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  1. (tl:dr for those of just joining: I shoot really big bows and have a newly diagnosed connective tissue disorder) The last challenge had me exploring my CON stat, which is at least at -1, and boy, was it a challenge! It turned out that I blew my knees out weightlifting in my previous STR-focused challenged, and I've had to quit my gym and go into PT. Gym offered to rehab me, but after showing my PT the workouts they had planned, they recommended that I ... don't do them. B/c they're way too hard. After quitting and 10 days of PT, my knees have been feeling a ton better. So! I decided to go with the most convenient thing possible for my cardio and walk. The plan for this challenge is to walk for at least 30 minutes/day. To make it fun, I'll use the Zombies, Run! app on a timed, no chases setting (the missions are around 30 minutes long), my Fitbit, and the Charity Miles app. What I would like to work up to is what the author of Blue Zones recommends: an hour of walking, with 30-40 mins of cycling or swimming every other day & two hours on the weekends. My knees aren't cleared for biking at the moment, but I think I will find something else that can work. For example, the PT recommended pilates as a way to work on strength without injuring myself -- I've never done it before, but I'm willing to try. Regardless, I'm going through a bout of extreme fatigue at the moment, and the half hour of walking + PT exercises should be a good starting point.
  2. Hi, Monks! I have missed this place. Here's the deal: since we've last spoken, I got diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder, and have been instructed to avoid hitting, running, jumping, or anything that involves joint manipulation. I have had to regroup and figure out what I CAN do these days. So far: 1. My primary practice of kyudo is fine! Yay! 2. Aikido is out, so are pretty much all contact sports and arts. Taiji is fine. 3. Weights are the best thing that I can do and I should do them a lot. 4. Cardio has been super confusing. Now that I'm listening to my body, I have noticed that practically everything messes with my joints, even the low-impact activities. Cycling? My knees click and then are sore. Swimming? Shoulders and knees. Walking? Hips and knees and back. (Sleeping? My shoulder subluxes. Turning the steering wheel? My wrist pops.) So, I'm still exploring here. Additionally, I left the meditation community that I have been a part of for the last 10 years due to revelations of senior teacher misconduct. Like, bad, you guys. The departure has been tremendously painful. I am still committed to the Dharma path, but at the moment, I am practicing solo. For this four-week challenge, I'd like to focus on STR and attend at least two lift classes per week, with a max of four. Here's the stat breakdown: STR - two one-hour lift classes per week under adult (trainer) supervision. No olympic lifts. CON - as a side quest, look into all possible cardio options. DEX - no stretching. Yoga is dead to me now. I mean, for the last 7 years, I thought I was really good at yoga. Turns out my ligaments just don't hold my joints together and that's why I can contort myself into any weird-ass shape. Also, turns out that having poor-ass proprioception is a side effect of loose joints, and in fact, my dexterity is a lot lower than I thought. That's right, I'm an archer with shitty Dex. Let's hope I can use my WIS or INT modifier. WIS - still keeping up my daily meditation practice; śamatha-style, nothing fancy. I've been considering learning more about Zen, which I have always been drawn to, but have followed a different lineage. INT - I'm doing some Spanish lessons on Duolingo and keeping up on French. CHA - ~dump stat~ ~~ duuuuump stat ~~
  3. 6.16 Heat and cold, the wind and rain, Sickness, prison, beatings— I’ll not fret about such things. To do so only aggravates my trouble. --Śantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva Hi! During the last challenge, having come back to aikido, I ran into some issues with my joints. I'm looking into it, but meanwhile, I'm going to follow the sage's advice, keep calm, and do physical therapy exercises every work day at 3 pm. We have a group that meets and does bodyweight circuits at the office, so it'll be nice to have consistency and company. Other stuff I'm doing: STR - focusing on this stat! I'm using resistance bands to stabilize my hyperflexible shoulders. CON - I've taken a hit to CON, thanks to a nasty cold I brought back from my trip to Sweden earlier this month. I'm not running right now, but I'm walking dogs for 30 mins/day most days as a side gig. DEX - my usual go-to, yoga, is out for now. Tai chi is dex-based, right? WIS - still meditating 10-30 mins/day. INT - daily French. Not sure if I'm going to continue learning Swedish. There is no one to practice with and all the Swedes speak English. CHA - downloaded an app called 3 Good Things that reminds me to fill out three good things about my day.
  4. So, I'm going to Stockholm for the first week of March, and I need to learn the entirety of Swedish. No new exercise programs here! INT is stat of the month. The challenge is to complete a skill on Duolingo every day. If any of you folks are on Duolingo, please let me know and I will connect with you there. Status report: STR * there is a group of people at work who meets at 3 pm every day to do a 15-minute bodyweight circuit, which is pretty difficult, not gonna lie. I try to join them every day, unless I have meetings scheduled at that time CON * the weather is shady, but I'm going on at least one run per week. If the snow lets up, I'd love to start biking to work again DEX * I'd like to do a daily 5-minute stretch INT* * learning Swedish, keeping up on my French WIS * at least 10 mins meditation/day, aiming at 30 mins CHA * having watched the new Queer Eye on Netflix, I am inspired to uplift my daily wardrobe Monk stuff: aikido 2x/week, kyudo 1x/week, tai chi ... occasionally.
  5. Spoiler: it IS just sitting (insert Firefly gif here). Instead of a resolution, I am picking a theme for the 2018 Earth Dog Year, and it is contentment. To be honest, I have no idea what that word means. I've been raised to believe that if I am happy where I am, I will never be a good person; that striving is actually what makes you a good person. The teachings, however, state the opposite. Overachieving is a hard habit to break, but I will dedicate myself to the practice of contentment this year. Therefore, the challenge is simple: spend 1 hour, 5 days a week meditating. It can be śamatha, vipaśana, any number of compassion practices, or walking meditation, as long as it is not only walking meditation. The sessions can be broken up in any way, they just have to add up to an hour. That is twice my normal sitting time, but I think it's doable with proper planning. WIS is supposed to be my main stat. I am continuing to maintain 3-5x/week running habit with occasional yoga, doing French & Swedish lessons on Duolingo (I dropped Codewars for now b/c it was getting overwhelming to code all day at work and then code some more), and going to Kyudo practice on Sundays. I'm planning on setting up a target in my backyard this year, but right now it is far too cold to practice outside. For those who were following the last challenge, I've got an appointment about my sleep test results on January 25th, so I can't wait! After the cold snap these holidays, I have been experimenting with high intensity jump rope exercises instead of running outside, and while they feel wonderful physically, I do not get the same mood boost that moving my feet in the sunshine brings. Perhaps I will supplement my usual activities with jump rope, but I'm not promising anything.
  6. The title of the thread is a reference to The Six Root Verses of the Six Bardos, specifically: At this time, when the bardo of dream appears to you, Abandon the heedlessness of the delusory sleep of a corpse. Enter into the nature of mindfulness and nonwandering. Recognizing dreams, practice transformation and luminosity. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Mind Beyond Death. I'm not planning on doing any dream yoga or lucid dreaming: friends, I'd just like to fricken sleep through the night. Bring on the delusory sleep of a corpse! I've always been a light sleeper, but lately I've been waking up at 3 am and tossing/turning for at least a couple of hours. I am tired all the fricken time (except at 3 am, apparently). My most common thought during the day is fantasizing about naps, even in the middle of a good run. Now, I do all the normal things: I drink on more than one cup of coffee, turn off electronics at least an hour before bed, have a good bedtime routine, and fall asleep pretty fast initially. OTC medication makes me groggy, and I wake up in the middle of the night anyway, but then I'm tossing and turning groggily. I got a weighted blanket last month, it did nothing. I don't want to go on actual sleep medication, bc that stuff freaks me out: I had a roommate who sleepwalked on Ambien. Sure, she unloaded the dishwasher in the middle of the night, and that was pretty nice, but how weird! But, my noble nerd sangha, I am still going to get this shit under control. Here is the plan: DEX I didn’t follow through with this part of the challenge last time, and I’m afraid my back is paying for it. Part of the reason for my sleep issues, I think, is waking up in the middle of the night with back pain. Thanks, scoliosis and chronic illness that creates inflammation. You’re real buds. So, let’s try this again: yoga 2x/week (Tu, Th, bonus Sun night) CON (I’m still running; current plan: M, W, F at lunch & bonus Sat morning) This month’s challenge is unf*cking my sleep, which is a CON challenge. I’m going to make more of a concrete plan to tackle it in the coming month. CHA I couldn’t think of any connection between charisma and sleep, so, of course, I googled it. Turns out, sleep deprived leaders are perceived as having less charisma. Surprise! Therefore, I’m rolling CON & CHA into one for these four weeks ~look it's all my dump stats~ INT (I’m still doing French/Swedish/codewars) Try CBT techniques/worry journal so that I don’t stare at the ceiling at 3 am going over The Master List of Every Wrong Decision In My Life or Where Did I Put Those Gloves, Anyway? WIS Signed up for a free 30-day trial on Calm. Going to do a body scan meditation before bed. STR This doesn't have anything to do with sleep, and it was the focus of my last challenge, so I'm putting it at the bottom as a 'bonus stat' One of the archery instructors recommended that I work on finger and forearm strength. Taking @Kishi’s advice, I have not canceled my climbing gym membership, and will put it to good use! I scheduled myself for a beginner climbing workshop and may possibly go to a bouldering meetup once a week. I’ll get back to you on that. Continuing the 100 Pushups challenge: pushups Tu, Th, Sat Full disclosure: I’m just doing Week 1 over and over again, because I’m still struggling a lot with it
  7. Hi! Just finished my first challenge, and I am now joining the Monks. I do kyudo, a.k.a. Zen archery. My first martial art was aikido, which I practiced both as a teenager (got injured and stopped for about seven years), and as an adult (got sick and stopped for about four years). I keep telling myself that I will go back to it one day, but I also accidentally developed a lot of injury-related hangups around aikido, so I'm gonna have to go ahead and work through those. I usually try to keep my endeavors well-rounded across the stat spectrum; I'm not a min-maxer by any means. My last challenge has been working on my CON - got a chronic illness, CON takes a hit, so I did a Zombie C25K program to bring it up. So far, running has been a lifesaver. The plan is to focus on a stat for each challenge, maintain what I'm doing for all stats, but only add something new for the Focus Stat. This time around, I'm picking STR. STR GMB Elements. I got the program a while ago, but got stuck halfway through. So, I got 4 weeks left - perfect for a challenge. DEX Yoga 2x/wk CON Keep up running at least 5x/week Bonus: cut 5 mins off that 5K (I'm at 39 mins now) INT Daily Swedish practice on Duolingo (I'm going to Stockholm in March!) Bonus: also French + daily katas on Codewars WIS keep up that daily meditation streak. Keep it up into eteeeeernity. It's been a year and a haaaaalf~ CHA (welcome to my dump stat) so, this is kind of weird, but I'm pretty sure that I am one of those monks that has undertaken the vow of cleanliness. IRL. There are some strong words in the writings regarding Buddhism in general, and my lineage specifically that instruct practitioners to keep themselves and their surroundings clean. Pretty sure chores are about 80% of my religious practice. So I should actually...you know...do them. Keep the ol' house and clothes looking good. Unf*ck Your Habitat has some good lists that I usually follow, but it's just time to be more intentional about it.
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