 3pm, unless otherwise planned for. This can be strength, cardio, or work around here (sometimes the physical labor here is harder than a workout ) - but I've got to get it done. * 4) Yoga before bed Can be any length or style, but must start by 10:30pm. *We have 4 cats + felix now, as my Mom had 2, so this gif is more appropriate than I'd like to admit. 5) Spellbooks / Scheduling This has been a focus, but hasn't been specific enough to really measure how well I'm doing or not. i also have been forced to really focus on the day to day, vs the larger picture, so: Schedule in anchor tasks into calendar, and then schedule everything else around them Start each week with a list of goals I want to accomplish, and break that down by day At the end of each day, review what went well and didn't go well and adjust for the next day if there are any adjustments to make, and plan the next day. Be honest with myself about what didn't go well - if it's mental health, that's fine, if I'm too busy, that's fine, but if I don't do something because mental health and I say it's because I'm busy, that's not fine Start to look out at this month, next month, etc - especially since we have a longer term plan now, and have a full house of renos to do, the better I am at being realistic with timelines and when things can happen, the less time we'll be living in a construction zone, or we can at least minimize it. But also - I don't want to miss out on life because of renos, so just trying to fit in necessary life things like doctor's appointments and hair cuts, but also some fun like ren faires and oktoberfests And that's it! Good luck y'all!
  25. N.B. - Challenge goals will follow shortly. This challenge will be about forging inner armor again. I hope I will settle before my gym Summer Deal membership ends, though. The main concept is this. If I really want it, the world is mine. My world is mine. I don't have to defend or explain anyone my choices, if I'm not asking to change or impose something upon their lives. And if I do, it is all up for discussion. But ultimately, if we don't have views on how to move forward that mesh with my most important principles, or if we do have it but they don't have the feeling of independence to stand their ground on these principles we both feel the same on, I can choose to leave. Let people call me selfish, let them call me unreasonable. I'm not afraid to sound like my mother anymore. I know I am doing my best to keep others' best interest at heart. But never, again, at the cost of my own health. I know what's best for me. It is part of life to make mistakes, and I take ownership for them. My life starts now.
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