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Bringing back another past challenge that I created three years ago; I think it may actually be my favorite and possibly one of the most impactful. It's hefty, and I likely won't be able to do all the things, but regardless I recall feeling very free and in tune with my natural self during this challenge. I have made some modifications to fit my more current life (i.e. I can't spend more time with my grandpa because he passed away), current abilities, and current goals, but the essence of the challenge will remain the same.

 

 

Connect With Environment: The Na'vi are deeply connected to the natural world around them and they take care of it. When completing each of these challenges, engage all of your senses and stay mindful of the impact nature has on your body and your spirit.

  • At least 30 minutes outdoors/day in a natural setting
  • Go barefoot at least 30 minutes/day; wear minimalist shoes when necessary.
  • Explore an unfamiliar outdoor area, or explore a familiar one as if seeing it for the first time.
  • At least one wild swim/week
  • At least one tree climb/week
  • Give at least 5 minutes/day of your attention to a lifeform other than human (pets, wildlife, plants, etc.).
  • Download Joulebug and complete at least one challenge/day.
  • Do a litter cleanup in a natural area at least once/week.
  • Avoid using plastics of any kind (unless impossible).
  • 1 trail run or hike/week

Connect With Food: The Na'vi are omnivorous hunter-gatherers with a deep connection to the available provisions that surrounded them, both meat and plant. When completing these challenges, savor each bite, eat mindfully and pay close attention to how this affects your body and spirit.

  • Eat full vegetarian at least one day/week
  • Eat at least 1 vegetable/day
  • Eat fresh meat instead of processed/boxed/canned meat at least 3 days/week; this includes fish (BONUS: game meat when possible).
  • Forage at least once/week (dandelion, plantains, onion, etc.)
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Eat locally at least once/week

Connect With Body: The Na'vi need their body to be in top shape in order to survive such a harsh environment. When completing this challenge, use a variety of "wild fitness"/primal/paleo natural movements and be mindful of how this impacts your body and spirit.

  • At least 5 minutes deep squat/day
  • practice WHM breathing or some breathing practice daily
  • cold shower daily
  • Drink at least 1/2 gallon of water/day.
  • Dead hang for at least 30 seconds 3 days/week.
  • At least 2 minutes of planking at least 3 days/week.
  • 30 burpees/day
  • At least 15 minutes of free-running/sprints 3 days/week on uneven terrain (barefoot if possible).
  • "Natural" movement HIIT with plenty of variety 3 days/week (see Mark Sisson's WOWs for ideas).

Connect With Tribe: The Na'vi have a deep connection with members of their tribe, especially family but also tribal elders and leaders. For this challenge, be mindful of your relationships and how you strengthen them.

  • Spend every afternoon with your daughters ('ite); at least one technology-free playtime/week.
  • Use intimate physical touch with tribal members (for family: hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling; handshakes/hugs for friends).
  • At least one uninterrupted/technology free evening with wife (muntxate)
  • Call your mother (sa'nok).

Connect With Self: In spite of living in a savage environment, the Na'vi are very self-aware and practice a disciplined self-control and humble appreciation of all life, including their own.

  • Become toruk makto: tame the beast and take control of your temper by pausing and being mindful of your emotions.
  • Seek wisdom: read works written by great tribal leaders and elders who have come before you.
  • Choose your words: be mindful of when to speak and when to be silent; don't waste words, but choose them wisely.
  • Be grateful: keep a log each day of things for which you are grateful.

Connect With Eywa (God): The Na'vi believe in and commune with a being greater than themselves. This is the essence of their culture and it drives their actions and lifestyle. While completing these challenges, be mindful of where your heart and spirit rest on these issues.

  • Greet each morning with a grateful smile and a spoken "Thank you."
  • Pray/meditate in silence at least 10 minutes/day.
  • Integrate prayer throughout the day.
  • Treat each person you meet as spiritually connected and as image-bearers of God; treat all lifeforms as God's creation.
  • Practice agape love (unconditional love).

Bonus Challenges:

  • Practice another language (Duolingo)
  • Spend at least one night outside (in a hammock, if possible).
  • Take a long hike deep into the woods (off trail, if possible).
  • Ride a horse.
  • Harvest spring water.
  • Climb the Hallelujah Mountains: Go rock climbing (freestyle).
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7 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Following 

 

Always welcome!

 

34 minutes ago, annyshay said:

I loved this challenge the first time. Glad to see it's back.

 

As am I.

 

34 minutes ago, annyshay said:

It's ambitious!

 

You know me! 😜

 

37 minutes ago, annyshay said:

You'll enjoy it, I'm sure.

 

That's the plan! Thanks for hanging with me all these years. You're presence is always welcome.

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I forgot to mention something really important. I signed up for a challenge to run/walk/hike 5k every day in May. So far it is going well. The first day I ran with my buddy Rick, who convinced me to join the challenge. My pace wasn't great, but it was solid for running mostly trails (10:37/mile). Day 2 I took my little ones hiking at Little Creek Park. It took us over an hour to cover 3.1 miles, but again... trails with an 8 year old and a 9 year old. They wanted to play in the creek, and there were a lot of hills to climb (two particularly steep ones). But they did well, and they want to go back. Day 3 was a run through one of the neighborhoods where I grew up. If you have known me long you know that I lived with my mother in St. Albans, WV, but I spent much of my time at my grandparents' house in Nitro, WV. This is one of my favorite places to run for nostalgic reasons; it's not a very challenging run, but it brings back a lot of memories. I listened to a guided run with Coach Bennett using the Nike Run Club app. I kept it light and easy and managed a 10:12/mile pace. This morning, day 4, I parked at the corner of an elementary school parking lot and ran through a really nice subdivision. It was quiet, no traffic, and it gave me an opportunity to admire some really nice homes. I listened to another guided run with Coach Bennett, and even though I got a little lost in the subdivision (the road makes kind of a spiral with several connecting roads, and I got turned around), I managed to finish the 5k close to the entrance/exit of the subdivision, so it worked out great. Managed a 9:44/mile pace.

 

27 more days to go. 😜I'm going to use MapMyRun and AllTrails to scope out some 5k routes so I don't get bored of the same roads and trails. I try to do my runs early in the morning while everyone is asleep and close to home in case my wife or daughters need me for anything. This morning, my 9 year old woke up early and called me twice! This doesn't happen very often, but... 

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Connect With Environment:

  • took youngest daughters hiking a Little Creek Park
  • hiked barefoot for 20-30 minutes (as did my youngest daughter)
  • went off trail to see a small waterfall falling down a stream off the mountain
  • swam in the creek with my daughters; the water was cold and refreshing
  • watched a blue heron fly above our heads as we swam in the creek
  • used my own utensils after ordering food from a local restaurant

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Connect With Food:

  • fasted for 16 hours (7 pm last night to 11 am this morning)
  • lunch: pinto beans and fried potatoes, protein shake
  • dinner: Local Mexican restaurant; I ordered the Pina Loca, which is a pineapple cut in half and hollowed out, then filled grilled steak, chicken, shrimp and chorizo mixed with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and cheese, with a side of tortilla chips and salsa

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Connect With Body:

  • 30 burpees done (10 this morning, 10 this afternoon, 10 this evening)
  • 5 minutes of squatting (cumulative)
  • drank plenty of water
  • worked out with my buddy Nick doing a variety of lifts and exercises using a log, stones, sandbags, cinderblocks, and a wooden beam (presses, rows, dips, decline push-ups, etc.)
  • ran 5k this morning while wearing minimalist "barefoot" shoes

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Connect With Tribe:

  • spent plenty of time with my daughters today: took them to the bus stop to collect their school breakfasts and lunches for the week and took them hiking
  • snuggled in the bed with my wife and watched an episode of Bless This Mess
  • took the girls to visit my mother (whom we have seen several times during this quarantine; yeah, I know...).

Connect With Self:

  • stayed mindful of my mood, which was positive most of the day; I got a little irritated thinking about how foolish some people can be but then remembered that I have no control over what others do and that my anger only influences me, not them. I also got a little frustrated with my daughter during our hike but realized it was more of a nuisance than something to get angry about.
  • reading Man Uncivilized by Traver Boehm; it's not for everyone (in fact, it is specifically for men and would probably even offend some men), but I am inspired by its raw message. The best way I can describe it is I feel like Traver (the author) is grabbing me by the shoulders and saying, "Hey. Look at me. Wake the fuck up. It's go time." (Traver says "fuck" a lot, btw).
  • I chose my words carefully while frustrated with my daughter and just continued to speak encouragingly to her and to guide her instead of get angry with her.
  • I am grateful for: beautiful trails, cool streams, my daughters' laughter

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Connect With Eywa:

  • said the Lord's Prayer, as well as a prayer of gratitude after waking this morning
  • lay still and listened to some music by East Forest
  • said a few small prayers throughout the day, mostly of gratitude 
  • passed a few people during our hike and greeted them politely, as well as gave them space

 

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9 hours ago, Mudd said:

I'm doing my first challenge now, but I consider myself an Adventurer. This set of Quests is inspiring. I love the range and concept behind them.

Welcome Mudd! WolfDreamer's quests are often fairly epic. :)

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9 hours ago, Mudd said:

I'm doing my first challenge now, but I consider myself an Adventurer. This set of Quests is inspiring. I love the range and concept behind them.

 

Welcome! I am glad it inspires you. You are among fellow adventurers who will encourage you on your journey. Let me know if I can help in any way.

 

15 minutes ago, annyshay said:

Welcome Mudd! WolfDreamer's quests are often fairly epic. :)

 

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Thank you! It's true, though. 🤣

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2 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

Ever the inspiration, Wolfdreamer! 

 

Thank you! That means a lot. I see your posts on Instagram, how dedicated you are as a mother and wife while also finding time for self care. You inspire me, as well. I'm glad you're here.

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Connect With Environment:

  • took the dogs outside while barefoot and shirtless in spite of (or maybe because of) the cool misty rain
  • ran 5k on some backroads that border a nearby farm; no farm animals that I could see, but it was also so early it was still dark
  • played with my dogs (Minnie, Sugar, and Luna) and sat in quiet with two of my cats (Ashes, whom I call Baby Boy, and Princess Sophia)
  • Completed a few Joulebug challenges
  • used silverware while eating lunch from a local restaurant

Connect With Food:

  • fasted for 15:30 (7:00 pm-10:30 am)
  • Breakfast: hash brown scramble bowl from Chick-fil-A topped with jalapeno salsa
  • lunch: sandwich from a local restaurant called Roadrunner Grill; it was called the Nitro Ciabatta because the restaurant is located in Nitro, WV (my hometown), and it is turkey, ham, pepperoni, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana pepper, and Italian dressing on ciabatta bread. Sadly, they will be closed permanently after today, so that was my last chance to enjoy that sandwich.
  • dinner: toast with avocado, topped with salsa, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika

Connect With Body:

  • ran 5k on some backroads: average pace was 9:59/mile; not as quick as yesterday but I still didn't stop, kept either running or jogging
  • completed day 2 of the 7x4 bodyweight workout plan, which was two rounds of the following: crunches x10, Russian twist x12, mountain climbers x12, heel touch x16, leg raises x12, and plank 30 seconds, followed by cobra stretch for 30 seconds and a spine lumbar twist stretch (30 seconds each side)
  • held a deep squat on the wooden balance beam (5 minutes cumulative)
  • took a cold shower after my workout
  • drank plenty of water
  • hung from the wooden beam on my porch

Connect With Tribe:

  • spent time with my daughters; had to drive my 16 year old to work and took her to grab lunch on the way
  • hugged on and played with Gracelynn (9) and Arabella (8), and we wrestled
  • snuggled on the couch with my wife and watched All Rise (side note: they did a special thing with this week's episode in which all of the characters are on quarantine because of Coronavirus; it was very creatively done and very relevant).
  • called my mother to talk about storage options for her stuff that is still in the house we're trying to get moved into (no, that still hasn't happened yet)

Connect With Self:

  • one minor moment of anger today, but it was in response to a burst of anger from my wife; I quickly turned the situation around by sticking my tongue out at her and telling her how much I love her. She said, "Yeah, yeah, love you, too," but we laughed and we were fine afterwards.
  • just finished listening to David Deida's book The Way of the Superior Man; again, not a book for everyone, but there is still some really inspiring stuff in that book. This quote specifically hit me right between the eyes: Deida points out that some day we will all day and that in fact, as soon as we are born we begin dying. He says, "You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering."
  • spoke carefully and mindfully to my wife and daughters
  • I am grateful for well-made sandwiches, free food, and "poor man's recipe" ideas

Connect With Eywa:

  • said the Lord's Prayer as well as a prayer of gratitude as soon as I woke up
  • sat in quiet solitude before going on my run
  • said a few small prayers throughout the day
  • had to make a trip to Sam's Club for groceries, and I respected social distancing while wearing a mask, and I was still able to say "Hello" to some people and to wish them a good day
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Week 1, Day 1 (Sunday):

 

Connect With Environment:

  • took the dogs outside while barefoot and shirtless; it was unseasonably frosty this morning
  • took my friends' two Siberian Huskies for a walk (not both at the same time, that would be madness, but just over 1.5 miles each = 5k)
  • played with my dogs (Minnie, Sugar, and Luna) as well as the two Siberian Huskies, and I sat in quiet with two of my cats (Ashes and Princess Sophia)
  • Completed a few Joulebug challenges

Connect With Food:

  • fasted for 15:30 (7:00 pm-10:30 am)
  • Breakfast: Kodiak Power cakes with blueberries, topped with slices of banana and maple syrup, cup of coffee with butter and MCT oil
  • lunch: none, but I snacked on wasabi peas and drank a mint chocolate shake from CookOut
  • dinner: two slices of pepperoni pizza from Little Caesar's and some cheesy bread sticks

Connect With Body:

  • walked 5k with the Siberian Huskies; trust me when I say the boy Husky (whose name is Diesel) is a workout to walk.
  • completed day 7 of the 7x4 bodyweight workout plan, which was the following: jumping jacks (30 seconds), incline push-ups (x18), wide arm push-ups (x12), push-up and rotation (x4 each side), staggered push-ups (x8), decline push-ups (x8), wide arm push-ups (x12), push-up and rotation (x3 each side), staggered push-ups (x6), decline push-ups (x6), cobra stretch (30 seconds), chest stretch (30 seconds); a few times I had to switch to knee push-ups, but it was still a challenge.
  • held a deep squat on the wooden balance beam (5 minutes cumulative)
  • took a cold shower after my walk with the Huskies
  • drank plenty of water
  • hung from the wooden beam on my porch

Connect With Tribe:

  • spent time with my daughters and with my wife since it was Mother's Day; I also called my mother to tell her Happy Mother's Day.
  • hugged on and played with Gracelynn (9) and Arabella (8), and we wrestled outside in the field
  • snuggled on the couch with my wife and watched part of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Connect With Self:

  • my 16 year old had several outbursts today because she was overwhelmed; typically this behavior sets me off, but I remained calm and regardless of how se behaved I was collected and stoic and even loving to her.
  • continuing to read Traver Boehm's book Man Uncivilized, and I am re-reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as well as reading The Heroic Path as a devotional in the mornings.
  • spoke carefully and mindfully to my wife and daughters
  • I am grateful for my wife (who is an amazing mother to our daughters), friendly neighbors, and sunlight

Connect With Eywa:

  • said the Lord's Prayer as well as a prayer of gratitude as soon as I woke up
  • sat in quiet solitude in my room for a little bit; I also took a power nap.
  • said a few small prayers throughout the day
  • picked up food from a local Asian restaurant for my wife as a Mother's Day gift and talked briefly to the girl in line behind me
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Hello everyone.

 

I owe you an apology for my absence. Some of you may be a bit disappointed with me; I'm certainly disappointed with me. I have no excuses other than there has been so much going on that I haven't had the time or dedication to post here as often as I should. And if I'm honest, some days I would open my browser to the forum to post and my brain would just freeze. It's not like I wouldn't know what do write, it's just that I... wouldn't. And that has nothing to do with the group or this guild but has everything to do with my own mental state right now. In fact, one of our amazing guild leaders, @Sylvaa, even dropped me a message to make sure I was okay. I love this group for gestures like that because I'm reminded we're not just a fitness forum. We're also friends and family.

 

But I do want to share some things wth you, some successes. I have been successful with most parts of my challenge, going barefoot a lot, stretching and squatting in the mornings, hanging out with my dogs, hiking with my daughters, swimming in creeks, and running trails. I stuck with the 5k Every Day in May Challenge and finished it today with a run through my home town. My mother finally found storage for her stuff that was in the old house, so we can start clearing it out, renovating, and we hoped to be moved in by the end of the summer or by early fall.

 

My life is going well. But dammit if 2020 doesn't fucking suck for America right now. My wife and I both had to take a sabbatical from Facebook because the comments and the posts were just too much. Let's just say you find out which of your friends and relatives are closet racists when stuff like this happens. It almost causes a sort of identity crisis when people you've admired and some you've looked up to and even considered mentors at some point say shit that changes how you look at them and then makes you wonder if you used to feel that way, as well. I found myself fighting losing battles via comments (my wife, as well), so we logged of, and she even deleted the app from her phone.

 

I just can't with some people. Like... how can they not see why black people are so angry? Because they haven't bothered to see. They haven't even tried to see. I saw something today that would have been funny if it didn't feel so damn true:

 

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I mean, right?! This shit really feels like something out of a dystopian nightmare. Which is fitting since so much of America has felt dystopian for a while. I get that there is no perfect utopia anywhere, but this is insane. And our president just keeps saying stupid shit to make it worse! Like what the hell?

 

Anyway... I'm sorry. For not being more present for you all, even though many of you have been present for me. I appreciate it. I'll try to do better at being here for you.

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Hey, its totally okay. I’m not disappointed in you at all. Sometimes the mind can only handle so much input, and you made solid choices in your priorities. Your health and your family are important, and dealing with everything that is happening in our country right now is a lot. It takes up a lot of energy for me too to find that balance between keeping my family safe and supporting Black Lives Matter and the protesters. And just like...watching the world demand change, and praying that we’ll have significant change this time. Thank heavens for cell phone cameras and connectivity 

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On 6/6/2020 at 9:47 PM, Sciread77 said:

I also am not disappointed in you. I’ve been following you guys on Facebook and I’m both proud of you and exhausted for you at the same time. 

 

Thank you. That really means a lot.

 

On 6/13/2020 at 7:40 AM, Ann of Vries said:

Yeah, I’m also on a FB sabbatical for similar reasons, most of them family members. You are not disappointing. You are wonderful and you’re still doing things on your challenge and you’re taking steps to protect your mental health. You win!

 

Thank you. I'm trying.

 

Well, thus ends another challenge. I think I did well enough. I give myself a C. Not bad considering some circumstances that definitely impacted my ability to stay focused.

 

I'll have to get my next challenge drafted and ready. Thank you to everyone who supported me through this.

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