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  1. Another challenge is here and once again I'm building it around my mindfulness practice. I decided that for 2017 I'm renewing my commitment to my practice of Soto Zen Buddhism, which has been on and off for about a decade now. The practice centers on daily zazen (sitting meditation) and mindfulness practice throughout the day. This practice has in recent months been helping me re-center and rebuild my life and has proven effective with controlling my mood and depression, hunger, and is currently helping me reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Plus it is really helping me better appreciate every moment and live more fully. I have two goals for the year related to this. The first is to explore the different Sanghas (buddhist communities/churches) in/near Indy. The second is to go to a seshin (meditation retreat) which is usually 3-5 days of just meditation, work, eating, and sleeping. So this challenge is about improving my zazen practice and endurance, and using mindfulness to improve my health, fitness, and life in general. Goal 1: Zazen Sit in "lotus" or seiza for meals at home. Spending more time in a criss legged sitting posture should help me increase my flexibility and endurance in zazen. I also need to: Maintain daily zazen practice (@least 10 min) Do stretches before zazen Do one long session (40+ min) once a week Side quests: Caffeine causes scatterbrainededness, and alcohol diminishes awareness. So... 1) No caffeine for 30 days 2) No alcohol for 30 days These will be ongoing, resetting after failure until I achieve all 30 days on both. Reward: I'll buy a French press for single servings of coffee afterward. Goal 2: Nutrition Here are some dietary observations I've accumulated. Meat: Makes emotions more intense, especially red meat. To little interferes with sleep. I need to experiment more with fish. Grains: wheat/gluten are fine, a are oats and rice. Barley and rye cause bloat/gas/discomfort. Dairy: Milk and lots of whey/milk protein causes gas/bloat/discomfort. Eating high quantities of dairy send to cause mild seeking and mucus formation in the throat and nasal passes and overall puffiness. Soy: Is fine with me. Legumes: canned and pressure cooked are fine, but otherwise cause gas/bloat/discomfort. Nuts/sees: limit to small handfuls. To much causes constipation and bloat. Peanuts are mildly irritating. Tubers: white potatoes cause more fullness but are mildly irritating. Sweet potatoes do not. Sugar: Every time i eat a sugary snack/soda/candy/dessert i feel fatter at the end of the day. Literally, my stomach seems fuller and more jiggly. In light odd these observations I'll focus on the challenges that are most difficult to surmount. Track meat consumption vs. sleep quality I'll just be jotting firm days i eat meat on my calendar and noting my sleep quality each morning. Limit dairy and sugar I'm going to make conscious decisions to not consume or substitute these in various recipes. Eat more root vegetables Eat a tuber everyday. Replace some carbs with more tuber veggies. Buy more fresh tubers at the store, and try new ones out ones I've not had in a while. Goal 3, Exercise: Break a Sweat 6 days per week. Barbell, treadmill, kettlebell, bodyweight... 30 min., 20 min., 5 min.? No matter. Just break a sweat. I also want to go to the actual gym at least once a week, i am paying for membership after all. LUYL_1: Manage finances Spend one hour a week with my mind on my money. Making spreadsheets, planning a budget, going through receipts, clip coupons, read about saving and paying off debt, retirement plans, investments. Whatever. One hour. I currently don't really think about money until there's a problem... and that's why I'm in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. Sidequest: have enough extra cash lying around at the end of cheyenne to buy a cable modem and wifi router. LUYL_2: Art Paint and complete at last one painting each week. Grading: Basically I've got my dry erase board calendar set up. Every time I do a thing for a goal, including side quests etc. I make a doodle or dot on the calendar. If the calendar is reasonably congested with squiggles and dots while i contemplate the progress I've made and the challenges i faced during the 1+4 weeks... Cool. If it's empty, not cool.
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