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Dragonwolf visits the Druids


Dragonwolf

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The Ranger drops the hood of her cloak as she approaches the hilltop cabin. Already, the serenity of the area washes over her, easing the anxiety that has built up over the past...weeks? Months? No. Years is more like it, though only recently have the flood gates opened on it all.

 

She quietly enters the cabin and, after taking off her traveling gear, finds a comfy spot near the fireplace. The cabin's host brings her a mug of hot tea, which she graciously accepts. Closing her eyes, she takes a deep, restorative breath. "Finally..."

 

The full context is a long, long story, but ultimately, it boils down to the fact that I've spent far too long giving up far too much of myself for others, with little to nothing in return. It finally came to a head last month and I've basically been in emotional pain and turmoil ever since. It's affected pretty much all aspects of my quality of life and has been a large hinderance in getting back to any kind of workout routine.

 

So, I've decided to come visit for this challenge (and probably at least the next one, or however many I feel I need).

 

I really only have one goal for this time: engage in some form of meditation every day and build that habit. Said meditation can be "moving meditation" (I have both a couple of Tai Chi DVDs and several yoga resources) or more "conventional" meditation, but the goal is to take 5-30 minutes or so each day to just...stop (particularly mentally) and work on me and my wellbeing and -- even if only for that block of time -- not have to fight, and be able to let go of all that is troubling me right now, and to just be.

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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Spoiler

PREVIOUS CHALLENGES

2013: 6/1/13 - 7/24/13 - 9/15/13 - 11/6/13   2014: 1/5/142/19/14 - 4/9/14 - 6/6/14 - 7/24/14 - 9/11/14 - 11/5/14 

2015: 1/2/15 - 2/20/15 - 4/9/15 - 6/2/15 - 9/10/15 - 10/26/15   2016: 1/1/16 - 2/28/16 - 3/28/16 - 6/6/16 - 9/19/16 - 10/26/16 - 11/26/16   

2017: 1/1/17 - 9/17/17   2018: 1/1/18 - 2/5/18 - 8/13/18 - 11/26/18   2019: 1/7/19   2020: 9/13/20

 

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Good things happen to all kinds of people. Spirit Shifting was the one truly fulfilling skill he had acquired since he'd left his ranger's training on a quest for Balance. The bearded druid was in a 'Spirit of the inquisitive Mongoose' kind of mood when the Ranger entered the cabin. Carrying his own goblet of herbal tea, he comes closer to greet her and offer some filling nuts to go with the beverage.

 

Welcome!

 

I can definitely recommend tai chi, especially since it can be performed in a group without loosing the "going deeper into myself" feeling. It puts some outward accountability in my schedule and the length of my sessions, which I'd never hold otherwise and, being the kind of person with way too many things on my mind all at once, that's helping me a lot to just calm down and live the moment. Plus, it forces me to take some me time even when I'd think to do some other thing for other people instead.

 

Calmness of mind is a difficult and very rewarding thing to acquire. Enjoy the journey. :)

 

Legally bound to hug people in need.

 

Living life as a Druid is about walking with the beasts. It's about being scared, looking your fears in the eyes and going on anyway. Dread doesn't go away, you just learn to know it. It's still a beast, it still has fangs, but you walk among it.

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4 minutes ago, Jean said:

Good things happen to all kinds of people. Spirit Shifting was the one truly fulfilling skill he had acquired since he'd left his ranger's training on a quest for Balance. The bearded druid was in a 'Spirit of the inquisitive Mongoose' kind of mood when the Ranger entered the cabin. Carrying his own goblet of herbal tea, he comes closer to greet her and offer some filling nuts to go with the beverage.

 

Welcome!

 

I can definitely recommend tai chi, especially since it can be performed in a group without loosing the "going deeper into myself" feeling. It puts some outward accountability in my schedule and the length of my sessions, which I'd never hold otherwise and, being the kind of person with way too many things on my mind all at once, that's helping me a lot to just calm down and live the moment. Plus, it forces me to take some me time even when I'd think to do some other thing for other people instead.

 

Calmness of mind is a difficult and very rewarding thing to acquire. Enjoy the journey. :)

 

 

Spotting some almonds and macadamias in the Druid's offering, she takes a handful and thanks him.

 

Strangely, it hadn't occurred to me to go to formal classes, probably because my schedule is currently jam-packed as is it. Granted, it's partially my own doing. The current stressors in my life have made me reluctant to get out of bed in the mornings, so I've found myself waiting until I absolutely have to. That, of course, pushes my whole schedule later. Right now, I'm finding a good pattern to take a couple of minutes in the later afternoon to get up and doing some basic blend of yoga poses and Tai Chi movements I learned some time back, albeit driven by the stiffness in my back and hips.

 

Apparently, I hold my stress not only in my shoulders, but also in my Iliacus and Psoas Major muscles in my hips (because why not go with the most difficult muscles to target for release?).

 

The Ranger chuckles sardonically.

 

Classes are a good idea, though, so thank you. If ever there's been a time I need something for myself, it's now, and I already know the couple of moves I'm doing right now are going to get old, fast.

 

She muses for a moment, then does a quick Internet search as a feasibility test.

 

It seems there's an entire formal group dedicated to Tai Chi practice in my home area. A small, plotting smile forms on her lips as she looks up at her new companion. Looks like I've got a field trip to make.

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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Adventure In The Hills

 

I haven't checked out the Tai Chi stuff yet, but I did go to the nearby National Forest to visit some friends and participate in a group ritual they were holding. I went down Saturday night, since the ritual was in the morning and I needed some time to unwind and get into the right headspace.

 

I spent Sunday with them, which was great. As we were finishing up the ritual, the snow started to fall. No big deal, right? It was a nice little snowfall in the hills on a winter day. Pretty idyllic, really, given that we were literally gathered near a fire in a cabin on a hill.

 

So, evening comes, and the sun is getting low in the sky. Some of the people trickle out as their travel and schedule needs dictate, while some of the others (myself included) hang around for a bit longer. When it's about as late as we dare, myself and another get ready to head out, with her a few minutes ahead of me.

 

I head out, realizing immediately that this could easily be a bad idea as my tires have a hard time gripping (really should get new tires...), but I take it slow and make it around the first few curves and over the first few little hills...until I don't.

 

Thankfully, the road is one not frequently traveled as my car loses grip part way up one hill a bit steeper, longer, and in just a little more shade than the previous ones, and in my caution to avoid sliding in a curve, I fail to get going fast enough to make it up and over, and stall out (not literally stalling the car, but stalling in momentum) about halfway up.

 

So, I slowly let off the gas to start working my way back down to potentially try again, only to find the car starting to curve in as it slid. Now, while turning around wouldn't have been a bad thing, it was a narrow road and I'd have preferred to do that myself. At the driveway a little farther down...

 

Thankfully, it stopped at about perpendicular to the road, and I was able to straighten it out and slowly back down the hill, keeping it straight in part to driving on the invisible shoulder... Which I then had to extricate myself from (you have to understand: around here, the should is a few inches below the road, making it a sort of track in this situation). Thankfully, only my front tire was on the shoulder, and I was able to coax the front one onto the road again with some very careful reverse steering.

 

I backed down a little more, to a point that wasn't so steep and...nope. No movement. Okay, back down a bit more, nearly to the bottom, get going a little more, but start losing grip almost immediately, at which point visions of sliding on one of the curves and ending up in a ditch or off the edge of one of the ravines start flashing in my mind, along with the dread of having to traverse the mountainous back roads in this condition, knowing the route that lay between me and the big state route in the valley 

 

Nope. Fuck it. I'm going back and staying put for the night.

 

I carefully pull into the nearby driveway and manage to coax my car back out of it, facing the other direction, and gingerly make my way back to the cabin, adrenaline still coursing through my veins from my brush with disaster.

 

"Well, so much for that plan," I say as I walk in the door, and recount the short version of what happened. At that point, the last remaining not-quite-local person decided to stay put, too, given the condition of her own vehicle, while the local one braved the roads to go home, reporting in at intervals (which confirmed that traversing the roads were not pleasant).

 

I happened across a notification for the Snow Emergency level of a nearby county, while perusing updates from other friends, so I checked to see what the status was for here. As it turned out, this county was under a Level 2 Snow Emergency.

 

For those who aren't familiar with the system, it's a gauge for how bad the conditions are. It contains three levels:

 

Level 1 - roads are hazardous, but not necessarily horrible. If you go out, be cautious, give yourself extra time, try to plan trips such that you minimize time on the road. Most schools start calling delays and closures if this happens too late at night or into the early morning.

 

Level 2 - Roads are very hazardous and covered, don't go out unless you have to. Expect to take far longer getting to your destination. Universities, private schools, and other harder-to-close institutions start calling delays and closures.

 

Level 3 - Roads are not safe to drive, go out only if it's an emergency, or you're likely to get pulled over. Businesses start closing (and will send people home if they get word the county is planning to escalate to this level).

 

Suffice it to say, we stayed put for the night.

 

Now, it's morning, and I'm about to try again, as the sun is up, the temperature is above freezing, and the plows have gone through at least the bigger roads, even if not this little one.

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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16 hours ago, Infinity.Creates said:

Ah, I hope you get home alright! Snow in the mountains sounds like a pretty big deal!

 

I made it. I did hit a slick patch on one small hill and almost had a repeat of Sunday evening, but I managed to find enough grip to get up. Once I got to the bigger roads, it was all clear. :)

 

Thankfully, I went to high school in a mountainous area, so I know how to handle things. Unfortunately, my car needs new tires and it doesn't snow enough around here to warrant chains or studs, which would have solved the problem to begin with.

Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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Kuddos on staying chill in such a situation and getting out of it unscathed. Ranger or not, you fit right in!

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Legally bound to hug people in need.

 

Living life as a Druid is about walking with the beasts. It's about being scared, looking your fears in the eyes and going on anyway. Dread doesn't go away, you just learn to know it. It's still a beast, it still has fangs, but you walk among it.

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Got a massage yesterday. <3 It's amazing how much better life in general is when you can move and your back isn't a giant knot...

 

I have been mandated by both my therapist and my holistic doctor to do more stuff for me (go figure), albeit the manifestations for both are slightly different. My therapist is actually helping me conspire to take a week or two off and travel for a (very much needed) vacation away from everything. That's going to be interesting.

 

I mentioned to my holistic doctor that I've dreaded getting out of bed in the mornings, because of all of the stuff that's going on and the sense of "what's it going to be like today?" wearing me down. Her solution is a morning routine to get me going and energized to get the day started. We'll see how that works out in the long run (since I'm not totally sure she understands the full extent of the problem, given I don't have enough time with her to give her the full context).

 

Right now, that routine is shaping up to be something like:

Spend 20 minutes or so doing exercises on Duolingo to get the brain going, while I do my don't-even-think-about-getting-out-of-bed-before-this stretching of my hips/lower back.

Get showered/dressed.

Do a little yoga/tai chi routine to get the body going.

Don't look at email or social media of any sort during this time.

 

As for more "do stuff for me" things that my therapist wants me to do...I have no idea on that one. It's supposed to be fun, relaxing stuff, but I've done leisure stuff on my own (without my family) for so long that that's not really what I want to do, but I also need a break from my husband (from whom I can literally feel the anxiety when he gets anxious, and right now, he gets anxious about damn near everything; there have been times where I can't even be in the house because of it).

 

I did request extra therapy appointments for a while, though. I wanted to do doubles (so get (and pay for) two hours instead of one, because I feel like I just start getting going and time's up), but she doesn't like doing that. Hopefully two a week for a little while to get through all of the "backstory" stuff without having too much time for "current events" stuff to pile up will help, especially on the bad weeks.

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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I suck at doing the yoga stuff on a daily basis, plain and simple. Whether it's in the morning or in the afternoon, doing it daily just isn't happening for whatever reason. It doesn't help that the way my back hurts means doing the very things to loosen it up cause pain that doesn't really go away (unfortunately, it's not just muscle pain; I've got degenerated discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 -- the ones that allow you bend...like...at all). I'm still doing it at least a few times a week, which is good, though, and am more apt to do it when I'm working at my home office desk (as opposed to the living room couch or the coffee shop). This is kind of a mixed blessing, though, I think, because I think my desk setup is exacerbating the back pain. That's largely due to me being in desperate need of a new desk...but I can't do that until my client pays me what they owe from the beginning of February (I hate net 30 payment arrangements; thanks for keeping me from investments so I can be more productive for you, just so you can squeeze out a few extra cents of interest in your bank account...).

 

I can't deny that I feel better when I do it, though, especially when I'm working in my office. The obvious answer is "set a reminder," but it's less about remembering to do it and more about having the motivation to do it, and let's face it -- it's hard to have motivation about something that causes actual pain (not the discomfort of a good workout, which I actually enjoy).

 

I have been keeping up with the morning language learning routine, though. When I first downloaded Duolingo, I started with Japanese, but I found that learning the language and the alphabets (plural, because Japanese) to be too much with Duo alone (they start with Hiragana, which is fine, but then throw in Katakana and Kanji at seeming random even early on; dammit, let me get one down first!). So I switched to Dutch, which has been far easier, if for no other reason than it uses the exact same alphabet as English. I'm still at a level of approximately a three-year-old child, but it's sticking a lot more, which is what matters. Once I get more comfortable, I also have a bunch of Dutch friends to practice with. :)

 

And to the point of doing that exercise in general - it has proven to help me get going most days. I'm still laying in bed for half an hour, but that half hour is more productive and gives me that initial "hey, I got this done, let's go get more stuff done" feeling, and usually, when I'm done, I get up and get moving. Clearly, I need to wake my brain up, first.

 

I'm still clearly not 100%, mentally, though. I find myself wearing out more quickly at work. I get maybe three or four hours (not consecutive) of truly productive work in before I find my motivation and concentration to start flagging and overwhelm starts to set in. It's taken me three days to finish a page I've been working on, which under normal circumstances would take about half that. Even now, I'm at the point of "just one more style change. Okay, now just this one more style change..." I start working between 9 and 10 and even with a break at lunch time, I still find myself ready to call it quits about 4. Very much not good as a software developer getting paid by the hour...

 

Two therapy sessions a week certainly gets through things faster, though I doubt I'm going to continue with that cadence after the scheduled ones are done. It's not working like I'd hoped I'd be able to make them work. I'd really prefer a single 2-hour session, because my problem is mostly because it feels like I just get going before I have to stop again. The number of scheduled appointments at the current cadence should be sufficient to get all of the background info in. I hope, anyway. There's a lot of shit to dredge up.

 

I have a relatively light week this week, which should help. Just therapy and a support group meeting on my schedule. Maybe I could actually figure out something to do for me. I do still need to schedule another massage, though...

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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I took yesterday off from work. Aside from kiddo getting sent home from school (which hubby was kind enough to field), it was glorious

 

I spent pretty much the entire morning in the bathtub, spending most of that time chatting with a friend about runes (I post a weekly rune study thing to the group's Discord server, where I go over a rune and we talk about it).

 

I then spent the rest of the day mulling about some, then playing with my VR stuff. I played through my stuff on Farlands (a little VR exploration game), and then did what I haven't done in quite some time -- I actually played Skyrim VR. I played for a solid two hours or so, which is a feat with that game, because it's very easy to get VR sickness from it, since it wasn't really built for VR (there are a number of ways to mitigate that, which I've done, but traversing a lot of the stairs gets sketchy).

 

Also, like I reported in my Battle Log, I've decided to go back to a carnivore way of eating. The details regarding why are there, but it boils down to the fact that I do far better eating that way. I'm a week into it and already noticing significant improvement in my ability to tolerate stress, my sleep quality, my back and hip pain, and overall desire to do things. My overall concentration is still on the low side, but my ability to keep working for more than 4 hours seems to have improved (I'm currently on 6.5 hours of post-lunch work and not mentally exhausted).

 

Morning Duolingo is still working well. I like having the bit of accomplishment to get the day started, even before getting out of bed. I still need to stop myself from falling into the trap of looking at other things before getting up, though. I'm also still bad about doing the yoga stuff more often. That'll probably be the next step, now that I'm out of that mental funk, though I've been considering getting up early enough to get back into my morning weight lifting routine, probably starting next week (but maybe as early as Thursday, though I don't like starting in the middle of the week like that).

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Dragonwolf, The Hammer

Human/Wood-elf Wolf-Hearted Ranger

Herbalist, Skinner, Engineer

Character Sheet, Battle Log, Current challenge: The Road to Recovery

May Eir help me keep my health; may Ullr and Skadi guide my arrows to their mark;  may Thor give me the strength to protect myself from those who wish me harm; and may Odin help me find the order in the chaos of this world.

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