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  1. June 11th-July 22nd Heidi Vision: The World is What We Make It I enacted a lot of things last round with physical, real-world, tangible, concrete results. Lots of stuff got dealt with, some really physical (and often sweaty) labor to get rid of what was dragging me backwards. Now, the air is clear, and there’s space for vision, those invisible, woo woo, creative forays of the Spirit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of work to do and things to deal with, but the (physical and emotional) space from which I approach real life and all its foibles is one of openness and availability, a creative space that invites the work of opportunity. The road map for this challenge has enough structure to generate its own path, with work and summer class churning through the days as though they are competing to see who can take up more space. It will require nimbleness to dance this dance, and if I fall behind in school, it will be hellish to make up the missed steps, since we start deep and go fast for 8 weeks. My challenge is to stay light on my feet and to hold the details loosely; juggling while walking a tightrope over a canyon requires staying loose. As I begin the journey this challenge, I have my metaphorical bag packed with some spiritual tools, a program map, and companionship. The Road Map Visit School: Open Canvas daily; Read for class at least 30 minutes an evening; post every Monday and Friday; Papers every week Intelligence Go to the Office: About ten hours a day, without getting caught up in any of the chaos. Strength Refuel: Vegetables delivery every Tuesday means setting up bread dough and baking to offer as an exchange; Milk pickup on Wednesday; Eating good food every day Constitution Regular Tune Up: Acupuncture; therapy; daily medications; Constitution Warm up your engines! Morning sauna and walk before hitting the laptop or the books Constitution Cool your jets: good sleep every night Constitution Travel Light: loosening the hold of debt Wisdom Postcards along the way: Some sort of social time daily Charisma Clean out the trunk: Apartment therapy; Regular weekly cleaning Charisma Spirit of Adventure: Emotionally balanced, staying between the lines, in my own lane, and all that, while also relishing the journey that I’m on and the possibilities that it brings. Dexterity The 2023 Skills Tree as of now: Con 5 Str 5 Dex 8 Int 6 Wis 8 Cha 6
  2. The Way of the Jellyfish I’m looking to be able to absorb and go with the flow, no matter what plot twist or power surge comes my way. And, speaking of power surges, I saw meaningful discharges over the course of the last challenge, in the form of messages I sent out and messages I received from my body. Electric fences pack a huge wallop. Conflict is inevitable; combat is a choice. When we are in a position of power, we can choose to act from a place of agency and authority, in elastic response to, and in harmony with, the ocean of chaos and outrage around us, without losing our boundaries. This is the goal. It will require detangling how I have woven the story of my Self with threads (and at times knots) of others, unwinding my habits, tendencies, and fears. This will not be easy or simple, and it will likely be the beginning of a lifetime of weaving who I am in the world. The Details The spreadsheet is much slimmer this round. Constitution: Acupuncture. Rest. This is enough. Strength: Go to work. Do PT. Dexterity: Emotional Balance. Public Transit. Wisdom: Debt Payments. Emergency fund. Taxes. Oh My. Intelligence: Finish the Overdue Paper and turn it in. Charisma: Connect with others. Cultivate a genuine support network. Beginning Stats Constitution 2 Strength 3 Dexterity 4 Wisdom 4 Intelligence 3 Charisma 2
  3. The liturgical calendar marks this as the season of Lent, my favorite season of the Church year, one marked by dedication and gratitude. Through mindful application of ourselves and our spirit, the Way opens before us, as if lit by small lights that bolster us in our efforts. This is the Way. Last challenge I took stock of where I am, of what worked and what didn’t. This round I’m applying a bit of a honing blade, sloughing off that which doesn’t serve me and narrowing my focus and efforts onto what does. Also last challenge I resurrected the old-school skills tree, marking my progress in somewhat less-than-orthodox ways, but meaningful ones nonetheless. I’m interested to see what comes of this next segment, and would like to level up a point in each. Sometimes the Universe gives me the opportunity to level up a second point as well. Constitution: This is wellness, and includes Acupuncture, gym time, good food, and plenty of water and sleep. It also includes the apartment work that I’ve been doing, because being at home while I’m at home is a comfort and an anchor. Strength: Go to work, each day and every day. I know this seems simple. It’s not as easy as it sounds, physically, and I’m seven months into a six-week contract. Being a contractor has a lot of uncertainty with it, so part of my job is also cultivating and nurturing having my job. (See Dexterity) Additionally, my doctor as given me a PT regimen beyond the routine walking. I’ll be doing exercises with bands in the hopes that additional physical strength will help relieve some of the tension and inflammation that is everywhere all the time. Dexterity: Lots of emotional balance going on between the job and the relationship with my daughter. It feels like significant moments are on the horizon for each. Any movement stat also has to take into consideration transportation, which is once again in the Challenge column. I’m hoping to get more fluent with public transit this round. For everything else, there is Uber. Wisdom: Speaking of balance, there’s also perspective. This is the “choose well” portion of keeping my center and being able to choose well during the chaos. It’s also about lightening my debt load. I’d loaded up some debts with scary interest rates over the last couple years, and I’m grateful I was able to leverage my way out of a bad situation, and now it’s time to put that behind me as swiftly and neatly as possible, without wrecking anything else. Possible bonuses to other stats as well. Intelligence: The class wraps up this challenge, and I’m glad I’m taking an accelerated course. Also, there’s a fair amount of work that gets to be done for the dissertation. Before I take on the next project, there’s a lingering, overdue paper that I really want to finish up and move on from, probably next challenge, but definite bonus sparkles if I get it done this round. Charisma: Alliances and support. We aren’t meant to be on this path alone. Thanks for being here.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Midsummer June 12- July 23: Take Root Yoga, meditation, anti-inflammatory foods, acupuncture, sound healing, love. This Druid challenge I’m focusing on a single element: The Root. Grounded. I made some significant strides with being grounded last challenge, and this challenge I’m looking to focus on that and deepen it. From stillness comes strength. Strong roots that run deep provide the stability to weather the storm. It’s been noted in recent research that deep roots in old forests act as a communication network, allowing the trees to sense what is happening and respond, from restorative rains to rampaging wildfires, and to act accordingly in their own best interests. The Sanskrit word for root is muladhara, and from the root we receive our security and balance, our ability to be in harmony with the world, no matter what might come our way. It is associated with the color red, the slowest of all the hues in the spectrum. It serves as a reminder of our inextricable connection with Mother Earth. Nourish Flower and urban farm shares (including eggs!) and farm fresh vegetables are populating my pantry once again. I love this time of year. There’s a lot going on with needing to wash, prep and store the bounty, and then turn it into the wonderful meals that are waiting. My kidneys in particular are looking forward to this, and to the beets that are surely on their way. I’m looking to deepen my sense of abundance and sit with the miracle that is the power of the earth to produce food. All my needs are met, if I can meet the universe’s gifts. Creative Power, I haven’t felt very powerful over the last few years, and even my creativity has felt diminished. Deepening my sense of boundaries and allowing myself to take up space is essential to having personal power. The foundation of this is a strong and powerful connection with my center and with the ground. The result is an ability to express my boundaries and personal power in a loving and rooted way. Plans: This is summer, and before I was offered the job I had said yes to a whole host of summertime dogsitting. I’m honoring those commitments while also saying no to any future engagements. This is difficult for me, but necessary. I need time in my life for rest, the first part of the word restoration. I cannot be present and available when I’m depleted and scattering my energy all around. Bask : Acupuncture and milk each week help me heal and deepen my glow. I have signed up for restorative yoga sessions on every other Friday that are like a deep meditation session, and I’ll add those where and when I can. Love Visitation is supposed to be expanding, but it isn’t. Encouraging this with firm compassion is going to take some deep calm, deep wisdom, and deep love.
  7. Beltane May 1 - June 11: Bloom Where You’re Planted Yoga, meditation, anti-inflammatory foods, gardening, composting (with worms!!), love. Welcome to a truly Druidic Challenge. Grounded. Like an errant teenager or an injured pilot, like the third prong on the electrical plug, this challenge I am grounded, or looking to get that way. Me, being me, I’m taking this as literally as I take everything else, and I’m looking to dirt and roots to help me out. Even my yoga sessions are on the ground, and meditation is definitely that way. Nourish Flower and urban farm shares (including eggs!) start this week. Nearby farm vegetable delivery starts May 17. I need to make sure I have the fridge and tools prepared and waiting. Eating farm-to-table is a mindset more than an activity, and having the right structure in place makes all the difference. Weekly vegetable delivery means weekly cooking. Last year was a wash with me having no motivation or energy. Truly, it was a sad year on the cooking front. Looking forward to this year in the kitchen. Vermicomposting, the nerdiest druid thing to happen in the dirt. I’m super excited about this. I’ve wanted to do indoor vermicomposting for years, and am finally making this happen. I have the composter ready to be assembled, and lots of thoughts about worms. The composter isn’t large, but every square inch matters in this small apartment, so I’ll need to figure out where it will live and how collecting vegetable scraps and tea leaves will fit into the workflow. Plants! Vivian wants to plant roses and lavender in containers on the rooftop terrace, and I want to have fresh herbs again, especially rosemary and basil, and possibly sunflowers. Look for green thumb reports. Bask I’m kicking the challenge off with a session of sound bowl healing, one of my favorite activities. A second session is scheduled for the first week of June as well. The weather is warming up and there’s a couple free yoga sessions each week with an instructor I really like, so I’m adding those to the calendar, in pencil as my energy level allows. Acupuncture and milk each week help me keep my glow. I have two passes for a salt float (similar to a sensory deprivation tank, but larger) that are like a deep meditation session, and I’ll add those where and when I can. Love I get to see Vivian every other Saturday, still, and we are supposed to start adding in time on the following Sundays, as well as video chats on the Friday before. I’m looking forward to that. Academic Housekeeping: I need to finish up the semester projects and send them off. I’ve been dragging my feet and will have them done and turned in by the end of zero week.
  8. Ah, Spring. Last challenge I spent nearly every day incapacitated, which was ironic since I had planned to have it be a clearing of decks, titled the kNOwing, focused on NO. It turned out that I even said NO to the challenge that round. As fate would have it, this morning, the first full day of Spring, has dawned with a sense of restoration of body and spirit. I’m not going to go wild with activity or anything, but the positive outlook and energy is very welcome indeed. Spring, forward This challenge sees a lot of nurturing of growth, on all fronts. Mind Academically, I’ve found the framework for my whole dissertation, just this morning, and the cosmic irony is that it has been there the whole time. My mentor and I talked about this at length while he was developing his book, published in 2012 and largely overlooked in favor of his alignment with the Stoic tradition, and here I am, using his framework as my own, as his theory was intended. I miss him, and the conversations we had, and having his framework to guide me feels solid and right. This is “extra reading,” but I’m looking forward to it. Along with class assignments, I’m about halfway through the doctoral program, and I need to get my roadmap in order. I don’t come from an academic family, so I have no clue what lies ahead. Asking for advice is the answer, in this as in so much. Body. When it comes to my physical fitness, I am walking a path of acceptance. I spent two weeks in outright suffering and a few days of exhaustion after that. This was a rough space. It’s also difficult to address the idea of “being better” or “getting better.” Having a condition means I can be wonky and out of commission at any time, without warning and without recourse. Acupuncture, sleep, exercise, and good food all help create optimal conditions. Spirit. Acupuncture, food, sleep, good friends, the sauna, and time in the sun. These help restore me. There is no “better” in so many ways, but at times there is optimism and enthusiasm, and ability, and this is everything. It wouldn’t be a Heidi Challenge without a nod to a court date, and the next one is set for April 25. I’m looking forward to it, actually, and I have a sense that there may be an end in sight for restoration of a normal relationship with my daughter. Spring forward, indeed, as this happened very quickly once the changes started in January. I’m hopeful that this new growth can be nurtured. There’s always a bonus project, too, and this challenge is no different. The storage unit is now history, and that means that the things I decided to keep are all in the apartment somehow. A little more organization would go a long way. The current assumption is that Vivian will be spending the night at some point, so I’d like to rearrange the furniture in a way that is more friendly for a longer term visit. This would be easy in the Before Times, when I was strong-bodied, but now it takes planning and coordination of schedules. I’m blessed to have a friend who wants to help. This is Spring. May we find the path Forward.
  9. What is revealed in the dark, when we sit in stillness, our backs turned against the cold? How far have we come under the last thirteen moons? What path is illuminated by the stars of the new year? The dark chill time of the year is upon us, and the candles flicker valiantly against the gathering gloom. I have within me an ember that glows and carries a soulful solace. Solstice is a time of ending, not with a sense of loss, but with a sense of finishing a chapter. It’s a potent time of discernment for me, a time of reflecting back on the path I have walked and looking ahead with intention. Heart and Soul are the core of this challenge as I wrap up so many things, projects as well as presents, with a sense of presence. Grab a cup of tea and join me for a spell. This is a journey of inner warmth.
  10. This challenge is all about cultivating the quiet strength of balance, and I can’t think of a better time to set that intention than at the new moon just before the Autumn Equinox. I’m focusing on the core elements that sustain me and bring me peace, security, and the quiet strength to be who I am in the world. Heal as I can, when I can. Eating Wellness Wednesdays Sometimes the gym Do not give in to despair. Writing (Dissertation is 12, 343 words as the challenge opens) Classwork Connections Allow no one to choose combat for me Sleep, regularly but also often Schedule as little as possible by the clock and calendar. Meditation, including small bits of sitting throughout the day.
  11. We're going old-school this challenge. I am back on my game with 3+1 format, outlines, and checklists. In so many ways, I feel like I'm back where I started in 2012, and I'm taking my cues from the Universe about where my energy and focus needs to be: gym, healing, and my studies, just like my original challenges. Yep, everything else is still here and waiting: finances, legal stuff with my daughter, daily housework and life management. Here's the thing though: I don't care. I mean, I care enough and it will be dealt with as it arises, but it is not my focus, not anymore. I almost named this the IDGAF challenge. Still might. Tracking, because I like it, and it helps me stay present, centered in here and now, and also because I spend too much time on Twitter. Tracking my challenge is a much better way to engage with myself and my community. See something that you're doing too? If you want a daily accountability buddy, give me a shout. Nothing sophisticated and no shame, just simple "did you eat yet" or swimming emoji and reinforcement. Meages and I did this for sleep a million years ago, and it was fantastically helpful. Also, random #reasonsnottoquit, because I need them. Possible drop of random #HeidiKoan, because I need to remember them. Mind Maybe classes, maybe not. Figure that out. Read 1 book from the dissertation shelf each week .(Edited 8/3. There is no need for this structure or this focus. There are many things waiting, including the dissertation shelf. If I get to them, great. If other things are tugging at my sleeve, I'll deal with those.) Writing. I've fallen out of the daily writing habit and I need it back. Bonus: there's a fantastic bakery 3/4 mile away that I can walk to and then take over a table while I write. Body Eat Make something and eat it every day. Saturday vegetable pickup Weekly instacart for gap items and meatballs Wellness Wednesdays: Milk Acupuncture or Massage Everything after this is bonus, because I keep forgetting how deeply exhausted I am. The gym, daily. Anything below counts for bodywork. One star for going, because I'm not really motivated by stars, I'm motivated by results. Restore: sauna and hot tub and steam room. Daily weigh in Build: swim, weights, core exercises Walking. When I walk, I discover things. I don't know why, but it's true anyway. Back to that, preferably daily. For consideration: Flexibility: there's a free yoga class downtown twice a week, Monday evening and Friday morning. Friday was always my favorite. It would be neat to go again. Bonus: it's .75 mile away from the Loft, so walking is a real Possibility. Soul *Meditation. Five minutes? Fifty minutes? All good. Focusing more on #reasonsnottoquit and #HeidiKoans than on a formal practice. At some point I want to (re)consider (re)joining a T'ai Chi/ Qi Gong / Aikido class. This is not that challenge. *Sleep. I go back and forth on putting this at Body instead of Soul, but there's something going on with my Spirit that requires a lot of rest.
  12. Praxis is about doing, not about an event per se, but about the doing of being. This challenge is a relatively blank canvas for me, an open landscape that I developed and nurtured last challenge. There will be a lot of looking back from many years past to see what truly supported me in being, and then working with doing that. Thanks for being along with me on the journey, Friend. ❣️
  13. This challenge begins during a time of converging paths, each with their own pressures: PhD classes, interpersonal conflict, editing work, physical challenges, emotional balance, spiritual wholeness. At times it feels like I am navigating under a starless sky, and all I can do is trust the sails and be grateful that the water lifts the boat. I hadn't meant to make an Earthsea challenge, and it's been forever since I read the books, but here we are. Writing often reveals the Way; as Ged found, words have power to restore balance to what has been upset. The way will open.
  14. Snow Falling on Warm Ground When I sit Let the thoughts come. Welcome them even! With an open heart, I can receive them Drifts of snow falling On warm ground. When I am work, Let the chaos come. Welcome it even! With a centered heart, I can embrace it Drifts of snow falling On warm ground. When I am play, Let the obstacles come. Welcome them even! With a calm heart, I can resolve them Drifts of snow falling On warm ground. When I am in the world, Let the difficulties come. Welcome them even! With a full heart, I can release them Drifts of snow falling On warm ground. This is a mindset challenge. My goals are about restoring my heart and spirit after a long and difficult dark night of the soul, one that feels as though it is finally beginning to recede. What I learned on my path through Hell is that I have no enemies; there is no fight. I am an agent of the Spirit. Simplicity: storage unit; monthly housekeeping; local food subscription for 2021. Peace: the path forward to togetherness with Vivian; continued thoughts and efforts with the boys; meditation. Integrity: the dance with the job*; begin doctoral classes Restore: acupuncture; massage therapy; milk and honey and yummy goodness; meditation. Initiative: paralegal for those facing eviction; research proposal for honesty project Teamwork: rely on my advocates, the attorney and TheTherapistsThree; maintain contact with my Jedi Council; the morning call; and the Forum Friendship.
  15. Not sure what this challenge holds for me, so I'm coming in with an open heart. Stay tuned, because this is the mindset that usually means the doors get blown off. ❤️
  16. Winter Solstice Reset I have been working on leveling up for the last several challenges, without much progress. Instead of trying harder, I am going to take this challenge to reflect. Observations from last challenge: Elf noted that I am more stressed than I was a year ago, and Dumbledore confirmed it. I have been struggling to keep up with things at work I have been eating comfort food I slept 9 hours a night over Thanksgiving weekend I have not been sitting zen regularly Signs point to my routine needing adjustment so that I can be happy and relaxed. 1. Evening prep Getting enough sleep makes a huge difference in my attitude and effectiveness. The trickiest part is actually getting to bed early. I've noticed that it takes me about half an hour to put things away, wash and get to bed. I think it only takes 15 minutes, and that is just not realistic. Getting to bed early lets me sit zen in the morning when the house is always quiet. I already do the things on this list most of the time. I just need to do them earlier and more consistently. Set out clothes for the next day Pack lunch, breakfast and fruit Pack clean gi and exercise clothes Foam roll legs if they are tight 2. Exercise Aikido is going well as it is. I'm doing 1:1 study twice a week for 30 minutes at lunch, plus two regular classes a week. Just keep working on all the things. I'm seeing good results from the core yoga and I miss it when I don't do it for several days. Keep that up. I tried doing Elements again and got frustrated with the length of time required per session. Not a good fit for my schedule. I need a plan for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday that takes 30-40 minutes. Monday/Wednesday - Aikido weapons and principles practice Tuesday/Friday - Starting Strength and mobility Thursday - Yoga or PT Saturday/Sunday - Aikido or yoga @Urgan has been encouraging me to start strength training for ages. Now seems like a good time. The weather makes me want to stay inside. I can always go for a walk on Thursday if by some miracle we get a nice day. A third of my PT is bodyweight squats. Doing weighted squats should fill the same fitness goals. Another third of the PT is airplanes and kicks. I can do those while resting between sets on lifting days. That gives me a free day to do other yoga or the NF handstand course. The core yoga sessions are only 20 minutes. Perfect for busy days. 3. Zen and holding still When I'm stressed I tend to fall into a trap of thinking I have to do all the things or they won't get done. The majority of those things can wait a bit. I also can be better about communicating and sharing the work. Elf has had a stretch of good days. Hopefully that means that the new meds are working better than the old ones. We have an app for sharing household tasks. Hermes is around more and might be able to help. Dumbledore is making an effort to do his part. I can concentrate on the things that are just my responsibility. I can even take time for myself without worrying about my world falling apart. Sitting zen helps my brain reset. Zazen at least 10 minutes a day Knitting instead of playing games on my phone Reading for fun on weekends, more educational reading before bed 4. Randori with All The Things Make good choices and keep moving. There will always be more things that need doing; that does not mean I need to deal with them right now. Set them aside with notes for later or other people to do them. Take time to do things that will make me and my family feel better.
  17. Heidi

    New Moon Light

    Happy February, Druids. This month there is no full moon, as the Snow moon of February was early and ambitious and showed up at the end of January just in time for a spectacular eclipse, leaving this a month for walking in the dark as I make my way toward balance and harmony, in my life and in my soul. There is no end in sight to the contentiousness that the universe is sending my way, giving me the opportunity to acknowledge and release my own shortcomings, if I'm up to the challenge. I have worked hard to get where I am; the journey has been a difficult one since this time last year, and the year before that. I don't expect the Universe will be done with me any time soon, given that I have a lot of Ranger-ish tendencies, wanting to blast through the high growth with a Machete, taking the hill while singing rousing choruses of TeamFightSong. What's worse, I'm really good at this approach, so finding a still spot within is never my first inclination. At the end of last challenge, I was still working on this, and had just found a profound stillness within myself. This sounds wonderful, but it had its own dangerous element of detachment that becomes the abyss instead of the engaged distance of a balanced perspective. This challenge I'm looking for the path to be revealed. I have a number of elements in that activity to actually do, but this is less about tasks and more about a moment to moment mindset of finding calm in the chaos, of being the still point in the noise. I'm happy to have you along. Let's see what is revealed.
  18. January starts with the Wolf supermoon and ends with the Blue supermoon. The end of the year holiday visiting and playtime have been wonderful, but now, taking a cue from the moons, it's time for some serious reflection. I need to sit quietly and listen, to look behind me at the fractured path that was 2017, to lean into the feelings and find the insights as I prepare to walk forward. I'm glad to have you along.
  19. 太極拳 -------------------------------------------------------------------- After the disaster that was the last challenge, I'm going to be working on my meditation and sanity again. I need to bring myself back inward; I've been stretched too thin for too long, and it's impacting every aspect of my life. 2017 is almost over, and it's a really weird feeling. Parts of it seem immensely long (we adopted the dog in August, and it feels like he's been with us for years!) and other parts seem impossibly short. On the bright side, I'm looking forward to quite a few things in 2018, but I need to get my brain house in order (and subsequently the rest of me) if I'm really going to be able to enjoy any of it. Over the past couple of months, I haven't been making it to my Kung Fu classes as regularly as before. Many times in the past, when I've hit a rough patch with a hobby or interest like that, my investment in it starts to fade away and I generally stop doing whatever it is. This is the first time in my life that I've experienced the opposite: not going made me want to go MORE. Now that the worst of the last few weeks is past, it's time to draw inward, become mindful again, and build a bulwark against whatever life is going to throw at me next. There are going to be several aspects of this, but the primary ones I'll be focusing on for this challenge are seiza meditation (I can't find a Chinese word for it) and my new Tai Chi practice! Last week I went to my first Tai Chi class. I've wanted to do it for years and years, but could never find an instructor. Now that my Sifu is offering to teach Yang style, I can't hardly pass it up! For the next four weeks I'll be working to establish a real meditation habit, as well as working my Yang-style. My medium-term goal is to compete in the Tai Chi division at the next tournament I attend (probably in the spring sometime) so I've got the winter to make it as good as I can. I really enjoy doing it and I think it's going to be great for rehabbing my injured knee, so I'm excited to keep going with it. (✘ missed, ✔ done, ☐ to do, ⭐ bonus!) Goal 1: Stillness of Mind 10 minutes of meditation, 5 times per week. No need to go straight from zero to perfection. Let's just establish a habit. If I can hit higher than 10 minutes in a session, go me. Week 1: ✔✔✔✔✔ Week 2: ✔✔✔✔✔⭐ Week 3: ✔✔✔✔✘ Week 4: ✔☐☐☐☐ Goal 2: Feel the Chi Flow Taiji form practice: 3 times through my current knowledge, minimum, 4 days per week. Tuesday Taiji class doesn't count toward this goal. Slow and purposeful is key here. Moving too fast is as bad as moving too stiffly. Week 1: ✔✔✔✘ Week 2: ✔✔✔✔ Week 3: ✔✔✔✘ Week 4: ✔☐☐☐ As a side note, I've decided to open up a battle log to track my longer-term stuff: things like tournaments, rank advancements, major accomplishments, etc. Right now they're kind of getting lost in the old challenge threads, so something that lasts across challenges seems like a good idea. Feel free to drop by there if you'd like.
  20. I don't have a clue when I last posted -- I know that the #BigHeavyWeight of it all wrapped itself around my shoulders on June 19 and I have been working my way through a bit of hell ever since. Anton Chekhov wrote that "Any idiot can handle a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears you out." And I've had about three weeks of living in that space. The good news is that I am brave enough to say I'm tired, brave enough to quit pretending all is well, brave enough to rest and to begin to heal. Another wonderful man once said "This is not the end, and not even the beginning of the end, but it might be the end of the beginning." #KeepSwimming My employment ended on June 3o, the afternoon after a demonstration by a company that can do everything I do, only from India. I texted my partner that I was pretty certain that I was going to be outsourced, and sure enough, I was shown the door the next day. #MoreTimeToWrite. #Writing: After attending the Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop, I've decided to formalize my path as a writer. This is weird and vulnerable and scary for me. I need to keep a log of pieces that I have submitted (a New Thing That Just Happened on Monday) and pieces that need rework. I hope to have a submission, rework and new work every day, along with reading. Stay tuned. Feel free to check out my progress in my tracking spreadsheet (two tabs). #Mediation certification: I will be taking the Domestic Violence and the Family seminar on July 21, and then the Family Mediation Training in Richmond in August (next challenge). I'm still waiting to make progress on the General Court observation, but it will come in due time. The Family Mediation Certification will likely come at the end of August (also next challenge). It feels good to have progress on this. #Communication with Vivian. My daily calls with my daughter were suspended when we went to court on July 6. This hurts, and she was in tears over it. We go back to court in September (two challenges from now, I think, but maybe three -- this is how I measure things). I'm now limited to calling on Monday and Wednesday, which doesn't really make any sense, since the argument they presented was that I was inappropriate on the phone, so why would it be ok to be inappropriate two times a week? #MovingOn. When we were on the phone on Monday, we started talking about the garden and how it's coming along and she got a little sad. I said I could send her pictures, and she brightened up and said she would love that. So there it is, in the midst of the dark, the single star to guide me through. I wrote her a Garden Report and included a garden word search along with the pictures I took and mailed it yesterday. I'm going to write her every day, including a puzzle or coloring page or whathaveyou. And then I'm going to write my pen pal, who is in prison. #SnailMailRules #Self-care Nightly sleep I need to take care of myself by making certain I'm getting enough rest. If I'm worn out and exhausted, I can't be a good student / parent / friend. I need to be in bed no later than 9 p.m. Daily Sauna or hot bath Daily Meetings Reason 417 that not having a job is grand for me is that I get to return to my lunchtime meeting. It meets at 12:15 seven days a week, and I'm thinking of adding Saturday to the mix when my partner has overtime or a seminar. It fits perfectly after my writing workshop meeting at 9:30 at the local library, and then the Friends Meeting every Sunday. Water reestablish the habit. Walking. My steps fell to hell as the office job progressed. I went from a ten mile a day habit to barely a mile, and lost the habit of walking thirty minutes every day as well. I'm hoping to put it back. #FinancialPlanning with the attorney: Financial worry is soul-crushing. I recently read a report on the effects of poverty sapping nearly an entire standard deviation from a person's intelligence, and I can completely believe that. The mental peace that will come from financial clarity is huge. I have until July 31 to wrap this up, and am hoping that it will be done much sooner than that. It's only waiting on me at this point, so pester me for updates.
  21. We all need peace in our lives. If you would like to find that balance between your mind, body and spirit, try this PvP challenge. You can do this through your yoga practice, walking, running, shavasana or sitting comfortably in a quiet room. Focus on your breath, and either a candle or your foundation, as long as you bring yourself back if your thoughts start to wander (they are called the minds bicep curls). This analogy on reddit has been referenced frequently, but here is something you should keep in mind: Post your meditation and describe what you can from it. First with the tally of how many meditations you have completed. How did you do it? For how long? How often did your mind wander? How did you feel afterwards? Did you learn anything new about yourself? Try this for at least 10 minutes every day or every other day, depending on your routine. If you complete 30 days of meditation, you are rewarded with learning how to embrace your distractions, taking time to focus on yourself. and gained "emotional intelligence". Among many other benefits people have claimed to experience. I have downloaded the Insight Timer app. I usually meditate during yoga class, but I will use the app on non-yoga days. Please feel free to offer any suggestions for this PvP. I plan on making a list to keep track of how far each participant has come. If you want to do more than 30, go for it! Good luck and namaste!
  22. Heidi

    Heidi: Frost

    | Frost, or Isa, the Rune of Ice Attention to small things gives us real results in large things.This is my Why, and the Tao is my Way. The Rune Isa indicates stillness and reinforcement, a great theme for me this round. I'm going with a 3x5 (+1) for this, three goals with five elements each plus one life goal. Act (daily elements) - keeping in action to sustain the healthy foundation. Improvements are bonus, a happy accident of continued use over time. Morning walk -- 20 minutes Steam room and sauna meditation -- 20 minutes Hydrate -- 2+ litres throughout the day Sleep - 9p.m. to 5 a.m. Journal Connect (daily elements) -- nurture and be nurtured by my community Meetings daily Call Paula daily Call Vivian daily Friends group weekly Monthly newsletter thought of the day Sustain (weekly / monthly elements)- these are the things that keep me centered and whole, no matter what life throws at me. And trust me, life has a wicked curve ball these days. Katrina - weekly therapy Greg - weekly acupuncture Sunday - weekly reset routine Erin - monthly yoga therapy Candy - monthly hair appointment Freedom -- leveling up on financial freedom is a huge deal for a reason. It takes a lot of willpower over time, but it reaps long lasting rewards. Assess the landscape -- so much has changed since October that it needs a thorough reevaluation (Week 0-1) Plan (Week 2-3) Execute (Week 4) Weekly Monthly One-offs Challenge Item TOTAL Week 0 2/05-2/11 Week 1 2/12-2/18 Week 2 2/19-2/25 Week 3 2/26-3/05 Week 4 3/6-3/12 Morning Walk /35 Sauna meditation /35 Shower and dress for the day /35 Hydrate /35 Sleep /35 Journal /35 Sunday reset routine /5 Meeting /35 Paula /35 Vivian /35 Friends /5 Katrina /5 Greg /5 Candy /1 Erin /1
  23. Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. Lao Tzu I can't believe another challenge cycle has spun around again. The new timeframe seems to be uncannily aligned with my life's rhythms, to boot. Life is frequently like that.Last challenge I learned much - so very very much - about how love is stronger than fear. It was a lesson I understood intellectually, but had no true grasp on, and I delved in to put the principle into practice.It was as hard as it sounds. At times, I could not imagine how to release the fear, let alone find the love, but it was there, the whole time, waiting for me, whenever I was ready to receive.And now, armed with a new understanding, I can move into practice a step further, finding strength in the softness, in the compassion, in the unity. For we are all one; to injure anyone is to injure myself. I have no enemies other than myself. Unity can heal all divides.This challenge I flow forth as water: welcoming, accepting, unifying, undeniable strength through nurturing and softness. My tools along the journey are simplicity, gratitude, stillness. The sauna and the hot tub, the keyboard and printer are my allies. As a river does not flow in a vacuum, I will lean on my supporters and support others in turn. We will do more, together.
  24. In keeping with all things "love" for this month, I'm including a lean on others piece. This month I will actively look for ways to accept the strength and wisdom of others. We are all stronger together. I am not alone. ~Daily Gratitude Journal continues, and will include when I'm grateful for the assistance of others. ~Daily gym will continue, with my partner. It's not as though I am incapable or disallowed to go alone, or anything. But it's a powerfully connected time when we go together. ~Onerous Tasks will continue, as ever, and I will make a note of how and when I am able to have help slaying these pesky kobolds. ~Papers: I have full rough drafts for the thesis and the conference papers due this month.
  25. Name: Hammlin "Hammi" Race: Wood Elf | Class: Footpath Ranger Leader Level: 16 (STR):38.25 (DEX):34.25 (STA):25 (CON):28.25 (WIS):28.5 (CHA):24.25 Motivation: Searching for peace, honing lost skills. Calm, Cool, Collected. Hammi’s Main Quest: Purpose of Peace (June 9 to July 20) Missions: 1. Maps. I am working towards some items on my epic quest, and one of them involves Search and Rescue. Having submitted my application, I want to spend this summer and fall outdoors getting myself reacquainted with nature and the things in it. My intention is to spend time with some topographical maps. Yay! Step 1: Purchase or download at least 2 topo maps Step 2: Study through library books or online materials how to intentionally use them Step 3: Decide on 2 destinations Step 4: Use and draw a route on my maps and grade myself on my proficiency Step 5: Grade on the challenge is a direct correlation to proficiency grade ***Note: If I notice in my research that the hours needed to do 2 full map studies extends beyond what is reasonable for the challenge, doing 1 at full Pass or Fail proficiency is ok. Reward: (+2 STA +2 STR) 2. Hikes. Part of the application process indicated 3 hikes that are good for physical fitness testing for a SAR team. I want to find the peace of nature in the calm of not being on a mission, so I will complete 2 of these hikes. A detailed write up on my blog will seal the full credit for each hike, 2 Hikes with 2 blogs= A 2 Hikes with 1 blog= B 1 Hike with 1 blog = C 1 Hike with 0 blogs= D No Hikes with No Blogs= F Reward: (+2 STA +2 WIS) 3. Peace. In all of my craziness of goal seeking, I want to keep at the forefront of my mind why I want to do this in the first place. To help, to not be a hindrance etc. In order to serve out of the overflow of your own heart and peace, you need to actually have overflow. I am going to take 6 peace walks- one a week that specifically focuses on breathing, praying, thinking, etcs 6 Walks = A 5 Walks = B 4 Walks = C 3 Walks = D 0-2 Walks = F Reward: (+2 DEX, +1 CON) Life Quest: 4. Actions. I have a lofty goal of joining a SAR team. It’s a lot of work and tons of pre-reqs. So, I am doing a ton of research. I am going to have my life goal be to identify 6 next steps and write actionable, doable things 6 Action steps = A 5 Action steps = B 4 Action steps = C 3 Action steps = D 0-2 Action steps = F Reward: (+1 CON, +3 STR) TRACKING My Story (challenge history): 1. Wandering across the mountain ranges of the west, I came upon another wood elf, who was running through the tree lined forest. I tried to keep up, because I knew he was waiting for me, but nothing I did would keep me at pace with him. Eventually I slowed, to catch my breath and I lost him. Dejected and worn out, I decided to dedicate my life to keeping up with this other elf... 2. Sneaking through the woods I can feel my senses getting sharper and I begin to wonder if the elf that I'm following, is actually following me... 3. Catching my breath I slow my run as I approach a clearing. Did I get lost? I don't know where I am and the elf I had been following has picked up the pace. My mind... it's jumbled up... my thoughts are foggy... I need to focus. I'll stay here for a while, find my center, and then continue on... 4. After pausing in the clearing to refocus, I see what looks like a beaten down path off to my right. Have I been here before? Walking up to the path, it looks familiar, but overgrown. I take out my sword and slowly start hacking away the brush that seems to have grown in over the years. Yes. THIS is my path. 5. Following the path for what seems like a lifetime I suddenly find myself at the tree lined edge of a beautiful meadow. The sun in the sky that is glaring down on me makes me realize something glorious- I have made it through the woods! Over the hill I see the elf that I have been tracking this whole time. He is napping… This is my chance!!! 6. Running up to the elf that I have been following for what seems like forever, I find myself out of breath. As I slow down and approach him, I see him slow down and turn to me. I don't know if he knows that I have been following him, but I can tell by the look in his eye that he's ok with this. As we start to wander the forest together we notice that things aren't quite as bright and cheery as they were months ago... something is wrong... 7. As we continue to approach the edge of the forest we can feel something bearing down on us. Picking up the pace we stay laser focused on getting out of here. The night has grown darker and the forest is eerily quiet. The wood elf and I look at each other and begin to run. I can tell that the time where we have to battle is near and we really need to stay focused... 8. Standing on the front line, victorious, I wonder "Now what?" I ponder with wise words of a foreigner who taught my people to stay motivated when they feel like they have arrived. The skills I have learned in the past keep me pushing forward. I move confidently north, to find new lands. And that other pesky elf can come with me… 9. On the north side of the valley I see something far away that I can’t take my eyes off of. It almost looks like the mountain side is glistening and the sun is dancing with the peaks. I fall into a trance, staring off into the distance, as if I'm under a spell. A few minutes later I am able to snap out of it, but the lingering desire to see who, or what, had a hold on me begins to push me forward. Is some powerful mage up in the hills, drawing people to him? Or is someone sending out a distress signal, begging for help. All I know is the allure of finding out what is in those hills is forcing me onward. We have mountains like these back home, but I am far from that place, and out of practice. It will take some time to traverse these mighty giants, but I have no choice but to start… 10. From the top of the mountain I can see everything. I have a level of clarity that I've not experienced before and it makes me take notice to my surroundings. I have an epiphany and realize that I need to race home to my family. They have no idea what’s in store! As quickly as I can I need to make my way back down the hill and back to my village… Part of the way down the hill I trip. When I catch myself I see that the sign in front of me has directions. I’m tired of being a follower in my own life. I need to go my own way. I turn on my heels and walk south. 11. Down in the city to the south I find myself in the camp and company of strangers. Although I’m not entirely sure that I can trust them, they seem safe enough. Maybe, I’ll hang back and just observe them and mind their ways. Something inside of me says that these people have information that may be valuable to me and my quest, and I am determined to get my hands on it. Knowledge is oddly alluring and very appealing to my senses… 12. As I spend weeks on end with these people, I start to sense a power coming over me. I am being changed from the inside out- is it sorcery? Magic? Am I evolving? All I know is that I need to stay the course. Over time, my memories start to fade. The days of running through the wilderness with the other elves feel miles away- as if they occurred a lifetime ago. Only the here and now makes sense. I have my plan. 13. The strangers have become less strange and more like family. It feels like I have finally returned to a place where I feel at home and at peace. When I look down I start to notice that my slender Elven legs have begun to take a form of something more resembling tree trunks. When I stand, I can't move quite as nimbly but I feel stronger than I ever was before. In the back of my mind I still remember that I am following something- the dragon... 14. As I wake with a start I feel strange. My heart is pounding out of my chest, and I can’t seem to calm myself down. I am in no condition to face the dragon. I need peace. 15. Relaxed and recharged I pull out my map. I haven’t looked at it in quite some time and it’s almost foreign to me. Over my shoulder I see that elf that I had chased so long. He’s back and there is a stranger comfort in knowing that. I turn back to the map and start down the trail. There is a point in the road where it splits off into three. I see on the map that all three get where I need to go, but one seems most logical. I start down that path… I must find the thing that haunts me. I run until I can't feel my legs and I burn all over. 16. The fire that consumed me begins to subside, but I am still feeling the after burn. I pull a map out of my pack and examine it for water. I tilt my head trying to make sense of the nearest body of water, but the letters suddenly look foreign to my elven eyes. I take some time to sit and focus- after a while it will come to me and I can find the cool liquid that will cool my legs and quench my thirst. I pick up my pack again and though it’s very heavy, I make towards my intended destination, swiftly and confidently.
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