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  1. My Happy New Year I’ve been blessed in abundance in 2022, with the end of the year glittering with moments of miracles and love. That doesn’t mean it was easy, or simple, or that there isn’t work left to do. In many ways, this land of abundance is alien, and I’m making my way into 2023 a little star-struck from it all, and with no small amount of culture shock. How to live in this space, amplify it and honor it? How to make sure I don’t squander the gifts with a scarcity mindset, or from anxiety? How can I go forward in love? This is a time of having set down the weapons; the sword stands at rest in its scabbard; the bow has been unstrung. There is no fight and I have no enemies. The Way forward is one of gentleness, a time of tending to my Self and my Spirit as I would tend a newly-laid garden bed, rich and fertile. In the lunar calendar, this is the end of the year, a time when all things should be squared away, buttoned up, and arguments ironed out. For the Celts, this was a time of looking forward as the earth tilts towards the light, culminating in Imbolc, a time to sweep the house and set the fields to right for the coming gifts of Spring. The Christian liturgical calendar brings Epiphany, a time of revelation and gifts, the joy of the end of waiting in the dark, the manifestation of the miracle. These traditions focus on looking at our everyday lives in ways that we can prepare for the coming abundance, making ourselves ready to receive very real blessings. This challenge, the goal is to take stock, see what’s what, and make a plan from there. Will there be a spreadsheet? Possibly, but the numbers are less important than the measurement. Because the universe loves me and wants me to be happy.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. It’s been a year since I was in the gym regularly or doing any physical training in any recognizable fashion. Over the last couple years, I’ve focused on Druidics, deepening my abilities and establishing a bedrock. This is good. But it’s time to come out of the cave and stand in the sun, even if it’s the thin light of winter. 2022 begins the Paladin Build, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it: I’m intimidated. I have no idea what I will be able to achieve. I have lots (lots) of self doubt on this front. If I learned anything in the Deep Dark Druid forest, it’s that we can only solve a problem we are willing to have. Simply put, I can’t scale an obstacle that I’m unwilling to face. Join me as I muster my willingness to walk back into the gym and see what I can do, and how often I can do something, anything once I am there. In this, I’m turning to my long-ago skill tree to help guide me through. There is one goal this round: Get in the gym, whenever I can, without judgement. If the core of druidics is “Be here now,” then the core of this challenge is “do something now.” I always know what to do once I’m there. Any of these: Strength: Lifting heavy things Intelligence is a weapon like no other: Reading, writing, classes Wisdom to know how and when and where to fight Constitution: Sleep, eat, water, Wellness Wednesday (acupuncture/massage, milk & eggs) Dexterity: Body-weight training (pushups, core work, yoga) Endurance: Just keep moving (swim, stationary bike) Charisma: Sauna, sleep
  7. 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.
  8. The focus for this challenge is to BELIEVE in myself and my place in the universe enough to take risks, and to embark on new journeys that previously may have appeared daunting. Not to be impulsive in my actions, to look before I leap, but also not be afraid of the gap. Relationships require flexibility, and I have the opportunity to use the balance insights from last challenge to increase my flexibility--of expectations and of myself-- and be more flexible with my relationships, letting them deepen by going wherever they need to go. The universe seeks to resolve anything that is in tension, because tension creates imbalance. Through being flexible and having faith, I can help release tension in body and in the relationships around me. How tensions find an outlet for expression often reveal hidden truths, like gold in a mine, treasures to be discovered from deep digging. I often feel pulled in different directions internally, and sometimes I struggle with what choices to make. There is also a stew of external conflict, competition, and often these conflicts mirror my inner dichotomies. Conflict is inevitable. Combat is a choice, and I have the opportunity to see what is being expressed in the tension, to mine for the gold of the universe and let the treasure come forth. Spring is often heralded as a time if new life, but the path I have walked so far leaves this autumn feeling potent for new beginnings. There is treasure in the short days, the deepening of darkness that reveals the subtle shimmer of the universe all around us. When I am flexible and balanced, I lay claim to my place in the universe. Truth can be uncomfortable. It requires courage and compassion to sit with discomfort and uncertainty. When I meet the universe where it is, with an open heart from where I am, insights are possible. Mind *Writing. The dissertation is at 15,726 words as the challenge opens. We’ll see how much gets written. *Classes and papers continue. I have a document analysis due in mid November, and it’s one of my favorite types of assignments. I then lead the class discussion, which I also usually like. *Statistics are real, despite what Mark Twain said about them. I have three quizzes and an exam this round. Body *Make something and eat it every day. *Supplements daily until November 11, review with acupuncturist *B12 shot 11/10 *Saturday vegetable pickup *Milk *Acupuncture or Massage *Maybe the gym especially for the sauna and the hot tub. Sometimes swimming. Heart *Time with Vivian *Outings with a friends *Virtual visits *Pinball Soul *Meditation. Five minutes? Fifty minutes? Whatever, it’s All good. Focus on #reasonsnottoquit and #HeidiKoans *Sleep. My Spirit requires a lot of rest. *Still water float October, November Significant dates: Stats Unit 3 (3 quizzes, 1 exam) due 11/5 Court 11/9 B12 11/10 Paper 4 due 11/11 History of Higher education discussion leader 11/15-22 Insights from last challenge: I am stronger than I know. My real strength comes from trusting myself and trusting the universe. There is nothing that I can't handle when I focus on being present and allow myself to breathe. As we head into the waning light of the year, I am learning to lean into uncertainty with faith, to be able to look at challenges with open mindedness, and to focus on the future instead of the past. Also, random #reasonsnottoquit, because I need them. Possible drops of a #HeidiKoan here and there, because I need to remember them.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Heidi

    Heidi: Amazoning

    My journey to this point has taken me into some hellish and dark spaces, a trap-laden trek encountering demons; at times there was a sea of despair. I have been stripped of so much along the way, walking naked through the dark without even the light of the moon. But I kept walking, and when I couldn't walk, I sat. Rest is not an admission of defeat. Over the challenges this year, I stood up and walked again, however slowly, a miracle in its own right. The demons are now familiar companions; there is no fear; there is no fight; I have no enemies. I feel as though I'm on the other side now, and I barely remember how I passed through the obstacles, I only know that they are no longer in front of me. Now it is time to move forward, walking and preparing for the future. The battles behind me weren't really battles at all -- they weren’t even really a fight. They were an origin story. Now the real work begins, and it takes me back to my Ranger roots: it's time to suit up. My battle lies in the distance, and I go forth with love in the spirit of justice, knowing my true source of strength is the Company I keep. Diana didn't train alone. Wonder Woman didn't fight alone. Who's with me?
  13. Wow, what a journey we have been on, Dear Readers. The process all began in 2015, but we never know it at the time. I realized I was on some sort of soul journey in mid-2016, then really ramped up through 2017. By the beginning of the year in 2018, I had a name for this path. I can confirm: the past two years have been crucible-level intense. The name "nightmare of the soul" is apt. I even got cocky this time last year, celebrating my new vantage point. I think I might have even said something along the lines of: FOR THE RECORD: DO NOT DO THIS. This was ill-advised. Confession: I kept this attitude through most of the crap that came my way all last year. I don't think the attitude can be beaten out of me, because this year the Universe gave me every reason and opportunity to quit. It would have been easier, for certain, to stop. To take my wounds and call it all a good fight, but over. No. This new land will be mine, and yet I have no idea what it is or what it will look like. For all I know, it's a barren potato field that not even sheep will graze in. I have this vision of cresting a ridge only to see this notice tacked to a tree: There were brilliant moments this year. Real watershed events one after the other (full list) January I wrote a song it went in a tv movie! February I went to a philosophy rave; I went to a Philosophy group; I got a Fellowship to do philosophy all the time; I had a head injury that crippled me; and even through the sidewaysness of it all: the legal situation is a protracted mess that doesn't seem to get better the healing of the head injury is so slow I don't even recognize what I was before intellectually I still can't drive I haven't been to the gym since September. I managed to find my way through by feeling for the next centered thing: I founded a local Philosophy Roundtable I signed up people to vote, raised the roof, amplified messages for causes using my digital life to be active when I had no voice or mobility physically. I am the lead for Philosophers for Sustainability's Public Philosophy team I am a member of the Philosophers for Sustainability Outreach & Social Media team I developed a topic and presented it at a national-level (international?) conference I am presenting a piece on Authenticity, Connectedness, and Hope at the APAPhil Division Conference in Chicago (any Chicago Nerds who want to join the 5e D&D game that is going to happen, or who want to meet RealLivePhilosophers™ drop me a line! It's at the Palmer House Feb 26-29. I'll be in town on March 1, too, mostly because I want to see the Art Institute and because I present on Saturday afternoon, so I wanted extra recovery time). I took my writing to the Thesis Level, and my advisor now refers to it as The Book. I developed the conference presentation into a structure for a book and am working on the proposal and article for submission (see #Goals2020). And now we are here. 2020. I'm not certain how this last part of the Hero's Journey will play out, but I know I'm capable and up for the challenges, whatever they might happen to be. There's a cool lunar eclipse that just happened with the December new moon, and a solar eclipse that is happening at the new moon in January. This challenge is "between the eclipses," so to speak, and I think that has some nice poetry to it. I know that there is a lot of possibility and potential swirling about -- sort of a liquid electricity looking for a channel of expression as it seeks the ground. I think that any number of opportunities await; I have the chance to bring my new sense of self (attitude is everything!) to focus and claim my path forward. I am grateful that you have been part of this with me. I have no idea what I will grasp from the air. Have you guys read the Kingkiller series (by Patrick Rothfuss, first is Name of the Wind) yet? This feels like the moment in the second book, The Wise Man's Fear, when our hero has to go through the willow tree to get the Thing at the center. In ways, it's almost like starting all over again. Thanks for being part of my Fellowship. I can't wait to see what we get up to.
  14. Heidi

    Heidi: Retreat

    Welcome to the WayBack. Inner Light is revealed in the deep darkness. It has been quite the year so far, a bit of a (hopefully) final boss fight in a trilogy of trilogies of weirdness. Frankly, I feel as though I’ve been through some Stephen R. Donaldson weirdness since 2013 (the original Year That Would Not Die). At this point, I don’t know if I would recognize the person I was back then if I met her on the street. They say the butterfly still remembers its caterpillar-self, though. This challenge starts off with a beautiful New Moon that promises insights and revelations, if we are still enough to receive them, and flexible enough to absorb the sometimes shocking adjustments to perspective and attitude, in ourselves as well as in others. The cycle since the end of August has been a very difficult Releasing for me -- I have been stubbornly clinging on to what I want to be real instead of accepting disappointment. This is always hard. The last four weeks have been especially tumultuous, with my blind persistence nearly eclipsing the opportunities that loss makes the way for. I feel as though my whole world is about to pivot. In preparation, I’m taking heading to a meditation commune for a New Moon retreat and I’ve taken a vow of silence for a week. I haven’t said a word with my physical voice since Friday morning, and they were telling words indeed, “I don’t trust you.” I am drawing away from situations filled with injury, illness, and invalidation. I don't know what I have left to say or what I'm capable of. I don't know where I belong. There is a charge in the air, a potential about to be zapped into being. I have drawings for an off-grid Public Philosophy House; I have the beginnings of a proposal for a course of doctoral study; I have an article to submit for peer review. The retreat will be filled with three hours of meditation a day and lots of introspection. I’m looking forward to it. Into the darkness.
  15. Heidi

    Heidi: Emerge

    Hi there. It's been a weird couple months. The concussion symptoms are still with me, but the physical whiplash symptoms are abating. The headaches are less frequent. I can do a little screen time each day. It's time for me to return to the Light, even if it has to be slowly. Emerging back into my life is strange and new -- so much about me has changed since the autumnal equinox. I'm looking forward to having you along for the journey. Thank you for walking this piece with me as I watch for the Way to open.
  16. Heidi

    Heidi: Believe

    The last challenge was about watching the wheels come off, as I knew they would. So this challenge is about walking the new path, finding peace in the solitude and listening for the inspiration in the quiet. It is the darkness that makes the light shine so brightly. I have much on my plate for school this challenge. I just met with my new writing workshop adviser, and after exchanging several heartfelt emails, I decided to look up what she has written. It turns out she's on my Read Real Soon list. I have bumped the book ahead of a few others in the stack. Overall, I'm tickled to be working with Dombek, and I was before I looked her up. To know that she shares my love of Madeleine L'Engle and Ursula K. LeGuin just makes it all that much better. I can't wait to read more about how our cultural phenomenon of calling everyone selfish is more about our own perspectives than an epidemic of personality disorder. I'm taking some big leaps spiritually as well, offering to volunteer, putting together programs for volunteer efforts and the like. I keep applying for jobs, of course, but this has been going on forever and is demoralizing. I'm looking forward to being of use in one way or another. Think good thoughts for me. My first library classes begin on June 7, and the first manuscript to Kristin is due June 24, just before the challenge ends. I have some reading to do before then and some response papers to write. I also have the TMWW to attend, possibly. I'm waiting on word about the scholarship. On the family front, the lack of communication and the active exclusion is getting very old and wearing me out emotionally. I would love to have better solution for this but I don't yet. Yet. Keep watching this space. In the meantime, Vivian and I love love love going to the river. I have new water shoes for both of us on the way. Sunscreen is my next purchase, and we are looking forward to the holiday weekend coming up. On the schedule is a play, a trip to our favorite toy store, a couple Serious Surprises, gardening, river wallowing, and board games, as well as cooking (she has specifically requested that we make cole slaw together, and was flout out amazed that I knew how to make it. Ah, the joys of maturity.) I have joined Heroes Rise for the month, mostly to see what it's about but also because my motivation could use some back-to-basics inspiration. I'm Heidi there, too, so look me up if you're around. Good grief, but the challenges are slipping by me quickly this calendar year. Anyway, the elements of this round are a focus on believing in myself and in the universe, letting myself walk in the knowledge that the universe loves me and wants me to be happy and that all will be right with the world. It's harder than it sounds. Dates & Details May 20-26 - introduction to new instructor May 20-26 put together program details, scout a place for the programs, follow up with non-profits May 27 Charlotte's Web - Roanoke Children's Theatre May 29 Interview June 2 Yoga on the Mountain June 7 Library School begins - gather syllabi and plan time around assignments Monday - Women's Meeting Tuesday - Yoga @ Park Wednesday - Yoga @ Mansion Thursday - Katrina Thursday - Violin with Vivian Friday Yoga @ Park Sunday Friends Meeting
  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. Heidi

    Heidi: Hurrah!

    A final hurrah! for 2017, I'm letting this challenge span from November 19 - December 31 This challenge I'm going to put together some of the best parts of 2017, laying a strong foundation as I head out of this year and into the next. We have two major holidays going on in this challenge, and I'm looking forward to the structure holding me. Also, I have Yet Another Court Case at the end of the challenge, so all structure is good structure; my balance tends to get wobbly with court cases. The daily and weekly structure seems to work best for me, one of the lessons I've learned this year is that when I aim small I miss small, meaning that I can correct the course before I have strayed too far off the mark. This has been a really helpful lesson, not just in the gym or as a challenge element, but as a life tool. So with that in mind: Daily: Sleep Chronic Fatigue makes sleep elusive and fitful. Routine helps, so with that I'm hoping to #Fall back into a routine: Sauna or hot bath Swimming a few times a week, hopefully no less than three times. More is better on this front, so possibly daily. Writing a few pages each day, hopefully finding something that can get worked on well enough to turn in for the submission due on December 1. Reading I have a bunch of reading that has to be done in order to write papers that are due on December 4. I would like to have them done well in advance of that, as I'm getting together with a spiritual formation group to discuss Learning to Walk in the Dark, which I'm really looking forward to reading. The talk is November 30, and I can't really justify spending the time on the book if I haven't finished my classwork. Also, I need to develop the daily reading habit once again. Knitting I am working on three different projects: A dress for me, a sweater for Vivian, a blanket for Vivian. It would be nice to wrap these up and have at least one to put under the tree for her. And of course, I want to wear the dress! Weekly: Therapy works. Legal Notes and Log Updates Court on December 19. Editing The classmates' work will need to have three readings between Dec 1 and Dec 8, with written critiques due Dec. 8. Future Planning I have a few elements that need attention for where I'm heading: Submission Packet to Hollins Scholarship packets to Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop - A and B Scholarship submission to BYM Women's Meeting Mantra: #Acceptance leads to #patience. #Patience leads to #balance. #Balance leads to #harmony. #Harmony leads to #peace.
  20. Heidi

    Heidi: Fall

    #Fall - into routine Daily: Sleep Chronic Fatigue makes sleep elusive and fitful. Routine helps, so with that I'm hoping to #Fall back into a routine: Sauna or hot bath Writing a few pages each day, hopefully finding something that can get worked on well enough to turn in for the submission due on November 1. Knitting It seems to soothe me. Knitting helps me feel as though I'm not a useless slug even when I can barely do anything physically. It's a bonus that Vivian has started knitting with me and we are enjoying planning a blanket for her bed. She's the absolute best, and I am completely blessed to have her in my life. Weekly: Therapy because a week without it would be tragic. Legal Notes and Log Updates The court date isn't until mid-December, but the weirdness has definitely ramped up and there are lots of little things to take care of and note along the way. Editing The classmates' work will need to have three readings between Nov 1 and Nov 8, with written critiques due Nov. 8. Mantra: #Acceptance leads to #patience. #Patience leads to #balance. #Balance leads to #harmony. #Harmony leads to #peace.
  21. Wow. The end of the last challenge went through my life like a meat grinder. Mediation Workshops, threats of nuclear war, Personal Relationship Crumbling, Charlottesville. Thank goodness I have the NF community and the habits I've built with you guys over the past few years. One of the things that I know is that we will do it together, and we will go farther than we ever could have imagined. #Writing: After attending the Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop, I applied for and got accepted into the Queens University MFA in Creative writing. This means that I have to read and write every day. I started a scheduled structure, and stick to it mostly. I need to continue it so that it is a solid habit. First submission due: September 1. I also need to submit a piece to a contest or so, since it would be a wonderful thing to get a cash award, and the validation wouldn't be awful. But the writing is the thing. Feel free to check out my progress in my tracking spreadsheet (two tabs). Also, I have a paper on American Exceptionalism to write that I got an extension on, and that needs to be swept up. #Writers Life #Mediation certification: I took all the required training seminars last challenge, and will spend this challenge getting the required practicums -- observations and co-mediation -- taken care of. Hopefully the court certification will be finalized by the end of this challenge. #FingersCrossed. #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. The appeal hearing was moved to the end of October (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. I wrote her a Garden Report and included a garden word search along with the pictures I took and mailed it to her, and thus began a habit of mailing her something most days. Harvey mails some days too. It's our way to stay in touch now. I send a puzzle or coloring page or whathaveyou. And then I'm going to write my pen pal, who is in prison. #SnailMailRules #Employment I interview for a position to teach GED classes at the regional jail. This resonates with me in ways that don't really make any sense, but in a very positive, contributory way. Part time. I'm thinking of it as a work-study component to the writing classes. #WishMeLuck #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 Meetings A few meetings a week, especially on Wednesday, then therapy on Thursday 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. Bankruptcy filing in Monday, August 14. #Acceptance leads to #balance. #Balance leads to #harmony. #Harmony leads to #peace.
  22. 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.
  23. Heidi

    Heidi: Center

    I'm coming into this round a bit worn thin. I don't think that the conflict is going to slow its pace -- last challenge saw the Whirling Dervish of Conflict speed its pace and extend its scope. The only sane response to insanity is more sanity, and in my case that means do less and center more. Elements in bold are the core target, with elements in italics being stretch goals. Love > Fear Stillness > Chaos Mind Writing (this is in bold because it's a focus point for the challenge, a point where when things get into conflict -- and they always do at some point, because that's life for you -- I can touch back to what is central) Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. I'm taking a retreat to focus on writing my memoir. For real. Week 3 Class -- I'm enrolled in an online class, The Hero's Journey, for Summer term. It begins the week of June 19, so it will only just get included in this challenge.I'm super excited, of course. Bonus is that the classwork is advertised to be mostly readings and watching a film each week, with papers and discussion related to that. I think I can handle this, despite the burnout that threatened to overwhelm me last term. Body 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. I am hoping the meditation routine will dovetail with this. Nightly Floss Routine - this only takes seconds, so it's not as though it is really hard or anything. I have floss and coconut oil for oil pulling next to the toothpaste now, so it's kind of inevitable. Soul Daily mindfulness Daily quiet time Nightly Meditation and reading of Faith & Practice Weekly meetings & Connections : Women's Meeting Monday Home Group Meeting Tuesday Letters Wednesday Therapy Thursday Sponsor Meeting Friday Home Group Meeting Saturday Friends Meeting Sunday Radio Interview / Essay weekly weekly budget meeting with my partner -- Sunday Bonus: Financial Planning 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 the documents ready to deliver on May 26, and then we will have a strategy meeting to schedule. Hopefully this will all be complete by the end of the challenge, or shortly thereafter.
  24. 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
  25. 16: Returning to the root Be completely empty. Be perfectly serene. The ten thousand things arise together; in their arising is their return. Now they flower, and flowering sink homeward, returning to the root. The return to the root is peace. Peace: to accept what must be. to know what endures. In that knowledge is wisdom. Without it, ruin, disorder. To know what endures is to be openhearted, magnanimous, regal, blessed, following the Tao, the way that endures forever. The body comes to its ending, but there is nothing to fear.
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