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Harriet of War: The Light of Alfheim


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The Goddess of War Year

I have been sick a long time, but I choose to believe in recovery and the possibility of a normal life, and that is what I am going to pursue this year. Having recently played and loved God of War 2018, I am taking Kratos, the incredibly tough Spartan warrior from said game, as a model for the next year, because he has the physical strength and character strength that I so badly need.


Each challenge should include habits in the categories of strength, stoicism, spirit work, and structure to help me either heal, or create a life worth living despite illness. 

 

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The Light of Alfheim (a Goddess of Beaty Interlude)
 

Alfheim, home of the elves. In GoW, it is the source of the light used to travel the Bifrost. The light elves are described by Sturlson as beautiful and radiant, and are minor deities of fertility and nature. A realm of sunlight and blue skies. There is not much sunlight and blue sky at the moment, but I could do with some beauty and magic.

 

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You might object “What does Kratos know of beauty?” or “This year is supposed to be Goddess of War not Goddess of Beauty!” But have you seen his incredible outfits? And don’t tell me he didn’t think about the cut of beard that would most enhance his rugged charm. And I guess that fine figure didn’t come from neglect. Not to mention the tattoos. So Kratos, too, considers beauty (appropriately to his situation). And one of the draws of the game is the splendid landscapes and visuals. Beauty is apt. Beauty is war. And when strength fails, other strategies like stealth and finesse are better than giving up. So we’re going to finesse the dragon this challenge.

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The problem is, I’m low on motivation after the initial excitement of getting started with my new life plan in June, and after several interruptions to my routines. Since progress is slow, I need to find more immediate enjoyment in my day to day habits and processes. But not via overeating delicious foods or drinking too much alcohol, which is the most available and intense form of reward I can get. Overdoing food and alcohol just raises the bar for enjoyment from other sources, so that my baseline level of existence is more dissatisfied, more wanting, less filled with beauty. Epicurus would say that, in order to make Harriet wealthy, you must not increase Harriet’s stuff, but reduce Harriet’s desires. Bingeing on nice things increases desire, but mindful enjoyment reduces it.Therefore, mindfulness is the better strategy for long term joy.

 

So I am going to collect beauty in other ways, like Kratos collecting shiny red and green rage and health crystals and looting chests for satisfying treasures. I will learn to take pleasure in everyday things, in a mindful way that cultivates satisfaction rather than further wanting. Here's how I'll implement my four Goddess of War pillars:

 

Strength: Exercise snacks

Cardio machines are very boring. Alas. I think I will just go to the gym five days a week and do something; whatever feels pleasant and achievable. I just need it to be a bit less of an ordeal and more of a nice addition to my day that I look forward to. Would Kratos approve? Maybe not. But even he slows down a bit when he runs out of rage. I will also try to take little “exercise snacks” like walking, climbing the stairs, or doing chores whenever it feels okay for me. Reminding myself “exercise snack!” makes climbing the stairs feel valuable instead of pointless.

Stoicism: Choose calm

I am going to choose my emotions. There may be workers at the house all day every day for about a week and a half during this period, and I have to deal with them alone as Mr Harriet will be travelling again. Instead of giving in to my anxiety and ruminating, complaining or asking Mr Harriet for reassurance (which doesn’t work) I will choose my emotions. I will choose calm and ease, and reinforce them with journalling and mindfulness. Anxiety is to a certain extent my choice, and I don’t choose it. I think Kratos would approve of my attempt to control my fear. Calm is beauty. Calm is strength.

 

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Spirit: Mindfulness snacks

As well as journalling, I am going to do little mindfulness snacks throughout the day, in which I notice and enjoy my coffee, my matcha tea, my skincare routine, lighting a candle, getting dressed, brushing my hair, putting on perfume, cooking carefully instead of in a rushed and chaotic way, and so on. Little sparks of beauty throughout the day, just like Kratos stomping on healthstones. Or like the little rage crystals he stomps, but I’m building my calm meter instead of rage. It requires patiences and the intention to see and find and notice beauty.

 

show

 

Smash! You feel a little better now, don't you?

Structure: Beauty routine

I’ll try to do my routine without being too strict about it. The most important things for this challenge are: journalling at the start of the day, since this sets me up with a beautiful mindset; getting properly dressed in my nice clothes (not my worst clothes) with attention to skin, hair, and perfume, since this helps set the mood for a productive and self respecting day; and tidying and beautifying my spaces in the evening, which likewise sets the scene for routine. Beauty for the mind, body, and environment. I have put a little chair in the bathroom so I can brush my hair patiently instead of rushing. It works!

 

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Fashion! Beauty! Glory!

 

Sustenance: Fast & splendid feast

I’m also doing a mild form of intermittent fasting where I just skip breakfast, since I am sick of diets that restrict what kinds of foods I can eat, and eating tiny calorie reduced meals doesn’t work for me long term. Fasting gives my gut a rest and a chance to repair so that sub-optimal foods aren’t such a big deal, and allows me to have larger and more normal meals with other people for dinner. It also makes food seem more special and enjoyable, but is not so harshly restrictive that it triggers bingeing. I am trying to eat my meals slowly and attentively and find the splendour in them. And I am looking forward to cooking some more effortful and special meals at home occasionally. Key to the calm and beautiful enjoyment is putting everything in its place beforehand so there’s no rush, and maybe having some beautiful music. And keeping the kitchen beautiful and clean.

After hearing of yet another cancer diagnosis in my family, I also want to gradually build up to occasional longer fasts for cancer prevention, chronic illness mitigation, and healthful ageing. I’ll do this once or twice a month. Mr Harriet, my brother, and my father are also interested in trying it with me.

 

  • Like 8
  • That's Metal 1

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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I'm very here for this. Wishing you accomplishments and elegance on this beautiful journey. 

  • Thanks 1

Past Challenges: #1, #2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16

Current Challenge: #17

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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3 hours ago, Everstorm said:

Love your goals this go-round!  I have been contemplating something similar with "joy snacks".  Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

 

Joy snacks sound delicious!!! And very similar to beauty, as I'm using it here. Thanks for being here!

 

3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

An extremely well written post. I wish you success.

 

That's very kind. Thank you for being here, Tank! 

 

2 hours ago, Sovalis said:

I'm very here for this. Wishing you accomplishments and elegance on this beautiful journey. 


Thank you Sov! Elegance fits perfectly with the beautiful calm I have in mind. 

  • Like 3

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Saturday

Strength: no gym on the weekend. Just exercise snacks such as the stairs and a bit of walking for groceries.
Stoicism: I had some nasty anxiety this morning when the cat was howling piteously, and another horrible spike of it when out shopping for no reason. I resisted as best I could. I told myself the cat was not dying but probably just scarfed her food too fast or had a hairball (which was indeed the case. She puked and now she's fine). It doesn't take away that initial reaction, but without the anxious interpretation, the anxious sensation is more bearable.

Spirit: I had many moments of mindfulness today, including with eating, cooking, the beauty snacks and so on. It helps having a nice tidy space where I want to be present. I could pay more attention to my matcha, though. It's expensive!
Structure: No routine today as it's the weekend, but I did the journalling, got dressed and skincared and perfumed, and tidied my space, and I enjoyed all these things as precious beauty snacks. 
Sustenance: I was super hungry so ate at 11 instead of 12, but that's okay. What's less favourable is that I finished off a block of chocolate, about 45g, an amount that made me feel sick. I felt compelled rather than lovingly enticed to eat it, which is the kind of experience I wish to avoid. I won't buy it again. I have other things to enjoy. Lunch and dinner were lovingly made and slowly appreciated, as was my homemade chocolate jelly (gelatine, cocoa, coconut/almond milk with a hint of caramel flavoured stevia drops).

 

I suggested going out to a pizza place to Mr Harriet (to be 🌟normal🌟), but when I looked at the place he suggested it looked dingy and sad (Mr Harriet usually picks really special restaurants, it's something he likes researching. But sometimes in Berlin shabby is cool, and this was recommended for some reason) and there was sunflower oil as an ingredient on every pizza and I felt anxious rather than happy. Seed oils are not on my happy list. I know I shouldn't feel anxious about eating them occasionally, but combined with the sad look of the restaurant, I decided it would feel nicer and more special to cook beautiful home made pizzas at home, so I bought ingredients (including buffalo mozzarella) and went to a wine shop where I asked for recommendations and took home some wines. It's a nice experience going to a specialty store and getting advice, if you are in the mindset to find nice experiences. I also spontaneously bought some cheap but pretty flowers that were calling to me from a store on the sidewalk. Mr Harriet will come home from Munich today, to a clean and flowered kitchen.

 

Beautiful-Chrysanthemums.jpg

  • Like 8

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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I am so excited for you to be mindful while cooking something that supports your goals and for indulging flowers. I love having flowers in my house, I don't do it nearly often enough. 

  • Like 1

Past Challenges: #1, #2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16

Current Challenge: #17

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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15 hours ago, Salinger said:

Sounds beautiful and Mr Harriet is lucky to come home to all that 😍

 

I think he is, too ❤️ 

 

10 hours ago, Sovalis said:

I am so excited for you to be mindful while cooking something that supports your goals and for indulging flowers. I love having flowers in my house, I don't do it nearly often enough. 


I like flowers until they die and I have to dispose of the soggy corpses, cutting and folding them small enough to get in the bin, scooping up fallen leaves and petals, and rinsing out the soggy vile vase water. Did I miss out on the secret of neater flowers and easier disposal? Somehow it's always me who does it, whether they're gifts from me or for me.

  • Like 3

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Sunday
Strength: not on Sundays. Just a medium length walk and a stairs-based exercise snack. 
Stoicism: I reframed my anxiety about publishing a call for house sitters, and resisted the anxiety as planned.
Spirit: I did look for little mindfulness snacks throughout the day; while playing with the cat, when walking and hearing the church bells and birds, while sitting in the sun, while drinking matcha, while eating my meals.
Structure: No work today but I did my journalling and got dressed. I tidied last night and will do so this evening.

Sustenance: I did skip breakfast and fast until noon. I may be eating a lot of home made chocolate jelly, but it is low in calories and has no sugar, and cocoa has a lot of micronutrients, so is it really bad? I think not.


Lots of beauty today. I told Mr Harriet he looked handsome and that the colour of his shirt suited him, which was true. I am looking forward to making the pizza tonight and having a glass of special wine. After posting the listing for the apartment (we are looking for someone to house sit and look after Orange over the Christmas and Sylvester holidays so we can go on a rare three week trip) five people applied the same day! I have been feeling anxious about this, but it seems like it should be doable and will be good adulting practice for me. Which is partly why Mr Harriet wanted me to take responsibility for it, the other reason being that he is busy. All is well. Mr Harriet wants two small pizzas, one with a variety of cheeses, and the other with artichoke, fresh basil and Kalamata olives. I will make a pizza with salami, goat's cheese and fresh rosemary.

 

Rainbow Pizza GIFfresh basil GIFCheese GIF

 

 

  • Like 7

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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16 hours ago, Jackdaw said:

Oh, God of War 4 challenge! That game is so special to me! 

 

Is that the same as God of War 2018? It's the first game I ever played on my new playstation (I haven't had a gaming console since I was a child) and it really wowed me. The story, the visuals, the mechanics. So impressive. 

 

16 hours ago, Jackdaw said:

Have fun making pizza! Do you have any good recipes? I tried making pizza few times but the taste was never like in a pizzeria. 

 

I do not know what the best recipes are, as this was my first attempt. I think with the pizza dough, it must be about skill rather than the ingredients as such, since the ingredients will be the same regardless, no? Flour, yeast, water. I tried to do this (I halved the recipe though): https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/neapolitan-pizza-base/


They rose beautifully overnight, but I might have handled them a little too much when trying to spread them thin, since they came out a bit denser and harder than a pizza from a real napolitan pizzeria. But it was thin and crispy, and really nice and satisfying to eat. Toppings are obviously just whatever you want, and not too much, in a nice quality :) I ended up using pfeffersalami and jalapeños for mine, since one of my favourites at proper pizza places is the diavola. 

 

12 hours ago, Silmarilliane said:

Will catch up on the morrow but folllloooowing!

 

Yay! Happy to have you here ❤️ 

 

10 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

I admire your pizza so much.

 

Why thank you. No one has ever said that to me before 🥰 Now, that could be because I haven't made any pizzas before. Obviously it's not my pizza in the gif, and I used less toppings because I was aiming for more of an Italian style than an American style, but they did come out very tasty and nourishing and beautiful and special. 

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  • That's Metal 1

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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On 10/22/2023 at 9:50 AM, Harriet said:

have to dispose of the soggy corpses, cutting and folding them small enough to get in the bin, scooping up fallen leaves and petals, and rinsing out the soggy vile vase water

 

This is exactly why I hate being given flowers :D plus I'm allergic to lillies (and they're toxic to cats) - I don't even get joy from having them in the house....!

 

I have a friend who does in-house-pet-sitting and she loves just going and staying somewhere new for a while, so I'm not surprised you got so many applicants so quick.

 

I want pizza now...

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Level 37 Rogue Ranger, 2024 ROADMAP

Welcome to the Dungeons of Doom; locate the Amulet of Yendor ♀ on Level 26

Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 16, 17, 18, 1920, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

 

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25 minutes ago, Silmarilliane said:

 

This is exactly why I hate being given flowers :D plus I'm allergic to lillies (and they're toxic to cats) - I don't even get joy from having them in the house....!

 

I like lilies because my mother used to have them in the house often, and the scent reminds me of her ❤️ 

 

25 minutes ago, Silmarilliane said:

I have a friend who does in-house-pet-sitting and she loves just going and staying somewhere new for a while, so I'm not surprised you got so many applicants so quick.

 

Yeah, the applicants all said the same thing: they love kitties and travel.

 

25 minutes ago, Silmarilliane said:

I want pizza now...

 

It's easy to make! You can have pizza, too. 

  • Like 3

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Monday

Strength: a medium length walk and some stairs as an exercise snack

Stoicism: I worked a lot on my mindset today and a couple of spikes of anxiety were short lived as I gave them no credence

Spirit: I really had a super beautiful day where I found joy in everything. Mindfulness snacks with matcha, walking, food, etc.

Structure: I did beautiful journalling and getting dressed. I tidied up the kitchen and work areas beautifully last night and was happy to see them clean this morning.

 

I started with journalling with a lit candle and drawing a tarot card from my gorgeous deck of witches for inspiration. I put on a special sweater that Mr Harriet gifted me, and went for a beautiful walk with him in the park and simply adored everything I saw. I showed him the flower beds that I like to walk past on my walks, and we considered if any of the plants would fit our garden in Munich. I was pretty chill about the routine today but I did some chores including house sitter admin and clearing out my drawer of abandoned knitting projects and yarn leftovers. I also did an hour of art (I decided to paint forest scenes, and have collected enough references for a long project). What else? I ate leftover pizza and chocolate jelly. Not a lot of nutrition but we'll be back to our scheduled meat and plants tomorrow. All is well. 

  • Like 6

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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This was a lovely update. I'm glad you had such a beautiful day. 💜

  • Like 1

Past Challenges: #1, #2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16

Current Challenge: #17

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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On 10/24/2023 at 4:20 AM, Sovalis said:

This was a lovely update. I'm glad you had such a beautiful day. 💜

 

On 10/24/2023 at 1:44 PM, Salinger said:

AMAZING update ❤️ I hope today is just as lovely xx

 

Thank you my beautiful possums ❤️ 

  • Like 2

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

Link to comment

Tuesday
Strength: just a walk. I can't seem to motivate myself to get back to the gym.

Stoicism: I really struggled with low mood and anxiety but tried to reject them as false and reduce their impact with journalling

Spirit: I did try to take mindfulness snacks with my food and tea, but it wasn't effortless.

Structure: I did the beauty snacks of journalling (with tarot and candle), getting dressed, and tidying up in the evening. 

Yeah, yesterday's mood was anxious and low. I know the mood doesn't give me any real information about the world or myself, so I'm trying not to take it too seriously. I watched a football game with Mr Harriet and tried to learn about some of the new players, since all the old faces I got to know keep disappearing! I have been too lazy to cook meat and salad for a few days, so I should probably try to make an effort there. Cronometer seems to think that my lazy baked beans meals are low in micronutrients compared to meat and veg. But they're so convenient and filling. 

  • Like 5

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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On 10/23/2023 at 10:35 AM, Harriet said:

 

Is that the same as God of War 2018? It's the first game I ever played on my new playstation (I haven't had a gaming console since I was a child) and it really wowed me. The story, the visuals, the mechanics. So impressive. 

 

Yes, that's the same game :) The story really captivated me the most. And character development. I don't know if you played God of War 3, but in that game Kratos was such angry and evil son of a... eghm, unpleasant man. The change was kind of a surprise to me, but it fit the storyline well. He became a husband and a father after all, and found his peace. The next game looks pretty impressive too, but I don't have a console anymore, I didn't play it. 

 

Btw I don't know if you are into this kind of music, but there are such cool fan songs to the God of War on youtube! 

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Veni, vidi, vici. 

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1 hour ago, Jackdaw said:

Yes, that's the same game :) The story really captivated me the most. And character development. I don't know if you played God of War 3, but in that game Kratos was such angry and evil son of a... eghm, unpleasant man. The change was kind of a surprise to me, but it fit the storyline well. He became a husband and a father after all, and found his peace. The next game looks pretty impressive too, but I don't have a console anymore, I didn't play it. 

 

Btw I don't know if you are into this kind of music, but there are such cool fan songs to the God of War on youtube! 


No, I didn't play any of the earlier games. I haven't had a console since I was a child. I agree that the story and character development was great ❤️ I may look into the songs, cheers!

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

Link to comment

Wednesday
Strength: just a walk again, and the stairs as an exercise snack. I really have zero desire to go to the gym. Maybe I should get out the dumbbells and kettlebells as a stopgap.

Stoicism: I had a rather low mood again today--not as bad as yesterday--and tried to disavow it with reframing, journalling, not giving in to the temptation to get annoyed at Mr Harriet for small things and latch onto the idea that it's his fault. It's not really his fault, even if he did leave the house a mess as he rushed about getting ready for his trip. That wouldn't annoy me if I weren't in a mood. I mustn't let the mood try to divert and deceive me. 
Spirit: I tried to take mindfulness snacks with eating, tea, a lovely hot shower by candlelight, and so on.
Structure: I did the journalling, got dressed, and tidied my areas. 
Sustenance: I am still doing the intermittent fasting but ate a little earlier the last couple of days as I was quite hungry and don't want to be inflexible. I found a bag of haribo gummy bears in the cupboard (only 10g) and opened it so quickly I spilled them everywhere, then hastily swept up and stuffed all of them into my mouth like the lunatic I am. The calories hardly matter, but I don't enjoy the strange behaviour and feeling of compulsion. They shouldn't be in the house as far as I'm concerned.


After the first potential house sitter cancelled, I contacted another and we had a video call today. It looks like we have someone to look after Orange for our December trip. It made me anxious doing the organisation, but I think most of it is now done and there shouldn't be too much more anxiety. I'm glad it's decided. 

  • Like 5

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Ah shoot. I drank some wine and then binged on pasta, ketchup and cheese. I have a headache from eating too much too fast, I think. I'm not sure I even enjoy alcohol that much these days. I *used* to really enjoy it but ever since taking some time off it just doesn't taste the same. And it's the thing that's most likely to trigger late night unintentional eating. Maybe time for another break?

  • Sad 3

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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