Tag: spiritualhealth

Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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Combining the creative & the practical: making my own time/project management system

So, the moon is moving through the Pisces constellation and marking the third new moon of the year tonight. Just in time for us ‘springing’ forward. I thought it was bad luck back in 2020—when it was a full moon, Friday the 13th, and springing forward all on the same weekend. Here’s hoping that it won’t be quite as bad this year with it just being a new moon, no Friday the 13th, but still springing forward.

The world is still crumbling or combusting at a nice clip…things in West Asia are almost to a boiling point, where this conflict is going to spill over into a regional conflict within months if not weeks (or days). I noticed that last year I didn’t post anything for March in terms of goals or either new or full moon posts…last year wasn’t the greatest of years (and that is still a mild understatement).

I’ve started trying to plan out the each upcoming week on the weekend…write out the top long-term goals, the top yearly goals, quarterly, and monthly goals (while also referring back to the bingo cards for other goals). So…yeah, I’ve been trying to get better at both time and project management the past two weeks or so. Has it helped improve my time/project management—yes, and no. Yes, in terms of getting more things done…no, in terms of having spent time learning (i.e. watching a TedTalk, listening to a podcast, or working through an e-course). So—I need to figure out how to get those items into the the schedule (going to try using a timer—one that can be set for anything from 20 minutes (for watching a TedTalk) to upwards of an hour (listening to a podcast or starting to work through an e-course)).

If we wanted to focus on things that one could do during the Pisces new moon, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things we can do, and they include:

  1. Dream
  2. Face your fears
  3. Follow your hunches/intution
  4. Heal–focus on working through emotional or spiritual issues
  5. ‘Surrender’–practice yoga, meditation–open yourself to the possibilities of the unvierse.

I’m dreaming…dreaming of having two successful blogs/websites that allow me to live life on my terms. Facing my fears? As I’d mentioned back in 2022—I’ve realized that several of my ‘fears’ are actually more of an ‘anxiety’ issue than an legit fear. This includes my ‘fear’ of public speaking..it’s more of an ‘anxiety’ issue—worrying that someone in the audience is going to ‘stop’ me in the middle of talking to ‘correct’ how I’m saying something…thank you to the damn teachers in elementary school for this ‘fear/anxiety’ issue that I’m still working through. I’d mentioned back in 2022—that I was thinking of launching a podcast or just starting to record myself talking about various topics—as a way of learning to ‘not hate how I sound/talk’. Actually—I’m thinking of launching a YouTube channel later this summer, and this was one of the reasons for it—to get accustomed to how my voice sounds ‘recorded’ and so forth.

Other problems that I need to address as they (or when they) crop up: speaking up for myself & asking for additional projects/work when I get bored (on the job—so this would be mainly if I manage to land a remote position within science/health/medical comms); and sticking up for myself (dealing with confrontations).

In addition I’m still focusing on my mental & spiritual health as well. While conventional religion really doesn’t work for me, I’m attempting to delve deeper into the spiritual side of things (meditation, oracle card readings, journaling, nature, and so forth). One of the biggest things I need to do is set up an dedicated altar that doesn’t also become a catchall for craft supplies. Yoga has been on the ‘to-do’ list for quite awhile…biggest problem currently is #apepthepuppy and I’m not sure how he’d take to me trying to do yoga in the living room.

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house—or my fun zone. So this is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m good with the creativity portion—I don’t have kids (at least the ‘two-legged’ variety [I do have ‘furry’ children], and I’m not around them all that much), and truthfully right now I’m not in the market for romance (especially since I’m still trying to figure out my life and who knows when I’d possibly be moving).

So there are several different things that one can do, that sums up the 5th house (or fun zone):

  1. Take up belly dancing
  2. Making a toy for a child
  3. Starting to date
  4. Going on a trip with your significant other
  5. Doing something creative (writing, painting, so forth)
  6. Do something that typifies your idea of fun
  7. Throw a party

So…what would I be scratching off the list as not getting done? Well…I’m not going to start dating (see above for the reason why), taking a trip with one’s significant other (again—not in a relationship), and making a toy for a child (though I may try to make some stuff animals for donations?). Also—no throwing parties, because I’d rather meet up with a few friends for lunch, or a walk, or something other than a party.

I’ve been thinking of taking up belly dancing again (I’d had workout DVDs years ago)—I just need to find a decent YouTube channel to follow. It would also be something that could possibly help me get out of my rut of not doing much ‘physical activity’ during the day. I’ve been working on my large afghan for the past month or so…I’m hoping to have it finished by mid-April (maybe closer to late-April, depending on the size/width of the border pieces I will knit after I’m done with the third panel).

Fun…enjoyment…the balance to ‘work’…though I think one should be able to weave ‘fun’ activities in throughout the day to make ‘work’ more enjoyable. One of the many reasons, why I want to be my own boss..I can take a ‘fun’ break when I need one, to help refuel the creative juices needed to brainstorm the project, outline, or whatever.

Two years ago, I’d made goals such as indulging in more creative work during the day; mind-mapping different ideas (creative writing projects plus more science/health/med topics); trying to create an intentional movement board game; and evening meditation. This year the list of goals is going to include the following:

  1. Continuing to work on the afghan
  2. Determining which goals from the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days will be added to the second quarter BINGO card and/or listed out in the journal
  3. Brainstorming ideas for an intentional movement board game
  4. Brainstorming ideas for different writing projects (both creative & science/health/med related)
  5. Work at setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar for mediation/oracle card reading that doesn’t become a catch-all for craft supplies (namely the threads for needlepoint projects).

In theory, there are two ‘totally finish-able’ goals listed above: working the afghan & setting up the dedicated wiccan/pagan altar. Possibly even the ‘list’ of goals from the 44 before 44 list & 101 goals in 1001 day list can be considered an ‘one-and-done’ goal. Brainstorming goals usually become an ‘ongoing’ goal…because I keep trying to add more and more…so I think I may also have to put a ‘time’ limit on each brainstorming session I have moving forward.

But these projects also have aspects of time/project management not to mention the creative/curious aspect as well. Life at times isn’t totally linear, but can circle back towards something we think we’ve worked through…only to realize that we’ve only learned part of the lesson that we needed to learn.

The other thing I’m going to keep reminding myself of: progress over perfection—since perfection is a myth, and everyone has a different idea of what it looks like.

What is one of your Pisces new moon goals?

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Managed craft time–now to work on time management

So the moon will be entering its next full moon stage this weekend…which means I should look back at the goals I set for the Pisces full moon before looking ahead to the Aries (or October) full moon.

The past two months or so have not been the greatest (and that is putting it extremely mild how bad its been), so I truthfully have no idea on well I met the goals for the Pisces full moon.

The goals that I had set for last month’s full moon were:

  1. Work on developing a ‘workable’ schedule for the day/week/month. I know that part of my problem is that I’m consistent in being inconsistent. If I really want to make freelance work—I need to improve my time/project management skills.
  2.  Make sure that I’m making time for crafts/hobbies and not just falling back into the ‘bad routine’ of work, work, and more work.
  3. Continue working on both blogs (coming up with editorial calendars, getting the copy written for various pages on both, and making sure that I have at least four to five blog posts written for the science/medical/health communications blog).
  4. Work through at least part of one personal/professional e-course.

So, I only set four goals for the Pisces full moon. So how did I do with each of them?

Personal/professional development e-course (#4):

I will be totally truthful in the fact that I really haven’t looked at any of the personal/professional development e-courses that I’ve bought over the past few years. They’re there—I just haven’t felt like picking one and starting to work through it, though I have I think three (or maybe four) e-courses on my ’43 things to do before turning 43’ list…so maybe I should start trying to work through one of those.

Craft time (#2):

I can say that I have been making time for crafts—as I’ve been spending time on Canva weekly designing graphics/images for different posts for LinkedIn, and there has been some coloring and photography thrown in there as well.

In addition, I’m starting another cross-stitch project.

Working on both blogs (#3):

I haven’t managed to make much progress on the new blog/website—mainly due to being in the middle of ‘writers’ block—at least for that site. I need to develop a editorial calendar for each blog and get the copy written for both sites as well. Writing the blog posts should be a little easier (at least for the creative/reflective/hobby blog) once I have at least the editorial calendar created.

Developing a ‘flexible’ but ‘workable’ daily/weekly/monthly schedule (#1):

In terms of the ‘workable’ schedule—I’m still consistent in being inconsistent. I know that I have to find a new normal—and truthfully, I think I’m putting that off—because once I totally acknowledge the fact that my ‘new’ routine will be totally different from my previous—it means I’m acknowledging the fact that either a) the family member in the hospital isn’t coming home; or b) they’ll be coming home but with potentially severe restrictions (and in need of a lot of care).

So I guess you can say I managed to get a quarter of the goals accomplished–which some would say isn’t great–but considering the month I had (and how bad I can see the upcoming months being)–I’ll take it as a major win.

I know that things aren’t going to be easy for the next couple of months (or even years)—but it’s time to slowly start stepping out into that unknown territory and carving my own path.

I’m still working on addressing the bits and pieces form previous chapters of my life: imposter syndrome, inner critic, negative self-talk, and feelings of inadequacy.

It will take time to work through these issues—though acknowledging that they’re there and offering them ‘space’, is a step in the right direction of self-care/self-acceptance, mindfulness/self-awareness and healing.

I already decided that the quote for the last quarter of 2022 was going to be ‘Progress Over Perfection’.

The new goal—trying to show up each day, and possibly getting one or two small things accomplished—, which will fulfill the quote of progress over perfection.

With that said—what are some of your favorite fall craft hobbies?

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My birthday goal challenge: 43-things to do before turning 43

So my birthday was a couple of days ago, and I’ve been slowly reworking various goal and bucket lists.

Reworking the bucket lists—because I need to be totally honest about how much travel I will probably be doing over the next few decades (especially international).

Reworking the 101 goals in 1001-days list—because there are few things that just haven’t happened and I’m not sure if they’re goals I was putting down for myself or things I thought were needed.

But, one thing I’ve done—I’ve created a list of 43 things I want to do before I turn 43. Some of things I’m already doing (such as meditating, daily oracle cards, and monthly new/full moon goals), but there are others that I attempt and never make that much traction with—I’m hoping that this is the extra little push I need to accomplish those items.

My 43 things to do before turning 43 list

The list contains goals such as researching the origins of my last name. Which is a semi-easy goal—since my grandfather did a good amount of the research back in the 1980s when he was composing a family tree.

But it also contains goals such as defining my vision of success, learning about body confidence, and creating a happiness plan.

Then there are goals associated with finishing certain courses that I’ve bought over the years—such as the project management consortium, management consulting firm, and business development federation courses offered by Cheeky Scientist.

The goal is that by my 43rd birthday I will have accomplished at least eighty percent of the goals (a minimum of 34.4—or 34 goals). I’ll be keeping track of some of the goals in spreadsheets (such as the 365-day photography and writing challenges; what books I’ve read).

Time to start pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and expanding the bounce zone while shrinking the risk and stretch zones—I’ll be giving updates throughout the year, just haven’t figured out the approximate time frame.

Within the next week or two, I will also be posting an updated 101 goals in 1001-day challenge as well.

Have you done a birthday year inspired goal challenge before? If so–how did it turn out?

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Virgo Season: Time to start planning the goals

So, we’re going to be heading into another ‘new moon’ phase this weekend (and I’m probably going to be a day late in posting).

We’re entering Virgo season…I should be counting down the days until my birthday—but I’m not (and that’s another story for another day)…

So what are some of the things that one can do during the Virgo new moon?

  1. Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.
  2. Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.
  3. Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.
  4. Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play
  5. Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward

While most would think that the new moon would be moving through my first house (since my star sign is Virgo), it actually moving through my 11th house (or friends’ zone), since I’ve been going with my rising sign (which is Scorpio).

Looking back at what I wrote over the past two years—my ‘new normal’ is still social distancing (with a some exceptions), wearing a mask, and really just being considerate of others…

Some of the things one can do in regards to their 11th house include:

  1. Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do
  2. Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met
  3. Wish on a star every night for a month
  4. Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now
  5. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to
  6. Thank your best friend for being there for you

Well, besides the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic/epidemic—I’m not getting out that much still. Therefore, there are still several things that I probably won’t be doing in regards to my 11th house.

I’d say that there are probably only two things that I could do in regards to my 11th house: wish on a star every night for a month, or thank my best friend for being around still. I am starting to do more virtual ‘coffee/water’ chats as well.

I had lunch with a college classmate a few weeks ago, and may try to get together again sometime in September (but it depends on a whole slew of other things).

So, since I’m still in semi self-isolation, my goals for the Virgo New Moon period will include:

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life (research/writing/editing, crafts/hobbies, fitness, and mental health/spirituality) and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (alternate between weight lifting and shadow-boxing).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, and block out periods of time (or set certain days to certain tasks) and see if that helps improve my productivity
  4. Work on the outlines/drafts for the following items:
    •  My LinkedIn oncology post series
    • The follow-up(s) to my LinkedIn molecular cloning series: Introduction to biofuels, Introduction to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and Introduction to vaccine development
    • Digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the nucleic acid biosynthesis pathways
    • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells: Similarities and Differences
    • Antibiotics and the rise of Antibiotic Resistant Microbes
  5. Continue with the evening meditations

Since the next few months are going to be extremely crazy (and that’s putting things nicely)…my motto is going to be ‘progress over perfection’…which means I need to spend a little time each week working on my other blog, doing research and starting to write on various topics (see fourth goal above).  I also am not going to let the opinions of others deter me from the path that I’m starting on, as I know it will be a windy and bumpy road.

How do you handle things when everything seems to be going to hell?

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Thoughtful Thursday: Wisdom of the Unicorns

First Installment in my #ThoughtfulThursday series.

The idea for this series came from posting these cards yesterday on LinkedIn, and my response to someone’s comment on them.

#SpiritualHealth is #MentalHealth.

Tuesday night after I did a guided visual mediation, I shuffled the oracle of the unicorn deck and drew three cards:

Imagination

This unicorn is asking for us to believe again in unlimited possibilities and to soar back into the realm of imagination.

Did you know that daydreaming is actually beneficial when it comes to problem solving?

But it is ‘frowned’ upon in the workplace–because it ‘looks’ like we’re not ‘busy’–when in actuality we’re quite involved mentally.

This is something I’m working on allowing myself to do again…as I’d been ‘lectured’ too many times to count to be ‘focused’ on the job at hand, and not to let my mind wander…..

Goddess

This unicorn is asking us to turn our back on the ‘bikini industry’.

Every single one of us has a unique body…and not all of us are meant to be a size two, or extra small…

It has taken me several years to realize that my ‘happy’ is being able to do the workout and not be out of breath…

I was unhappy when I was a size eight and struggling to shrink my body even more….

Currently I think I’m a size sixteen to eighteen (hard to tell–pandemic time people, I live in either workout clothes or other loungewear)…

But I’m cherishing the body I have, honoring it, and working with it…

That means working on eating more protein, fruits, and veggies…plus doing the workouts that I enjoy (lifting weights, walking, light yoga and other cardio activities).

Possibility

Finally this unicorn is asking us to dream a little bigger…

Expect a little more…and to raise our standards…

Have I been dreaming ‘too’ small??

I don’t think so…I’ve never really been a showy person, latest clothing or shoe trend, or flashy person…

I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like…

Will I try to dream a little bigger in some areas??

Yes, because some areas deserve to be a little bigger–such as giving back and being involved in various things.

The summary of my visual meditation—where I pictured the small house with a sunroom, deck, gardens, a place to sit and relax, plus a place to sit and work. I was within the city but at the same time outside it, I managed to mix a minimalistic approach to life with bold colors, textures, and decoration.

I was happy with life, and happy with how I looked and felt…the one aspect of that meditation that may help propel me back to ‘getting into the best shape of my life’—were the photos on the wall: pictures of me at Machu Picchu in Peru, and at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (two trips that are on my fitness ‘bucket list’).

Last night, when I did the meditation again–I saw more of the house with its open layout (there were only two bedrooms–the master and a guest bedroom), with a open kitchen/living area separated from the sunroom by a fireplace (that opened on both sides). The gardens had various native wildflowers and grasses, and there were veggie and fruit gardens along with berry bushes.

The house was shaded by maples, oaks, and pecan trees. The back deck was large enough that I could do yoga outside while watching the sun rise (or set). I had space to work on crafts, and down the street was where I had my gallery/community area–to showcase the crafts, but to also teach and educate kids and teenagers in regards to different topics (science, humanities, and social sciences).

Therefore, am I going back to the ‘drawing’ board with my goals—only a few, but will also be taking the time to redefine the first few steps needed to get me going down that path towards the house with the sunroom, deck, and gardens and towards being that person who managed to hike to Machu Picchu and to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Some craft time and planning–now on to creating the various calendars: Leo Full Moon in Review

So, we’re going to be heading into the third full moon of the year either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). That means we’re a little over two and a half months into 2022. But, before I look ahead to the Virgo full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Leo full moon, and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Leo full moon goals?

They included:

  1. Develop an intentional movement calendar (weight lifting, cardio, yoga, and walking). Remembering that this is my health journey and no one else’s—therefore the intentional movement should be things that I enjoy doing.
  2. Develop a schedule for working through various courses and assignments to move forward with the goal of transitioning to a remote writing/data analysis position and hopefully setting up a freelance writing/blogging business.
  3. Spend time working on crafts (start a new cross-stitch project, doodle, color, make jewelry, and when the weather warms up—photography time up at Boomer Lake)
  4. Evening oracle card reading, straighten up my meditation altar, and designing a new meditation ‘area’ (one that can be easily setup and dismantled each evening).

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of the intentional movement calendar—I’m breaking it down into steps:

  1. Creating a table to keep track of the weights I’m lifting and see how I’m progressing (based off the weight tracking sheets for LIIFT4)
  2. Determining what type of exercises to put together for HIIT workouts (possibly taking moves from various workout programs)
  3. Debating on whether to order yoga and/or Pilates workouts or finding decent YouTube workouts
  4. Then working in shadow-boxing and other cardio-based exercises as well (in addition to walking, and possibly biking)

Then my weekly workouts will be ‘planned’ around the weather, since as it gets nice out I may want to try to do a walk or two at Boomer Lake. Though even on the days that I do weight lifting (or other workouts), I may still take my dog for a walk through the neighborhood (depending on the temps).

In terms of the ‘educational’ schedule—this really hasn’t happened yet. It isn’t so much not wanting to learn, but my currently ‘unchecked’ need to be checking on the news every hour or so to keep up to date with what is happening with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I’m slowly starting to spend some more time on crafts. I’m starting a new cross-stitch project, will probably finish the other (it will become more doodle inspired and abstract), and managed to get some photography time in up at Boomer Lake.

I’m continuing with my evening oracle card reading (have only missed one or two nights over the past month), have straightened up my meditation altar, and am still working on designing the meditation area.

I know that I can fold blankets and use those as the ‘mat’ for meditating (I just will need to pick them up afterwards), but I’m also want an area for candles (and the current candle area is across the room from where I’d be meditating)—so I’m thinking of ‘creating’ a small table to house the candles near the meditation area as well.

So, I could say that I met possibly a quarter of my goals—possibly up to a third. The online learning has become slightly stagnant again because of the need to keep up to date on the issues of the world (even though my blood pressure and mental health would probably thank me if I stayed away from the news/social media more than what I’ve been doing).

I’ve also realized that at times I’m trying to fit the ‘wrong’ goals into the month. While the ‘house/zone’ is only present for a few days (since the moon does rotate at a good pace)—I should have one or two for that ‘house/zone’ and another one or two that are more ‘general’.

Going forward this year—I’m going to try to embrace and my sisu or inner grit/determination (I’m looking into my cultural heritage more for ideas/inspiration for improving my mental, emotional, and spiritual health).

How do you try to improve/strengthen your inner strength/determination?

Finally, I’d like to send happy vibes, thoughts and prayers to the citizens of Ukraine who are still fighting to keep their country free.

Namaste.

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As it starts to get colder: more time for the computer work (review and looking ahead)

Well, we’re almost halfway through October—that means there are only 79 days left in 2021. I’ve been reflecting over the past two weeks on the goals that I set for the third quarter of the year (or as I was also referring to as—my second attempt at a 12-week year).

I’d mentioned in a post over the summer that I was combining the ideas of two books together and using those as ‘stepping-stones’ for goals in different areas. The ideas that I’m combining are ‘choosing focal points (or specific areas)’ to focus on (‘The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life—A Creative and Practical Guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine), and the goal setting method from ‘The 12-Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain Moran and Michael Lennington.

The four areas that I’ve decided that I’m currently focusing on are: professional development, personal development, health, and hobbies. The plan is to blend them together enough that I’ve created a career that is semi-location independent, and is focused on freelance/remote/contract writing/blogging with the possibility of adding in data analysis and/or consulting in the future.

The one thing that I’m still working on is figuring out how to divide the goals that I pick for the each month into weekly and then daily goals.

I’ve usually been trying to set four to five goals per focal area, with the possibility that one or two may have several ‘sub’ goals associated with them.

Instead of listing out every single goal that I set for the summer, I’m going to summarize the areas instead.

In terms of professional development, I had the lofty goals of completing at least two Cheeky Scientist advanced programs, learning python (coding), working through another three small e-courses on Udemy, and continuing to read/share science news and network on LinkedIn.

In terms of personal development, the lofty goals included refreshing Spanish, reading at least one (or two) non-fiction books a month, working through even more e-courses on different sites, and coming up with my own vision of minimalism and how I was going to diversify my income.

In terms of health, I was planning on continuing with BOD workouts (LIIFT4 and then Morning Meltdown 100), meditation, gratitude entries in the journal, oracle card drawings, working through a couple of courses, and trying to find new recipes to try at dinner.

In terms of my hobbies: at least one nature walk with the camera at Boomer Lake, reading, working on a cross-stitch project (or making some jewelry), and then again working through more e-courses.

So how did I do with my various goals?

In terms of professional development:

I’ve been fairly good at reading and sharing new on LinkedIn and twitter (I try to share at least one post Monday to Friday), and I’m working networking more and adding value to connections on LinkedIn.

In terms of the various programs, courses, and programming—I didn’t really get to any of them. Though I have most of the editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization done—I just need to work on the writing assignments, plus finish up the sixth module.

I would say that I managed two out of the five professional development goals (so forty percent completed).

In terms of personal development:

I think I’ve managed to read possibly two non-fiction books over the past three months, I’m slowly working on my vision of minimalism (I need to go through the clothes and DVDs in the bedroom—and then tackle everything in the storage unit), and I’m slowly working on the ideas for generating varied income sources.

Again, the computer work hasn’t been completed.

Therefore, I probably managed another two out of the five goals (so another forty percent completed)

In terms of health:

I managed about 26 days of the oracle card sharing challenge. While I enjoyed it in the beginning, it was starting to become more of a ‘chore’ and I wasn’t getting that many interactions on the posts. I will probably share a reading here and there on Instagram, but probably won’t be daily.

With having messed up my wrist mid-June/early-July, I’ve been giving it time to heal, so I really haven’t been doing anything that requires lifting weights. I will be trying to start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 during the fourth quarter of 2021, knowing that it will run into the first quarter of 2022.

I’ve been good with my evening meditations and daily gratitude entries in the journal. I’ve done a little over half of the explicit tarot course, and in terms of cooking—I couldn’t find any recipes that appealed to me this quarter.

I would say that I managed about half of the health goals for the third quarter.

The best area was hobbies:

I managed a walk every month at Boomer Lake with my camera, I read at least two or three fiction books a month, and I finished two cross-stitch projects and started a third. The only goal that I didn’t really touch was the one in regards to the e-courses.

Therefore, I would say that I managed three of the four goals (or seventy-five percent) for hobbies.

Overall, I would say that I managed to reach fifty percent of all the goals (and sub-goals) that I set for the third quarter.

There are several reasons why I only managed to meet half of the goals:

September was spent dealing with an ill dog and not knowing the outcome/prognosis. While we now know the prognosis, it may still be touch and go—especially when she starts to get weaned off the medication.

I also quit doing my weekly to-be accomplished lists in September (see above about the ill dog), and the daily to-be accomplished lists in August. The reason why I quit writing these out—I let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win a fight. I’m slowly working on getting back into the habit of doing both of these (slightly better with the weekly to-be accomplished lists).

Finally, when the weather is fairly nice—I’d rather be sitting outside enjoying the weather and possibly reading or journaling than being inside and working on the computer. I know that this is something that I need to work on improving (time/project management) as we move into the fall/winter months when more time will be spent indoors than outdoors.

So what are my goals for the four different areas moving into the fourth and final quarter of 2021?

Professional Development (This area is focused heavily on computer work):

  1. Finish at least two of the following Cheeky Scientist advanced programs:
    • Medical Writers Organization
    • User Experience Squad
    • Regulatory Affairs Council
    • Business Development Federation
  2. Finish the following short courses:
    • 15 errors in scientific writing and how to correct them on Udemy
    • How to become a freelance editor on Udemy
    • How to become a freelance writer on Skill Success
  3. Read and share science (and other news) on LinkedIn and Twitter
  4. Network and add value on LinkedIn
  5. (Bonus):
    • Finish Write Your Way to Freedom course
    • Finish Writing Patient Materials course

Personal Development (A third to half of the work will be computer based):

  1. Read one-to-two non-fiction books/month
  2. Draft ideas on how to implement diversification of income streams
  3. Work through the following short courses:
    • How to work for yourself on Udemy
    • Complete personal finance course on Udemy
    • Freelance writing 101: build a successful career on Skill Share
    • Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth on Skill Share

Health (Possibly a third to half could be computer based):

  1. Start a second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Daily mediation and work through the course: Mindfulness for Anxiety on Udemy
  3. Daily gratitude journal entries
  4. Daily oracle card drawings and finish the course: explicit tarot: learning tarot through storytelling on Udemy

Hobbies (possibly a quarter could be computer based):

  1. At least one walk per month at Boomer Lake with camera
  2. Read two-to-three fiction books per month
  3. Finish the third cross-stitch project, possibly start a fourth or design/create some jewelry
  4. Work through the following courses:
    • How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners on Skill Share
    • Modern copywriting on Stack Skills

There are still quite a few e-courses that I’m hoping to finish before the end of the year—I may or may not get through all of them, but I’m hoping to have worked through at least one in each area (bonus points if I can finish all the e-courses under a specific focal point).

I mentioned in my October New Moon Goals—that I was going to be trying to face one ‘big’ fear during the next phase/month. I decided that the fear is starting my freelance/remote/contract writing business. Therefore I’m probably going to focus a little more on the courses that deal with that topic (which all but the two under health). The name of the blog (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) will probably stay the same—I may just change the website address (all depends as I work my way through the various courses).

This also means that I may having more posts written in a specific area (such as science/medical education/communication), but at the same time keeping other posts coming throughout the month (such as book reviews, photography, and crafts).

I realize that getting things up and running will take time (especially when it comes to marketing my business, billing, and creating/sticking with a editorial schedule)—but I currently have the time to do this, so I’m going for it: the overall goal is to reach at least fifty-percent in each area and an overall all progress rate of seventy-five percent for the last quarter of 2021.

Do you use the 12-week method for planning? Best tips? Or is there another method you like?

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Reflections and stretching the comfort zone: personal & professional development

Since the weather was un-condusive to being outside for long periods of time last month (I know that it is still winter–but the temps were well below normal for both the time of year and location), I did quite a bit of self-reflection.

More or less mid-month, I had a conference call with one of my coaches, and then she taksed me with the assignment of filling in/out my own comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram.

She gave me the task, when after talking it became obvious that I was floundering due to my inner critic/imposter syndrome getting the better of me–almost daily.

I actually like this diagram/thinking model better than other ones that label the outer three zones as: fear/learning/growth. The reason–it lacks the word fear. With this diagram–you can continuously dip your toes into the something new, and slowly stretch your comfort zone to include them.

So, now moving forward I’m going to use this model of thinking instead of the other.

The purpose of drawing the diagram and filling in the areas allows one to see where they stand at any particular point on different areas. I decided to do a combination of personal and professional development for my diagram.

My comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram

In addition to having it a mix of personal and professional development, I decided that I would also list some of my various strengths around the edge as well. My strengths include: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger (via Clifton Strengths Assessment), curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking (via VIA Character Assessment). This way as I slowly start moving into the stretch zone, I can also make sure that my strengths are guiding me.

So the professional comfort zone was pretty simple to fill in–it really only consisted of three things: research at the bench, being in academia, and trying to find a research (bench) position in industry.

Then when it came to my personal comfort zone–those were basically all hobbies.

Heading into the outer portions is where the self-reflection comes in, plus knowing that as I did things within one area (say the stretch zone), it would become part of the previous zone (comfort zone), and things can and will always be added.

The stretch zone is a mix of personal and professional development tasks. The professional development tasks lean more towards learning about different possible industry directions (such as clinical research, regulatory affairs, and project management) and certain skills (such as programming and technical/scientific writing).

I’ve listed various hobbies, in addition to working on improving my mental and spiritual health within the stretch zone as well.

The risk zone includes things like having a functional part-time (or three-quarter times) side business established, starting a podcast, and branching out in my writing.

The ‘die’ zone includes things like traveling abroad frequently, giving a talk (or talks) at a conference or other large venue, and going all in on working (100%) for myself.

Just filling in that diagram was enough for the inner critic/imposter syndrome to drage me back into my comfort zone for a day or two. Hell, it took me almost two days to respond to a comment on the post in a group because of my inner critic.

In addition to that assignment, I took it a slight step further and generated a list of topics that I would enjoy writing and/or learning about on a continuous basis. I’ve seen/heard it so many times that one should look at the books they’re currently reading, their purchase histories, their hobbies, and their educational background.

My current list of topics to explore

When I looked at mine, I came up with a list that ranges from science (with various subtopics), history (again with various subtopics), anthropology, and other ‘school subjects’ to bird watching, reading, photography, cooking, spirituality, and numerous different crafts.

When asked if this helped me break out of the ‘I seem to be stuck’ mode–the answer was yes, because it reminded me that I enjoy doing research. It also reminded me that research doesn’t have to be done at the bench–it can also be done in books and via computers.

I told my coach that I was going to start looking at things as ‘research projects/papers’–do a survey of the surface, figure out what interests me, and then deep dive into the topic for awhile.

Truthfully this has been one of my biggest sticking points–trying to just choose one or two directions for a possible career change. I’ve realized over the past year that since graduating high school the things I enjoyed the most were: 1) undergrad–since there was such a large variety of classes one could take. It did take me awhile to get finished, but I was paying my own way–therefore I took classes I needed for the major in addition to classes that were of interest; 2) my first staff position (though there were some troublesome coworkers)–the main focus was helping with undergraduate research, so I had to have at least a brief understanding of the different projects that were going on in the department.

While I’ve been edging into the stretch zone (I have a blog up and running, and I’ve been getting better at evening meditations), I will still find myself being pulled back into the comfort zone (hence why I haven’t figured out the best posting schedule for the blog) before I edge back into the stretch zone.

Even with having a list of topics to start choosing from (knowing that I could add, and go more in depth with certain topics)–my inner critic/imposter syndrome managed to drag my ass back into my comfort zone for basically another week. The problem–I had too many ideas to choose from and I couldn’t decide between starting a history post/section, adding to the science section, or maybe focusing on book reviews.

The solution–I decided I would try to do a monthly ‘brain-dump’ of ideas and then pick a handful each week to work on.

March ‘Brain-Dump’

Doing this allowed me to still have a ‘choice’ of what I could research and write about—but from a pared down list. It is similar to how I decided to go about my non fiction reading and e-courses that I wanted to finish for the year.

The initial large list had sent me into ‘analysis-paralysis’, where the smaller list makes it easier for me to do things.

While it is a large list, I’m also comfortable with the fact that I many not cover or get to every topic on the list. The science (and history) topics are going to require a more in-depth outline and research time compared to the bird pages and blog posts.

Do things this way, will hopefully allow me to start stretching the comfort zone, moving the ‘risk’ to ‘stretch’ and contemplate on what other topics/ideas/things could be added to the ‘risk’ or ‘die’ zones.

I’m also going to be doing updates on the diagrams–probably in either three or four month increments, which means the first update will somewhere between mid-May to mid-June.

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February’s Virgo Full Moon: ‘brain dumps’ plus mental & spiritual health goals

So the moon will be entering its full stage tonight as it enters the Virgo constellation. Unlike last year–there isn’t a triple whammy this year (last year was a full moon, setting the clocks ahead an hour, and Friday the 13th all within the same week). Luckily we still have two weeks before we have to set the clocks ahead (that will be followed by a new moon this year), plus we only have one Friday the 13th and that is in November.

If you’re one who tries to understand how your mood changes or is affected by the moon–the Virgo full moon usually has people feeling finicky and anxious. Personally–I don’t need any extra anxiety in my life; I manage to manifest enough of it on my own. Though no matter what I sign I go with (star, rising, or moon)–all three are able to handle the Virgo energy.

My star is Virgo, my rising is Scorpio, and my moon is Pisces; two water signs and an earth sign.

So what are some questions that one can ask during this full moon?

Have I been too picky, pedantic, or critical of myself or anyone else?

Have I been humble to the point of underrating myself?

Have i been of service to others enough this month?

Have I been worrying and complaining too much, and thus attracting negativity?

Have I paid enough attention to the details that I need to this month?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would look like:

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been too picky, pedantic, or critical of others (I haven’t been around anyone other than family for a year). Though my overall critical views/thoughts of the world really haven’t changed all that much (though I’m calmer now that adults have been elected and sworn in for the US). In terms of how I see myself? I probably have been a little too pedantic and critical of myself lately. I’ve realized that I’m still allowing my inner critic/imposter syndrome to get the better of me quite frequently. This is something that I have to be watching for on a day-to-day basic and correct it as I catch it (in addition to trying to figure out why I’m slowly self-sabotaging myself).
  2. Another things that I’ve realized over the past year or so is that I have a terrible habit of trying to be a people pleaser (in a way that tries to downplay or mitigate any conflicts), and therefore I haven’t been protecting my time or space. How does that tie in with humbleness–I prefer being in the background and not center stage. Moving forward (either working for myself or going into industry) I need to start tooting my own horn and showing/highlighting my own worth.
  3. I have been doing more of the house chores, and am slowly also taking on more of the cooking chores as well at home. Hopefully with the fact that there are now several vaccines for the coronavirus, I may try to find a part time job later this fall/winter if I haven’t already transitioned into industry or started working for myself full-time.
  4. I’ve realized that at times I do worry/complain about the state of the world. This is something I’ve been trying to work on–worrying only about the things that are actually within my control (namely how I react to everything). I also realized that the negative self-thoughts are a litte harder to catch at times–but it is something that I’m working on daily. Also, it isn’t all negative self-thoughts, but at times actions as well that need to be caught and corrected.
  5. Well this depends on the situation. If we’re talking about the overall details of what I would like to accomplish in a given month–no I haven’t been giving enough attention to details. One of the things that I’m going to start doing is a monthly ‘brain dump’–getting all the ideas of what I would like to accomplish for the month on to paper, and then sorting that list into weekly and daily to-do lists. That way hopefully I will be spending time on all aspects of life and not just zeroing in on one thing and ignoring everything else (like I’ve been known to do).

So, one other thing that people should do is look at what house the moon is moving thorugh as well. For me (using my rising sign), the Virgo full moon is moving through my 11th house or my friend zone. Therefore, the period of the Virgo full moon is also a time to try to focus on the other people in my life, in addition to building and nurturing one’s personal and professional networks as well.

I really haven’t been doing nearly as much networking/connecting as I should be doing since I’m trying to transition into a new position. The reason may seem silly to some people–since I’m not 100% certain of what I want to be doing, I also don’t want to be ‘wasting’ other peoples’ time in informational interviews if I don’t feel like that is the direction I want to go in–but I also know that having informational interviews will help me decide on the direction. Like I said–not logical, but there you have it (one of the many ways my inner critic/imposter syndrome manages to trip me up).

While I have some ideas of what I would like to do moving forward, I am also in that ‘daily struggle’ with my inner critic/imposter syndrome to start dabbling in the stretch zone and start expanding the ‘comfort zone’. Therefore networking is going to be getting done, but at a slower pace than what I was doing this time last year.

So what goals can I set for the Virgo full moon?

Meditating nightly, journaling in the morning, and slowly figuring out how to find balance with the inner critic/imposter syndrome

Try doing a ‘monthly brain dump’–getting all the ideas of what I would like to get accomplished during the month (say for March), and then selecting ideas from the list to put on a weekly and daily to-do lists. Have it such that it is a mix of various things instead of focusing only on one area.

Continue working on the transition plan–figuring out which industry directions are of interest and start trying to network again.

But keeping in mind: that 2021 will be the year of growth, creativity, and curiosity, the combination of which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

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