Tag: reflections

Entering the second fall in self-isolation with a new bookcase, craft supplies, and books

So it’s that time again–for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

We’re two-thirds of the way through 2021, and I’ve realized that I haven’t quite hit the stride I did when I started the challenge (January was the best month to date for this particular challenge).

My limited spending challenge is just that–I’m trying to limit my spending by dividing things into two groups (or categories): needed items and splurges.

So I did really well in January, and then started slipping each month a little more. I planned to ‘rebound’ and start honoring the challenge again in June, did fairly well for the month, did okay during July (though there will always be some type of minor splurges), and did semi-okay again this month (if one ignores the book splurges).

Hopefully, the book splurges (at least those that aren’t from the ‘freebie announcement emails’) will start to go back down during the next few months. While I did buy quite a few e-books this month, several of them are in terms of the professional direction I’m thinking of going in: freelance writing.

So how did August go in terms of purchases/splurges?

I bought myself a bookcase/nightstand to replace the haphazard one I’ve created over the years. This will also give me storage for the numerous books that I bought this month as well. In addition I bought a few more craft supplies (including a glue gun) to help me get through the fall and winter in semi-isolation.

Then there are the books (I don’t think a month will go by without at least a small splurge on books). The books I bought during August include:

Electronic books:

  1. How to Launch a Freelance Copywriting Business: Creative Writing for a Living by Jules Horne
  2. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer: Find your perfect clients, make tons of money, and build a business you love by Jennifer Goforth Gregory
  3. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch by Laura Briggs and the Staff of Entrepreneur Media
  4. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms by Zachary Petit
  5. Here with Me (The Adair Family #1) by Samantha Young
  6. Black Ops Mates (Complete Series-Lion Shifter Romance Box Set) by Ruby Knoxx
  7. One Night Years Ago (Sharp’s Cove #1) by J.R. Pace
  8. Two Favors Repaid (Sharp’s Cove #2) by J.R. Pace
  9. Three Times Ablaze (Sharp’s Cove #3) by J.R. Pace
  10. JET (Books 1-3) by Russell Blake
  11. The Power of Reinvention: Personal Stories of How Our Greatest Challenges Become the Catalyst to Reinvent our Life! by Mags Thomson, Irene Anggreeni, Rachel Claire Farnsworth, Emma Smillie, Dr. Trinise White-Foster, Marie Dobenesque, Silika Thor, Martin Gillespie, and Einavi Avni
  12. Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What It Is by Sara Kravitz
  13. Slightly Off Balance by Kaylie Hunter
  14. New Girl in Town (Olivia Knight FBI #1) by Elle Gray
  15. Weakest Lynx (The Lynx Series #1) by Fiona Quinn
  16. Deadly Act (Kylie Hatfield Series #1) by Mary Stone and Bella Cross
  17. Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday Book Read & Review coming soon
  18. Phoenix Rising (Complete Series) by Annie Anderson
  19. I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotenialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page Book Read

Physical Books:

  1. America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilizations by Graham Hancock
  2. Lost Civilizations: The Secret Histories & Suppressed Technologies of the Ancients by Jim Willis
  3. Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid-19 by Heather Quinlan
  4. The Mayan Calendar & the Transformation of Consciousness by Carl Johan Calleman
  5. Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path by David Freidel
  6. Statistics for Dummies by Deborah J. Rumsey
  7. Statistics for Absolute Beginners by Oliver Theobald
  8. Biostatistics for Dummies by John Pezzulo
  9. Supernatural: Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock
  10. The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love (2nd Edition) by Sonya Renee Taylor
  11. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach (4th Edition) by Evelyn Tribole

Several of the ‘physical’ books fell under the personal/professional development area, while others were bought as possible ‘reference’ books for short story ideas. Though they were also bought because I’m interested in the topic (early human history). In addition several of the e-books also fell into the personal/professional development area–and as noted above, I’ve read one of them.

The books on freelancing writing (and how to start a freelance business) were bought mainly because that is the direction I’m really leaning in for my career transition. The transition is going to be a ‘mixed’ niche (science/medical writing along with personal/professional development, crafts/hobbies, and spirituality) that might be heavy in one area to begin with, but even out as I find my footing as a freelance writer.

So, yes numerous books were bought (probably on par with April or May, possibly even June)—but that has always been my weakness—books. I’m an avid reader who has absolutely no problem buying fifteen to forty new books when I still have a couple hundred on my e-reader that I haven’t read yet.

The bookcase/nightstand has been needed for quite awhile; I just hadn’t gotten around to getting one yet. The craft supplies were also deemed semi-essential as the pandemic is still raging, and I foresee myself staying in semi-isolation (weekly walk to get the weekend newspaper, and possibly monthly walks at Boomer Lake with a mask) until at least spring 2022.

I should hopefully be able to curb my impulsive e-book buying starting this month, as I’m going to be working on expanding my writing samples (possibly introducing a new landing page—‘portfolio’), and slowly getting my freelance/remote/contract writing business up and running this fall and winter.

For my inner shiny object/squirrel lover: Who is a ‘new’ to you author that you’ve found lately?

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Pisces New Moon: Dream, Reflect, and Plan

So the moon will be making its third new moon transition today through the Pisces constellation.

One of the things I’m trying to focus on this year is productivity, while I was productive last year I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be (in part due to the pandemic, self-isolation, and just general irritation at the world). I have yet to find a planning method for a calendar that I like, so I usually just stick with pen and paper. Currently the monthly brain dumps and picking topics from that seems to be working–though I still pick way more topics weekly than I can actually work through (or I still need to get better at time management).

Anyway, I’ve also decided that my once weekly ‘unplugging’ will bounce between Saturday and Sunday, depending on the workout schedule that I’m following and if there are group calls or other things that I need to get done and requires the use of the computer.

Currently, my ‘unplugging’ day will be Sunday (at least for the next three weeks), and may also change to a partial-unplugging day (if I’m doing a workout program that is actually daily).

So back to the Pisces new moon–what are some things that one can do during this time?

You can:

Dream

Face your fears

Follow your intuition/hunches

Heal-focus on working through emotional or spiritual issues

“surrender”-practice yoga or meditation

In terms of the above list–I’ve been trying to ‘face certain fears’ for the past year or so (and the pandemic really didn’t help matters). Truthfully I’d really say they’re more either anxiety issues or issues with my inner critic/imposter syndrome and not really fears.

There is my dislike of talking in specific circumstances: one-on-one with someone new (say at a newtowrking event) or in front of large crowds (say giving a talk). The reason: childhood ‘trauma’ of having teachers correct my speech (I hada ‘Boston’ accent when we moved to OK and I didn’t pronounce the letter ‘R’) and being stuck in speech therapy for 5 years to ‘correct’ the ‘problem’. While I’ve gotten better about talking with people–the anxiety still pops up every so often, and will probably more now that there are vaccines available for the SARS-CoV2 virus and travel will slowly start opening up again.

There is my ‘writer’s block’–which is my inner critic/imposter syndrome popping up every so often and pulling me back into my ‘comfort zone’. Though I’ve mentioned before that I’ve acknowledged this issue, and that the best way of working through it is to write, publish, and realize that I will slowly be figuring out and finding my tribe and that not everyone will like what I have to write about or the style in which I write it.

I’ve been working a little more on the intuition by doing oracle card readings nightly, though I haven’t been writing down the cards like I had previously. Currently my main question centers around ‘what can I focus on today’, and I then draw one to three cards. I also realize that with asking that particular question, I should really be doing the card readings in the morning–so I still need to work on developing a flowing schedule that works.

I’ve also been drafting a list of ideas of things to do to help focus on improving my emotional and spiritual health (possible topic for another blog post).

In addition, Pisces is also moving through my 5th house–or my fun zone. This is the area that is triggered by creativity, children, and romance. Now I’m currently good with the creativity portion (creativity is both a strength and one of my chosen words for 2021), but will probably be ‘ignoring’ the other two. I don’t have children (at least the two-legged kind; I do have furry children), and I’m still not in the market for romance (since I’m still trying to figure out my life & where I would possibly like to be within the next two years–plus there is still the pandemic).

So there are several things that one can do during this time that coincides with the fun zone:

Learn belly dancing

Make a toy for a child

Start dating

Go on a trip with your significant other

Do something creative (write, paint, so forth)

Do something that typifies your idea of fun

Throw a party

Since we’re still dealing with the pandemic, and while there are vaccines available–one should still wear a mask and social distance even after they receive the vaccine, I can cross three things off that list: dating, throwing a party, and traveling. Also will cross off making a toy for a child.

So my list of goals for the Pisces new moon will include:

Continuing with CIZE, while it isn’t a belly-dancing program, it is a dance program. It may teach me how to use my two ‘left’ feet before I try to find a free belly-dancing program online.

Doodle sketch a cross-stitch pattern and work on cross-stitching this month.

Finish patching the one afghan and start making a patch (or patches) for the second afghan.

Continue with a evening meditation routine and also try to start meditating in the morning as well

Dream ‘big’ on where I would like to be in say 3-5 years and start making plans/goals on getting there

While remembering: ‘Progress over Perfection’ and that I’ve stated that 2021 will be a year of growth, creativity, and curiosity leading to increased happiness and prosperity.

What are you doing for the Pisces new moon?

No Comments AstrologyCraftsfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Ways my inner critic has been derailing my progress

So in a slight continuation of my last post on self-reflection and trying to stretch the comfort zone, I thought I’d share my reflections on my inner critic or imposter syndrome. To date–I haven’t named my inner critic, though I may name it at some point.

So in addition to doing the work of filling in my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram, I was also wanting to see if I could notice any little habits that I had when I didn’t feel like doing something I know I should be doing. I figured if I could notice these habits, I was at least a step or two closer to dealing with inner critic dragging me back into the comfort zone.

So far that list is at five different things (that I’ve currently noticed over the past few weeks):

Constantly brushing my hair and looking for split ends to trim.

Scrolling through social media (namely Facebook) and amazon, plus checking my email constantly when I feel like I hit a mental ‘brick’ wall.

Turning to the kindle and either reading (or re-reading) a book, or deciding to do ‘just one more color by number picture’

With the weather warming up, I will go outside (usually after lunch) and sit at the patio table. I may or may not take anything outside with me, and if I do take something outside it is usually my camera.

Starting to outline (or write rough drafts) on different topics, and then ‘talk’ myself out of continuing through to a final publishable article.

So how am I working around these derailing habits?

In terms of ‘playing’ with my hair–I’m starting to braid it in the morning. While it doesn’t stop me from looking for split ends before braiding or later in the evening after washing my hair, it does keep me from doing it during the day. My thoughts were if I go through the trouble of braiding my hair, I won’t unbraid just to look for split ends. So far this has been working for me.

I will also possibly ‘stop’ the habit, whenever it is safe for me to go and get a haircut. Also by safe I mean that I’ve gotten the SARS-CoV2 vaccine, but will still wear a mask out in public. Since my last haircut was before the pandemic hit, my hair is the longest it has been in several years (just about to the bottom of my shoulder blades). So while I have this ‘habit’ under control, that is when I started noticing the other habits.

So in terms of trying to control the ‘mindless scrolling’ on the computer–I have downloaded an ‘time management’ app that is suppose to help with this issue. I haven’t used it yet, and the excuse for not using it is extremely flimsy: ‘since I randomly click back to Facebook or amazon or ‘whatever site’, how can I set a time period? I don’t know when I’ll be randomly wandering the web.’

I scroll though the web when I’m bored or feeling ‘stuck’ and wanting to ‘look’ productive. Also, most of the ‘groups’ that I’m in post on Facebook, but I can’t use that as an excuse for not being better at time management.

So what I’m going to do is 1) make a list of all the different groups I’m in on Facebook, and then make a schedule of when I ‘check-in’ on those groups (scrolling through, liking, commenting, and posting); 2) then based on that schedule-activate the time management app around it for Facebook. I should probably just have it set up to keep me off of amazon for majority of the day (or possibly only allow myself on it on the weekends); this will also help in limited spending challenge.

In terms of turning to the kindle constantly, the best way to deal with that habit will be to turn off the kindle and have it slightly out of sight (but still charging) for the day. The only times it may not be ‘out of sight’ will be the days when I decide to read (and possibly write out book reviews) outside during the nice weather.

That brings me to the biggest hurdle–nice weather. I like being outdoors when the weather is nice and warm (but not too terribly warm). My problem is actually not making proper use of the time outdoors. Sitting and daydreaming, or just sitting in general isn’t really the problem–the problem is doing those two things for several hours at a time.

So until it really becomes the gardening weather (where I can transplant some ground cover between different aresa of the yard, do basic yard work, or plant flowers and bushes), I will be trying to improve the time I spend outdoors.

I will either 1) have my laptop outside, sitting to where the sun doesn’t really hit the screen, to work on things for an hour or so (before having to take the laptop back in to charge); 2) have a notebook (or two) and just journal/write/doodle/sketch; 3) have my kindle and a journal with me and try to get at least one rough draft of a book review written; and finally 4) think of possibly investing in an iPad and have that outside for me to work on.

I will probably have my camera outside with me most day to work on my nature photography skills and possibly architecture photography skills as well.

In terms of the ‘writer’s block’–I’m acknowledging the fact that people may or may not read what I write and post. I realized this with the science recaps I did back in January–one had been viewed and the other one hadn’t been viewed. I’m still brainstorming what I think would be the best way to continue doing science new recaps, and having people actually read the article. Since I’m thinking of going in the direction of freelance writer and blogger–I have acknowledged the fact that it will take time to find my ‘tribe’ of people.

The best way for me to improve as a writer is to write and share my thoughts and views. Currently that has been mainly on the blog–some posts have people stop and read, others are just scrolled past. I also realize that I need to work through various courses that I’ve bought on different forms of writing (such as copy writing) and then figure out what ‘types’ of writing I want to focus on (say blog writing, copy writing, and possibly scientific/educational) and go from there.

So those are currently the five different ways that my inner critic/imposter syndrome use to keep me out of the stretch/risk/die zones and ‘safely’ within my comfort zone. My goal is to both continue edging into the stretch zone (and by definition stretch the comfort zone) and do it in such ‘small’ increments that I can trick my inner critic/imposter syndrome into believing that I’m sticking in the comfort zone.

Meeting this goal will require me to better at both time and project management, in addition to recognizing the current habits of my inner critic and keeping my senses tuned to any additional derailing habit that may pop up in the future.

Filling in the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram and paying attention (and acknowledging) the distracting tactics of my inner critic means I’m holding true to one of the words that I picked for 2021: growth. Growth is also the internal acknowledgment of ‘blocks’ and working to either dismantle the ‘blocks’ or at least work around them.

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Reflecting on December’s Sagittarius New Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation tomorrow, marking the first new moon of 2021. We’re entering week two of 2021–though it still feels like 2020 (mainly due to the fiasco last week of the attempted coup by right-wing nut-bags (all of whom I hope are arrested, found guilty of treason, and spend the rest of their miserable lives in prison)). So before I can look ahead to the Capricorn new moon, I need to look back at the goals that I set for the Sagittarius new moon, and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Sagittarius new moon included:

Developing a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule to for getting things done.

Setting up a goal list for 2021 (working via the larger 150+goals in 2002 days post)

Starting to work through different e-courses (and taking notes for future blog posts)

Finally, setting up a dedicated work station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of developing a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule–I’m getting better at it. Basically, I’m trying to do things in a 90-minute chunk with a 20-minute break between the ‘work chunks’. Currently I’m finding I do better in the morning than the afternoon. While I’m fine with this (everyone has a time of day that they work the best during), I may actually try to possibly get some more creative work done, or possibly work through an e-course (but not have a timer set for 90 minutes like I do in the morning) in the afternoon. This may also be the time when I could probably get some uninterrupted meditation time in.

Setting up a goal list for 2021–I managed this one. I decided that this year I would try it in the form of a bingo card. In addition to the bingo card, I also have a curated list of non-fiction books I would like to read this year (from my extremely larger list I started a couple of years ago), and a curated list of e-courses I would also like to work through (again curated from the huge list I’ve accumulated over the past few years).

2021 Bingo Goal Card

Plus I decided that I would also do a workout bingo card, but stretch the time frame to be from 2021 through 2023.

2021 to 2023 Beachbody fitness program bingo card

I worked through the ‘e-course’ Listen to Your Body Method. Though this was more of a weekly coaching/personal development program where there was a group zoom meeting once a week for about 10 weeks. This course opened my eyes to several different things that I’m going to try to start practicing (channel switching, incorporating ‘right’ brain activities into my day, having ‘conversations’ with my inner critic, acknowledging my inner critic, and slowly stepping into my power). Again, as I mentioned above with the goals–I have a curated list of courses I would like to finish during 2021.

In terms of setting up a dedicated work station and semi-dedicated meditation area–well, I almost have the desk cleared off and I’m thinking of turning the other desk/table into where I do my oracle/tarot card readings at night. I’ve realized that I’m still allowing a few things to keep me from totally moving forward in setting up these areas: 1) I use the desk chair as a nightstand (for my glasses, kindle, and journal)–I can easily still use it for that, as I wear my glasses during the day and would just have to find a different spot to lay the kindle and journal during the day; 2) things are still under the desk, but since I don’t really like sitting forward (unless there is room to stretch out my legs), I need to figure out what to use as a possible foot stool, and 3) I need to have a discussion with both my inner critic and anxiety about whatever other issues that are holding me back that I may not recognize day-to-day.

Currently my workstation is bouncing between the table at the window and my bed (and yes, I know that I shouldn’t be working on the bed as I may have a hard time falling asleep at night), and the meditation/oracle card reading is being done on the floor where I currently have my meditation mat.

I’m heading into 2021 knowing that I’m slowly getting better at time and project management (though I would rank both as can-get-better-at). I’m slowly figuring things out, and realizing that the path I carve for myself moving forward doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s path. I know that focusing on time and project management will be key for moving forward both personally and professionally in 2021 and beyond.

Also, taking the time to sit and reflect/question when I realize I’m hitting a roadblock in either area. One of the key things I realized last year–I’ve spent way too much time over the years being a ‘people pleaser’/team player in my career. That isn’t to say that being a team player is bad–it isn’t, but I also need to stand up for myself and my career and learn to start saying no to things that don’t align or wouldn’t help me move my career forward.

I have decided that the following phrases are going to be stay with me in 2021: “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”..

In addition the words I’ve chosen for 2021 are: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity

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Had taken a small “hiatus”

So I realized that I really haven’t posted that much during the month of April.

In part it is due to me being extremely angry with how various leaders are handing the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. Here I’m mainly talking about the local state and federal governments. The city was doing okay, until the governor stated that everything was going to start to reopen May 1st.

The only problem with things reopening–there aren’t that many states (and OK isn’t one of those states) that have met the 1st requirement: 14 days of declining new cases. Therefore, we shouldn’t be reopening for at least another month–so the numbers are going to probably start jumping soon.

I will hopefully get back to posting semi-regularly (not sure on a photography challenge–as it is hard to try to take a new picture daily), within the next few weeks.

Hope everyone is staying safe and sane during this time.

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