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[NikaNika] The Next Step


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Name: NikaNika

Level: 2


Note: This is my second NF challenge, new to druids.


Main Quest


Strengthen mind-body-spirit connection.


Challenge Quest Breakdown



Two Visual Neila Ray Workouts per Week.



Continue gluten-free diet.

Create at least one gluten-free meal weekly.

Experiment with recipes and available ingredients.



Learn and practice basic Tai Chi postures. 

Remain aware of spinal posture daily.



Expand Heart Center.

Perform at least one helpful, or kind, act daily for another person without expectation.

Embody and perceive unconditional love for all whenever capable.



Daily Affirmations of Confidence, Compassion, and Gratitude.

Practice frequent breathwork and internal expansion meditation.





Grace of Nymphs Guide Me,

Twists of Fate Challenge Me,

Bring Forth Before My Eyes,

That Which Strengthens My Heart,

Teach of Greater Wisdoms,

Elevate My Soul.



Age: 24, Height: 5' 5"

Starting Weight: 180 lbs

Current Weight: 175 lbs

Prospective Weight: 140 lbs

Starting Race: Wood Elf

Prospective Race: Valkyrie


Attribute Points:

STR: 1

DEX: 2

STA: 2

CON: 1

WIS: 4

CHA: 4


Grading Rubric

Earth Mission

A - 2 visual workouts / week

B - 1.5 visual workouts / week

C - 1 visual workout / week

D - .5 visual workout / week

F - 0 visual workout/week


Water Mission (Meal: nutritious ingredients are harvested, 2-3 hours spent in preparation, left-overs possible)

A - One Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

B - One Meal/week, Moderate experimentation.

C - One Meal/week, Minimal experimentation.

D - <1 meal/week, No experimentation.

F - Return to Gluten.


Air Mission

A - 15-24 Tai Chi postures practiced.

B - 7-14 Tai Chi postures practiced.

C - 3-6 Tai Chi postures practiced.

D - 1-2 Tai Chi postures practiced.

F - 0 Tai Chi postures practiced.


Fire Mission

A - Acceptance, daily acts.

B - 5-6 acts/week, relaxing.

C - 1-4 acts / week, struggle.

D - Struggle between Hate and Love.

F - Contracted Heart Center, embodying hate.


Akasha Mission

A - 7 sessions of affirmation, frequent meditation (daily).

B - 4-6 sessions of affirmation, less frequent meditation (5-6 days/week).

C - 2-4 sessions of affirmation, moderate meditation (3-4 days/week).

D - <1 session of affirmation, infrequent meditation (1-2 days/week).

F - 0% put forward.

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How did the first week go?

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Level 5 Lizardfolk: Assassin STR - 4, DEX - 3, STA - 5, CON -4, WIS - 20, CHA - 12

"You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."


Current Challenge: "Idealistinfire's 2% Improvement Plan"     Battle Log: "Idealistinfire Battle's Saboteur's Spawn"                                

Epic Quest: No fancy name yet


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My first week went very well, though I wasn't able to incorporate the workouts to the level I'm aiming for, but now print-outs are ready to easily grab and I plan to do my first one right after this post!


For my first week recipe I tried making spaghetti squash with mariana sauce. Unfortunately, I didn't like it, so I plan to find more squash recipes since I have three more left from my garden's harvest.


Week One Grades:

Earth - D.5 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - C3-6 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - B5-6 acts/week, relaxing.

Akasha - C2-4 sessions of affirmation, moderate meditation (3-4 days/week).


Moving into the Second Week, my intentions are set to increase the frequency of these new habits and sustain my experimentation with recipes. I am most looking forward to practicing Tai Chi further and hope to incorporate the practice gradually into my daily life instead of scheduling it for just one or two days out of the week.

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Wow, great work with the food.

Do you have a time or place set up to practice tai chi?

I find that having a dedicated time or place helps make certain that I meet my practice expectations.

Great goals and structure.

via smoke signals from my Fire

Amazon of the Way

Gypsy Druid Paladin

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My goodness you have some very structured goals. How are things going? I only just saw your thread. I'm on my second challenge too, and first with the Druids also, so nice to meet you (though my first challenge was a while ago).

I'm trying a carb free thing (again), which automatically means gluten free too. What kinds of recipes are you looking for? Do you have squash or pumpkins? Down here in Austria we'd turn it into pumpkin soup. Delicious :)



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Sure thing, Eve, lately my kind/helpful acts have been centered around my household since I'm a homebody and helping out with what my family is doing. I've been rolling it in with the usual progression of the day, so if someone asks for a favor or something, I happily agree.


It's actually been easier than almost everything else out of the goals xD and since there is no expectation, I haven't been tracking the responses, but generally it seems to bolster a positive atmosphere. Past couple of weeks, most of the acts revolve around chores like getting groceries. There have been moments where I offered to listen about something going on in the life of another person, and did with my full attention, as a form of kindness and allow them to talk to their heart's content instead of trying to wrap up conversations so I can get back to 'what I was doing' or working on or whatever (which with my family, they can easily, and do, talk for hours). 


I noticed though that the slight shift in attitude has provided me with an open willingness to say yes to things I habitually might say no to; like yesterday, my MiL asked if I would go to an event with her, and instead of worrying about the details (like it being in a bar), I just said yes because I knew it meant something to her. She eventually decided she didn't want to go, but seemed so happy that I had said yes, it was impossible not to notice.


So, that's a bit about that.

Hi, green eggs! Whoo, we're like... same year students! xD 

Ugh, my squash recipes haven't been going so well. I have both squashes and pumpkins planted in the garden as an experiment this year and they just took off better than expected. It's winter/spaghetti squashes and winter luxury pumpkins. Still trying to decide what I want to do with the pumpkins.. I read somewhere that ingesting a blend of raw pumpkin seeds can be good for the intestines though, so thinking about experimenting with that.


As for week two, I've been having a tough time physically. The Adventure Time workout is not right for my body, it strained my shoulders too much; the resulting pain put a damper in being able to complete my earth goals. For the past week, I've been having strong headaches and muscle pain (stemming from my occipital neuralgia being triggered from the extra strain), which is tiring... it's difficult for me to not be frustrated at my own self and body since before my O.N. (before I was 21, 4ish years ago) I was able to workout however, whenever I wanted with just the usual consequence of sore muscles and whatnot.... and did, I went to aerobics and yoga nearly 3-4 times in the week, I nearly became an assistant physical instructor, but decided to focus on my academics instead. Strange, how life progresses.


I've also been having a tough time with my diet. I tried a basic olive oil recipe with the squash and didn't like it at all. Thinking maybe I don't like the squash itself, which is a shame. I find myself being envious of my partner's diet that still contains all the delicious gluten-ridden things I used to eat... but I can't deny that my stomach has improved considerably since I've gone gluten-free for the past month or more... Nothing feels like it is enough, unless I force myself to eat a lot of it at one time... which I hate doing, because when it comes down to it, I hate eating. I hate having to eat. There's this thing called Soylent, which I'm sure some on NF have heard about, that I consider getting, but... it seems like such a fad item at the same time and I don't like to plunk resources down on fads.


Many of the things that I enjoy that are gluten-free, I enjoy on a now-and-then basis, instead of a consistent basis like rice. My body is not familiar with rice as a staple and if I eat it over a day-to-day pattern, it'll just go right through me instead of being absorbed or whatever. The same used to be true for vegetables, until I went gluten-free and around the third week, I noticed it change and the vegetables were no longer doing so! So, perhaps it is possible if I acclimate myself to rice, my body will get the hang of it... It seems to be actively healing on the inside from what I can tell.


Another thing is that a lot of gluten-free meals I enjoy, I can't make well. It's so frustrating, knowing I like a certain dish, then trying to make it myself because I no longer live in a city where I can just walk down the block to get some, and mine just... it turns out soooo bad. So many dishes I like are this right now.




I'm not very good at cooking, like at all. Except Meatloaf, I can make meatloaf like a pro... with saltines. I'm scared to try a gluten-free version... dunno which recipe to go with.


My head is in a lot of places right now, I'm actively working on personal development (through the structure of these goals, but also in other ways), relationship development, family development, home development, career development, yadayada.


Such being, I might not show up in a timely fashion for week three, but do not worry for me (if that might be the case), these goals are always being worked on and considered daily, it's just getting onto the forum to update isn't a high priority for me right now, but the actualization of these goals in my life are.


So, feel free to post away and comment and if I don't respond for a bit, I just haven't found the right time to get on and post. I barely was able to find the time today, and look at this post, it's so rambling... that's why. Lol, anyways. I wanted to mention this because I might not be around until week four, but who knows, I might suddenly show up too depending... always, depending.


Week Two Grades:

Earth - C; 1 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - B; 7-14 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - A; 7 acts/week, acceptance.

Akasha - D; <1 sessions of affirmation, infrequent meditation.


Oh, I did find some awesome Tai Chi resources, like a "Tai Chi for Dummies" book xD and a CD series lying around that my partner had. I like the teacher, but the knowledge doesn't stick in my head for long. The next day, I forget the posture I did... so I might have to try it more frequently than I have in week 2. I didn't get around to meditating much, or affirming... I'm not sure why, I should probably meditate on it though. >_> Oh, but I did play around with some energetic work and like not, which I could consider to be active meditation... hmm... nah. D for me.


Going into Week Three, I would like to make meditation a higher priority and do some yoga as my work-outs. Continue exploration of Tai Chi. Figure out more GlutenFree stuff.


Maybe make a pumpkin pie? Pumpkin soup does sound interesting though.. I think I've had it once at a cafe, and it had cinnamon on it, it was yum. Oh, today, my mil and I did make GlutenFree pumpkin bars and those are very good, fluffy things.


Now, off for some gentle yoga...

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Thanks Eve, yes, patience is definitely a virtue in this case.


Today, I started with morning meditation and am planning to tackle my pumpkins to make them into puree so that when I decide if I'm making pie or soup or whatnot, they'll be ready.


My body is feeling well again, so I'm going to look through the visual workouts I want to do and find one that will be gentle enough for my system, maybe the Office or Inner Warrior... Inner Warrior is a yoga workout and the Office is a sitting on a chair one. 



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So far, so good!


Today, I harvested fennel from the garden. It was my first time growing fennel and had mistook 7 fennel for one! So the bulbs weren't very big, but I chopped it up anyways and ate it with some gluten-free meatballs and am so happy because I find fennel delicious! Something I didn't know before :)


Week Three Grades:

Earth - B; 1.5 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - B; 7-14 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - B; 6 acts/week, struggling.

Akasha - C; 2-4 sessions of affirmation, moderate meditation.


Into Week Four I'd like to; gradually increase Akasha, focus on practicing Tai Chi (to an A-level), practice non-attachment and being aware of my living/reactionary patterns.



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Today, I made pumpkin soup with onions and chicken broth. It was very good and definitely a repeat. Even better, my partner liked it! The seeds are delicious as well.


Been busy with a number of things, of course, but so far the yoga workout hasn't triggered any headaches like the other exercises were. I don't feel like I'm challenging my body fully at the same time... but only because I'm not feeling any strain or sweating - which my brain tends to equate with physical activity that = exercise. Logically though, I'm settled in that might just be the way it has to be until my body gets stronger. Just because I'm not in pain doesn't mean my muscles aren't getting stronger from going through the motions/stretches....right?...right. >.>


Week Four Grades:

Earth - A; 2 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - A; 15-24 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - A; 7 acts/week, acceptance.

Akasha - B; 4-6 sessions of affirmation, moderate meditation.

Week Five Grades:

Earth - A; 2 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - B; 7-14 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - A; 7 acts/week, acceptance.

Akasha - A; 7 sessions of affirmation, frequent meditation.


For the last week (six), I plan to meditate every day and succeed in A's for Akasha, Fire, Air, Water and Earth.

After this challenge, I will be taking a hiatus from NF until I can give the forums a higher priority to spend a bit more time in participation with the community. It's nice being able to have a place to organize my thoughts and progress, but I'd like to get involved with a mission group next time or something, when I'm able to give that kind of attention. So, I plan to extend this challenge's goals, continuing them on a casual/habit basis until I feel the need to craft a new challenge. I'll probably return for January/Feb's challenge or the next. :)


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Last week did not go as well as I had hoped or planned. Some *things* came up and kind of jostled everything around. Still, I did the best I could in the moment.


Week Six Grades:

Earth - B; 1 visual workout / week

Water - AOne Meal/week, Frequent experimentation.

Air - B; 7-14 Tai Chi postures practiced.

Fire - C; 7 acts/week, struggle.

Akasha - C; 2-4 sessions of affirmation, infrequent meditation.


Overall, Final Grade:

Earth - B-

Water - A

Air - B

Fire - B+

Akasha - C+


Some things that came up during this challenge;

  • I've found a number of gluten-free food options that I like. I'm still learning and there've been a number of 'failures' while cooking, but I'm starting to get used to it and do not miss my old eating habits.
  • I found that being open to kindness and allowing that virtue to rule some actions allows me to feel like part of the world and experience life as it happens.
  • My body is sensitive and still in a process of healing, so I have to be cautious when it comes to what exercises I do, how long I do them, and how much strain I put on my muscles. Luckily, sparsed yoga sets work for me as long as I'm maintaining awareness of my body. My stamina in both yoga and meditation continues to increase with practice.
  • The affirmations were the hardest for me of this challenge. I feel ridiculous when performing affirmations, either out loud or guided, even though it does have a noticeable positive effect to my self-esteem and confidence. It was like dragging lobsters through tar to keep myself with affirmations these past weeks. Perhaps this means I should do it even more... perhaps not though.
  • My interest in Tai Chi has waned, though I like what I've done so far. Most likely, the initial excitement has worn off. I'll continue exploring the practice casually based on my intuition.

The scale is broken here, so I haven't weighed myself recently, but I feel as if I've fluctuated in weight this past month. Truly, no idea where I am at currently, but I feel strong and fit most of the time and my torso has started to shift slightly in its contours, especially right underneath my ribs.


All in all, I feel that I made a good step and am looking forward to returning to Druids when I'm ready for my next one.

Happy Halloween! :D



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