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Please forgive any lack of editing, as I just want to get this posted. :)

 

A girl, a teenager and a woman went seeking the guru who would help them find true happiness. The guru lived at the top of a mountain, so the three set off on their journey. They knew it would take a lot of effort and time, but they thought they were ready.

 

At first, they travelled through the foothills, and it was like a walk in the woods. The little girl skipped along happily, the woman seemed to be enjoying the pleasant surroundings, and the teenager hiked along with them dutifully and uncomplaining. The trail started to get a bit rougher, and the teenager tripped. She caught herself before falling, but grumbled and swore and actually walked more stiffly than before. The girl continued to prance up the trail, sometimes climbing tree stumps or hiding behind trunks, but sometimes she would glance nervously at the teen, then put a happy smile back on as if there was nothing to worry about. The woman tried to be encouraging and empathetic, but sometimes she, too, would get frustrated by something and tense up or otherwise react.

 

This continued as they climbed. The teen trotted along as expected, except when something out of the ordinary happened. Then her reactions became unpredictable – sometimes swearing, sometimes throwing a stick or rock in frustration, or sometimes crying if she felt the problem was somehow her fault. The teen rarely hopped up on any of the fallen logs like the girl; she seemed afraid to do so. Often, after tripping or encountering another issue on the trail, the teenager would tell the girl where to walk or how to navigate the path so as not to have the same problem. The girl seemed to resent this, however. She would do what the teen asked, but with a pouty face. The rest of the time, the girl seemed to try to put on a happy face, but her play would falter whenever one of the other two expressed anger or frustration. Her attitude began to look forced, and she would peek at her companions nervously when she thought they were not looking. Gradually, the girl’s frolicking became more and more reserved, as if she was concerned that one of the other two would get angry at her. The woman alternated between encouraging the teen and girl on the path, trying to empathize with their feelings, and dealing with her own frustration and anger. In many ways, the woman reacted like the teen did to unexpected occurrences and obstacles, but she would stop herself fairly quickly and go quiet for a time before returning to her encouragement. Sometimes the woman would follow the girl in her play, but she hesitated before jumping up on logs or climbing branches, and her activity seemed stiff and reserved.

 

Finally, the three came into a clearing. At the far side of the clearing was a ravine about 20 feet across, with a river at the bottom about 30 feet below. The only way to cross appeared to be a large, wide tree that had fallen across the chasm. The teenager’s face went stony, and she crossed her arms without saying a word, staying far back from the edge. The woman started to try to talk the teen into crossing the fallen tree, being encouraging, but subtle aspects of her body language said that she was nervous about the crossing as well. The girl promptly climbed up on the fallen tree and started to play in the branches on this side of the ravine.

 

“Get down!†Yelled the teen at the same time as the woman cried, “Wait!†The girl froze. Composing herself, the woman went on. “How about you come play over here, farther away from the edge, until we are all ready to go across?†The girl opened her mouth as if to argue, then looked at the teen’s scowl. Her internal struggle was almost visible, as she tried to decide if it was worth making a fuss. Apparently deciding that peace was more important, the girl came away from the tree and sat on the ground, dejectedly fussing with some plants and sticks.

 

The woman sighed and opened her backpack, searching the contents. She did not seem to find what she was looking for, and started to get very frustrated. She closed the pack angrily, tossing it a few feet as she did so. The girl seemed to shrink a bit more into the vegetation, though she barely moved or changed what she was doing. Then the woman closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths before returning to the teen. Just as the woman restarted her cajoling of the teenager, the sound of wind gusts overhead made them all look up. A majestic golden dragon landed in the clearing, between the three girls and the ravine. The dragon looked at them with compassion and sadness in its eyes, then spoke.

 

Golden_Dragon_by_Amisgaudi.jpg

 

“I have been watching you for quite some time,†it said. “It saddens me to see you – with all of the potential and strength you have – derailed by such minor obstacles. You spend so much time worrying that there is little room for anything else. You worry about whether or not you did something wrong, about whether or not you might get hurt, about what people are thinking, and about what might happen. With all the worrying, I am afraid that you will never be able to reach your goal, even if you are able to get across the ravine. There are always obstacles in life. You have the ability to overcome them, but is it worth it if you feel so bad in the meantime?†The dragon paused to let them absorb what it had said. The girl scuffed her feet, the teenager’s eyes started to water, and the woman tensed, but put on a brave face. The dragon sighed and shook its head slightly. “Do you like the way things are?†It asked.

 

“No,†said the teen softly as the little girl shook her head, looking fearful. The woman bravely said, “of course not. That is why we came on this quest.â€

 

“I thought so,†said the dragon, “but had to be sure. You see, what you need at this point is somewhat simple. Simple, but not at all easy. It will be a lot of hard work, but if you are diligent, the rewards will be immeasurable. Do you want to proceed?â€

 

“Yes,†said the woman and teen. The girl just nodded.

 

“Good. Here are the 3 keys that you need in your situation: Build physical confidence, Learn to see the silver lining, and Show love for yourself.â€

 

The girls and woman looked at each other in confusion. The teen spoke up, exasperated, “But how do we do that? What does it mean?â€

 

“That,†said the dragon, “you must discover for yourself, as it is slightly different for everyone. But I believe you can handle it.†The dragon smiled, and continued, “I will be watching your progress.†Then it launched into the air and disappeared over the treetops.

 

“I still don’t understand,†huffed the teen. “That was almost worse than no help at all!â€

 

“I think I have some ideas,†the woman said. She pulled some paper out of her backpack and began to draw up a plan.

 

*************************************

Translation:

As those of you who have followed me in the past are probably aware, it is easy for me to get very critical and to focus on the negative and not the positive in things that are happening. Many years of doing this have had a far-reaching effect on my life. I have been working on fixing a lot of the baggage that contributes to this tendency for the last few years. Through that work, I have come to realize that all the characters in this story are aspects of myself – the little girl and teenager are the 2 most active aspects of my inner child, the woman is how I am most of the time now (trying to do my best with a fair amount of reason and empathy, but still worried, scared, and “ashamed†sometimes), and the dragon is my inner strength and wisdom – that part that I can tap into once in awhile when I stop caring about what everyone else thinks or what might happen and just focus on being who I am. With the understandings I have been able to develop and the work I have done over the last couple of years, it seems that what I really need now is to develop the habits that will help contribute to “true happiness†and let me spend more time being the woman (and the good parts of the little girl) and the dragon instead of being stuck in one of the negative parts of the kid modes.

 

In updates, I will try to remember to put more than a passing reference to psychological mumbo-jumbo or the negative things I am having difficulty overcoming under a spoiler tag. :)

 

Goals

Each goal below shows how it will be graded, then has a list of the types of activities that count towards the goal. Because the focus of this challenge is developing the habit of positivity, I will not grade my challenge except for at the very end for the purpose of the guild report. All other self-evaluation will be focused on support, encouragement, and improvement, as outlined in each of the goal sections below.

 

                                                                               

Goal 1: Build physical confidence (+2 STR, +2 STA, +1 DEX)

This goal has 3 parts, each of which will be rated based on how many times per week I do activities from that category.
 

Strength training: (4 basic parts- upper push, upper pull, lower, core)  0/need more support; 1/A good start; 2/Nice –keep it going; 3/Great! Really developing strength; 4/Wow- Amazing; 5+/â€I am the Dragonâ€

                What counts: BBWW, ABWW, Angry Birds, other BW workouts, gardening/digging, intense cleaning, massaging, kayaking, climbing, etc.

 

Aerobic: (anything that gets my heart rate up) 0/need more support; 1/A good start; 2/Nice –keep it going; 3/Great! Really developing endurance; 4/Wow- Amazing; 5+/â€I am the Dragonâ€

                What counts: walking, c25k, Zombies! Run, cycling (normal or stationary), swimming, physical play with family, walking/hiking, etc.

 

Flexibility: 0-1/need more support; 2/A good start; 3/Nice –keep it going; 4-5/Great! Really developing flexibility; 6/Wow- Amazing; 7/â€I am the Dragonâ€

               What counts: yoga, stretching, etc.

 

Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive) (+4 CHA, +1 CON)

This is scored based on how many times per day I can turn to the positive instead of the negative (It counts even if I have to spend a lot of time talking myself into it).

0-1/need more support; 2/A good start; 3/Nice –keep it going; 4-5/Great! Starting to be more positive; 6/Wow- Amazing!; 7+/â€I am the Dragonâ€

 

What Counts:

Pollyanna-ing a situation as it happens (Asking what might be good about a negative situation)

Removing labels and judgment from a situation to get rid of emotional charge

Looking for another explanation (i.e., why might that guy have cut me off other than him being a jerk?)

Practicing gratitude

Translations (putting the positive intention behind an action into words for my brain)

Naturally seeing what could be a negative situation as positive or neutral

 

 

Goal 3: Show love for myself  (+3 WIS, +2 CON)

This one will be scored by week based on a points system (yes- another person on the points bandwagon). Everything has been assigned a point value based on how much it seems to help fill my emotional bank account, relatively speaking. I placed the middle of the scale according to how much I seem to need to stay stable, and the high end is a guess as to what I need to be happy. I am really not sure how this will work, since I have little experience with doing things for myself in a healthy way, as opposed to an addictive way. I will add to this list as I find more things that fit.

0-6 0-9 points/need more support; 7-13 10-19 /A good start; 14-20 20-29 /Nice –keep it going; 21-27 30-39 /Great! Really starting to appreciate myself; 28-34 40-49 /Wow- Amazing; 35 50+/â€I am the Dragonâ€

 

What Counts:

Points  Activity

1    Meditation

5    Visiting with friends

2    Reaching out to friends – email/text

3    Reaching out to friends – phone call

3    Quality time with kid(s)

3    Fun with Hubby (not that, perv! Well, maybe. But I won’t tell you if it is that or just hanging out. ;) )

1    Self-appreciation (yes, telling myself/writing what I like about myself. Cheesy, but it works)

2    Talk myself out of negative mood/show myself empathy

3    “Speak shame†(see the work of Brene Brown)

2    Treat myself - Buy a small something for myself or make a yummy food for me, etc.

4    "Show up, be seen, live brave" (also Brene Brown)

4    Special activity for me (riding, meetings, work on my healthy pregnancy projects, etc.)

 

Checking NF or Facebook does NOT count, as I tend to get too addictive with these activities. Ooops…

 

Life Quest

Most of this challenge IS a life quest, so I am not adding an extra one. :)

 

I will be starting this challenge immediately, to give myself a chance to test the goals and make changes as needed. If I like these first few days, I will keep them as part of the main challenge. Otherwise, it will officially start on Monday. :)

 

Notes:

6/10 - edited Self-love scoring to more accurately reflect how I am feeling after the dry run week.

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Your challenge is AWESOME and I love the symbolism of the dragon and the girl/teen/woman in the background story! I think you're onto something important, because it's not healthy to be overly critical of yourself. I'm sure you will rock this <3 

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Your challenge is beautiful, and I love the story with accompanying pictures. I will follow you for inspiration :).

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Fantastic, Elsfaire! Your challenge is so well thought out! Looking forward to it.

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Beautiful challenge, Elsfaire! I look forward to seeing your progression and how well the positive changes you are looking for stick with you. :)

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Dry Run Update-1

 

Tuesday (The day before I posted the challenge)

Goal 1: Build physical confidence

Yoga

Bodyweight workout. I have greatly simplified my workout from last challenge. I have dropped pretty much all the skills, though I may do some sometimes for fun anyway. I am just tracking 4-5 activities. My bodyweight workout currently consists of:

Split squats

Incline pushups (down on the bench shown at the end of last challenge)

Overhand rows (just started these!)

Wall planks

 

Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive)

Practicing gratitude,

journalling,

translating family actions to their positive intent

3 things - Nice!

 

Goal 3: Show love for myself

1 Meditation (Glenn Harrold self-hypnosis apps FTW!)

1 Self-appreciation (telling myself at least 3 things I like about who I am. Maybe sometimes I will post some of them. :) )

3 Quality time with a kid (had a great conversation with my older son)

5 total points Good!

 

Wednesday (The day I posted the challenge)

Goal 1: Build physical confidence

Yoga

 

Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive)

I honestly don't remember, though I know I was in an "ok" headspace all that day, except for feeling anxious to get my challenge posted.

 

Goal 3: Show love for myself

1 Meditation (Glenn Harrold self-hypnosis apps FTW!)

1 Self-appreciation (telling myself at least 3 things I like about who I am. Maybe sometimes I will post some of them. :) )

2 Talk myself out of a negative mood

2 Treat myself (made myself some paleo pancakes because I wanted something yummy!)

4 "Be seen, live brave" (posting this challenge. It was a very scary thing for me and felt very vulnerable. I appreciate the positive responses from everyone!)

10 total points Wow!

 

Thursday (yesterday)

Goal 1: Build physical confidence

Yoga/stretching

 

Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive)

Stopped myself after getting negative about a driver

Translated son's action into the intent

Redirected my thoughts when I started to get too demanding on myself while painting (see below)

3 times - Nice!

 

Goal 3: Show love for myself

5 Spend time with a friend (We went to one of those guided painting places, where they show you what to do. I posted the pic below.)

4 "Be seen, live brave" (talked with someone about how I am doing emotionally and all my "stuff")

9 total points Wow!

 

At this moment, I have already learned that I have to be very diligent about my tracking. So many of these habits are little things that are easy to forget about a few hours after doing it. Maybe if I carry around a piece of paper to make notes on it might help, or find a way to set the habits up in HabitRPG?

 

I am also beginning to wonder if my points are too low for goal 3. For now, I am leaving things alone so I can see if this is just the challenge honeymoon period or not. I do feel like I am making a more focused effort in self-care and positivity, so I might just be doing really well. :)

 

And the painting:
 

Painting-with-friend

 

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Big fan of the Brene Brown.  Good luck!

Yes, she has a lot of awesome stuff. Though I hit a block for awhile because of her "I don't do how-to" thing- until I just decided to take her ideas and create my own "how to." That has helped tremendously.

 

Lammis- do you have a challenge up yet? I can't find it.

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At this moment, I have already learned that I have to be very diligent about my tracking. So many of these habits are little things that are easy to forget about a few hours after doing it. Maybe if I carry around a piece of paper to make notes on it might help, or find a way to set the habits up in HabitRPG?

 

I've had to bring a note paper around with me this week. I can't keep track, either!

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Gorgeous painting. Love reading your silver linings! I think with teenagers learning to see their good intent will be very helpful.They really don't mean to lose their minds, it just sorta happens at that age ;) 

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Dry Run Update - 2
Yesterdays was a tough one for maintaining a positive attitude. Describing the "bad" things is under the spoiler tag.

 

I went to start work and found that my computer was not working well (this is an ongoing challenge - my main work computer is a 4-year old laptop, and I use my computer a LOT, so I am not exactly gentle on it). The internet connection kept going out, and it was running really slow again, so instead of being able to start working right away, I spent most of the morning doing maintenance in Safe Mode. Ugh. Eventually, I could not keep doing maintenance and had to start actual work, so I restarted in normal mode to try to get something done. Even after all the fixing, our backup program was not connecting no matter what I did, so the work I was doing was not getting changed up on my husband's system (he owns his own business, and I do much of his office-type work - accounting, internet marketing, customer communication, etc). During all of this, the phone keeps ringing, including this company that is asking me to stop using my business name (the name of my healthy pregnancy information business, not my husband's business), even though I was using the name before they trademarked the term. I owe them a draft of an agreement which I have not yet completed, so I did not want to talk to them. At this point, I hit overwhelm and started yelling. Yeah, I am ashamed to admit it, but I was yelling. :/

 

It took some work to get back to a normal mood. I know none of that is truly a big deal, but I was really tweaked out. Over a couple of hours, I took some deep breaths, thought about how important these issues really are, spent a few minutes meditating (focus on breath, not self-hypnosis this time) and reminded myself that other people have problems that they need to solve, too. At one point, I decided I was done with work for a bit and went to finish the other half of my bodyweight workout. I am not sure what piece did it, but by evening I was in an ok emotional space, which is really good for me because it can sometimes take me awhile to shake such negative moods.

 

Friday (yesterday)

Goal 1: Build physical confidence

Yoga/stretching

Neighborhood walk

Bodyweight workout *I have decided to add arch-ups and hollow holds back in to my basic bodyweight workout. I am not sure if I am doing the wall planks wrong or what (probably - I know I am not very straight because of what that does to my head), but I tried a hollow hold and arch-up yesterday, and I am losing time/strength on them. So, I am adding them back for some good core work, and to help my shoulders. :)

 

Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive)

Practicing gratitude (I am grateful that I have a smartphone I can use to look up the issues I am having on my computer when it is not working right, among other things ;) )

Removing labels and judgment - this helped a lot with the overwhelm

Translations - My son's GF moved out of state yesterday. He is acting a bit stressed (obviously), and has been asking us to do things for him a bit more than usual. What that means, though, is that he is feeling hurt and trusts us to be supportive and helpful. I am glad he feels able to reach out.

3 times - Nice! Keep it going

 

Goal 3: Show love for myself

1 Meditation

1 Self-appreciation (I wrote down 4 things I like about who I am and how my brain works)

2 Talked myself out of a bad mood

4 total points Great!

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So, basically, you had some time to learn more about your computer, you exercised your lungs and you practiced prioritizing different parts of your job? ;)

It seems like you are already doing very well on your challenge, keep it up :).

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So, basically, you had some time to learn more about your computer, you exercised your lungs and you practiced prioritizing different parts of your job? ;)

It seems like you are already doing very well on your challenge, keep it up :).

Yeah, when you say it that way, it sounds like a great day, lol. I guess you can practice keeping me in line? ;)

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Yeah, when you say it that way, it sounds like a great day, lol. I guess you can practice keeping me in line? ;)

The difficulty for me is not to think of the good sides of any situation. The difficulty is believing myself that they are as important as the bad sides ;). Maybe if I can help you see the silver lining of bad things, I'll be able to believe them for myself as well. So yeah, I can practice keeping you in line ;).

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The difficulty for me is not to think of the good sides of any situation. The difficulty is believing myself that they are as important as the bad sides ;). Maybe if I can help you see the silver lining of bad things, I'll be able to believe them for myself as well. So yeah, I can practice keeping you in line ;).

For me, one key I have found is to acknowledge and empathize with the bad feeling first. If I don't do that, I can try for days to get myself out of a funk and it will not work. There will be an example when I post about yesterday later- once I am at my computer and have gotten enough of a different project done.

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I've had to bring a note paper around with me this week. I can't keep track, either!

 

I third this.  Keeping track of my goals is sometimes harder than the goals.

 

M x

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For me, one key I have found is to acknowledge and empathize with the bad feeling first. If I don't do that, I can try for days to get myself out of a funk and it will not work. There will be an example when I post about yesterday later- once I am at my computer and have gotten enough of a different project done.

I like that idea, I'm going to try that for myself as well :). I'm looking forward to your next post!

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