Category: oracle cards

Revising the 100+ Goal List: 626-Days into the Challenge

Well, I didn’t get around to posting an update on the 500th or 600th day of the challenge. Today (April 6, 2022) marks the 626th day of the challenge (which isn’t quite a third of the way through the challenge).

There has been quite a bit going on between the fourth update (which was roughly around August 23rd of last year) and today.

We’re still dealing with a ‘sick’ pup. Our boxer mix developed a severe reaction to her allergy shot last year—and I do mean severe, she developed hemolytic anemia.

So, the past eight months has been focusing on getting her onto the road to recovery—she’s down to a single med (unless the urinary track infection comes back), and hopefully she’ll be off of that within the next four months.

While she is recovering—the illness has literally taken years off her life, and if we’re lucky we have another two-to-four years (which means she’ll be somewhere between the ages of five and nine when we lose her).

One thing I’ve learned—figure out other ways of dealing with dog’s allergy problems and avoid getting allergy shots at all costs.

We’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and while I know various countries (including the US) are moving towards an ‘endemic’ view—I’ll still be avoiding traveling (at least international) for several more months (possibly looking to travel next spring), until I get my booster shot and the world hopefully mellows.

This decade doesn’t seem to be mellowing out at all—besides the pandemic, we’re a stone toss away from World War 3 breaking out. Russia invaded Ukraine back towards the end of February, and they haven’t left. Personally, I think that all leaders (political and military in Russia) need to be arrested, tried for war crimes and dealt with accordingly.

So, how have I been progressing with the various goals?

Professional development and career: On-going

1. Transition into an industry position (I’ve decided to go in the remote/contract/online direction starting with writing; in addition to slowly trying to start a freelance writing business as well); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        3. Clinical Research Coalition—Finished May 30th 2021

                        4. Medical Writers Organization—need to finish the writing/editing assignments

                        5. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        6. Project Management Consortium

                        7. Management Consulting Firm

                        8. Intellectual Property Pack—Finished June 25th 2021

                        9. Regulatory Affairs Council

                        10. Write Your Way to Freedom

                        11. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

                                    I noted how I tried to make a ‘short’ list of additional courses that I would like to have finished in 2021, and then this year (2022) I decided to try to do a BINGO-card style for additional courses. Funny thing—I’ve done several short courses (none of them really on the card). Also will probably hold off on quite a few of the ‘programming’ courses for now

            12. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #13; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        13. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                                    Managing to do this at least two to five days a week for the most part (there are some weeks I don’t share)

                                    The LinkedIn News team has featured two of the shares over the past year

                        14. Commenting on posts

                                    Trying to get better at this.

                        15. Giving/Asking for recommendations—need to start doing

                        16. Start writing my own posts

                                    This is slow going—usually share either a nature photograph or one of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams are usually the ones that get the most views.

                        17. Update my LinkedIn profile to reflect pivot towards writing/copywriting, and strive to have an SSI score of above 65 weekly

            18. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            19. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            20. Become fluent in Spanish—Started to use the app Mondly for refreshing my Spanish, though I haven’t been that active with the app for the past month or so. Need to try to spend at least 30-45 minutes two to three days a week on this.

            21. Become fluent in German

            22. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

23. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 400 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

I’m aiming to read at least 24-personal/professional development or other non-fiction books during 2022. Currently I’ve read 4, which means that I need to read another twenty books over the next basically eight-and-a-half months. To reach 300, I probably need to read another 210-215 books over the next 1,377 days.

            24. Finish the books on scientific writing

            25. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

                        I’ve slowly started doing this—the blog is one part (though currently more creative/reflective and hobby writing), the articles with my own ‘blurbs’ on LinkedIn, and then the volunteer writing I’ve been doing for Medical News Bulletin.

            26. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            27. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            28. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            29. More photographyThis is still something that is in progress. I’m trying to get up to Boomer Lake at least once a month, and I could even start trying to do more iPhone photography as well.

                        30. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)—I haven’t started (or should I say restarted) this yet for 2022. I only managed barely a month last year. My problem has been trying to have 365 different pictures (which is harder than it actually sounds).

                        31. Update photography pages on blog

                                    I’ve combined the photography pages/sections into one section with multiple subsections (birds, and then the other individual pages). I’m slowly working on the research for the various birds that I have pictures of, and am planning on trying to publish a page (plus its accompany blog post) weekly.

            32. Make my own jewelry

            33. Learn to cross-stitch—I’ve completed three abstract pieces, and decided that abstract is currently the way to go—I started, but haven’t finished a fourth that is/was suppose to be natured based).

            34. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        35. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        36. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            37. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans. I’ve patched one of the two afghans that Chaos chewed a hole in, and am slowly patching the second one (slowly knitting the two or three patches needed).

            38. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            39. Start writing a book

            40. Learn Photoshop

            41. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought); this has been an on and off endeavor. There are some days/weeks I’m good at writing daily, and then I may go a week or longer without writing in it.

            42. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            43. Learn basic sign language

            44. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            45. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            46. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—currently this is high, due to pandemic, possible world wars, and me wanting to ‘escape’ reality through reading, playing games, or buying personal/professional development courses; the goal is to have the three high credit cards back down to ‘reasonable’ no later than Feb or March of next year

            47. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            48. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with previous goals, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            49. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            50. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            51. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            52. Get into the best shape of my life

            53. Multivitamin and supplements daily; I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often.

            54.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            55.  Hold a 90 second plank

            56.  Meditate nightly—though sometimes it is only for a minute or two. Trying to increase the timing.

            57.  60-80 oz of water a day; this has been more likely 40-60 oz of water daily and sometimes up to 80 oz

            58.  Stretch daily; I do try to stretch nightly, and in the mornings before getting out of bed.

            59. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            60.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            61.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            62.  Launch a YouTube channel

            63. Launch an online course

            64. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day—While I’ve been doing okay for monthly views (2022 has been ~440-~640 views between January and March), I still need to work on getting the number of daily views up.

            65. Rebrand the blog/website—basically need to work on developing a personal/professional ‘brand’ as everyone is basically a business of ‘one’ (even if they’re working for a company

            66. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            67. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            68. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            69. Publish at least two blog series—this will be started hopefully by summer; I’m thinking that the ‘series’ will be something that is posted weekly on the same day (so I’ll probably have a ‘nature/photography’ series going, a ‘throwback-travel/photography’ series, and then start a set of science series (a topic that is covered for say a month or two before going onto another topic)

            70.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        71. Blog

                        72. Instagram

                        73. Facebook pages

                        74. Twitter

                        75. Pintrest

            76. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            77. Various top 10 author lists

            78. Various top 10 book series lists

            79. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            80. Full/New Moon Goals—I’ve been managing to keep up with these posts, though I may not actually meet all the goals that I set for each period, I’ve at least posted for each one throughout the year so far

            81. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)—This has been accomplished somewhat, as the current altar is on a bookshelf, so it looks fairly crowded.

            82. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings—Have been managing to do this (more or less), though I haven’t shared any of the readings on social media yet.

            83. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; Hopefully can start this up within the next couple of weeks as we’re heading into spring, and morning temps should hopefully be above 50

Others–ongoing

            84. Keep at least 3 plants alive—I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cutting from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. I need to repot the cuttings of another plant, and then have it outdoors for the summer. I’m also thinking of possibly looking around and getting a succulent or two for the bedroom

            85. Design a science based board game

            86. Create and update digital vision board—I have a digital vision board (it’s the background on the computer; I just need to start updating it to fit my ‘newer’ vision of what I’m working towards

            87. Reorganize my storage unit

            88. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)—I’m hoping to get to this over the next few weeks. The front garden needs quite a bit of TLC, and I’d like to try to put in a garden in the backyard, or at least ‘transplant’ some of the groundcover to a new area.

            89. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)—need to look and see if there are any non-profits that are taking clothes for donations for Ukraine, and if so how to get them the clothes (I have numerous shirts that can be donated)

            90. Develop at least 30 different 30-day challenges. I’ve lowered the number of days for this challenge, but some of the challenges will include (some ideas taken from the book: “The 30-Day Challenge Book: 500 ideas to inspire your life” by Clare Hudson): Also any of these could also last longer than 30 days

                        One challenge will be 30 days of iPhone Photography

                        Restart an oracle card challenge (at least in terms of ‘sharing’ the picture on Instagram—possibly do it for only 30 days (say three cards per deck)

                        30 days of doodling

                        30 days of coloring in coloring books

                        30 days of mind maps

                        Dance ten-minutes every day

                        Make rubbings of interesting surfaces & textures

                        Film progress of 30-day challenge

                        Learn about politics

                        Learn about a new country a day

                        Research prominent women throughout history

                        Learn economics

                        Pick a subject you’re interested in & develop really niche knowledge within that subject

                        Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

91. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        92. Present at a scientific conference

            93. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            94. Visit at least 3 new countries

            95. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            96. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            97. Visit at least one new zoo

            98. Visit at least one new aquarium

            99. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            100. Visit at least one new city

            101. Visit at least one new state

            102. See the northern lights

            103. Attend at least one blogging conference

            104. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            105. Swim with whale sharks

            106. Parasailing

Once I move:

            107. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            108. New couch & chair for living room

            109. New dresser for bedroom

            110. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            111. New TV & stand

            112. New desk/craft workstation

So, while I haven’t cancelled my Beachbody-on-Demand membership yet—I removed all those goals, because I will be cancelling it fairly soon. While I enjoy doing Beachbody workouts (and really do like the ‘live’ classes)—I prefer the DVDs, so that I don’t have to worry on whether or not the WiFi is working well or not; in addition as I’m working on improving my relationship with both food and movement—I rather not be hearing about Shakeology, the supplements, or any of the ‘nutrition’ programs. I will still do ‘Beachbody’ workouts—but only those that I have DVDs for (and still work with the DVD player).

The total number of goals has fallen from 156 to 112—in part due to the removal of the various Beachbody programs, but also the removal of all the different shows I’d though of binge watching via amazon prime or Netflix or Hulu. In addition, various other goals were removed from the list as well. While I’d mentioned the possibility of adding in personal/professional development programs to keep the list ‘long’—I’m happy with it slowly falling towards the ‘original’ number of 101.

I know where I need to focus: time/project management in order to get various things off the ground and sharing a cohesive look. Since I want to pivot in the freelance/remote/online/contract direction for writing—I need to have different pieces (aside from blog posts) to showcase my abilities. Therefore, I will also be writing ‘longer’ pieces that will have a smaller blog post connect to it (‘longer’ piece may also be a ‘landing’ page of sorts).

I have at least three ideas bouncing around in my head for longer pieces, though they’re not specifically ‘medical’ topics—they are science topics (I’m still thinking on the medical topics).

Therefore, one focus over the next few weeks needs to be creating the ‘editorial’ calendar for various sites. I realized the main reason why I ‘fail’ at using the editorial calendar—I put way too much stuff on it, and don’t give myself ample time to write/edit and create images before I want to post something. This is why majority of the posts the blog have been creative/reflective—it doesn’t take much time to write (more time is spent on basic edits).

It has been suggested that I have at least six-to-eight short to medium length pieces written and saved for the weeks that I’m behind schedule. That way, it may not fit the ‘theme’ I’d been going with—but I would have a science, or nature, or travel post ready to go for that week.

I’m getting there in terms of the nature pages/posts—I have four bird pages in the editing stage, and once I have the accompany blog posts done—that is a month’s worth of posts ready to go (at one per week).

The science/medical, health/wellness, and travel posts will take a little longer—science/medical, and health/wellness more so than the travel, especially once I move into different topics (such as GMOs, biofuels, vaccines, cells, cellular pathways, clinical trials, oncology, and so forth).

One thing that may change at some point this year is the web address (becomingjessi) for the blog/website. While it is worked as I was figuring out what I wanted to do, since I have an idea (freelance/remote/contract/online writing/copywriting), I think the web address will be changed (still bouncing between a couple of options), to reflect the additional writing I will be taking on and/or offering.

I’m still doing the volunteer writing position, and approximately half of the articles that I’ve submitted have been published on their site (so that is another little addition to my writing portfolio; though they own the ‘rights’ to the pieces).

Several of those have been short blurbs on different studies that have come out on different health topics (several relating to the SARS-CoV2 virus), so that may be another thing I do on the blog—short blurbs of different papers/studies that I’ve read (or are reading). I’m also thinking of doing slide decks (now the ‘fancy’ name for PowerPoint presentations) as well. That was actually the ‘writing’ assignment for a job application last fall, and I realized where I messed up—so now I need to practice doing it ‘correctly’ (or as correct as I think I’m doing it).

So, over the next seventy-odd days I’m planning on starting to do more writing (hopefully getting enough drafts written and edited that I have possibly at least six weeks worth of posts), start trying to create slide decks and other inforgraphics, work through at least two modules of the Write Your Way to Freedom course, revamp my resume and LinkedIn profile.  In other words—attempt to create and follow a schedule that will let me do multiple things at once and embrace my mixed-styled multipontialite personality and my strengths.

Have you done the 101 Goals in 1001-Day Challenge? If so–how many goals did you manage to get finished, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

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Updating the personal/professional development plan: reflections on the bounce zone

It has been roughly a year since I drew my first comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram.

Original comfort diagram that I drew mid-Feb 2021

It was an ‘assignment’ that I was given when after talking with a coach–it became obvious that I was floundering on trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life (since I’d decided to take time to actually try to answer that question)…

I decided that the diagram was going to encompass both personal and professional goals, thoughts, and ideas–mainly because I knew if I didn’t have some more ‘creative’ ideas down, I would spend way too much time wallowing in the analytical side of my brain.

The above diagram had roughly seventy-seven items within the four zones: 13 items in the comfort zone, 35 within the stretch zone, 17 within the risk zone and 12 within the die zone.

Over the past year, I also added in the ‘bounce’ zone–as I haven’t/hadn’t developed the ‘confidence’ to state that there were more activities that I felt ‘comfortable’ doing on a day-to-day (or even week-to-week or month-to-month) basis. I was starting to enjoy the activities, but still hadn’t/haven’t figured out the best ‘schedule’ for them to become ‘comfortable’ tasks.

Over the past week or so, I drew another one to see how far I’d come over the past year:

Latest Comfort diagram–Feb 2022

The comfort zone has slightly increased, the bounce zone is present, the stretch zone has ‘shrunk’, and the risk and die zones are holding steady.

While some things have ‘changed’–I also realized that I’ve also become slightly ‘stagnant’ as well. What became ‘stagnant’ is the fact that I wasn’t trying to push the boundaries of teh comfort, bounce, or stretch zones the past few months.

Therefore, I’m working on a plan to change that, with the ultimate goal of expanding the comfort and bounce zones.

How am I going to do that? Well, I decided it would be a combination of picking things from the comfort, bounce, stretch and risk zones and also incorporating things from my personal/professional development board game, and came up with the following list:

  1. Work several different ‘comfort’ tasks into the daily/weekly schedule (so that they don’t fall back into the ‘stretch’ zone), and they include: cross-stitching, meditation, reading (also work on expanding the genera), cooking, gardening, photography, and being outdoors.
  2. I decided to roll the dice last week (for the first time in awhile) for my my personal/professional development board game and came up with the following items:
    1. Start learning python coding
    2. Review genomics (though I’m going to include transcriptomes, proteomes, and metabolomes)–should have called the square ‘review -omics’
    3. Review statistics
    4. Landscape design (funny that I rolled this, as I’d already picked it out of the ‘bounce’ zone as something to work on this spring)
    5. Business development
    6. Public health
    7. ‘Rock Art of the American Southwest’
    8. Ancient India
    9. Ancient China
    10. Reading; while I rolled a ‘list’ of books to read–I will probably just go with whatever catches my attention
  3. Work on content development in the following areas:
    1. copywriting
    2. Blogging (science/medical education/communication; health/wellness; personal/professional development; hobbies/crafts, and travel)
    3. Science writing (‘short’ blog posts [~500-1000 words], ‘longer’ articles [~1000-2500 words], and ‘reviews’ [~2500-5000+ words])
    4. Creative writing (short stories, poetry, and so forth)
  4. Spirituality and Oracle cards
  5. Doodling and drawing
  6. Personal/professional brand development/management
  7. Refresh a foreign language
  8. Project management

Obviously I can’t do all of this at the same time—well I could, but I like sleeping too much…The end goals include: stretching my comfort zone, overcoming the writers block, transitioning into that first remote writing/data analysis position, and rediscovering who I am and what I really want to be doing with my life.

Content development and project management can be tied in with all the other items on the list–and actually that has been one of the ‘bigger bottlenecks’ lately–writing. I’ve started at the screen more times than I want to admit, and I’ve stared at various science news emails more times that I want to admit over the past month or so–and have barely written a word. I haven’t shared an news article for probably two week (prior to today), and that wasn’t because I didn’t want to–but because the words didn’t wan to come…not hte greatest feeling when one is thinking of pivoting into a writing (and deadline) intensive direction…

I created a ‘brain-dump’ (or brainstorming list) of ideas for the three different niches I’m thinking of writing within:

‘Brain-dump’ or brainstorming list of topics to write/blog about

You might notice that the ‘list’ is longer within the science/medical subsection–and that is because that is my background. I have my PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, and have spent basically two decades working within higher education research, and have at least an understanding of various fields.

The other two areas aren’t as ‘filled-out’, but as I continue to brainstorm ideas, or even look within one or two of the selections–I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to come up with more ideas to write about.

One of the fundamental questions that one is suppose to answer when thinking of blogging, copywriting, or even writing–is who is your audience? What question(s)/problem(s) are you wanting to help answer/solve?

I think that for me one of those answers is trying to improve science communication between the general public and the scientific community, and also trying to improve science education as well. None of the topics are inherently difficult–but can be considered difficult if they’re not explained properly and limiting the amount of scientific jargon one uses.

As Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough”.

Therefore, I’m going to be ‘diving’ into research for numerous topics, as I have a ‘basic’ understanding, but I also know that I don’t know certain areas well enough to explain them in simple terms.

I’m aiming to start having monthly (then working up to biweekly) blog posts on different science subjects, adding in a new bird photography page (biweekly, if not weekly) with an accompany blog post, and also a monthly ‘throwback travel’ page with its accompany blog post–this will be in addition to the different goals setting posts that I do monthly and any book reviews that I post as well. My aim–is to expand the comfort zone to include writing, blogging, and copywriting by the end of the summer.

What is something you could work on to move it from your stretch zone to your comfort zone?

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Looking back at January of 2022: Reading goals on track, others are lagging

So, we’re officially a month into 2022—January has somehow come and went. I’d like to say that I’m going to be even more productive than last year—and I know I will be more productive, but how much more—well that is the question.

I feel like January has been a ‘tester’ month. I started out with large plans, and then the inner critic came out and tossed them all into the wind. I’m realizing that I need to find a ‘harmony’ if you will with my inner critic—a time when I’m more than willing to say ‘I’m done’ for the day, and a time when I politely tell my inner critic that there is still work to be done before playing ‘hokey’.

So, we’re now about six weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘December in Review’ on January 1st, I noted that we had reached almost 55.7 million cases and now as of January 31st—we have reached a little over 76.2 million cases (that is 20 million cases in a month). The numbers are going up due to the omicron variant that is more contagious than the previous variants (and doesn’t seem to care if one has had their vaccine and booster shots or not).

Its looking like the younger kids (under the age of five) could be eligible for vaccines come as early as March or April—that means if everyone does their part, we may just be able to see the end of the pandemic within a year or so. Because, as I mentioned last month—the only way this pandemic is going to get under control is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and also listening to those who have decades of experience working with infectious diseases.

I managed to get several posts published on the blog/website during January—but I didn’t get to updating/modifying the last set of pages I’ve been needing to—again the inner critic won that round of ‘battles’. I’d mentioned that I’d removed the games I’d been playing on the kindle at the end of December—only to re-download and overplay them again this month. I deleted them from both the kindle and my amazon cloud today—so there is won’t be giving into any urge to download to play occasionally.

But before I can look ahead to setting goals for February, I need to look back at the goals I set for January and how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 (may only be M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction book BINGO card
  4. Continue setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond)
  5. Read two to four (if not more) fiction books (and write mini-book reviews to be posted on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/ Limited spending week
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  10. Assignments for the diamond group
  11. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card

So how did I do with each of them?

130-155,000 steps: I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps (144,123 steps or 58.91 miles to be exact). There was a walk at Boomer Lake, and a walk with Chaos through the neighborhood this month. I would have preferred to surpass the 155K steps—but I didn’t, though I did get past the bare minimum number of steps.

Continuing with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100: This didn’t really happen. I started it back up at the beginning of the month, but just didn’t feel like pushing play daily. I’ve realized that this is a ‘theme’ at times for me—I complete a program, decide to repeat it and then fizzle for a while before I actually manage to repeat the program (happened with LIIFT4).

Currently I’m thinking of just putting on music and lifting weights three to four times a week, streaming a yoga/Pilates/cardio workout once or twice a week, and then trying to get in a walk on the other day of the week. We’ll have to see how this plan goes.

Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card:

I managed to finish reading the following books:

‘Work Quilting’ by Vicki Walton

‘Girl, Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope

I’m now bouncing between several other non-fiction books (like I usually do), though some of them aren’t currently on the 2022 non-fiction BINGO card.

Continuing setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond):

I mentioned in my Capricorn New Moon goal review post that I’d let my imposter syndrome/inner critic derail me for a good portion of the month, so this was one of the goals that fell by the wayside.

Read two to four (if not more) fiction books:

I managed to read quite a few fiction books this month, though I only wrote and posted mini-book reviews for two of them.

The ‘new’ books I read during January included:

Dusk Unveiled (Ravenwood Coven #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

Nothing But Ink (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3.5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

The following books by Michele Miller:

From the Wreckage

Out of Ruins

All That Remains

West: Male POV

Into the Fire

After the Fall

Until We Crash

The entire Maverick Billionaire series by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully; the seventh was just released and I went back and read the first six that I’d bought over the years.

Inked Fantasy by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to several ‘re-reads’, that I decided I didn’t need to list out, but I am keeping track of in a spreadsheet so that I can include them in my end-of-the-year total.

No spend days/no spend weeks/Limited spending month:

Nope—January was a bad month in terms of spending. I did delete various games again from the kindle, and then went ahead and deleted them from the ‘cloud’ as well. Hopefully this will help me really curb the impulsive spending.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings

There was some time spent outdoors this month. With the temperatures bouncing back and forth—there were days spent sitting outdoors, while the next day I barely stepped foot outside.

Mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings only happened really for the first half of the month, and then inner critic/imposter syndrome derailed me.

Craft time:

I did a little crafting throughout the month (some photography, and color by number). I’m going to try to start another abstract cross-stitch project this coming month as a way of switching things up.

Continue working on updating the blog/website:

Nope. I only managed to post nine blog posts last month, though there was a decent amount of traffic to the page (at least according to wordpress analytics). This will probably be yet another goal for the next two or three months (as I don’t see me getting all the pages I needed redone done in just a couple of weeks).

Assignments for the diamond group:

This has been slightly slow going—remember the saying ‘you are your own worse enemy?’—Well that has been me. I’ve been getting in my own way on a lot of the assignments. I’m slowly working through the mindset/reflective questions (and am thinking that at least one or two of them may become a slightly longer ‘essay’).

There is still another month or so of the group—and I’m aiming to transition by the end of the summer (or at least then find a part time job possibly on campus since I’ll be really tight on funds by then).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card:

I’m working through two of the courses on the BINGO card:

Write Your Way to Freedom (a course on becoming a freelance copywriter), and How to work for yourself (an course on Udemy talking about freelancing/side-hustle)

But I did finish watching two other short ‘courses’ on Skill Share:

Productivity Basics: How to become more productive in 4 steps

Personal and Lifestyle Branding: Building your story

It is slightly funny how I started the month with big plans to be highly productive (and even watched a small course on it)—and ended the month being somewhat unproductive.

While I wasn’t perfect with all the goals (and some I wasn’t even in the ballpark of being ‘okay’ with)—acknowledging those mistakes are progress in and of themselves.

I’ve deleted all the games on the kindle that I would spend way too many hours and way too much money on playing. While I bought quite a few books this past month—I read most of them (at least most of the fiction books I’d bought). I’ve also realized that I do get antsy during the day (at times), and that I really do need to find a variety of recipes for protein-rich breakfasts (since I’m pretty certain I’m not getting nearly as much protein as I should be getting).

I’m still debating on whether or not to do the monthly spending challenge updates (especially in light of how much I spent this month)—but it is a way of keeping myself accountable.

So, January wasn’t the ‘perfect’ month—but I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m aiming for progress, and progress was made.

I read two non-fiction books, and have started several others (and I’m over halfway through one of those), I watched two short courses, and spent part of the time earlier this month working through a couple of other courses.

I deleted the games (not just from the kindle, but from the amazon cloud as well)—that means I have to ‘search’ for them if I want to download them again, and not to mention having to ‘start’ from the beginning.

The goal is still to ‘change’ this year—getting a remote position, starting the freelance side-gig, and everything else that I want to be trying to do—I’m not going to let ‘Pam’ stop me, she may slow me down quite a bit—but I’m going to keep moving forward.

Therefore the goals for February will include:

  1. 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walks, chores, lifting weights, yoga, and so forth)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book (preferably from the BINGO card, but not required)
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have mini book reviews posted on the blog and other sites)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course on the 2022 e-course BINGO card

In addition to the above goals—I’m also going to work on improving my time and project management skills as well (as being better at both will help me reach the above goals and all other goals as well).

While I may have ‘missed’ a few goals (or at least completed ‘half’)—I still made progress. Knowing that I was sabotaging myself, and how I was doing it—half the battle, the other half is determining how to ‘fix’ the sabotaging problems so that I am productive as I go forward.

What are some of your favorite time/project management tips or tricks?

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Updating my comfort diagram: reflections & planning for the fall

So I spent a good chunk of last week working on my 3rd comfort diagram. I’d been introduced to the concept about six months ago by one of my coaches during a zoom call (I’d been more or less rambling on what I thought my future plans were).

I’d decided that I was going to do a new version of it every three months, but also introduce a new zone between the comfort and stretch zone–the bounce zone.

I’d chosen the name ‘bounce zone’, because I didn’t feel like there were things that I’d been working on from the stretch or risk zones that could be moved all the way into the comfort zone (i.e. I didn’t feel like they’d become fully ingrained habits yet).

3rd rendition of my comfort zone diagram. Growth is being made, everything is back and forth.

You might notice that I still have blogging within the bounce zone. This is because at times I feel like I have ‘writer’s block’ and my inner critic/imposter syndrome pops in every so often and I end up not posting as frequently as I had originally planned.

As I was working on the diagram, I decided I would add one or two things into the stretch zone:

Intuitive eating, which is something I’ve been working on for the past few months. I have it in the stretch zone only because there are a couple of points that I’m still slightly struggling with:

(1) Eating enough protein during the day (especially at breakfast)

(2) Savoring the meals/snacks (i.e. taking more than ten to fifteen minutes to each the meal), and finally

(3) figuring out what type of intentional movements I enjoy doing, figuring out how to incorporate them into my day and then ignoring the rest. I know it may look funny putting movement (or exercise) in with nutrition, but they’re tied together in society.

The second thing I added to the stretch zone is learning more about UX (user experience), as a possible freelance/remote direction to go in.

I’ve actually completed a couple of courses over the past six month where I learned the basics on clinical research and intellectual property. I’m currently keeping them in the ‘stretch zone’ as I haven’t quite figured out how to tie them into the direction that I’m thinking of going (which is freelance/remote/contract focusing first on writing, and then possibly adding in data analysis, project and product management at a later point). Both topics were interesting, but I also realized that I probably wouldn’t want to go in either direction full time (in terms of clinical research–unless I was at the bench, I possibly would have to travel between clinical research sites frequently, and to become a patent agent would require passing the patent bar exam).

While I would like to possibly travel (depending on when the various variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus are contained), I don’t want to constantly travel for work, and currently I don’t want to go in a direction that would require a large amount of money and a standardized test.

But what has changed over the last three months?

Cross-stitching and science writing have bounced their way into the bounce zone, while time management and refreshing a foreign language have bounced their way back into the stretch zone.

I’ve realized that I enjoy doing more abstract design and creation (in other words not having to follow a set pattern), and my first cross-stitch project is actually a continuous circle with a few bumps in the road made up of different colors. I’m going to see how many different colors it takes to fill up the fabric, and not worry about little mistakes that I may make along the way.

I’m slowly making my way into science writing again. I managed to land a volunteer medical content writing position with a online Canadian magazine (Medical News Bulletin) last month. While it is a volunteer position (and they own the ‘rights’ to my work), I am learning the ins and outs of science communication for the lay audience. Hopefully then, this will flow over to the blog and I will be getting out at least one science related blog post a month (and possibly one to two science related pages a month as well).

I’m also trying to focus a little more on my spiritual health as well over the past few months, and it has bounced (along with oracle cards) to sit along side meditation in the bounce zone. This has been an area that has been bouncing between the stretch and the bounce zones the past couple of months (and will probably still bounce the next couple of months). I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by ancient cultures and practices more so than contemporary practices–and have felt like an outsider growing up due to those interests.

Over the past month, I’ve picked up quite a few non-fiction books related to ancient cultures and practices for two reasons: one because they interest me, and I actually have the time to indulge in those interests; and two–they may serve as ‘reference’ books for a couple of short story ideas that I have bouncing around in my head.

Various non-fiction books that I’ve bought over the past month

I like Graham Hancock–I have his book ‘Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization’ in my storage unit. I bought this book back in the late 1990s after I finished reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead that I got for Christmas one year. The others were bought because I’m either fascinated with the civilization (Mayan) or feel like they could be good ‘reference’ books for short story ideas.

My time management has been slipping for the past month or more, due in part to the warmer weather (so I want to be sitting outside more often than I do during other times of the year, and preferably without my computer), and my anxiety has been spiking due to the rise in the number of SARS-CoV2 cases due to delta variant running rampant through the country.

So, I’m going to have to just ensure that I have various time management apps up and running on both my computer and phone (and possibly add in the different news sites to the ‘blocked for the day’ list)–because if I can’t see the news, I can’t stress out over it and have my anxiety spike (yes, I know that doing this is showcasing my privilege–but sometime protecting ones mental health means embracing certain things that I would usually try not to embrace).

Refreshing the foreign language also bounced back into the stretch zone for almost identical reasons as time management, with the addition of my inner critic/imposter syndrome poking their heads out and ridiculing me on my progress.

Therefore, the next three months are going to be focused on:

(1) Time management,

(2) learning (aiming for spending at least three and a half hours a week working through various e-courses; this breaks down to roughly thirty minutes a day),

(3) reading (aiming to read non-fiction for another three and a half hours a week (again, another thirty minutes a day),

(4) craft time (also three and a half hours a week at minimum; thirty minutes a day, while focusing on cross-stitching, jewelry design/creation, photography, and doodling), and

(5) writing (this will be the most varied area with different projects, but aiming for four to six thousand words a week).

Progress is being made–writing is slowly becoming an enjoyable habit again (after years of dreading having to do it), meditation at night is helping with anxiety (for the most part), and I’m going to work on incorporating it more often during the day. The staircase out of the pit of burnout does seem to go on forever, but I only need to take it a step at a time, and I can sit with a book on a stair whenever I need to catch my breath.

Question time–what are your favorite e-course sites and subjects?

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Looking back at the ongoing personal and professional development adventures

So, the moon will be heading into the next new moon cycle tomorrow night (or possibly Monday night—depending on where you are in the world). That means I should look back at the goals I set for the Cancer new moon and see how I did with them, before looking ahead to the Leo new moon.

So what were my goals for the Cancer new moon? They included:

  1. Continuing with the ‘next adventures’ of my personal/professional development board game: reading two to three books (‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker, ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker), work through a copy-writing course, and start drafting some science posts/pages.
  2. Figure out the answers to the following questions/points that I raised when trying to create a financial plan: (1) what are the different ways that I can earn money; (2) what would the ‘minimal monthly earnings’ be for each areas’ and (3) will it stay a online/remote/contract/freelancing/consulting/blogging mixture or will it be a hybrid (online and in person).
  3. Use the answers from above to slowly create a new 12-month goal/plan for the various areas of my life.
  4. Continue with my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments.
  5. Continue with my oracle card challenge and doing my evening readings/drawings as well.

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I’m still working through the ‘current adventures’ of my personal/professional development board game. I’m currently halfway through ‘More of Less’ by Josh Becker, and just a little ways into ‘Why You’re Stuck’ by Derek Doepker. I’m slowly working through the different copy-writing courses, and I have an outline for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project completed.
  2. Last night I did a double post on how I was going to try to simplify my life and at the same time ways I was going to try to diversify my earnings. The initial four methods are going to be: freelance writing, affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content; selling photographs; and creating/selling jewelry (and possibly some tee shirts). I’m still working on figuring out what the ‘minimal monthly earnings’ would be for each area (and I also realize that they may change month to month, especially as I’m just starting out). Currently I’m aiming for strictly online/remote/contract/freelance work since there are various variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus still spreading throughout the US and the world.
  3. This will actually be accomplished over the next week or so, since my ‘pillars’ for diversifying my income were only chosen over the past week or so. I also need to work on my ‘vision’ statement as well–basically try to answer the question of where do I see myself in say three, five, ten, or even twenty years.
  4. I’ve been doing well with the evening meditations or periods of just sitting quietly and focusing on my breathing.
  5. I’d been pretty good at the oracle card challenge, up until this past week. Currently I’m basically five days behind ‘schedule’ and I am thinking of doing a four-to-five card spread to ‘catch’ up and end it (currently) at 30 days. While I enjoyed doing the challenge, it has started to lose its enjoyment and is starting to feel like something I ‘have to do’ instead of something I want to be doing. The evening card drawings have been going okay–though I’m thinking of trying to move them to the mornings so that I can reflect on them throughout the day.

So, I focused more on the mental health goals this month compared to the professional development goals. I’ve realized what one of the triggers of my anxiety is–trying to set goals that are years in the future. The reason: I’m still ‘afraid’ of making the wrong decision in terms of my life, therefore I overthink things to the point of almost not doing anything.

The only way to face that ‘fear’ is to slowly move in the direction of change, and while I say ‘slowly’—I’m talking about working on ‘change’ daily (brainstorming ideas, research, writing, editing, and so forth), so that the anxiety starts to dull and hopefully only spikes then for ‘real’ threats. I’ve already started ‘slow’—I managed to get a volunteer medical content writing position, and I’m learning quite a bit from the editor and position (especially that writing 1000 words is harder than it looks when you need to limit the amount of scientific jargon you use).

So, the personal/professional development adventures will continue—hopefully I will be done with at least one of the books within a week or so, I will also have hopefully worked through part of at least one writing course, and have found five to ten resources/references for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project. I’m pretty certain that I can develop a ‘year’ plan that can be extended and revised as I met (or change) goals and benchmarks.

Progress is never a straight line, it can curve, fold back, and zigzag along—you just need to trust in the process and continue moving forward. Compared to where I was mentally three years ago—I’ve made strides in putting myself first, I need to continue those strides, but also work on creating a community as well.

What strides have you made over the past few years?

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Oracle of the Shapeshifters: Days 21-25 of Challenge

Today marks the twenty-fifth day of the oracle card challenge. While I have taken a day or two off, here or there—I’m pledging to share an oracle card a day on Instagram for a year (decided to expand past the original 120 days, but not do the full 578 days). Therefore, the challenge will last roughly through the first week of July 2022 (depending on how many more days I may take off from the challenge).

So, days twenty-one to thirty are going to be from the Oracle of the Shapeshifter deck by Lucy Cavendish. I have several decks by Lucy, and I love the stories that one can spin from any of the cards, and lately I’ve been flipping though the cards until I come to one that really speaks to me for the day.

The card drawn for day twenty-one was the beautiful little worm. This is a card of ‘rest’, and the encouragement to slow down if only for a day or two to regroup one’s energy.

Take the time to breath, and rest if necessary

It is slightly funny that I drew this card on a Monday, and after spending time attempting to create an editorial calendar for the next few months (I have most of the creative/reflective pieces put in—now the work is to decide on the more ‘in-depth’ pieces and how many do I want per month).

The worm is here to remind us to rest, be kind to ourselves, exercise regularly but gently, and to organize our space enough that we have a place to escape and relax when needed.

These are things I’ve been working on daily for the past few months—self-compassion, rest, intentional movements, and intuitive eating are things that hopefully may come more ‘naturally’ as I practice them. While I have no desire to return to the ‘old normal’, I realize that finding my ‘new normal’ will still take awhile.

The card drawn for day twenty-two was the ‘mermaid in a koi pond’ card.

Rediscover who you are…become the dragon.

She is here to remind us that having a safe haven is nice and needed from time to time, but if we stay too long—we tend to outgrow the haven.

I’m working on expanding my ‘safe haven’, since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, I’m not keen on doing anything extremely rash.

I am also working on moving ‘upstream’ as well—currently the biggest ‘obstacles’-having too many ideas bouncing around in my head, and semi-horrible time management skills.

I’m working on both—I have (more or less) basically all creative/reflective ideas written out on a calendar, now it to figure out what ‘in-depth’ topics I want to add, the length and the depth of the topic, and when I would like to ‘publish’ the small/medium/large articles.

Science communication is vital these days, and while I could just jump in—I’m trying to ensure that what I share is written in a way that everyone can understand it (not just us science nerds), and that is the difficult part—but can only get better with constant practice in writing, publishing, and getting feedback from others.

The card drawn for day twenty-three was the ‘you are unlike anyone else’ card.

Embrace what makes you unique and complex

A reminder that we are all unique individuals and shouldn’t try to blend into the crowd—that is something I’m slowly working on, figuring out how to stand out in the crowd.

During this career change/transition, I’ve realized where I need to focus: writing (all styles—with focus more on scientific/technical plus creative), time and project management, in addition to possibly learning some coding on the side.

I’m going to ‘reinvent’ myself from a bench scientist to a scientific journalist/project manager who also takes time to focus on crafts and hobbies.

What to share on various sites are still up in the air (especially on Instagram), but I know that I will get there—it just requires baby steps and the willingness to stop, take a breath and keep moving forward when the inner critic/imposter syndrome wants me to move back into the shadows.

The card drawn for day twenty-four was ‘Poe’s Brave Flight’.

Move forward, even if you are afraid

A reminder that when we constantly play it safe and work to avoid things that could ‘hurt’, we end up shrinking ourselves daily.

I will admit to ‘playing it safe’ in terms of my career, I gave academia years long than I should have—because I was ‘scared’ to make a change. I was ‘scared’ to possibly choose wrong and end up in another ‘situation from hell’.

Well, I’m slowly stepping out from my safe zone. I took a volunteer writing position to gain experience in medical content writing, I’m trying to consistently share science news on LinkedIn, and trying to publish creative/reflective pieces somewhat consistently on the blog. In terms of science communications/writing—I’m going to list all sort of topics that interest me (in addition to looking back at news stories) and randomly pick things to look into, write on, and share on various sites.

The card drawn for today, day twenty-five was card seven: bats in the belfry.

Move forward with a little help from those who ‘can’ see in the dark

The bats are a reminder that one can achieve great things (even if they look strange to others). They can show one how to find their way, even if the path is currently ‘hidden’.

To move ahead in life, it may seem like things are upside down and going against what others may think is best for you—but that is when one needs to have even more courage, imagination, and boldness to move towards their dreams.

I’m slowly moving forward with more imagination, and little more boldness and courage. This weekend is going to be partial spent determining other sites/online magazines/forums that I could possibly submit articles to, brainstorming ideas for crafts (such as photography and maybe jewelry), and others ideas to start diversify things.

One thing I will need to work on–balancing writing the creative/reflective pieces with the more in-depth ‘research’ pieces. Though I think it is almost safe to say that I’m going to focus on creating a freelance/online/remote/contract career that is focused on writing, data analysis, project management, and crafts.

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Nature’s Whispers: Day Sixteen to Twenty of Oracle Card Challenge

Today marks the twentieth day of the oracle challenge (roughly 100 or 558 days left in the challenge—or basically somewhere in between). Today also marks the ‘end’ of using the Nature’s Whispers Oracle deck for at least the next ten weeks or so. While I enjoy the deck, it’s a challenge getting a ‘story’ out of the card.

The card picked for the sixteenth day was the ‘you are worth it’ card. It is a reminder for us to accept praise and credit when it is given to us, for when we learn to be accepting we allow our true potential to blossom and shine.

You Are Worth It was drawn tonight

This is one of many things that I’m working on—accepting praise and credit. I’ve never really been one who wants to be center stage, I prefer to be slightly off to the side watching and observing. While I am proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish over the years, I’ve never really been one to talk about those accomplishments (as it always felt like bragging).

Aiming for a career change means that I need to start keeping track of various ‘accomplishments’ now so that I can use them as metrics moving forward and also as examples of work and so forth.

The card picked for the seventeenth day was the ‘ideal course of action’ card. I actually drew three cards to find the one that ‘spoke’ to me today, as I was slightly tempted to skip a day and then keep going with the challenge tomorrow. The first sentence of the summary resonated with me tonight: ‘It is easy to be overwhelmed in the planning of a new endeavor’.

Ideal course of action–at times even requires rest

I slowly going in the direction as I’ve taken a volunteer medical content writing position and had spent most of the week working on it (as I had finished the ’51 odd facts and stats about US state birds’ earlier Tuesday afternoon), plus a few other little ‘creative’ writing posts for the blog.

The main thing I need to work on—keeping my inner critic/imposter syndrome in-check so that I can continue edging into the ‘freelance/remote/contract’ medical/science education communication sector.

The card picked for the eighteenth day was the ‘contemplation’ card. This is what the past sixteen months has been spent doing in one form or another. With the way things are going I’ll continue doing this in one form or another for quite awhile.

Contemplation–something that I do consistently thanks to the pandemic

It has helped to remember my enjoyment of photography, reading, learning, and crafts. The biggest things still to conquer are time and project management, not overthinking, and aiming for good instead of ‘great or perfect’ before sharing with the world (ties back to overthinking).

The card picked for the nineteenth day was the ‘be gentle with yourself’ card. I find it fitting that this was the second card that I drew and the one that spoke to me. I am ‘technically’ two days behind schedule—but everyone needs a break every so often, and I’m back ‘on-track’. I’ve realized that even if there aren’t that many likes or comments (either here or on Instagram)—I’m actually doing this challenge more for me (getting back into a groove of posting on Instagram) than for getting ‘attention’.

Be gentle with yourself–cut yourself slack every so often.

This card is a reminder that we shouldn’t allow what has happened in the past to define our future. The past has helped to shape and mold us (to a degree), but they aren’t who we are—they’re lessons to help us figure out who we want to be.

The lessons I’ve learned have ranged from learning not to ignore my gut/intuition, that it is perfectly fine to have a different writing style than others, and that aiming for good enough is what I need to do in order to move forward and not overthink things. New adventures a wait as I slowly edge out into the freelance/remote/contract world of writing, project management, data analysis, crafts, and so forth.

The card picked for today was the ‘perfect setting’ card. It reminds us that if we want to have a goal or vision come to fruition, we need to ensure that our surroundings are allowing those ideas to flourish. It isn’t just the physical ‘surroundings’ that we need to ensure are healthy and supportive—but our mental environment as well. Positive self-talk/affirmations, being kind to yourself, and celebrating ones talents and successes—all feed into that ‘positive’ environment one needs to reach their goals or vision.

Perfect setting

I’m learning to let go of perfection, and embrace good enough to almost great. The first actual ‘project’ after a test ‘project’ is always going to be in the gray—because the guidelines may be slightly different, and it is a different ‘project’. I just turned one of these in—could it have been better, maybe—but I decided not to overthink what I wrote and after the fourth proofreading and revision emailed it to my contact. I’ll find out tomorrow what type of improvements it may need (or if they are even going to use the piece).

But I’m not going to overthink/stress on things I can’t control. What I can do is continue to research, write, blog, and time spent on crafts and other hobbies. The only way to gain experience in the freelance/remote/contract world—is to step into and embrace it.

So, in summary it is a good time to remember that once you learn to accept praise and credit when it is given—your true potential can then start to blossom. I’m slowly charting my ideal course of action (freelance/remote/contract writing/data analysis/project management/photography), while drawing on the lessons of the past (and present), practicing positive self-talk/affirmations, and celebrating my talents and successes.

You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned my inner critic/imposter syndrome or similar things through this post and the other oracle card summaries–that is because that (my inner critic/imposter syndrome) is what at times is truly holding me back from jumping into the whole career transition and change. Fear, insecurity, doubt, and all those other nasty little emotions. I’m finding that this challenge is helping me face them, taking the volunteer content writing position (and being will to submit work that is ‘good’ but not great) is helping, writing my own ‘intros’ to shared articles on LinkedIn is helping, but what is helping the most–calling out those emotions. So, while it may seem that ‘not much is getting done’–in truth I’m moving quickly, not as quickly as others–but as quickly as I can.

Tune in Friday, for the next installment as I will be choosing the next deck of cards later tonight that will go for the next two installments.

What’s your favorite oracle or tarot deck?

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Nature’s Whispers: Days Eleven to Fifteen of Oracle Card Challenge

So today marks day fifteen of the oracle card challenge, and that means there are only 105 (or 563) days left in the challenge. Today also marks the halfway point for the second deck of cards chosen: Nature’s Whispers by Angela Hartfield.

Day Eleven Oracle Card Draw

The card chosen for the eleventh day was ‘be in service’. It is a reminder to give back to the world, and while life is give and take—harmony is achieved when they’re balanced.

A kind word, holding a door, or even an email inquiring how things are going are all simple acts of being in service.

I’ve been bouncing ideas around on how to use my degree/education more and ‘be in service’ and have touched on the topic of science communication. There is a deep rift between how science is communicated between scientists and how they communicate it to the rest of the world—I want to help bridge that rift.

Day Twelve Oracle Card

The card chosen for the twelfth day was ‘higher ground’. It is a reminder that if things seem out of balance, or not going your way—all you may need is to look at it from ‘higher ground’. Sometimes we miss ‘the forest’ because we’re focused on ‘the trees’ and vice versa.

For years I’d been focused on ‘research at the bench’, that I had ‘forgotten’ that research doesn’t have to be just at the bench, but it can be done away from the bench and therefore take on various forms. I’m slowly ‘embracing’ research away from the bench, and looking for the ‘topics’ that I find interesting and enjoy.

Day Thirteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the thirteenth day was ‘illumination’. It is a reminder that while we all have ‘guardian angels’ willing to help—we still need to believe in ourselves as well. Knowing that we are capable of achieving dreams (old or new) as long as we are willing to put in the work and believe that it is possible.

We also shouldn’t compare our journey to others—everyone has their own path to walk, and some may be ahead, some may be behind, and others may look like they’re walking along side.

While worry and fear have their places in life—one should try not to let them overwhelm. That has been a problem in the past; I’ve let worry and fear overrun my life too many times to count. Now, I simply try to acknowledge their presence, give them space and work through the emotions and the ‘blocks’.

I realize that I will be harboring these emotions frequently as I try to edge my way into a new career—one that may become full-time, or may only become part-time. While acknowledging their presence, I’m also going to work at ensuring they don’t keep me tethered to my comfort zone.

Day Fourteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the fourteenth day was ‘make a decision’. There are times when it would be nice to turn the clock back to where the biggest decision one had to make was cereal or waffles for breakfast. It becomes difficult at times to see the variety of choices one has once that ‘degree’ is chosen in college, or when the program is decided on for graduate school.

I’ve realized one reason why I’d been a somewhat ‘passive’ player in my career—the ‘goals’ had somewhat already been mapped. Deviating from that course, now means I need to figure out what the goals, benchmarks, and milestones moving forward and that can be somewhat scary.

But I do have the wisdom to create a ‘new’ path, without totally ‘destroying’ the old—but it will take a little more time to figure out the goals, benchmarks, milestones moving forward will be, but that is also part of the fun. Creating something new, melding it with the old, and making it my own.

Day Fifteen Oracle Card

The card chosen for the fifteenth day was the ‘empowerment’ card. It is a reminder that while we can handle things as they come—sometimes it is nice to have the guidance and support of others (especially in our careers).

As we move through life (especially in our careers), we at times have to go looking for the guidance and support of others, while at other times both are always there.

Everyone says one should have mentors—both ones that you talk to (either via phone, email, or zoom), and others that you end up finding online and following their online presence.

For an introvert (with anxiety)—finding mentors that you talk to is semi-difficult, especially when you’re still trying to determine the direction that you want to go in. Finding the ‘virtual’ ones is easy, though I’m starting to go back through and ask myself ‘am I following this person because I truly find them inspiring, or am I following them because they’re the ‘person’ to follow?

This is yet another puzzle piece that I am working on figuring out the shape of, slow but steady.

These cards are slightly different from the enchanted map and others in that they ‘don’t’ tell a story, per say. What I mean by ‘story’ is that card’s meaning is general—so depending on your ‘question’ or situation the ‘story’ or outlook may differ from reading to reading.

These cards are still helping me move forward with the goal of freelance work—they’re reminding me of things that I need to work on (such as finding mentors, not letting fear and anxiety run the show, and asking for (and accepting) help when needed).

Here’s to the next five days of the Nature’s Whispers Oracle deck challenge.

I asked this question on both LinkedIn and Instagram, and only received a single answer (climate change)—so I’ll ask it here as well: what science topic do you wish was communicated better? Also who are some of your favorite people to follow (and why)?

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Proud to be a geek: ‘Celebrate your geekness day’

Today is ‘celebrate your geekness’ day, a day that was created by Wellcats Holidasy as a day about being proud of what you do, who you are, and what you’re ‘obsessed’ with. I will freely admit that I’ve always been a ‘geek’, and I’ve been proud of being a geek. While I may seem ‘quiet’ and slightly ‘unsociable’, it is more of the fact that I’m wondering what I can add to the conversation. Depending on the topic, I may either be more of an active listener or an active participant. While I am a ‘geek’ on various subjects, I also admit that some areas I’m reconnecting to, so I may not be that big of a ‘geek’ in terms of random knowledge.

I like these five reasons from ‘a big think edge’ blog post back in 2018 on why one should embrace thier inner geek:

  1. The term communicates that you are intelligent
  2. You may be more socially competent and mature than the ‘cool kids’
  3. As a geek, you are viewed in a increasingly positive way
  4. You are technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies
  5. Geeks bring different perspectives and knowledge to the conversation

I agree with all of them, with the exception of number four–I really don’t care for updating/upgrading my electronics and such unless I either absolutely have to, or the update/upgrade has something really going for it.

So what are things that I consider myself a ‘geek’ about?

Hobbies such as:

Birds (and bird watching)

Photography

Reading (fiction, especially romance)

Knitting and other crafts

Being outdoors, gardening and nature

Learning, especially on topics related to:

Science

History

Geography

Archaeology

Anthropology

Paleontology

My pets

What am I currently learning or teaching myself?

Python coding, cross-stitching, jewelry making, and brushing up on subjects such as intellectual protperty and clinical trials.

What are my end goals?

Continuous learning, finding harmony between ‘work’ and ‘everything else’, and bridging the communication gap beteen the scientific community and the general public.

What is one scientific topic that you wished was communicated better?

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Recapping days six to ten of Instagram Oracle Card Challenge

So, today marks the second installment in my oracle card challenge, with a summary of days six to ten using the Enchanted Map Oracle Deck. Starting tomorrow I will be using Nature’s Whispers Oracle Deck by Angela Hartfield for the next ten days. It is hard to believe that it has already been ten days into the challenge—and only another 110 (or possibly 568) more days left.

Card thirty for the enchanted map oracle deck: making a choice
Card drawn on day six of oracle card reading challenge

The card for day six was making a choice (card thirty in the upright position). It is a reminder that we have a choice to be either an active player in our own lives or passive players allowing others to make the choices and just going with the flow (either intentionally or unintentionally). I’ve been a somewhat passive player in my own career fluttering from position to position without really asking myself if this is something that will make me happy in the long run.

I am at the ‘proverbial’ fork in the road, and am taking the route of using my education in a different manner/direction. While the bench will always be there, now is the time to edge away and find the enjoyment again in writing, looking at data, picking up the camera, and all the other ideas that are bouncing around in my head.

It will take awhile to get everything lined up—but I’m going slowly down the path (knowing that I can jump over to the bench, or even some other ‘physical’ job if needed).

Cleaning house card drawn on day seven of challenge
Card drawn on day seven of challenge

The card for day seven was cleaning house (card thirty-seven in the upright position). I found it slightly funny pulling this card the other night, as I’m also reading a book on minimalism (More of Less by Joshua Becker) right now as well. This is something that I’ve slowly been working on for quite a while, as I’ve realized that once I do have things in place career wise and then start thinking of moving—I have way more stuff than I really need.

I’m slowly ‘cleaning house’, mainly because most of my stuff is still in storage. What am I doing—downsizing the number of items that I currently have around me daily. I know the areas that I can go ‘minimalistic’ in, and I also know the areas that I won’t be going ‘minimalistic’ in as well—it is all about balance.

The mental decluttering will take a little longer (namely the negative stories, self-doubts, and those things), but it is something that I’m working on.

Card forty seven of enchanted map deck: the sacred pool
Card drawn on day eight of challenge: the sacred pool

The card for day eight was the sacred pool (card forty-seven in the upright position). It asks of us to do a detached self-examination that is made with rigorous honesty, but also acknowledges how far we’ve come through the years. It is time to focus on self-love and self-esteem.

These are areas that I work on daily—I’ve always been proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish, but there are times when my self-esteem hits rock bottom. It is never easy to change paths, directions, or callings and is even harder when you’re an introvert with social anxiety. The though of reaching out to others is nerve wracking (and brings about all those negative self-esteem thoughts).

This is something I’m working on changing. I’m slowly developing several ideas I have for articles/posts for the blog, LinkedIn, and possibly other sites as well. Improving one’s self-love and self-esteem should always be daily goals in this day and age.

Card drawn on day nine: the dry desert

The card for day nine was the dry desert (card thirty-one in the upright position). This is a card that I feel has the same message no matter the direction you draw it (upright or reverse). It is reminding us that we can survive what life throws at us—we’re resilient and adaptable. Self-reflection helps in any situation (regardless of how the situation turns out).

Looking inward, remembering childhood dreams, and such are several ways to help reconnect with things we enjoyed doing at one point but may have forgotten about them, as we got older.

Self-reflection is almost a daily habit, and I’ve remembered things that I had enjoyed doing at one point—learning, writing, reading, and doing research. Research doesn’t have to always be done at the bench—it can also come from a book, a paper, or elsewhere. All of these things can be merged into an online (or in-person) career, I just need to place the pieces of the puzzle or perhaps find those last few missing pieces.

The gentle gardener

Today’s card was the gentle gardener (card two in the upright position). She is a reminder that our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs help to create our reality. All feelings are valid and should be acknowledge. Give them room, sit with them, work through the emotions, and try to find the sliver lining in the situation.

I have the tendency to let my thoughts spiral out of control, and at times jump to the worse case scenario, both of which spend my anxiety spiking, my stomach rolling and has me questioning what I’m doing with my life. All of which makes it harder to see the ‘rainbows’ through the storm clouds.

I’m getting better at not going down those dark ‘rabbit holes’. I realize that I’m not going to be pleasing everyone in terms of what I write, how I write, or even what I decide to write about. Which is fine—I think that it is time that I start living my life for myself and not for other people.

One of the many mental health goals moving forward is to tend my mental garden and nourish the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that will help me move forward and gently remove the ones that are keeping me stagnant.

So, today marks the ‘end’ of the first ten days of the challenge and using the enchanted map oracle deck. The past ten days have shown me that I do need to make a choice in terms of life and career—being an active participant over a passive participant. In choosing to do an online career shift, I need to start slow—build a good foundation before trying to go in several different directions at once. Writing will probably be that base—with a good chunk being science communication and education. The rest of the base will go between personal/professional development and hobbies, with a touch of other educational subjects as well.

What is one science topic that you wished was written in a way that the general public could understand it better?

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