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Kyellan

Kyellan's Hunt for Tranquility

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This is kind of an oxymoron theme for a challenge, buuuuut... allow me to explain.

 

I have determined over the past couple of months that I am badly overextended in my day-to-day life. My work responsibilities keep growing (as they say, the reward for good work is more work), I have the potential to attend a Kung Fu or Tai Chi class 4 out of 5 nights per week, I have a weekly game night on my only off-day from the kwoon, and I've recently managed to pack in at least one online gaming session on both Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes more. Add that to the time I want to spend with my wife and dog, and I've pretty much managed to forget that I am, in fact, an INTROVERT.

 

It's no wonder that I've been so exhausted, even after my recovery from the flu was mostly complete.

 

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So here's the thing. With part of my yearly bonus, I finally bought a Playstation 4. It's my gift to me for being me. I bought the PS4 pretty much only because I want to experience Bloodborne, a game directly related by blood (haha) to the Dark Souls series. In fact, I suspect it may be a direct successor to Demon's Souls, given that both DeS and BB are Sony exclusives and separate from the rest of the Souls games (but that's a discussion for another time). I've played it for a few hours already, and it's quickly earning a place among my favorite games.

 

For those of you who don't know or haven't played it, Bloodborne is a Gothic/Victorian/Lovecraftian take on the Souls formula. The main character is the Hunter, tasked with cleansing the land of the great Beasts. Not a lot of the story is clear yet to me (and, knowing FROMSoft, it probably won't ever be) but atmospherically and gameplay-wise, tis a beautiful thing.

 

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During this challenge I'm going to be focusing on making time for myself. Quiet time. Resting time. Some of which will be spent slaughtering horrible Lovecraftian beasts. Because, frankly, I find it pretty relaxing. I have come to a place of understanding with the Souls games in that death/failure no longer frustrates me nearly as much as it should, because it just means another go and that I need to learn something.

 

I do intend to go back to my Dark Souls 3 challenge at some point, but I can still only use a controller for short periods with my thumb/hand recovering, and so I don't want to commit back to the streaming until it's feeling better.

 

I'll be practicing my Tai Chi. I now have the first 35 movements of the Yang 108 long form, which constitutes the entirety of what my Sifu has decided is a good 'short form'. It is a very good flow and I like it a lot. It makes me feel great to do it. I've found that deep meditation can either help or hurt, depending on the circumstances (some days it's actually more taxing on my brain than it is relaxing) so I'll be doing it sparingly with an eye on improving my concentration, rather than trying to consider it as a form of recovery.

 

It also sounds like I may be joining in a monk's kettlebell challenge...? So that'll add some additional activity as well.

 

Going to class is not part of the challenge, as it should be the default thing that I do when I'm not trying to conserve my sanity or being shanghai'd by work or other responsibilities.

 

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Primary Goal 1: Self-Care

One night/week with no outside obligations. This will probably mean skipping a Kung Fu night or one of my weekend games, but if I don't do it I'm going to go crazy, so what can you do.

 

Primary Goal 2: Tai Chi Practice

30 minutes Tai Chi practice, two days/week outside of Tuesday night class. I don't know how feasible this will end up being, but I'm going to try. It shouldn't be too hard. Even if it's just on the weekends it would be more than I'm doing now.

 

Secondary Goal: Meditation

A 15-minute meditation session now and then never hurt anybody. Count these when I do them. Any number greater than zero is a success.

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It sounds like the Taiji practice stands to benefit you no matter how much time you wind up throwing at it. So, I would advocate for some flexibility (harrr) there and not be so concerned with the amount of time that you practice so much as practicing period. Obviously, you're practicing a meditative form that will benefit you more for going slow, but some benefit is better than no benefit, and if you can lose yourself in that flow for even a short amount of time... that might not be bad.

 

Also, I get the one night/week goal. Frankly, I'd probably take more time off, but our dojo is relatively new and relatively small, and I need to be there both as an active body that can sell the idea of presence and also to learn enough to take over teaching responsibilities some day. You, on the other hand, have the luxury of lots of bodies, so it makes sense to take some time to hide and recharge. Recovery from stress is part of training, after all.

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21 hours ago, Kishi said:

It sounds like the Taiji practice stands to benefit you no matter how much time you wind up throwing at it. So, I would advocate for some flexibility (harrr) there and not be so concerned with the amount of time that you practice so much as practicing period. Obviously, you're practicing a meditative form that will benefit you more for going slow, but some benefit is better than no benefit, and if you can lose yourself in that flow for even a short amount of time... that might not be bad.

 

Also, I get the one night/week goal. Frankly, I'd probably take more time off, but our dojo is relatively new and relatively small, and I need to be there both as an active body that can sell the idea of presence and also to learn enough to take over teaching responsibilities some day. You, on the other hand, have the luxury of lots of bodies, so it makes sense to take some time to hide and recharge. Recovery from stress is part of training, after all.

 

All good points. I'll keep that in mind as I move into the challenge. I mostly want to make sure that I'm at least doing something for those 30 minutes, not necessarily just the form practice. Might be Taiji exercises, focused breathing, or something along those lines... 30 mins would be a target for a block of activity. I should clarify that above.

 

We do have more students, but if I drop to just Taiji and one Kung Fu night a week, I'll be struggling to progress at all. That's my biggest concern with taking more time off. I'll see how I do with one night a week and an upcoming several-day staycation for recovery. If I need more, I'll reassess later on.

 

13 hours ago, leglocker said:

Did you buy Bloodborne? I know that was one of the free games this month for PS Plus.

 

I got it on PS+ for now. Was planning on the subscription anyway. I may buy a physical disc later on just to have one.

 

6 hours ago, Luciana Valerosa Culming said:

Have fun with your PS4. By the way Ishin is also available for PS4. I'll get mine in two weeks and try it with a walkthrough.

 

 

Thanks! I've got to check this out =)

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1 hour ago, Kyellan said:

I got it on PS+ for now. Was planning on the subscription anyway. I may buy a physical disc later on just to have one.

Awesome. That's such perfect timing. Get a game for free that you wanted anyway. And I totally get owning a physical copy of a game you really like.

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Twin. Why are we not PS4 buddies immediately? Also I keep thinking of getting Bloodborne, but Souls games scare/infuriate me.

 

Also not shockingly, I totally understand the need to block off “Bugger off everyone” time. I should probably start doing that again. 

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11 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Twin. Why are we not PS4 buddies immediately? Also I keep thinking of getting Bloodborne, but Souls games scare/infuriate me.

 

Also not shockingly, I totally understand the need to block off “Bugger off everyone” time. I should probably start doing that again. 

If you have PS Plus you can get Bloodborne for free on the PlayStation store. Risk-free in case you get too infuriated with it.

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18 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Twin. Why are we not PS4 buddies immediately? Also I keep thinking of getting Bloodborne, but Souls games scare/infuriate me.

 

Also not shockingly, I totally understand the need to block off “Bugger off everyone” time. I should probably start doing that again. 

 

My PSN name is LordKyellan if you (or any other nerds here) would like to add me =) Also, Bloodborne totally has co-op options after you meet the first boss (don't have to beat it) so if you get too infuriated, you could always summon a fellow hunter (ahem) to give you a hand with the tougher parts. I've gotten halfway decent at these games of late.

 

And yeah. One night's all I ask for, and I can make it happen.

 

12 hours ago, Teirin said:

One night to yourself is a great goal.  You need the time.

 

Yes yes. =)

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My first week went pretty well. I took Saturday night off and ended up falling asleep on the couch at 7pm after working on my PAX cosplay with my sister for a bit. When my wife came and found me at 9:30, the dog had cuddled up with me. She said it was adorable =)

 

Speaking of the costume, it's coming along great. We've made all the armor pieces, now I just have to take the time to detail them with some paint, and then attach them to each other in a way that's easy to don and doff. I have almost all the accessories (the tactical belt should be arriving today), both a primary (an airsoft SCAR rifle) and a secondary (repainted NERF Rival KRONOS) weapon, and a pair of prescription aviator sunglasses are en route. This cosplay is gonna be my most involved ever, and now I'll have three costumes I could rotate for any occasion: Mal Reynolds, a nameless Sith, and XCOM Enemy Unknown recruit.

 

I did get some hunting time--I started a second character to keep a few steps behind my main, and to do some extra exploring and such. For all the blind stuff I'm doing I'm recording content for Character Select, my friend's YouTube channel. (Incidentally, I can currently be seen there playing The Evil Within and also the remake/re-release of Secret of Mana). So I'm pushing the game ahead with my main character and filling in and backtracking with my second. Turns out I missed a lot of stuff my first time through. Also, I beat both the first area bosses on one try with the second character, rather than needing 8 and 10 tries like I did the first time through. Kind of wish I'd been recording anyway, but it was pretty satisfying to know that the skill I gained carried through.

 

Trying to take it easy on myself with the kettlebell, given my issues in the past, so I only did one set 5x10 swings, and BOY DID IT HURT two days later. Dat DOMS, man.

 

I also took some time to do some Taiji work this week and I'm really starting to feel comfortable with the "short form" that we have so far. I can actually even get it to flow sometimes. I don't know how my logical brain feels about the concept of literal "chi", but I can't deny that I feel something when I really get into the zone with the Yang form. 

 

I feel a little more sane than I did at the start of last week, so I probably did something right. 

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Nice! You sound a lot more relaxed than you've been in a while. It seems like the overall flow of the challenge is working in your favor at this point, so keep it up!

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PAX was good. It's always a fun day. Of course, because my life is what it is, I started getting sick last Friday, powered through PAX, and now I'm definitely coming down with something. I've got to initiate anti-sinus-infection measures immediately to see if I can stave it off. Also, during costume prep I totally dropped a heavy piece of costume on my foot and busted/badly bruised a couple of toes, which has meant I have no balance and walking sucks, which was, you know, JUST GREAT for a convention day. It's also killed my kettlebell work for last week because I couldn't trust my balance, and can't risk hurting my back again.

 

I played a really cool demo at PAX for a game called Mask of Semblance. It's an indie 2d action game with extraordinarily high production values for such a small dev team. Cool story hints, gorgeous art, and impressive voice acting. I'm hoping they find a publisher and make it to market, because I really want to see their full vision come to life.

 

So far this year just ain't my year. The only challenge goal I've been succeeding at is taking a day for myself. I haven't even been playing that much Bloodborne. On my nights off I've been collapsing on the couch or in my office chair and finding myself asleep before 8pm. 

 

My wife says I probably just need time to adjust and get a little back to normal before I can do things on that night off. She's probably right, but it's kind of frustrating.

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I picked "Confused" because I don't know whether to be happy that you had a good time or sad that you're hurt and sick.

 

Anyway, I totally get how frustrating it can be to be too hurt to do the things you want to do. Your wife is wise, though. Your body is telling you that you need rest, and there's no shame in taking it. It's annoying to not get to do other things, but it's not like sleep is bad. It's time well-spent.

 

Mask of Semblance looks interesting! I hope they get to go where they want to with it!

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10 hours ago, Kyellan said:

My wife says I probably just need time to adjust and get a little back to normal before I can do things on that night off. She's probably right, but it's kind of frustrating.

 

Very much this.  But that sleep is doing you a lot of good.  Hope you managed to enjoy the con some anyway :-(

 

7 hours ago, Kishi said:

Mask of Semblance looks interesting! I hope they get to go where they want to with it!

 

Agreed!

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