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"And so we have come full circle. The road journeys ever on, yet we note such anniversaries with thought and reflection. Perhaps it is time for our ranger to take bold new steps; to push further past her known boundaries and find new futures. For that, we must embrace the mindset and discipline of the monks, and the chosen tradition for Starpuck, will be the Way of the Empty Hand..." It was the September challenge of last year that I took on the goal of 100% or bust. I gave myself a heck of a reward as incentive (D&D terrain tiles) and I managed to pull it off. Not only that, the consistency proved the best part of that arrangement! Four weeks of effort set into motion what would become 4 months of forward progress. I lost 20 lbs and several inches. I gained strength. I felt great! I was tracking my food so consistently that I only just broke my MFP streak of 320 days. (There were a handful of only half tracked days in that span, to be fair and honest.) And the best part? I only ever gained about 3lbs back over the next 8 months. I have hovered between 140-143 at worst, ever since. I maintained! WIthout rage, or tantrum, or frustration, or guilt, or feeling deprived. It also gave my body a nice long time to get used to things at that point. And now? Now we step back in to a little bit more focused work. Way of the Empty Hand Monks of this tradition are masters of doing more with less. They focus their minds and determination on what can be obtained with both hands free, rather than with grasping onto the equipment and goods that other adventurers might rely on. They learn that the hand must remain open and empty, in order for it to grasp what challenges lie ahead. (So it's a play on Open Hand... which is a D&D tradition that exists.) Here's how it equates to my Ranger challenge: 1. Empty the Hand that holds the iron. - I already work out and that doesn't need much help in maintaining. Maybe being a bit more focused would help... but the actual doing is getting done. So, lets start working on some actual programs, that are pre-built, that I can follow and gain some guided strength and mobility. I also want to add either yoga (have the NF yoga, so that makes the most sense) or maybe some Tai Chi to build some slow down / balance / strength / mobility into my body. 2. Empty the Hand of mindless food indulgences! - Food wise, I do the right thing 85% of the time. It's not straining me at this level, but I also know where I can tighten that up. Game nights. Namely, I tend to have a snack always in hand during game nights so I need to learn how to 'empty the hand' during the 2-3 sessions per week I play in. I think I might even indulge in a little side game of getting some 'monk hand wraps'. Every snack I eat at game night wraps around a digit of mine. The goal being to not end up with the whole hand wrapped! *Ok, that might need some work, but I think I can do something with this. I also want to tighten up a bit on my choices of food. More lean protein, more veggies. I'm pretty good at this, but if I can get to a point where I crave grapes as a sweet snack, instead of cookies, all the better. (That might not happen, and that's okay. But I'd like to just continue to add more wholesome foods to my palate.) 3. Empty the Hand of whim buys and indulgent purchases. - Spending. My car is paid off and I want to focus on savings now. I have an app that is appropriately called 'Spending Tracker'. I have had mixed success with this one. I am great at tracking fuel, groceries for work and dinner costs. But once I forget a meal out, or a whim buy of a new notebook for D&D (this happens more than I want it to), I tend to stop tracking those things. And THOSE things are what most need tracking. This will help me tighten up my spending, AND accurately see how much I spend per month on necessities versus desires. And THAT helps me see the bigger picture on what housing costs I can afford. 4. Empty the Mind of thoughts of Perfection. - Art stuff. Sooo I guess a pencil in hand doesn't fit the empty hand analogy. But I can get deep here and say that it also implies a Monk of this tradition must empty their minds of preconceived expectations on themselves based off of others. IE - stop being so upset over how good or bad you are at something, and just focus on continuing to learn and progress. This will tie in to the monk discipline side of things. That's what I'll be working on this go around. I am going to focus things down a bit more precisely as the day goes on. I'll be using my pre-written BuJo to set this all up and keep track of what is getting down on what days too. The goal is 90% - because it's a 5 week challenge. And that's going to give me some wiggle room without it being rage-inducing. Which, it hasn't been in a long time, but I would rather set an attainable goal and surpass it, then set a really unfeasible one and then give up after having to wiggle early on it. Along the way, I hope to bring my monk along for the ride over on @Jarric 's adventure! Hopefully he needs a monk in his group. And oh! The bonus goal we're reaching for here ... see, yesterday I met a Jester at the Ren Faire. I called out to her and said, "Jester, do you have any donuts?" And she comes over, and says, (in perfect Jester voice) "Wellll actually I do!" and pulls out a prop donut. Then a prop lollipop! She was so spot on ya'all. My friend, who has Jester as his fave, missed her, but we found her again later. I apologized for bothering her again, but said that my friend would really love a picture with her. She obliged. And then said, "Do you know about the Traveler?" and I answered, "Of course! We're going to Traveler Con... the one that might be at the volcano!" And she just right back and forth with the banter. Then she pulls out a hand made, color printed pamphlet on The Traveler, and hands it to us. I was so inspired by this little gem of a cosplayer, that I think I've decided to cosplay as Beau for my next con. And that's a super bold move for me, but I want to try it. *nodnod* This challenge will help me get there.