Category: oracle cards

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?

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsoutdoorsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsSciencespiritualityTurtlesUpdates

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?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesHealthNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

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.

No Comments HealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsLifestyle Challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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)?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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?

No Comments bird watchingBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthHistoryLifestyle ChallengesnatureNature Preservesoracle cardsoutdoorsPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRandom Celebration DaysReflectionsSciencespiritualitytravel

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?

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Recapping day one to five of Instagram Challenge

So I decided earlier this week that I was going to do a 120-day oracle card challenge on Instagram. This challenge has two objectives: ensuring that I’m posting something daily, and locating my online ‘tribe’. While I realize that oracle card readings may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, I’ve found them to be a great starting point for reflecting on various things.

Since I have several different oracle decks (actually I have thirteen), I decided that I would use a different one every ten days, in addition to possibly extending the challenge longer (130 days would allow me to use each deck once, but extending it to 578 days would allow me to draw each card once).

While I’m sharing the cards daily on Instagram, I decided that I would do a summary of them on the blog every five to ten days (ensuring at least one to two posts per oracle deck, to begin with).

To start the challenge, I decided to use the Enchanted Map oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid. I like the stories that one can draw from the cards.

The first card that I drew to start the challenge was ‘Into the Unknown’ (card number seven, in the upright position).

This was a fitting card to start the challenge with as I’ve been slowly thinking of stepping into the unknown of changing careers. I’ve spent the past year and a half doing a large amount of personal and professional reflections, and while I don’t have the path totally planned out—I do have an idea (or two) of where I would like to start. Part of any path is knowing that you have a learning curve to deal with, but at the same time one needs to figure out how to move into the new ‘arena’ even if you’re at a ‘disadvantage’ compared to others.

It is also a reminder that growth comes by stepping out of our comfort zones and into the unknown.

The second card that was drawn for the challenge was the ‘One-Ring Circus’ (card number fifteen, in the upright position).

This card reminds us that we’re capable and competent in any endeavor that we pursue—as long as we put in the work. Self-reliance is key, as we’re the only ones who can forage our paths, others may ‘walk’ with us, but we have to do the work. For me this is also a reminder that I need to become a more ‘active’ learner—actually starting to put various things into practice instead of just reading/watching and moving on to the next book or e-course.

I’m slowly becoming better at setting (and meeting) my own deadlines for projects. My biggest ‘problem’ actually is that I get overly ambitious about the project and bite off more than I can chew initially. These two aspects (setting and meeting deadlines) will be essential as I move towards my career transition (especially so I won’t be feeling overwhelmed and able to juggle more than one project at a time).

The third card drawn was ‘Heal the Ouch’ (card number thirty eight, in the upright position).

Did you know the phrase let ‘bygones be bygones’ originated in the 15th century?

This card is a reminder that forgiveness is the healer of the soul and sooths the heart and mind as well. It also brought to mind the Buddhist saying, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

This is something that I’m working on—releasing past angers, irritations, and feelings of not good enough, not dedicated enough, or not driven enough. I’ve realized that by allowing myself to either compare myself to others (or allow others to do so), has been one of the key reasons why I’ve been ‘stuck’ and afraid to step into the virtual world as a science communicator, educator, and advocate (even though that is my training and background).

I know that not everyone will agree with my posts, comments, or tone of writing—and that is fine, I need to be true to myself so that I can find my ‘tribe’ both in the virtual and real worlds.

The fourth card drawn was ‘Metamorphosis’ (card number twenty-five in the upright position).

This card is a reminder that nothing in life really stays the same and that to become the best version of ourselves—we need to change. Change is also at times painful and scary (especially when it seems like we’re the only ones going through the process).

As mentioned previously–I’ve been thinking of a career change for several years now, and only decided right before 2020 to take time off to really try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life—the long hours in lab and at the bench no longer appealed to me.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been reflecting on what type of ‘change’ I could do—a total change in direction, or a hybrid change (bench work part-time and something else part time). The ‘loss’ has been the realizing that the childhood dream of my own marine biology research lab wasn’t going to happen, the ‘pain’ is realizing that I’m going to be trying to step out in an arena with others who have been doing it longer. But the ‘growth’ is there, I just have to take the baby steps away from the lab dreams and start focusing them on a different area of life.

Today’s card is the ‘Spark’ (card number thirty four and in the upright position).

The spark is here to remind us that if we’re feeling the spark of creativity to go ahead and move forward with the idea, or if we want to start a new job—now is the time to search and apply.

It has taken awhile for me to be able to find or see the ‘spark’ of creativity—I’d thought it had be totally extinguished as I kept trying to make a go of a career in academia. But it hadn’t been extinguished; it was just not burning as brightly as it could have been. It is slowly starting to burn brighter. What is my creative idea/job that I’m trying to move forward? Figuring out how to blend science education/communication/advocacy together with a personal development/hobbies/spirituality blog.

It’s been suggested that I do two blogs—but I know that if I try to do that one of them will flounder and fail. Not because I don’t have ideas for both—but because I know that I’d focus on one more than the other (as I’ve been prone to do—focusing on something and ignoring everything else). The plan—slowly start adding in more science posts to the blog, and keep reworking things until I find the right ‘mix’ of the two areas.

So, that covers the first five days of the challenge. Each card, while randomly drawn has been the exact card that I needed that day. They’ve been reminding me to listen to my inner voice (no matter how quiet it is)–I just need to be able to sit quietly and turn inward. I also need to trust both in myself and this journey that I’m on–that I not only will ‘survive’ but thrive as I make my way down the ‘unknown’ road of online entrepreneurship.

No Comments Level 10 LifeLifestyle Challengesoracle cardsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reviewing my first attempt at a 12-week year

So I realized that I haven’t posted much this week and that is due in part to it being the end of the second quarter and I’m deep in the reflection zone–looking back at what I had hoped to get accomplished over the past three months and then what I had actually managed to get accomplished.

With today marking the last day of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021–I decided that I would reflect on my first actual attempt of a ’12-week year’. If you’ve never heard of a ’12-week year’, I highly recommend reading the book: ‘The 12 Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

I actually read ‘The 12 Week Year’, last year prior to the world going into lock down due to the pandemic (click on the link and it will take you to my mini-review and reflection post from last year). Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to plan a ’12-week year’ but have always fallen short of the goal. My problem: putting too many items on the calendar or plate, and not having a good breakdown of weekly or monthly goals.

Therefore, this year I decided to merge that idea with an suggestion from another book. The other book is ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine, and her suggestion was creating focal points to focus on for whatever set period of time you wanted.

I then created a ‘central’ focal point of crafting a ‘new career’ that would be focused on freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting/blogging work allowing me to have flexibility in creating my own schedule and would also be semi-location independent.

From there I created four other focal points that would help me start ‘crafting’ that career and they were/are:

Professional Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Networking
  3. Brand Development and Management
  4. Digital Marketing
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Writing

Personal Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Physical space (developing my own definition/style of minimalism)
  3. Financial health (savings, budgeting, investing, retirement, multiple streams of income)

Health (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Mental health (focusing on emotional and spiritual health)
  2. Physical health (getting into the best shape of my life)

Hobbies (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Photography
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Crafts
    • Knitting
    • Cross-stitching
    • Jewelry design/creation
    • Painting
    • Crochet

So while these focal points all seem a little ‘weird’ and you may be wondering how they work together–they’re the four points I’d decided on earlier when I was figuring out what I needed to focus on to work my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole/pit/slump. I realized that I couldn’t just focus on personal/professional development without also focusing on my health and hobbies. They all need to be listed as a reminder, not to hyper-focus in one direction (when I do that–everything else tends to suffer).

It is suggested within ‘Renaissance Soul’ that you only have four to five focal points, and then no more than four or five goals for each focal point. I’m still working on the ‘makers’ for the central focal point, but for the other four I drafted four to five goals for each that I had hoped to get accomplished during the second quarter.

Those goals included:

Within professional development:

  1. Finishing the CSA courses: Medical Writers Organization and Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Starting to learn python programming
  3. Continuing to read and share science news articles on LinkedIn and Twitter
  4. Continuing to add value and network on LinkedIn
  5. Starting (and hopefully finishing) another CSA advance course

Within personal development:

  1. Continue refreshing my Spanish with the Mondly app
  2. Read two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through various personal finance courses
  4. Develop my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start looking into second income stream ideas

Within health:

  1. Finish the following programs: CIZE, 21-Day Fix Live, 21-Day Fix Extreme Live and then start third round of LIIFT4
  2. Daily meditation
  3. Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
  4. Cook Monday & Tuesday dinners–new recipes hopefully monthly

Within hobbies:

  1. At least one walk a week at Boomer Lake with my camera (photography)
  2. Read two fiction books a month
  3. Design at least one bracelet/necklace set
  4. Doodle a cross-stitch design

So how did I do with each area?

Professional development goals:

  1. I completed the Clinical Research Coalition program, along with the Intellectual Property Pack program. These are two of the many advanced professional development programs offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association.
  2. I’m still working through the writing and editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program. I’m hoping to have those finished sometime during the third quarter of the year.
  3. There may have been a couple of days scattered throughout the quarter that I didn’t share articles on LinkedIn or Twitter–but I try to share at least one article a week (preferably an article a day). I’ve been doing better at this, since I created a separate tracking sheet for this goal.
  4. I’ve been slow in networking lately, as I’m trying to semi-narrow my broad ‘career’ area. Therefore I may only send a connection request once a week, and may also only accept an connection request every few days. I have been also trying to be better at commenting on other people’s posts as well.
  5. I haven’t started learning python, even though I’ve bought several e-courses on the subject. I even have a ‘new’ laptop set aside for this very task–I just need to download python (and possibly one or two other apps), and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to ‘learning’ the program and language.

I would say that I managed to accomplish three and a half out of the five goals–giving me a score of roughly seventy percent.

In terms of personal development:

  1. I haven’t been keeping up with refreshing my Spanish, even though I had been doing a decent job of it at the beginning of the year.
  2. I have been reading non-fiction books, and it probably averages out to one and a half to two books a month, and the books read were:
    • ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking
    • ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed
    • ’25 ways to work from home’ by Jen Ruiz
    • ‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker
    • ‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan
  3. I’m still slowly developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism. I know some of the area that I wan to minimize: clothing, DVDs/Cds, and knick-knacks. I also know that since I’m a learner at heart and a bookworm–I’m always going to have a large number of books around me. Since I’m also a crafter–I’m also going to have a good number of craft supplies around me as well. As long as I can balance things out-to where I won’t feel like I’m living in an overly cluttered hole, I’ll be happy. By limiting the items around em, and trying to keep things organized and ‘clean’–I’m also finding it helps alleviate my anxiety and depression as well.
  4. I haven’t worked through any of the personal finance courses that I’ve bought over the years yet.
  5. In terms of looking into the second income stream idea–I think I should have ‘rewritten’ it as looking into both first and second income ideas. I know that there are numerous ways of earning extra cash, and I had been doing a few of them: filling out surveys and selling used DVDs–I just haven’t done either of them lately (due in part to the pandemic).

I would say that I managed to hit about a fifty-five percent on personal development goals. Two were close to zero, but other three had at least some ‘footwork’ done on each of them.

For the health goals:

  1. I did finish my first round of CIZE, but only made it through a week of 21-Day fix live before deciding to concentrate more on intentional movements before starting up my third round of LIIFT4. While I’ve done 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix extreme before, this would have been the first time doing the ‘live’ versions. While I like the program–the reason why I called it ‘quits’ before finishing is that I’m trying to improve my relationship with food, and quit the whole diet/counting calories/macros/restricting food mindset. That type of nutritional advice is given a lot through both programs. So until I’m on a better footing with my relationship to food, I’m going to avoid workout programs that also focus heavily on the diet mindset.
  2. I have managed to do evening meditations for the most part. I may only be focus on my breathing for a minute or two–but those two minutes are essential for being able to have a good night sleep.
  3. I’ve been doing evening oracle card drawings, even if I haven’t been sharing them on social media or even writing about them in the journal. That is something I’m aiming at changing–both starting to share more (maybe an 100-day challenge), and journaling about them (possibly weekly blog posts?).
  4. In terms of cooking dinner twice a week–I’ve been doing this, though there may be a night or two where it was decided we’d have leftovers, or grill (which I don’t do), or whatever. But for the most part, I have found several new recipes that are now in the rotation for Monday and Tuesday night suppers. I’m also going to be looking for more ‘summer’ dinner recipes as well–different salads, and so forth.

I would say that I met seventy-five to eighty percent of my health goals for the second quarter. Each one was met at least partially(since there were a few days that I may have missed my meditation time or oracle card drawings).

In terms of my hobbies:

  1. I think I only made it maybe once or twice a month up to Boomer Lake with my camera. The weather was partially to blame–it has either been rainy and/or overcast, or the temperatures and heat index have been a little too high for my liking for walks. I also haven’t been getting up as early in the mornings as I use to in order to be able to get to the lake to watch the sun rise.
  2. I have managed to read quite a few fiction books over the past three months and they include the following:
    • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
    • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
    • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
    • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
    • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
    • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
    • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
    • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. While I have several ideas for necklace/bracelet sets, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any of them.
  4. I have semi-doodle or drawn a cross-stitch pattern. I’m also thinking that my first ‘real practice’ piece is going to be seeing how many geometrical shapes I can fit on it, and if I can use every single color of thread at least once.

I would say that I managed to to meet about half my goals in terms of hobbies, the only one that I totally didn’t get close to was the jewelry design/creation. I managed to get at least a monthly walk in at Boomer, slowly attempting to teach myself cross-stitch, and reading (at least fiction) has never been a problem.

So I ranged from about fifty to seventy-five/eighty percent on my goals for the second quarter, and if I added them all u–over all I probably averaged about sixty percent.

Not great, but not bad for my first ‘official’ trial at a 12-week year. I know the areas that I need to focus more on (mainly the computer intensive goals). These will simply require setting aside actual time in the day dedicated to those specific tasks. I won’t try to do each one daily, but will aim for at least two-to-three times a week for each and slowly work up to daily work on each of them.

I knew that my first trial wasn’t going to be perfect–but that wasn’t my goal: my goal was progress, seeing if I could stretch my comfort zone a little more each month and branch out in different areas.

I managed to do that in terms of professional development, learning some of the basics of both clinical research and intellectual property. I think it would be interesting doing data analysis for clinical research (but I wouldn’t want to be the person overseeing numerous clinical sites), and I will be looking in to different aspects of intellectual property (mainly copyrights and trademarks), as I don’t see myself trying to climb the ladder on the patent side of things.

While reading has never been a problem–it is more of ensuring that I’m in the ‘proper’ mindset for reading non-fiction, as it tends not be quite the ‘story’ that fiction books are, and I at times lose interest fast.

I’m developing my own sense of health/fitness and will be deciding soon if keeping my Beachbody on demand subscription is worth it or not. I’ve decided that it is time to honor my body and what it is actually capable of doing–that means substituting in exercises for the different lunges, working on trying to do a normal pushup (and forgetting about tricep pushups), and just shaking my head and sitting out the tricep dips.

Moving into the third quarter of the year, the goals for the four focal points will be semi-similar to the goals set for the second quarter.

Third quarter goals will include:

Professional Development:

  1. Finish up the following CSA programs: Medical Writers Organization and then either Government Careers Union or Regulatory Affairs Council
  2. Finish the following short courses on Udemy:
    • 15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them
    • How to become a freelance editor
    • Kickstart a freelance editor and proofreader career on Upwork
    • How to be a journalist
  3. Start learning python coding by working through the following courses:
    • Data Science for beignners: Hand on Python (on Udemy)
    • Complete Python course (on StackSkills)
  4. Continue reading and sharing science news on LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Continue adding value and networking on Linkedin

Bonus Professional Development activities:

  1. Write and publish: ‘Trouble-shooting tips for Molecular Cloning’
  2. Write and publish: ‘Polymerases: why the native ‘reverse transcriptase’ isn’t a problem for the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccine’ (Title may change)
  3. Work through the copywriting e-course: Write Your Way to Freedom

Personal Development Goals:

  1. Set aside 30-45 minutes (two to three days a week) for refreshing Spanish
  2. Read one to two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through the following e-courses:
    • The complete personal finance course (on Udemy)
    • Reinvent your career (on Udemy)
    • How to work for yourself (on Udemy)
    • Freelance writing 101: build a successful writing career (on SkillShare)
    • Content marketing: blogging for growth (on SkillShare)
    • Writing and blogging with passion: create a flexible editorial plan and calendar (on SkillShare)
  4. Continue developing my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start trying to ‘draft’ first/second and possibly third stream of income ideas (more tied to professional)

Health goals:

  1. Finish LIIFT4 (basically around the 23rd) and then start Morning Meltdown 100 (will go from 7/26/21 to 11/2/21)
  2. Daily meditation and oracle card reading/drawings
  3. Work through the following courses:
    • Mindfulness for Anxiety (on Udemy)
    • Learn Tarot in a Day (on Udemy)
    • Explicit Tarot: Learn Tarot Card Reading through Story Telling (on Udemy)
  4. Start a daily gratitude entry in the journal
  5. New recipes at least once a week/month

Hobby Goals:

  1. At least one walk a month at Boomer Lake, and maybe start trying food photography as well
  2. Work through the following courses:
    • Food Photography (on StackSkills)
    • How to create an engaging food post (on SkillShare)
    • How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners (on SkillShare)
  3. Read at least two to three fiction books a month
  4. Continue to doodle/draw/sketch cross-stitch patterns and create the geometric/multi-colored ‘trial’ piece
  5. Design/create necklace and/or bracelets–individually or as sets.

You might have noticed that I have quite a few e-courses down for the third quarter compared to second. We’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’–where it will either be too hot, too humid, or both in terms of being outdoors for extended periods of time. Therefore, I’m planning those days now–instead of wondering what to do when I reach them.

I still need to break these goals down into monthly and then weekly goals (in addition to other goals I’ll have for each week). My main goal for the third quarter is to meet at least seventy-five to eighty percent of each set of goals, with an overall percentage foal of eighty percent (meaning by the end of September I’ve accomplished at least four out of the five goals).

Have you done a 12-week year before? If you have–how long have you been doing them? And what is your running average of goal completion?

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Some routines are working & some need tuning: Review of the Virgo new moon goals

We should be heading into October’s new moon tomorrow night (though depending on where you are in the world, the timing may be tonight instead). I’m trying to get better at posting on the blog—I’m slightly behind in the photography challenge, not that I don’t have pictures to post, but the stumbling block is actually trying to get something written about the picture (and hopefully with more than 100 words). Truthfully, before trying to blog I never really paid that much attention to how many words were in a particular writing assignment.

So before looking to the next new moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Virgo new moon, see how I did with each one of them, and where I can still work on improvements.

So what were my goals for the Virgo new moon?

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life 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 (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, possibly alternating days that certain things are done on (for example networking on Mondays & Wednesdays, but following up with people on Tuesdays & Fridays).
  4. Continue with nightly oracle card readings and also try to spend at least two to three minutes meditating (either before or after the reading).

So how did I do with each goal?

In terms of taking an inventory of my life and developing/organizing a schedule—still working on it. I’ve realized that one of my major problems (and possibly the number one trigger of my anxiety) is that I try to put way to much stuff on the plate for any particular week or day.

I think that I have to work on all aspects of life constantly—for example I’m doing a daily workout (getting back into a fitness routine), trying to work through various e-courses, read, network, brainstorm ideas, spend time on crafts, and keep my sanity.

I think that the best thing will be developing the schedule and alternating days of doing things—make the small steps each day/week towards the goals but alternate what goal I’m working towards any particular day. I’m thinking of limiting it to no more than 2 to 3 goals a day, and no more than 4 to 6 goals a week. This way I’m focusing on 2 to 3 areas of life (fitness/nutrition and then personal and professional development).

In terms of continuing with the daily workout—I’m into week 4/5 of my combo calendar. It would be starting week 5 of Yoga Booty Ballet, but basically ending week 4 of LIIFT4. I should be done with this combo mid-November and then going on to 10 Rounds (which is another resistance/cardio combo program).

I’ve already touch a little on how I’m really going to try to break up tasks and try to focus on certain things on certain days (trying to hopefully keep the anxiety and nerves under a little more control).

In terms of nightly oracle card readings and meditations—I’ve only missed a couple of nights (usually running behind on everything else and I just want to turn off the lights and unwind for awhile before heading to bed). I’m really getting into one of the new sets of oracle cards I got recently and should hopefully be putting up a review of it on the blog in the coming weeks.

It’s nice to see that even when I don’t have a clear question for the universe, I’m still being shown that I am on the right path.

While there are many people who didn’t agree with my decision to quit my job in December to do some much needed soul-searching and reflection—I needed to do it for me, and no one else.

I’m coming closer to figuring out my path—I just have to remember that everyone feels like a fraud from time to time, everyone makes mistakes, and that no matter how small the steps are if I keep moving forward long enough, once I turn around to judge my journey I’ll be impressed with how far I’ve come.

But I am also going to be keeping the following quotes/phrases front and center as well:

 “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologyfitnessNew Moon Goalsoracle cardsspirituality