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  1. And maybe always has been? Hello friends its been like...actual years. How goes it. Knife to see you again. With the seasons changing and some of the crises of the last few years calming down a bit (literally covid-19 was like a 4 out of 10 of what’s been happening since I was last here,) I got the urge to work towards some goals! A little over a month ago I was up at 3am and was like “I need to learn to juggle knives” and since I had bought some dulled knives for our Roomba (and they came in a large pack) I dug those out and started messing around. I was, predictably, terrible. I couldn’t even throw them from one hand to the other or flip the knife one time in my hand and reliably catch it. No I don’t know how to juggle other things already. Should I have looked up a youtube video on juggling? Anyway I’ve been screwing with that for about a month and sent a progress video to my friend and he was like “I expect to see a Loki cosplay in the future now that you have the skills” and this was on the same day I took a ‘what superhero are you’ uQuiz and got Loki (and a scathingly accurate mental health commentary? uQuiz you don’t need to go so hard.) I hadn’t thought about this character in like 6 years lol, but it keeps sliding into my orbit (especially since the new show came out, which I have Opinions™ on.) Since it fits all my goals for this challenge I’m going with a Loki theme. Skill Goal: Get to 10 reps with juggling three knives I am currently solid with 3 reps in a row. I have ONE time done 7 in a row. I think it was a fluke, however I believe that with solid practice, I will be able to nail 10 reps in a row at least once, even as a fluke, in 5 weeks. Method: Daily juggling practice, even just for a few minutes. Preferably for about a half hour a day. For reasonableness, I’ll call this a pass at an average of 5 days/week. Motivation (why I want it): I’ve been getting seriously into circus arts lately and a variety of knife tricks is just one of many things I’ve wanted to do since childhood. My eventual year-long goal is to hit 100 reps, which might be a long shot, but I’m taking it in steps. Fitness Goal: 360 Inward Dive Roll Ehhhhh sort of lol. So the roll itself is actually a long term goal. It’s well outside of my current skill level. Fitness Goal: 360 Inward Dive Roll Improve overhead strength so that I do not break my fragile little neck Method: This is a little more free-form than I usually like my goals, but I’m going to be working a variety of things. The Specific and Measurable part of the method is to do a full handstand workout each Monday. It’s a 30 minute routine that really works on the handstand strength, for holding duration and also HSPU work. The less specific and measurable part is when I’m messing around with my tumbling practice (Wednesday Thursday Friday) I’m going to squirrel around with some roll variations, getting my easy dive rolls dialed in, trying different ways to roll out of a handstand, ect. Not too much strength work, but movement exploration/making new neural pathways. Motivation: The 360 inward roll is one of the most advanced rolls in a list of rolls I want to know how to do, to throw into parkour stuff and tricking and just cool looking flows. I’m going to work my way through them piece by piece until I get to the “Final boss” lol. This video shows a lot of the rolls I want to get locked in: Life Goal: Mental Friggin Health Because we all know Loki is the poster child of a stable mental condition. Interestingly enough, I have just started the therapy that Loki actually needs lol. With all the latest Loki hype on tumblr I’ve been seeing a lot of meta, and many by actual psychologists that say he has all the diagnostic criteria for Borderline personality disorder (not narcissism, frell you Michael Waldren?) And I just got officially diagnosed with BPD this week (*worlds most pathetic party sounds* yayyyy…….) But while that sucks, I have been told that if someone takes therapy seriously and does the work, symptoms can be reduced to almost none in an average of 5 years. I am nothing if not a hard worker. So. Method: It’s a two-parter. 1. I’m supposed to do the mindfulness thing. Back on the headspace app I go. I need to restart this habit into something long-term and really focus on making it happen EVERY day. 2. Do all my therapy homework. It looks like this therapist is into that pretty often. Motivation: While I’ve always been hostile toward therapy, honestly I’m really ready to stop being everyone’s problem. So I’ll even try this. And any scientific endeavor is useless if you don’t commit to the experiment. Alright guys,
  2. The evening breeze curled playfully around the hillside where Eamon and I had spread out our picnic several hours before, surrounding us with the spicy damp scent of trees exhaling their warmth from the day and the soft hum of insects serenading each other in the dusk light. Night was falling, and the village vista far below had quieted, with lamps lit in windows and a softening of the sounds of bustling carts and brisk voices. Our conversation, too, had softened into a comfortable silence; and I curled into the space underneath Eamon's strong arm, resting my head on his shoulder and letting his body support my weight. It was my favorite kind of evening, where in privacy I could tell and show my partner how deeply I loved him - but as happened so often on those evenings, instead of being filled with bright warmth and loving happiness, I was hollowed out with the frosty stillness of my ice powers, as numb and lifeless as a forest clearing buried in midwinter snow. I ached with wishing I could just once feel the love and delight I knew I felt for him underneath the chill - but no matter how hard I tried to shake free, I was locked inside, all my emotions buried underneath the cold. I laughed when he joked or flirted, said all the things I knew in my head that I would say if I could feel anything - but I was sure that somehow, even in the dimming light, he had to see the deadness in my eyes and hear the hollow emptiness in my laughter. I didn't understand why it was happening and that made it even worse. As we gazed quietly down across the valley, Eamon unexpectedly reached over to take my hand - and I thought I saw him flinch the tiniest bit when his warm fingers contacted my frigid palm. Still, he didn't hesitate as he enveloped my small hand in his big one, and he said calmly as if nothing had happened, "You know, I heard from a friend a few villages over that some of the harvest festivals might take place this year. If you like, I could ask him for more information and we could try to go. It might even be after the wedding, so we could go together. What do you think?" I looked sorrowfully down at the dull blue glow of the runes on my bare wrists and arms, and two cold tears rose in my eyes. "Eamon," I whispered, "I'm sorry I'm not going to be a better wife for you." Immediately Eamon shifted to gaze down into my eyes, his heavy brows lowered over concerned blue eyes. "What are you talking about?" I spread my palms and bit back tired tears at the scars and patterns that laced across my hands and forearms, all of which were glowing a jagged, frosty blue instead of the golden light of healing and compassion that seemed so elusive these days. Words and emotions jumbled up in my thoughts, until all that would come out was, "I'm sorry I'm ... not normal. I'm ... sorry I'm ... broken." Eamon sighed heavily and pulled me close to his heart, pressing his warm hand over the cold one I rested miserably on his chest. "Sky," he said, firmly but gently, "I love you. Because you're you. I wish I could do something to help you heal and make your life easier - and if there ever is anything I can do, I will gladly do that, because I want you to be happy. But even if nothing ever changes - even if you feel this way for the rest of our lives - I'm going to love you and be here with you anyway. Not because you're perfect, not because things are simple and easy, but because you're my best friend and the woman I love and want in my life. Nothing will ever change that." "I know," I mumbled. "I just wish I were -" "- perfect," Eamon supplied. I looked up at him, startled. "What?" "You want to be perfect and flawless. But honey, that's not how anything works. I'm not perfect and neither are you. But we don't have to be." His words reminded me of one of my counselor's favorite sayings - "Breathe in, and when you breathe out, release your need for perfection and say to yourself, 'This is good enough,'", she always said. "I don't want you to suffer and I do want you to heal. But that's not for my sake. I'll love you no matter what. And part of how I'm going to love you is by supporting your healing journey any way I can." Maybe allowing love to come into your brokenness is part of being good enough, I wondered to myself. Maybe accepting that two broken people are going to have mess and pain and needs - and can still bring all the love they have to give - maybe that's good enough. Maybe it's good enough to be unwell or irritable or frustrated or half-healed or struggling, together. "Okay?" Eamon leaned back to smile into my face, and for the first time all evening, a tiny spark of hope flickered in my heart as I smiled back. "I may not be perfect, but I'm good enough," I whispered back. Eamon beamed and kissed my forehead. "Amen."
  3. After a depression & no motivation break, I’ve returned. Yay me! A little bit about me first. I’m a gamer who enjoys music, hiking, and photography. I would love to learn parkour and snowboarding. I’m a non-binary asexual person who is on the autism spectrum. My two biggest weaknesses are that I’m a perfectionist and vain as hell. And I struggle with depression and C-PTSD. This is a 3 goal challenge, designed to build up to what I want my actual goals to be. #1: Build up to exercising every other day. I’ve written down the days I plan on doing an at home kettlebell workout. The 4th, 8th, 11th, 17th, 19th, 21st, and 23rd. It roughly translates to progressing from twice a week to every other day. Or something like that. It makes sense visually on a calendar. It’s a beginner workout that I was doing the last challenge I was here. So I already know how my body deals with it, and that every other day won’t physically be a problem. Mentally, it might get a little rough. #2: Take both of my meds every day. I have a morning medication (mood stabilizer), and a nighttime medication (anti-depressant). This should be relatively easy. I just easily forget to take them no matter what “sure fire” methods I’ve used to make it easy just do it. For my first challenge week, the goal is 3 times a week. And then 5 times a week. And finally the last week is every day. #3: Hydrate myself. And being hydrated is drinking however much Plant Nanny 2 says I need. Which right now is about six 16 oz cups. I’m counting everything I drink, except any alcoholic beverages. And how many days is exactly the same as the take my pills goal. 3, to 5, to 7. I’ve set up a cork board in my room to track everything. There’s a couple papers with the days/numbers written down. And I get to put a sticker when I do a thing! Because stickers are awesome, And yes, I’m starting today.
  4. This challenge cycle will mostly be spent traveling in the US. Still not sure how I feel about that, aside from being excited about consumerist shit, but I’ve cast that lot and it’s happening regardless. As such, this challenge can’t just be SSDD on coast mode. Which is probably a good thing, tbh. Here’s my plan to cope with “vacation”: Managing Anxiety I’m sure crowd, travel and people pandemic-ing wrong anxiety will be a thing, and not jumping into reflexive judgey bitch mode to cope with said anxiety is going to be a definite issue. Timelines, time zones & travel time already all have my anxiety at 11. Management: Deep yoga breaths, and reminding myself to get a grip. Not my monkeys, not my business. Also stocking up on hand sanitizer & antibac wipes if I feel I need more control over the situation. We’ve also got disposable masks for that 12+hour plane ride & will have our normal masks on us as well. My general abhorrence of feeling trapped always rears it’s head when forced into social situations I don’t want to be in. Management: Staying in Air BnBs, having a rental car at all times, planning things to do that aren’t just sitting on the couch at a relatives house staring at their damn eyeballs. Family dumbassery. Talking to some family members over the phone is exhausting; seeing them in person is going to be more so. I’m also not interested in 3 weeks of continual bitching about COVID from everygoddamnbody I see. It’s exhausting. Management: Tell said family member(s) that I don’t have the damn bandwidth for this conversation. Change the subject. Leave early if necessary. Hubby and I need to settle on a ‘get me tf out of here before I start screaming’ code. Too damn bad we don’t still smoke. Trying to fit everything and everyone in limited time - especially when everyone only wants to meet up when it’s convenient for them. Management: Not doing that, and not feeling guilty for doing so. Giving people clear guidelines of when I have available slots and when I do not. This I always do, but it’s still always a shit show. I generally don’t feel bad about it, but i inevitably still end up anxious. Those should be the biggies, but I’m sure more will pop up. Nutrition Whelp, this one is going to be a curveball. Body was on a less carb trajectory - aaaand then the stress of planning this trip hit. A few ground rules to help myself not feel quite so bloated and terrible by week 2 of travel: Don’t finish the fries. Start with the main, eat half of it, and then go in for bites of the sides. Don’t eat all sides one by one and then tackle the high dollar item. Eat slower and take stock of when you are full. You’ve already paid for the meal; you’re on vacation - wasting $ is to be expected. Remember that the clean plate club is not a thing. Don’t eat shit I know is going to kill me. If family members are drenching everything in cheese, either just eat sides or pick around the cheese. I don’t need to leave full. Remember that even though we’ll be hitting up some favorites and going in for some primo meals (on top of straight garbage), I’ve had good food before and will have good food again. I don’t need to gorge myself to enjoy the meal. Drink what you damn want but attempt to not go for 2 days in a row & limit shit that’s going to lead to a hangover. Body Care Realistically, I won’t be hitting any yoga classes in the 3 weeks we will be gone, and pressuring myself to do a hotel-style daily workout before leaving each day is not conducive to good mental health for me. I know I don’t sleep for shit while traveling, and often have to get up too early. Do what I can, when I think of it. If I’m bored and feeling trapped, suggest a walk around the neighborhood instead of trying to hide in my phone with DH. It’ll be hot and I’ll be in the ‘burbs, but it may still be doable. Pull up some simple bodyweight routines that can be done whenever - and keep them in the forefront of my mind so maybe that actually happens. And that’s it for this Cycle. Or at least most of it. I will reassess once I’m back and settled. Yoga will definitely return.
  5. So I've been out, and not for a lack of trying. I think it's been years since I actually completed a challenge satisfactorily (probably because of the depresso and the drugs 😝). Tried to do the last challenge as @sarakingdom suggested, but I kept procrastinating, and here we are. For those not following the absolute disasterpiece that is my Instagram fitness-turned-meme-page, I haven't really trained since lockdown, I've been sleeping on the couch for a year (because I can't afford to fix the room), depression hit hard and I ended up dropping out of school, and I'm on my second week of withdrawals from 3 different meds, (though I think I'll keep taking one for a little bit more). My challenge is to force myself to be healthy, one step at a time. I'd like to start with the easiest ones, and maybe I'll add more layers once I'm able to make them habits: Take my vitamins Get a workout (very loose definition) in Track sleep and water intake The first part of every game I've enjoyed playing ALWAYS sucks butt. It's a tutorial, you know what to do, but doing it just sucks. I guess this is my Temple of Trials... EDIT: Actually, Goodsprings might be a better representation; waking up at a home clinic after having a bullet extracted from my head. The game was rigged from the start.
  6. I pretty much fell off the planet during my last challenge. Everything was going along very smoothly until my sleep just suddenly deteriorated and my mental health spiraled intro a crazy rollercoaster. Come to find out, what had been diagnosed as depression was actually bipolar II. And I have been riding a crazy mixed episode for about a month. I am not entirely sure where to go with this challenge. The next month or so are going to be challenging. This week, I started some new meds that will hopefully help me to find some stability, but I have to increase the dose very slowly, which means dealing with a new round of side effects every two weeks, and it will still be another three and a half weeks from now before I reach a clinical dose (the dose typically necessary to start experiencing the benefits of the medication). My sleep still hasn't stabilized, either. This combination makes it hard to focus and even harder to do anything physically strenuous, because I am chronically sleep deprived and the start-up side effects are making me dizzy and occasionally nauseous. Over the last month my entire routine has fallen apart and I have fallen behind in a lot of areas, so I also have some work to do in just generally rebuilding habits and catching up. I am honestly feeling pretty overwhelmed with life as a whole right now. So, I am just going to set some intentions for this challenge, with no expectation on completing everything. I am not even going to set numbers or time limits, because I know that will just stress me out if I don't meet it. Intentions Complete bodyweight workouts when side effects and sleep allow Go for walks during lunch break when schedule, weather, and sleep allow Stretch/yoga when side effects allow Drink plenty of water Read Try to study for cert when brain is at least semi-functioning If things start improving later in the challenge, I may revise this challenge into something more structured and goal-oriented, but for now, my main focus is just on keeping my head above the water.
  7. I heaved a sigh and glared at the thick, foul mixture eating through the bottom of my cauldron, aware that the other students were noisily packing up but mostly ignoring them. I was so sure I had followed the directions for Snot Sealing Potion exactly, but whatever mess had burbled up in my cauldron looked more like snot than the clear, refreshing lilac in the book. "Perhaps if you had paid attention to your homework, Elvenword," Professor Snape said languidly behind my head, making me jump and start cramming my books into my bag. "Yes sir, Professor," I stammered, and hissed "Scourgify!" as I hastily waved my wand over the vile mess. I'd have to review the instructions later and take better notes - exams were coming up and I felt hopeless in this class. Come to think of it, I felt a little hopeless in most of my classes, even though my marks were solidly average. Unlike most of the students who had arrived at Hogwarts as 11-year-old First Years, I had transferred in later. My parents were Muggles, and I hadn't even realized I could do magic until I was 15, much older than the average new student. So in addition to the history and literature classes that were appropriate for my Muggle grade level, I also took some classes with much younger students, like first-year Potions. As I scuttled out of Professor Snape's dungeon and headed back upstairs, I was startled by a faint, ghostly feminine whisper coming from somewhere behind the paneled wall: "Sky Elvenword ... Sky, do you hear me?" I froze in my tracks and the students behind me nearly slammed into me. "Watch where you're going," they snapped, and I melted against the wall to get out of the way, my skin prickling. "Peeves?" I whispered back, "is that you?" "No, Sky, listen to me. I need your help!" Other classes were letting out and it was getting too loud to hear. I pressed closer to the wall, uncertain whether I was being tricked or about to fall for a dreadful practical joke. "Who are you?" I said louder. "I can't tell you that now. After dinner, go to the northernmost corner of the Great Hall and use your wand to tap three times on the panel at your eye level. When you do that, a key will appear in your left hand. Use that key to unlock -" At that moment, someone crashed into my bookbag, knocking me off balance and sending two of my books flying off the staircase. I yelped and dashed down the stairs to retrieve them before the crowd of incoming Second Years trampled them; and by the time I had scrambled back to the panel where the voice had spoken from, it was silent. I gingerly tapped the wall. "Hello?" I squeaked. "Are you still there? What am I supposed to unlock?" But there was no answer, and the other students passing me were giving me strange looks. Reluctantly I tore myself away and hurried to get to my next class, but my heart was pounding. Who was the mysterious voice? Were they a good or bad witch? Why did they need my help, and what was I supposed to unlock with the mysterious key?
  8. Hey guys! This is going to be a very soft challenge, as I'm not setting any major goals (I have goals, but I'm not going to feel too bad if they don't happen), and using this space more like a battle log to chat about my day, what I'm learning and how I'm doing. As many of you know, my mental health has been up and down over the past year, and while I feel much more in control of myself and my moods after many months of hard work and learning about myself, I'm still taking some time to go gently and try to regain some ease and creativity instead of being constantly in "Oh my gosh I have to fix this so it goes away" mode. To that end, I've decided to step down from my responsibilities as a guild leader for a little while. ❤️ I do not intend for this to be permanent; but with most of my energy going to getting through the day and trying to take care of myself, I didn't have much steam left over to look in on others as much as I want to. Letting go of the pressure to do better at checking in on everyone will, ironically, make it easier for me to check in more often. And I hope to be back on the GL list before long. My goals for this challenge are: Work with my therapist on specific affirmations, grounding actions, etc. to help me focus on living my life in spite of anxiety, shifting my attention away from focusing 24/7 on "fixing" my anxiety and toward being myself and doing things I enjoy. Continue to follow my nutritionist's diet plan, while experimenting with ways to bring my favorite foods and dishes back into the rotation. Do one creative thing every day. It can be so small - just a few crochet stitches, coloring a coloring page, writing a vignette, baking something, it doesn't matter. Just one thing to create or produce each day, outside of work. Move my body every day. I want to finish Yoga with Adriene's BREATH series, and I've been taking short jogs and long walks outside when I can. I need to keep doing that, because it really feels good. Get in bed by midnight every night, even if I don't go to sleep or put my phone down right away. A few things I'm looking forward to this month are Valentine's Day (my first ever!! Valentine's Day!! with a real date!! and not an awkward get-to-know-you date but my beloved boyfriend!!), getting back into D&D after missing a few sessions, planning my balcony garden and starting to gather supplies, and thinking ahead to a COVID-safe visit with my family in the spring. It's 12:30AM so I need to head for bed! ❤️ So looking forward to seeing what everyone is thinking about and planning for this challenge!
  9. Sometimes things are a lot. This year so far has definitely been that. Illness, extended lockdown rules, isolation, work stress, body image issues, relationship insecurity, more illness, more lockdown, and topped off by the sudden death of a friend. I mean, that all sounds pretty awful, but I want to point out there has been a lot of good also, and many of these issues are being worked on. This challenge is basically about maintaining a steady level of functionality and good quality of life whilst making major changes and working on issues before they turn into major disasters. Simple, right? Maybe. Guideline One: Gotta Eat Eating is essential to life, funnily enough. Skipping meals is not a good habit to be falling back into, and unfortunately it's something I've realised that I'm doing more and more. It has a noticeable physical impact. Also not good. So: I am a person who eats in the morning, after coffee, of course! I am a person who eats in the afternoon and evening. I am a person who eats when they are hungry. I am a person who recognises not eating is self-destructive. Guideline Two: A Little Vanity Helps the Sanity Fairly self-explanatory, I need to keep on top of my self-care. This also is sliding, and it is likely because I rarely leave the flat for reasons other than work. Also not good. I am a person who recognises that they feel better when they take proper care of themselves. Guideline Three: Movement For the Soul As mentioned above, there is some difficulty in leaving my flat right now. That needs nipped in the bud. I am a person who feels at home in nature. I am a person that enjoys walking. I am a person comfortable in almost all weathers. Guideline Four: Creation I'm not saying D&D has been a lifeline, but... D&D has been a lifeline. I am a player in one campaign, my wonderful Sunday group, and I've found that I am getting into the roleplay side of things far more than I expected. It's been great fun developing my angry dwarf! I also run a small campaign where I'm getting to stretch my roleplay antics and try new things, and I am thoroughly enjoying the worldbuilding aspect of it. It's at the point where I'm considering creating a PbP too... I am a person who revels in creative work. I am a person who actively makes time for creative work, but does not let it consume everything. I am a person who enjoys trying new things. I am a person who wants to share my creations. I am a person who enjoys the social aspect of that sharing. So I've got no actual goals, but that's just fine with me. Goals can come once I know the general shape my life is going to take once these decisions have been made and the dust begins to settle. Goals can be made when I know I'm in a stable enough place to put in the extra work to achieve them. I did debate coming back here, but eventually decided it was for the better that I did, even with a kind of non-challenge. I like it here, and the extra accountability is essential right now.
  10. Ok gang, here's the deal. My brain is a dumpster fire, I don't actually want to do a challenge, in fact I have a burning desire to press the big, shiny, red button and self destruct. Since my christmas wish of a boatload of drugs was not granted by santa, I guess I'll have to find a different way to cope. Here's the challenge. I will attempt one act of self care each day. Can be anything as long as it's met with resistance and away from the dark side. If that goes well enough I'll add in the additional categories of eating foods with a vegetable and moving my butt. Maybe. I wish I had more to offer but alas I've fallen a long way.
  11. [SOMEDAY IS TODAY] They drifted across a vast landscape. Directly below, stretching endlessly outwards in almost every direction, was a forest of the like they had never seen. Immense trees with impossibly thick, red barked trunks reached up towards the sky, deep green canopies spreading below the blazing might of two suns. Below, though not so far as to be called small, other canopies reached up with many hands. Some were broad leafed and fluttered in the light breeze, some were sharp, like needles, and some were narrow. It was impossible to put a name to every shade of green the leaves showcased, or every shade of brown prevalent on the trunks. In one direction, opposite the twin suns, far away enough to be faint, yet large enough at a distance that they must indeed be true giants, a mountain range rode the horizon. White capped, grey and purple flanked, and entirely unlike anything they had ever seen before. "This age has passed." The deep bass rumble sounded more like an earthquake than a person. "This age is yet to come." They frowned, opening their mouth- -a hoarse, pained grunt escaped them, quickly followed by a low moan of pain. Colours blazed before their eyes as dizziness swept across them, though they quickly receded. Yeti lay still, shivering, blinking back stinging tears of pain. When they could see clearly, it was to realise that they were staring up at a roughly hewn ceiling, one entirely unfamiliar to them. Slowly, carefully, frowning as they did so, they turned their head to look around. They weren't in the alcove. They were in a grey room that looked as though it had been upended. Every cupboard door had been left open, the contents spilled across floor and work surfaces alike. One wooden chair sat against the wall, two others were on their sides in the middle of the mess. Dried puddles of blood littered the floor. They frowned. Dull pain rippled across their forehead. Vague memories of stumbling into the room surfaced, of desperately searching for something to stop the bleeding, stop the pain. It seemed like they'd managed, but not with any degree of finesse. Looking down, they saw they'd managed to bind their left knee and that the bleeding had indeed stopped. It might have been better, however, if they'd managed to use some actual bandaging instead of what seemed to be the bedspread. Yeti sighed, then winced as that brought a bubble of pain. Broken ribs. Perfect. They felt their chest carefully, but couldn't find anything beyond the mass of mottled black and purple bruising. Maybe that was good, maybe that was bad. They didn't know. So they began to move, slowly, carefully, inch by inch, until they sat slumped against the wall, shivering and panting. "Birds?" The word escaped in a plaintive, broken voice. Choked and hoarse, wavering with unshed tears. Nothing answered their question, and there was no sign of either fallen feathers or whitish scat to indicate that they'd even been inside. The irritating, overly loud, and oddly faithful companions had gone. With that thought, the tears finally began to fall.
  12. Sooo holiday vacation was MUCH needed. I mentioned in a previous thread if unplugging from responsibility for most of the break didn't reset my brain I would pull in a pro but it seems to have been the reset I needed despite the Roof Issue (which has been dealt with). This month's challenge is going to be around cleaning up, both literally and figuratively. Splitting into 3 areas: 1. Cleaning up and crafting my habitat So if I don't have ADHD, I at least have a lot of ADHD traits. My sister got diagnosed because she was more classic ADHDer in that she struggled in school - for me everything was chalked up to one part micropreemie and one part gifted kids are weird. One of the ways my symptoms manifest is in a huge difficulty maintaining my space. That tends to be a bad feedback loop for me so I am once again looking for a system that will let me actually keep my space clean. But first things first: I need to dig out of my mess, which I started today with a 6-hour power cleaning of my kitchen (and my partner, who has similar issues with me around keeping things tidy for different reasons helped with power decluttering of a couple other rooms). That's the focus of this challenge: get my space sanitary and down to a functional level of clutter. 2. Clean up my eating habits. Last fall when my mental health started to slide I let my eating go and it's showing on the scale. Lost all my progress since I hurt my back. So healthy food and keeping healthy food on hand and keeping junk food to Sunday game day only. 3. Clean up my Kata and training. Because I am carrying more weight my Kata are affected because my balance and size are different. I need to tidy up my technique.
  13. The morning was still and sharp with frost as the cold yellow light of dawn began to trickle through the bare trees, illuminating the campsite where I hunched over my flickering lantern. On the makeshift table in front of me, I had arranged the materials I would need for my task: Light steel from my home in Middle Earth, solid iron from Temple Island, woven straps from Ciena the Healer, soft leather pieces shared by Eamon, Ayre, Amethyst, and the Bearded Ranger. I had never done anything like this before, but I took a deep breath and flexed my fingers lightly. It was time to give it a try. My ice powers had continued to grow inside me - sometimes clenching my body tight with acute pain, more often dulling my senses with their persistent low hiss of crackling cold and fear, they had become increasingly present in my consciousness to the point that I saw the world through fearful eyes as often as I did through my own. My stripe of white hair was spreading and lightening the rest of my hair; my skin grew translucent, the runes had lost their graceful definition and become more jagged, more fractured. I had lost so much of my power and my world had shrunk to the size of my own mind. Day by day, I was becoming more Eldarwen, and less Sky. I lightly ran my fingertips across each piece of metal, feeling their contour, their unique timbre and shape. Each one represented a lesson I had learned, knowledge I had gained, truths that could protect me or power that could guide me. The straps from Ciena were the tools and truths that bound all that together. And the soft leather from the friends who loved me best would protect me from the cold surface of the metal, reminding me I was safe, supported and loved. The bracers I was about to make were not meant to simply strengthen an arrow shot - these were the tools and knowledge I needed to bring me back to myself. These bracers would protect my ragged, raw wrists and arms, allowing my runes to begin to heal and keeping me strong when the ice flooded my veins. Not long ago, I had begun to heal by shattering the supports I no longer needed - but that healing needed to continue by shoring myself up with support and protection once again. The sun had just let go of the horizon as I lifted my hands over the pieces of metal and summoned my healing and light powers from deep in my belly. It was harder these days to find the light in myself - but it rose to meet my call today, flowing warm and sweet down my arms, appearing in the air before me as I began to stitch the pieces together. Only love could make these what they needed to be - the icy chill of self-punishment would not do. The edges of the metal pieces began to melt and fuse together, as I wove strand after strand of light through the air, grafting and molding them into place. I was aware of Eamon entering the camp as I worked, but I did not speak, and he paused a respectful distance away from the table, watching as I completed the first bracer and began to pull the second together. Knowledge to fight or deflect the Voice, wisdom on how to care for my body, the knowledge of who I was and who I wanted to be - a dozen lessons blended together as I molded and shaped the metal. At the end, I carefully lifted each one into the air and etched on its surface the familiar scrolling vines of the Silver Bow. These bracers would not dampen my power - rather, they would help me channel it. The sun was fully up as I set the second bracer down and drew a long breath, tired but satisfied. They were a strange conglomeration of colors and textures, but the lines from the Silver Bow tied them all together. Eamon approached the table as he saw me sag against it, gently touching one of my hands. "I saw what you were doing, but didn't want to interrupt you - these are beautiful and I'm so proud of you." "Thanks." I looked up and grinned at him, breathing heavily. "I'm pretty proud of myself too. These are good work. And they'll help me get stronger again." "You're already stronger than you think. But I'm glad you're doing what you need to do to support yourself until you feel strong again. May I help you put them on?" "Yes, please, that would be much appreciated." I stretched out my trembling hands and he gently fitted the bracers over them, carefully tying the soft leather straps over the bruised, raw runes on my wrists. They fit snugly and softly against my skin. Smiling a little, I lifted my hands and summoned my healing powers once again; and the scrollwork on the bracers lit up, surrounding my weakened arms with warmth and light. The Silver Archer would return to her full strength one day. With help and knowledge from my past, I would be strong enough to become myself once again in the future.
  14. Stagnation is Death Annals of a Bladesinger A haunting melody weaves its way through the quiet forest. An alien in her homeland with a mind touched by the hand of darkness, the elven wizard hones her dangerous dance, ever vigilant, ever mindful. She practices her art not just for the protection of her people, but to soothe her tormented soul with the meditative, otherworldly whistle of bladesong. Journey to Bladesinger Master 2020 Stats: STR 10 || DEX 11 || CON 11 || INT 15 || WIS 16 || CHA 12 2020 Level: Bladesinger Apprentice Goal Stats: STR 14 || DEX 17+ || CON 14 || INT 18+ || WIS 18+ || CHA 14 Goal Level: Bladesinger Master Bladesinger Apprentice - Trains under a Master. Must demonstrate above-average intelligence, and wisdom to be accepted into training for a wizard, must show some promise in dexterity to be accepted by a bladesinger master. STR 8 || DEX 10 || CON 8 || INT 14 || WIS 14 || CHA 8 Bladesinger Knight - Able to train and fight independently. Must demonstrate above-average mastery of dexterity, and very high intelligence, and wisdom. Strength, constitution, and charisma must be high enough as to not impede progress. STR 12 || DEX 14 || CON 12 || INT 16 || WIS 16 || CHA 11 Bladesinger Master - Can train an Apprentice. Demonstrates exceptional abilities in dexterity, intelligence, and wisdom. Above-average abilities in strength, constitution, and charisma are required to perform at this level. Goal Stats: STR 14 || DEX 17+ || CON 14 || INT 18+ || WIS 18+ || CHA 14 Bladesinger Leader - Can serve as leader to other Master roles. Demonstrates all the abilities of a Bladesinger Master, with higher charisma for leadership qualities. Goal Stats: STR 14 || DEX 17+ || CON 14 || INT 18+ || WIS 18+ || CHA 17 How to Level Scores based on max 20 system, current list only filled to requirements for mastery from current stats, does not include information prior to or past current and master stats Strength (STR) - Calisthenics and Iron STR 11: Plank 1min, 4x13 Pushups, 4x25 Crunches, 30/20 bodyweight squats, 2x20 tricep dips, 2x30 one-leg calf-raises STR 12: Plank 2min, 4x20 Pushups, 3x40 Crunches, 2x10 pistol squats, 2x40 tricept dips, 2x40 15lbs one-leg calf-raises STR 13: Plank 3min, 4x25 Pushups, 2x70 Crunches, 2x25 pistol spquats, 5 pull-ups, 5 chin-ups STR 14: 2 Muscle-ups, Plank 5min Dexterity (DEX) - Flexibility, Agility, Balance, Coordination DEX 12: Eagle pose, Warrior III, Hands flat on floor in waist bend, Baby Crow pose DEX 13: Front and side splits, Crow pose, complete NF Yoga DEX 14: Crane pose, Wall handstand (1min), 1 year of martial arts training DEX: 15: Flying crow pose, 8-angle pose, dragonfly pose, unassisted handstand (1min+) DEX 16: Level 5: Dophin Push Up Challenge DEX 17: Black belt in a martial art DEX 18: 3rd degree black belt in martial art AND first degree black belt is second martial art Constitution (CON) - Stamina, Endurance CON 12: Complete a 5k in under 45 min CON 13: Complete a 5k in under 35 min CON 14: Complete a 5 mile run in under 60 min CON 15: Complete a 10k run in under 60 min Intelligence (INT) - Academia and Language INT 16: Personal Trainer Cert AND Health Coach Cert INT 17: Complete a Master's Degree program AND reading intermediate reading level for 2 forgeign languages INT 18: Complete a PhD INT 19: Research published in 5+ academic journals INT 20: Research published in textbooks and taught in classrooms Wisdom (WIS) - Generativity, Activism, Social/Environmental Awareness +Be a founding member or leader in a non-profit organization +1 Teach a skill to at least 10 people (OR) mentor at least 10 people +Teach a college course +Create a college or arts scholarship fund +Convert >90% of Beauty, Cleaning, and Meal Prep products to reusable/recycleable/eco-friendly Charisma (CHA) - Leadership, Social, Performance, Confidence CHA 13: Perform a leading role in a community/unpaid show CHA 14: Perform as a supporting role in a paid performance (OR) direct a community show CHA 15: Perform as a leading role in a paid performance (OR) release a music album CHA 16: Publish best-seller (OR) 10k subs to a blog (OR) 100k subs to social CHA 17: Name recognition in performance world (OR) performance award (OR) 100k subs to personal blog (OR) 1mil subs to social
  15. There is my scoring system. Now I need things to score. This is difficult, because I'm tired of long lists, but they're so useful for providing reminders through the day. And because lately my challenges have had to do a lot of adapting. So I think this will be a hybrid system, which I will test drive during zero week. I will score what I have done on a naughty/nice axis in a "be mindful of my needs and choices" kind of thing, and set a small number of goals each week. During zero week, let's try: Make a list and check it twice Hogswatch cheer Walking in a winter wonderland Right. First set of challenge goals.
  16. PREVIOUSLY... Down-on-their-luck Yeti ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, forcing them to flee their home and everything they'd known. After passing out in a drifting row boat, they wake to find that they seem to be very, very far from home. Desperate, they trekked into a nearby boulder field. In that place they came across what appeared to be a shrine to one of the old gods, and in that shrine found food and equipment to keep them alive as recovered and planned their next move. In the end, they decided to go to a place marked on the map that had the potential to be another shrine in the hopes that maybe a similar supply cache would be hidden there. However, getting there may prove to be a problem... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [SLOW AND STEADY] An explosive exhale left Yeti as they slipped again, knee impacting on the wet rock, shoulder slamming into the side of the chokepoint. A white hot flare of pain lit their knee for a few long moments before settling into a dull, thudding pain that beat in time with the rhythm set by their shoulder, back, and ankles. At least this time they hadn't bitten their tongue. Yeti struggled upright and looked down, wincing when they realised how little progress they'd made. Grimacing when they realised just how far they had to go. The map had been useful for pinpointing water sources. It had been useful for locating the larger masses of rock. What it did not over, however, was the intricacies of the passages between the boulders, that they sometimes turned into deep gorges, and that some had massive rockfalls blocking them. Whether they had happened before or after the map had been made, they didn't know. Likely after, but they had to focus their anger on something other than themselves. Anger at the unknown mapmaker brought with it a certain level of bitter spite, and it was that which kept Yeti moving even when the going became perilous. This rockfall in particular had caused many problems. Somewhere above there had to be a water source, one not marked on the map. The pebbles at ground level remained fairly dry, but the higher they climbed, the slicker the rocks became. Moss morphed into sludge, forming innocuous looking clumps that, when trod upon, would offer no purchase and send a foot shooting out from underneath the unwary climber. Yeti had run afoul of the stuff twice before figuring out what had happened. Unfortunately it wasn't easy to avoid. They reached up, fingers traversing the unseen rock beyond the ledge immediately above them, searching for a good hold. It took some time and a good deal of test pulls before they were comfortable with one patch in particular. Then came the task of finding somewhere to place their foot without risking another fall. Yeti had found, with no small measure of amusement, that their holey shoes were ideally suited for such a task. It was easier to find good surface with an exposed toe, and better to brace and push with the sole of the shoe. Whether or not they would survive such punishment remained doubtful. Before long grunts, groans, and growls of effort accompanied every movement. Not long after that the stream of cursing began. As the daylight began to dim, Yeti, panting, gasping for breath, slick with sweat, blood, and slimy moss, reached the apex of the rockfall. For a moment a broad grin crossed their face as a giddy feeling of victory swept through them. When it became very real dizziness, they began moving again, slowly, carefully. Though they'd assumed the way down would be easier, that didn't turn out to be the case. Now, with the fading light, they found their heart racing as they tried to pick their way down the rockfall, toeing the line between fast enough to get down before nightfall and slow enough to avoid falling the rest of the way down. They'd spied what looked like an overhang not too far from the foot of the fall. It would be a sheltered, semi-safe place to spend the night if they could get to it. Otherwise it would be a night spent out in the open, pressed in against the rocks, shivering with cold, hoping nothing came looking for supper. The mountain fear spurred them onwards, sharpening their senses to fever pitch. Every skitter of the debris they dislodged against the rock made their gut lurch, every shadow they saw out of the corner of their eye seemed to move in unnatural ways. Their hands began to shake. They tried to keep control, but when they realised they were moving faster and faster, more recklessly than was safe, the panic only spurred them to move faster still. It was with unsteady legs and growing nausea in their gut that they leaped the last few feet down, landing in a sprawled heap, shaken but unhurt. The dash towards the overhang almost saw them fall again, but they were able to get there, to duck under the reassuringly solid rock and nestle up against the main boulder, out of sight, or so they hoped. Removing the sleeping bag proved tricky, but eventually they managed, wrapping themselves in it tightly before breathing a shaky sigh of relief. Mere moments later the calm that had begun to descend turned to ice in their chest. Skittering came from outside. Not random, but rhythmic. The sound of many feet dashing across the pebbled ground. Though it was distant enough not to be an immediate threat, still Yeti remained clutched in the grip of fear. Somewhere out there an insect hunted.
  17. It's been a minute, and the world has changed quite a bit in 2020. I'm here and I'm well. Numbtongue's Language Lessons I'm in an odd place with linguistics, between covid stealing some of my spoons and me being happy in an unprecedented way, language study fell in my priority list over the last 4 months. This challenge is part of finishing 2020 with a daily German news and duolingo habit. 2021 has me adding French again, and slowly working on my Icelandic vocab, but for now this challenge is about daily success with my old workhorse friend, Deutsch. Grimalkin's Cruel Tutelage This project is to set end of year targets for the big four lifts, and hit my mid quarter goals by end of challenge. Garden of Sanctuary This project is to track minutes per day spent in sitting practice. For this challenge, I'm only counting minutes spent in seated meditation or prostrate in seid-work; sleepily drifting while I'm in bed at night doesn't count, nor does sneakily counting yoga time. The larger goal is to grow my practice, but I'm not setting target metrics yet, just tracking. Octavia's Workbench I have a few backlogged orders for mediation beads and percussion instruments I'm behind on. This goal is to log what projects I have outstanding, get them all completed and mailed before holiday shipping craziness locks everything down. Olesm's Chess Journal I'm playing a few tabletops via video call during covid. A dear friend is running a small forgotten realms 5e heroic tier, and I'm running a Dresden RPG campaign set in milwaukee. Expect to hear nonsense about either campaigns in this section.
  18. Hello Friends and Nerds! I'm annyshay. I'm an adventurer at heart, and I'm going to spend this challenge with the druids. I'm finally starting to see the end of a long, deep depression, so I am prioritizing my mental health. I'm working to maintain my current habits and expand the last one. Mindset Pack - every morning - meditate - joy journaling - intention mantra Compassion - at least once per day show compassion to my inner child Drop into Body - every evening Allons-y!
  19. Last challenge got a little derailed by some rather intense fatigue issues, among other things, so this challenge is essentially going to be something of a repeat now that those fatigue issues are being dealt with and my life is somewhat more stable. I'm not aiming for the stars, not even close, I'm aiming for the second rung of the ladder. One step at a time and all that. In a way I'm quite lucky, this challenge will officially kick off right when I get a week off of work, so I'll have time and space to implement these changes and enough time to build up some momentum to carry it all on when I do get back into it. So here we go: One: The Continuous 5km 2x5km runs weekly These will happen on the days I am not working given that my commute involves six miles of walking. I enjoy it, but right now I am not at the stage where I can do that and put proper focus on a run in the same day. Depending on how the fatigue management goes, I may take to running in the evening rather than first thing in the morning. Two: Movement 10mins of movement immediately after getting up Right now that seems like a far more manageable goal than the one I had previously. Movement can be yoga, primal, tai chi, anything that helps me shake off the sleep and get myself ready for the day ahead. Three: The Elusive Pull-up 2x workouts weekly It won't happen this year, but I am determined it will happen next year. And for it to happen I need to lay the groundwork. Having a definite goal makes it easier to run, so I'm finally applying the same principle here. It doesn't change all that much about my workouts, just shifts the focus slightly and gives me some solid motivation. Four: The Sugar Demon Cut the sugary junk cold turkey Protein shake every morning 2.5l water daily Cold turkey worked very well for me the last time I tried it in conjunction with giving up the sugary junk that kept slipping into my diet, so here I am again. I will not eat chocolate, cake, sweets, or anything of the sort for the duration of this challenge. I am prepared for the withdrawal symptoms and know I can push through them. I know I will feel better once it's all out of my system. Five: Everything Else Daily creative time (sketching/knitting/guitar) Finish the bedroom (paint, put the mirror up, fix the curtain rail) Daily learning (Duolingo and CoE course) This list is always going to be subject to change, but these are the main things I wish to focus on at the moment and the things I want to figure out how to integrate properly into my life once again. And there we have it. Zero week will be a warm-up of sorts. Some elements of this challenge will be introduced during the week so I can start to form a picture of how it will work and whether or not I'll need to make some last minute changes. Though really, if at any point it needs to change, it will. I'm trying very hard to let go of stubbornly sticking to a goal just for the sake of it. Flexibility, and indeed adaptability, is the way forward for me.
  20. Some days are difficult, everything is a fight and no win feels like a victory. Some days are easy, everything flows and smiling is no effort. Some days are empty, I don’t know where those ones go or how time manages to melt into the abyss unnoticed. Some days are full, a frantic maelstrom of stuff and things that don’t mean anything alone but add up to exhaustion together. And some days don’t pass at all, they linger in awful silence, stretching across weeks until the clouds finally move on and emotions creep back in. Healing is not an easy or linear process, it’s an active process that requires an unearthly amount of work and the threshold for a good day varies wildly. Overall, it’s not entirely surprising that I’m getting my ass thoroughly kicked by my mental health right now. Which why it’s time to start a new chapter and put the focus where it belongs. There are three general areas that need watching. The first, and most important, is self care. Everything from getting out of bed before 3pm to treating myself when need be to remembering to write down any appointments I need to keep. Anything and everything I do to ensure I’m a functional person, and maybe even a happy or comfortable person from time to time. The second is food. There has been a slow improvement here, but as with the recovery process as a whole, it has not been linear. The third and final is fitness. I’ve taken a step back from just about everything out of necessity. Anything that could possibly become something competitive has had to go as the sheer negative impact it had on my mindset was overwhelmingly… not good, to put it mildly. What I don’t want, however, is to have my fitness stagnate and vanish entirely. So I’m figuring that out also. None of this is really about chasing a goal or achievement, it’s more like a restoration of self. So we’ll see how it all goes.
  21. Deep, deep in the darkest and most overgrown part of the forest, where fallen logs created elaborate spiral staircases and hollow riverbeds formed meandering paths into unseen gathering places, I sat quietly on a flat stone, for once not caring as the damp air froze into a lightly drifting snow around me. Even when I was alone with Soji in my cottage, I felt the need to suppress Eldarwen, to keep my moods under control as best I could. But out here, where no one but squirrels and birds could see, I was simply myself, not thinking or processing, just being. The humid air froze around me, a light frost covered the leaves and fallen trees, and I didn't mind. It was a hot day; they would thaw as soon as I was gone. "You may have weathered the last storm of emotion," I heard my counselor's voice in my head as I lightly traced frosty spirals on the surface of the rock, "but others will be coming. My job is to help you not get sucked under and half-drowned every time something happens that causes you strong feelings." I had felt a bit irritated at her words. I wanted to feel my emotions, not resist or dampen them. But she continued: "One way you can combat 'drowning' in your feelings is by knowing the things that don't change, no matter what is happening around you or even inside you. I want you to focus on those things - specifically, I want you to focus on yourself. Who are you? What are you? And what parts of you don't change, no matter what else in your life changes?" I reached into my bag and pulled out my journal, carefully smoothing open a blank page and wrinkling my nose as the edges became tipped with frost. "I am," I wrote at the top. And then I stopped, looking hesitantly at the rest of the empty space. There were a lot of words that had been tossed at me lately, words used to describe me, that I supposed I could write there. One of the biggest things that regularly threatened to yank me away from my moorings and dunk me into a stormy sea of emotion was romance - it always had been; but while I had longed for it from afar for more than two decades, suddenly it was arriving on my doorstep, in the form of letters and packages tucked under my door or my eccentric neighbor popping over to ask, as if he'd just thought of it, whether I might like to take a walk this evening, as the weather was excellent? And those letters were full of words that sounded like they were describing someone else - I didn't recognize the confident, warm, lovely person they wrote to me about. It forced me to admit that I had truly believed no one would ever be interested in me romantically. But they were. What truths about me were still constant despite that enormous shift in circumstances? What would continue to be true even when I had to tell some of them I didn't want to be with them - or if I told one of them that I did? What would still be true about me then, if I was no longer single? I slowly put my pencil to the paper and a few words began to come out: I am ... independent. (And I will still be independent, even if someday I'm no longer single.) Strong. (I will still be strong, I'll just have a partner in that strength.) Ambitious. Capable. A leader. Curious. Adventurous. Faithful. Good. [... that was a weird one. I looked at it hard, and felt very uncomfortable. Yes, the kind voice whispered in the frosty wind, yes, dear one, you will still be good if you open yourself up to loving and being loved. You are still good when you have physical feelings, not just intellectual or theoretical ones. You are still good if you say the wrong thing sometimes, if you don't always know what to do, if you make a mistake, even if you hurt yourself or someone else. You were made good, and stepping into this new and unfamiliar season of your life doesn't change that. You are free to be here, and free to find your way imperfectly, with open hands and open heart. You are free to feel these things, free to say these things, free to hear these things said about you, without being ashamed. Even if your relationship status on earth changes, your relationship with your King will not. You are still good, dear one. Don't be afraid.] I sat up a little straighter as I turned another page. It had been almost exactly three months since the village leaders had told everyone to stay home to avoid the plague; and while some things were getting back to normal, many were not. The doctors warned that it could be many more months before the plague was truly gone. And that forced me to ask the question: When so much of my life and identity revolved around making myself liked by other people, what would still be true about me if I were this isolated for three more months, or six, or nine? What was true about me when there was no one else around to tell me I was doing well or doing right? I began to write again: I am ... creative. (I can still create whether anyone sees my work or not.) Imaginative. Hard-working. Kind. (Yes, I am still kind, even when there's no one to tell me I am.) Compassionate. Caring. Empathetic. Emotionally intelligent. Thoughtful. Artistic. Responsible. Successful. (I don't need others to tell me I'm successful. What a strange thought that is.) Another page. A few random ones that didn't fit with either of the upcoming storms I foresaw: I am honest. Sensitive. Courageous. (I don't have to feel courageous to be so.) I am loved. Chosen. Needed. Valued. Worthy. I looked at the page, and took a deep breath. No matter what else happens, I am always the Silver Archer. Even if I change beyond all recognition, change my name, change my station in life - even if I were to change completely into the Dark Elf and lose all of my favorite parts of myself - I will never cease to be the Silver Archer. Some of the words I had hastily jotted down could change, I knew. I might not always be courageous; trauma or age could make me more cautious. I might find contentment and be less ambitious and driven someday. I may not always be an outspoken leader; I might find a comfortable place as a follower and supporter. I closed the journal and tucked it back in my bag, and got to my feet, opening my hands to send shimmering showers of icy crystals through the air, and smiling when they landed on my face like chilly pinpricks in the summer heat. Even if all the other things changed, the last six would not. I would always be loved. I would always be chosen. Needed. Valued. Worthy. And the Silver Archer. Come plagues, come riots, come another season of isolation with my cat - even come more suitors - those things would sustain me, steadfast and certain, the Rock I could place my feet on or hang onto when the maelstrom of emotion tried to suck me into its lost depths. And so the question was - what was I going to build on that Foundation?
  22. I don't know what's going on. That's a staple in my life right now, it seems. It does bother me, but ultimately it's beyond my control. Instead I need to focus on the things that I can control and stop causing myself unneeded stress by worrying about what I can't. Sounds simple, but I haven't quite managed that little trick properly in almost three decades of life. I worry about the things beyond my control plunging me back into darker moments, and maybe that's something I'll never be rid of. But I have found something that gives me some comfort, something I read online a while back that says that when you fall into darkness it doesn't have to mean you've hit the bottom, it means you've just been planted and are ready to grow. That's what I choose to believe. And so I will focus on nurturing that growth. One: The Continuous 5km --- 2x 5+km runs weekly Last challenge I think I did quite well with running, frequently running longer distances than I expected I could. In doing so I've unearthed an old goal, to run 5km without stopping, and will be working my way towards this for as many challenges as it takes. For now I've decided to keep things at two runs a week, albeit slightly longer runs than last time. Two: 35 Days of Movement --- Yoga every morning --- 3x primal movement, tai chi, or mobility exercises I miss my morning yoga, simple as that. Therefore I will get myself back into the habit. I will also add in other forms of movement three times per week, working it around run and workout days. I do this sporadically anyway, I just need to firm up a schedule of sorts and stick to it. Three: Heavyweight --- 2x workouts weekly I also miss lifting. And how I'd feel when I noticed I was getting stronger. The obvious answer is to start working out with regularity again, and, now that my home gym is 95% complete, start hitting the weights properly. Four: The Snack Conundrum --- Cut the crap --- Protein shake daily --- 2l water daily Admittedly the snacking issues has crept up on me again, and it's causing disruption in what were once relatively healthy eating habits. It's also making a mess of my skin, which is extra incentive to stop it. Therefore I will going cold turkey on junk food once again. Five: Everything Else --- Morning and night meditation --- Daily work on one project --- Finish decorating the bedroom --- Update daily And that's that. Relatively simple. If it turns out that I do go back to work during this challenge then a few things will need altered, but I don't know if that will happen or not. It's one of the more frustrating unknowns right now, truth be told. In the meantime I will continue on as I have been and do my best to make full use of the time I have. I'm once again starting right from zero week, although zero week itself will be a sort of testing week to see if anything needs tweaked or fine-tuned. I'll start measuring my progress towards my goals from week one.
  23. SkyGirl

    Iyashi: Dawn

    A deep, comfortable silence had settled over the world after the passing of the late spring storm, and I pushed the windows open to let the cool, damp breeze wash into the house. Just past the edge of the clouds, a spray of stars glittered in the deep black sky. There was no hint of frost in the air for the first time that year and I drank in the fresh warmth of approaching summer. My world, like so many others', had become very, very small in the weeks of quarantine. No longer the energetic, confident Ranger who crossed land and sea without fear, I had shrunk too, pummeled and bruised in spirit from weeks of grief, loneliness and loss. I wanted to give love and light, but found myself receiving it more often than giving it. I wanted to adapt and thrive in the quiet of isolation, but found myself just past the boundary of survival, dreading the start of each day and avoiding the sleep that brought it sooner. Tears were never far from the surface and regularly burst out at the most inconvenient of times. But all was not hopeless. I climbed up to sit in the windowsill and lean out, looking down across the valley to where the lights of the village twinkled faintly through the trees. My physical strength was beginning to return; I no longer felt pinched and frail. A shipment of fresh fruit and vegetables had boosted my spirits the previous week and another would be coming the following week. I was in regular contact with family and friends, and their spirits were lifting as they adjusted to isolation, finding space for joy and expansion within the separation. And more than these things, I had discovered a strength within myself I wasn't sure I had. Each time I had lost something or someone, fallen to the ground again with weeping, I had lifted my eyes heavenward and gotten to my feet again. When given the choice to give in to despair or keep trusting that the King's plans were good, I had turned toward Him and leaned on His strength through even the darkest nights. I always said I would follow Him even through the shadowed valleys of death, danger and grief - and I had. When I didn't understand, when I had to say goodbye, when my heart longed for the fields of my home and the embrace of my family, I had clung to faith and not given up. And with His help, I planned to continue doing just that. I slid down from the windowsill and padded into the kitchen to measure the coffee and water for the next morning. Courage in this season might not look like climbing mountains or crossing rivers - it might look like measuring the coffee and going to bed instead of staying up to wait for dawn, trusting that there would be goodness in the following day. A hint of a smile crossed my face as I blew out the candle and picked up my journal to head for bed. There was goodness coming in the morning. Even if I couldn't always feel it, I knew it was there. It would find me before long.
  24. To say this year has not gone to plan would be a colossal understatement. There have been many unexpected turns, and yet somehow things have found a kind of balance. Yes, I've suffered through less than ideal circumstances, but the good that's happened has been equal to that. Life, however, continues to be unpredictable, and that's why I've come creeping back to the Rangers. I spent a lot of time hiding out with the Druids and the Assassins, and that's done me good, but my current direction calls for another change. ... what that direction is however, I do not know. What I do know is that this struggle has not been for nothing. And I also know that if I allow myself to slip back into complacency then I will remain stagnant. I have the means, motivation, and time to put serious effort into improving myself, improving my fitness, improving my way of life. I'm not the person I was even two or three months ago, much less the person I was last year, and that's a change I welcome and will encourage as best I can. It'll be a bit of a scattered approach to begin with as I find my footing, but over the coming months I'm hoping to figure things out. Goal One: The Houseplant Principle It's easy. For a plant to grow, it needs the right fuel. Sunlight, water, maybe some plant food, and kind words. I need to relearn the basics to help me grow. This is stuff I should be aiming for on a daily basis. Sunlight: I started going out for daily walks again a few weeks back and my therapist is delighted and insistent I continue. Even if the weather isn't great, out I go Hydration: Two litre minimum, at least half must be water Food: Three meals per day. No limitations as lock down limitations have taken many choices from me Kind words: My default is negative. My default is to blame and berate myself. While I can't stop that cold, I can catch it and question it. It's far from a measurable goal, but something to aim for regardless Goal Two: The Scout Variant I live next to a forest now. That makes me incredibly happy. It also makes a convenient location to walk and run. The former I have no issue with, the latter I've been avoiding. Well, no more. But we'll start small. Two runs per week. 6km minimum distance in total, so 3km per run, which makes for a manageable target Goal Three: The Once Per Day Rule And this is where all other exercise goes. There must be some form of exercise done every day. It doesn't have to be a full workout by any means, especially if it's a day I'm running, but it has to be something. Yoga, bodyweight work, lifting, mobility, kettlebells, anything. I'm not all that bothered about progression right now, I'm aiming to keep myself moving and figure out what my body is happiest doing. Whatever is done must be tracked. Written notes to be taken at the time, summary to be posted with update Goal Four: The Talking Method Self-isolation has ever been a damaging coping mechanism for me. Then the country went into lock down and that became my way of life against my will. And I found my voice in a way I have never experienced before. I can't take all the credit for that, I had a lot of help, but it happened and I don't want to lose that. So I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing away from here and just add the forums back in by way of daily check-ins. I'll try for every morning until such time as I get broadband back, which isn't until June. Limited to phone data until then, which isn't great. Also not having much fun trying to post using my phone, I've yet to get the hang of it! Not-Quite-a-Goal Five: The List Not only do I have a small collection of projects and things that I want to do, but I basically live in a building site right now and I am absolutely loving it. Nothing is finished and there is always something to do. Admittedly I'm limited by this extended lock down, but there is no reason I can't actually put some thought into the progression of The List. Again, not something really measurable, but it will help me keep track of what I'm doing and when and how. For the moment I've tried to narrow it down to things I can do during the lock down. So far I have the following: Finish painting the living room walls. They've had one coat, they need a second Sand down the skirting board, door, anything that's been given a coating of glossy of plain white paint Buy and paint at least one bookcase. Currently 300+ books are stacked on the floor Check all bathrooms, reseal if needed Fix the commuter bike or build a Frankenbike hybrid, something that will be enough to get me to and from work Sort out bins, ensure all recycling bins are cleared of rubbish left by the previous tenants and other people Get rid of the endless piles of cardboard overwhelming the hall and kitchen Find or buy drill parts, put up the bedroom curtain rail Modify bedroom curtains to make them blackout or near enough Repot plants and rearrange so everyone gets the amount of sunlight they need Finish sofa blanket (also acquire a sofa) Organise workspace, go through paperwork and destroy what doesn't need to be kept Fix desktop computer, salvage working parts of it's beyond repair Sort out the odds and ends box as best as possible with the current limited storage options List to be amended as needed. And that's that. Simple goals, some more guidelines than anything else, for an admittedly complicated time of life. I'm starting from zero week (and measuring my weeks from Monday to Sunday) as I think it's for the best that I don't delay.
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