Tag: reflections

Focusing on the career: updating social pages, writing, and research

So the moon will be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation tonight—marking the sixth full moon of the year; and we’re almost half way through June.

The Sagittarius moon is known for giving off ‘fun energy’, and while that is nice going into the summer months, and while I could say I’m hoping that it won’t lead to a spike in cases–we’re already spiking again due to the various omicron variants…so I’ll be spending the time reflecting and working towards either the transition to a remote communications position or starting a freelance business.

Sagittarius Reflection Questions from the Book: Moonology: Working with Magic of Lunar Cycles by Yasmin Boland

Have I been too flippant, or carefree to the point of being careless, irresponsible, even?

Have I been letting myself down by allowing myself get distracted and bored?

Have I been overconfident to the point of arrogance, or too preachy?

Have I been a commitment-phobe, to my own detriment?

Have I been seeing the bigger picture?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follows:

My Answers/(Yours of course will be different):

  1. In terms of finances, yes I have probably been a little too ‘carefree’ lately. I’ve realized that the past nine-to-ten months I’ve reverted to spending money when I’m stressed/anxious/depressed—and since we lost Rolex last month (due to a relapse of hemolytic anemia); Russia is still invading Ukraine (and probably won’t stop there); and it just seems the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Now I’m aiming to just be at least 1-5 days better than the previous month in terms of ‘no-spending’.
  2. Yes, I have been allowing myself to get distracted (I won’t really say bored, but more of a ‘fear of failure’/’imposter syndrome’) more often lately. I’m actually going to be drafting writing ideas on this topic. I do allow myself to get distracted; though since starting the content development challenge and participating in #socialsaturday on LinkedIn—I haven’t been quite as ‘bored’. Still working on time and project management.
  3. Nope, I have not been overconfident to the point of arrogance or being too preachy.
  4. I liked last years answer, so I’m going to ‘recycle’ it. This answer again depends on which aspect of life we’re talking about. Am I being a commitment-phobe to myself (i.e. not doing my workouts, eating well, and so forth)? Or a commitment-phobe to someone else? If we’re talking to about the first (myself)—then yes, I have been a commitment-phobe to my own detriment. I’m working on getting better at it though. If we’re talking about being a commitment-phobe to someone else—nope (can’t be a commitment phobe if you aren’t in a relationship, and I’m currently not in a relationship).
  5. Which bigger picture are we talking? Trying to figure out my life in say five to twenty years? The current societal picture? The global picture? The current global/societal picture sucks…There is an illegal war going on (only because the aggressor has nukes and no one wants them going off—but what happens when they turn their eyes to other countries?), we’re still dealing with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic (don’t care if people are allowed to travel—the virus hasn’t disappeared), and we’re also dealing with the gun violence epidemic as well as numerous other issues. If the global society can’t stop the illegal war—it could very well erupt into the third world war. I’m seriously wondering now if we’re going to be able to survive as a society and be ‘recognized’ as society in say fifteen to twenty years.

What Zone/House is Sagittarius traveling through (for me)?

In addition to the fact that the moon has entered into Sagittarius, at least for me it has moved into my second house (or the cash, property, and values zone). This full moon brings about feelings of one’s financial security and stability, and self worth.

It means that we’re suppose to find a balance between various aspects of life—are we tired of working for others and wanting to strike out on our own—now would be the time to start planning it, have we been neglecting ourselves and focusing on others??

This zone is popping up at a time when I need to really start ‘job searching’ and finish reformatting the blog/website. While I know I can probably find a job on campus if I really need one—I’d prefer to have a remote communications job or possibly one or two freelance clients and starting my own business.

In addition, I’m going to look into different ways of earning small amounts of cash (taking surveys, selling DVDs back, possibly sell photography prints or homemade jewelry).

So, while I’m still going to treat this time as a period of self-reflection, I’m also going to be doing other things that I need to do to really get the job search up and going….

So what are my goals for the Sagittarius Full Moon? They include:

  1. Finish updating my LinkedIn profile…While I’ve ‘technically’ have taken a career break the past two years—I’ve also been trying my hand at blogging and content creation…so I have to decide how to put that in…plus figure out the ‘transferable skill’ title for previous jobs…fun times….
  2. Create a functional resume template for science/medical communication jobs…
  3. Finish updating the few pages on the website that I haven’t updated, start doing some serious SEO research for the site, writing, and so forth…
  4. Continue with my 90-day content creation challenge
  5. And if I have time: roll the dice and see what the next adventure (or adventures) will be in terms of personal and professional development.

I’m working on ‘closing’ the previous chapters of my life (at least in terms of career) and write the next one as a ‘blockbuster’ chapter…

What is one of your Sagittarius goals?

Namaste…

No Comments AstrologycareerFull Moon Goalsjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

An unplanned rant, hit two goals, plus planning for the future: May Goals in Review

So, we’re entering June—that means there are only seven months left in 2022.

I’d mentioned last month how I’d hoped that things would start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’—they haven’t. May wasn’t a great month—if it were possible to ‘erase’ months from the calendar, I’ve already picked the four months I want to do away with: February, April, May, and October.

Seems random doesn’t it? Well all four months have something in common: they’re months that we’ve lost dogs.

February 2018, we lost Spelunkers to cancer.

April 2015, we lost Speedbump to old age.

October 2018, we lost Piranha to old age, and Chewi to a combination of old age and cancer.

Then, this past month (May 2022) we lost Rolex to hemolytic anemia.

It was thought that her hemolytic anemia had been brought on by the allergy shot she had gotten last fall. Since she’d been on medication for over seven months and slowly being weaned with (what was thought to be no complications), everyone had their fingers crossed.

Unfortunately, her allergies acted up (we didn’t notice her licking and chewing on her leg), she gave herself a sore—which kicked in the immune system, which also triggered the immune cells against her blood cells. We had thought we’d caught it in time, but due to various issues, she didn’t beat this relapse. So I hope you’re enjoying yourself at the rainbow bridge, and watching over us.

The world is still going to hell in a hand-basket—Russia is still waging their illegal war in Ukraine, the SARS-CoV2 virus is still running around, and then there is the gun violence.

There were two mass shootings last month within a week and a half of each other. The ‘first’ was up in Buffalo, where ten people were gunned down in a supermarket—because of the color of their skin.

The ‘second’ one was just last week—and 21 people were killed: two teachers and 19 kids; plus 17 others were wounded.

Plus there were three shootings today: one at a high school in LA (students wounded), outside a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania (one injured), and one in Tulsa OK at a hospital (four were killed plus the gunman). Not to mention that there had been another shooting in a small town outside of Tulsa earlier this week.

I know that people state that one shouldn’t be ‘political’ when trying to job search, start a freelance business, and so forth—but enough.

If people want to disagree—fine. If people don’t want to work with me—fine. If somehow these views result in not getting a job interview or offer—fine.

I know that people will say—‘but the Second Amendment’…

What is the wording of the Second Amendment?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

So, while it does refer to the right of individuals being able to own guns—it also states its main goal: a well-regulated militia (national guard) for the security of the state.

The amendment was needed because of the disconnection between individuals while they were drafting the constitution and debating over it—some didn’t like the idea of the government having that much ‘military’ control, while others thought it shouldn’t matter, since everyone had some type of ‘arms’ at home.

I truthfully don’t have any problem with responsible gun owners—those that have gone through the background checks, keep the weapons and ammunition locked up (separately), and so forth.

My problem—the ability for those who obviously have severe mental health issues to be able to buy weapons and ammunition and no one really blinks twice at it.

My problem—the toxic culture we live with day-to-day, that makes it ‘taboo’ for people to talk about mental health issues.

My problem—is that there are organizations and people who would rather keep lining their pockets with money, than try to resolve a pandemic that has been raging for decades.

My problem—the toxic patriarchy culture where rich, old, white men are afraid of the future—so they fan the flames of hate and misogamy to try to stay in power.

There is a good percentage of the American population that wants sensible gun laws; that want universal background checks, and the age limit raised for the purchase of weapons.

Why won’t Congress do anything? The pockets of many are being lined by the businesses that would ‘lose’ some money if those changes were put into place.

So, here is a solution: vote out every NRA-backed Congress member, plus any NRA-backed state politicians, and vote in those who support the Second Amendment—but who also support common sense gun laws, and universal health care (especially mental health).

So—please, lets have a civil discussion about universal health care (including mental health), universal background checks, closing loopholes, and ensuring that weapons don’t end up in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

So, that was my unintentional rant on gun violence in the United States. I know that it will take quite a while before anything worthwhile happens—but we need universal healthcare (including mental health) in this country, we need universal background checks, and ways of keeping weapons out of the hands of those that could do severe harm.

In terms of the total number of cases of the SARS-CoV2 virus within the US, when I published ‘April in Review’ on May 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 83.0 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached just a little over 85.9 million cases (an increase of a about 2.9 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

Before trying to set my goals for June, I should look back at the goals I set for May and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for May included:

  1. At least 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting to lift weights, do some cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (also have written at least two mini book reviews)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-155,000 steps; I managed to actually surpass my goal step. I managed 188,937 steps for the month of May. This was in large part due to weekly walks at Boomer Lake—I think I only ‘missed’ one week walking at the lake.

In terms of the intentional movements: well, I managed weekly walks (for the most part) and since it’s summertime—it means mowing the yard at least every other week.

Since we lost Rolex, the other two dogs spend a good chunk of the day in my room with me—and I haven’t had the heart to ‘kick’ them out so that I can do a thirty-to-forty minute workout (yet).

For the non-fiction books, I’m currently reading the following:

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor

INNERCISE: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf

I’m a little over a third of the way through each of them.

In terms of fiction books I’ve read the following:

Wildfire Griffin (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #1) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Unicorn (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #2) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Sea Dragon (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #3) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Pegasus (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #4) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Hellhound (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #5) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Phoenix (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #6) by Zoe Chant

How Much I Want (Miami Nights #4) by Marie Force (book review written)

Etched in Honor (Aspen Pack #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review written)

Faking the Game (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Buroga

There may have been several other fiction books read—but they were either repeats or I haven’t finished them yet.

In terms of the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–I managed about a third of the month without spending some money. I of course splurged on e-books, the silly game, essentials (dog treats and so forth), and craft supplies.

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

Time outdoors was manageable for the most part this month (there were some rainy days where I only went out briefly at night with the dogs).

The meditation/sitting quietly is still a ‘work in progress’—mainly in terms of setting a area up that I wouldn’t have to ‘take down’ as soon as I was done meditating. I managed the daily gratitude journal entries for the most part (there may have been a day or two that I didn’t do it), and I managed about two-thirds of the month in terms of the daily oracle card drawings

In terms of craft time: I managed to get in at least a weekly photography session up at Boomer Lake, and once some more black thread comes in, I’ll be starting on Rolex’s memorial tapestry. So there has been craft time—just not a ‘daily’ chunk of time.

In terms of working through personal/professional development courses: I’m also done with the LinkedIn Unlocked course that I purchased at the end of April—I think I have like two and a half modules left of it.

In terms of writing, writing, and doing some more writing: since I decided to start a 90-day content creation/research challenge, I have been doing a little bit of writing daily.

I’m working on the ‘molecular cloning’ series, in addition to researching various other topics.

I’m trying to stay ‘true’ to my strengths and values, but at the same time not fall down the rabbit hole of ‘overthinking/analysis-paralysis, and constant research’.

So, I made progress with some goals (steps, and reading), while others are still slightly ‘stagnant’ (limited spending, intentional movement, and working through various e-courses) in progress.

While it would feel ‘better’ to blame others—I know that I ‘triggered’ this month (due to stress, anxiety, and depression), and instead of rationally working through the emotions—I spent money.

I can handle the emotions (even all three at once)—but when there are multiple ‘causes’—that is when I really spiral.

Two of the main causes this month: losing Rolex, and the two mass shootings. I could also mention that there are health issues with other family members that didn’t help the situation.

But, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try to do a little bit better than I did yesterday.

For example—I managed about a third of May without spending money—therefore the ‘minimal’ goal for June will be twelve days (or forty percent).

I was ‘reminded’ in one of the personal/professional development groups—that when it comes to writing, having an outline is essential (especially as one moves towards a communications role and/or freelancing)—and that isn’t something that I do often. Usually, I’ll start writing and then draft an outline from the notes (even though I know that isn’t the way one should usually go about writing).

So moving forward into the last month of the first half of the year, goals for June will include:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish the two non-fiction books that I started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (and write at least one mini book review)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. And of course–writing, writing, and more writing

Are the goals redundant??  Yes—but (at least for me) that is how they become habits—repeating them over and over again.

But they’re also goals that align with strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

What may change—how I go about achieving the goals–I’m going to spend the next couple of days also working on a multi-prong personal/professional development plan that will focus on career, finances, personal/professional development, spirituality, and hobbies/crafts.

I know what my biggest ‘sticking’ points are: being over zealous, trying to cram a months worth of ideas/goals into a few days, and then allowing the inner critic/imposter syndrome drag me back into my comfort zone when I ‘fail’ at achieving the goals.

This means I’m also going to be working on improving my time and project management skills as well—considering they’re part of each and every goal listed above.

The first step for June will be creating the rough draft of the multi-prong personal/professional development plan for say the next three-to-five years; then breaking those goals down into say one-two-three (or one-three-five) years, first set of quarterly, first set of monthly, first set of weekly, and then finally first set of daily goals.

In addition—I’m still working on figuring out my ‘brand’. I’m settling in on certain colors and fonts, I’m still attached to the blog byline (‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’), so now I just need to figure out a good working web address for the site.

I’ll also be continuing with my 90-day content creation/research challenge. The goal is at the end of the 90 days I’ll have at least three months worth of content (maybe more, maybe a little less—since anything written and published here, or submitted to Medical News Bulletin is included on the spreadsheet), plus hopefully even more ideas of things to look into researching and creating.

So May really didn’t go as plan for the most part—but when one acknowledges the ‘triggers’, then they can slowly start reworking their responses to said triggers.

I know that when my anxiety and stress levels get too high or I start to feel a little more depressed than usual—I have a tendency to find chocolate and spend money. So, when I start to ‘auto’ buy things again—I need to pause, shut down the computer (after saving anything I’m working on), and go outside for a while (without any other electronics). That way, I’ll start creating a new ‘neural’ network for reacting to the problems.

But with just hearing about yet another shooting in the Tulsa area tonight (there was another one earlier this week)—I’m tired, and truthfully can’t think of anything else to say tonight—I’m voting out any and every political figure that is funded by the NRA (they may still win—but not with my vote), or who is against common sense gun laws…

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPoliticsprofessional developmentReflections

Setting the goals: now to create the personal/professional development plan: Review of Aries New Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its latest new moon phase some point this weekend (either Saturday night, or Sunday night—depending on where you are in the world)—therefore it could either be the second new moon of April, or the May new moon. But before looking ahead to the Taurus new moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Aries new moon and determine how much of each I’d managed to accomplish.

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

  1. Making a 12-month plan. I know what I want to be focusing on in terms of my career transition (remote writing and/or freelance writing/copywriting), and I have my other focal points (personal development, health, and hobbies) to also focus on—now I just need to turn those points into a yearly plan, and then break it down to quarterly, and then weekly and daily goals.
  2. Start with my intentional movement program (weight lifting four days a week, cardio once to twice a week, with a walk and possibly yoga or Pilates thrown in there as well).
  3. Start having yogurt with fruits and nuts for breakfast again, and possibly have some more veggies throughout the week as well
  4. Read a book on positive thinking, positive psychology, relaxation, or mindset
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

I will fully admit that I’ve fallen off the mediation wagon again. This is in large part due to not having a fully working daily schedule. I’m still in a tug-of-war with my inner critic/imposter syndrome throughout the day and week when it comes to getting things done in a timely manner. So at night, I feel like I need to possibly be writing in the journal instead of sitting quietly for a few minutes to end the day.

Aside from improving my mental health—the biggest tug-of-war has been trying to figure out what topics within the huge scientific, medical, and health fields to ‘niche’ down into for writing.

I realize part of my ‘fear’ is that I’ll get bored with the subjects—but I think I can keep that ‘fear’ at bay if I have say three subjects (or niches) that I’m exploring. I can explore them and have a ‘cycle’ in the writing, where one week is scientific (say cell cycle/signal transduction), next week is medical (signal transduction in cancer), and the third is health (microbiomes), and cycle that way.

I also haven’t really been eating yogurt with fruits and nuts for breakfast either—this is in part due to allergies (the thought of yogurt or something else ‘soft’ just doesn’t sit well with my stomach in the morning). But I do need to do better than a blueberry muffin or part of a piece of tiramisu.

But for the other goals I did a little better:

I did finish a couple of books on ‘positive’ thinking/mindset and they were:

  1. The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the Power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
  2. Lagom: Not too Little, Not too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark

I’m realizing (slowly), that I’ve ‘outgrown’ certain aspects/views of life. I’m putting more thought into items that I buy (though as far as I’m concerned—you can’t have too many tarot/oracle card decks or books). I’m slowly developing my own vision of minimalism, and one aspect is to investigate my cultural heritage.

I had started my intuitive movement workout program this month—and realized one important thing—when it comes to starting to do bicep curls again, I have to stick with five-pound weights. The reason—I keep forgetting about my abnormal bone structure, and the past two times I’ve done these workouts (chest/triceps and then back/biceps), I’ve managed to put a little too much strain on the elbows.

So, when I start the calendar again—it will be five-pound weights for the curls (no matter how much I want to go up in weight), and possibly stick with the five and eight-pound weights for the different triceps exercises as well.

In terms of the 12-month plan, I have my ‘broad’ idea of what I would like to accomplish in terms of personal development (finances, continuous learning, and developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism), health/fitness, and hobbies. I have a ‘broad’ idea for my career and professional development (I just need to do more research into possible companies looking to hire remote writers).

I now need to break these broader ideas down into three, six, and nine month, and then ‘end-point’ (twelve-month) goals. I’d mentioned earlier—this is where I usually ‘fall’ off the planning stage. I usually get a little too ambitious on the goal setting and trying to get everything done at one. Breaking them down into ‘quarterly’ goals will also help me in creating a personal/professional development plan as well.

So, I guess I could say that I managed about half the goals (I drafted my 12-month plan—just need to flesh it out and turn it into a 12-month personal/professional development plan; I read two books on positive thinking/mindset, and ‘started’ an intentional movement schedule). I need to restart my meditation routine again, and work on having a more well balanced breakfast in the morning.

In addition—I need to sit down and write daily, whether it is a blog page/post (photography, throwback travel, or a science topic), working on one of the numerous in-depth science topics, or brainstorming ideas for short stories, blog posts, or just taking some time and journaling.

The main thing I have to remind myself—I don’t have to work on every project at once. I can have a list of ideas that are of interest to me, and I can bounce between them—the main thing is to sit and just start writing.

There hasn’t been much change to the level of insanity in the world, since I published the Aries New Moon goals earlier this month—but I will continue to send happy vibes, thoughts, and good feelings to the people of Ukraine who are managing to repel an invasion from their larger neighbor.

Happy, safe, loving, thoughts, vibes and prayers sent to everyone who is struggling.

How did you do with your Aries New Moon Goals?

Namaste…

No Comments AstrologycareerLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Progress made on nutrition/movement and acknowledging inner critic

It’s already December, and the moon will be transitioning through another new moon phase this weekend. That means there will be less than thirty days left in 2021—where did the time go this year? Last year seemed to drag, and this year some months seem to have flown by. I’m hoping that come 2022, the ‘richer’ countries will start donating vaccines by the millions to the lower income countries, so that maybe we can get this damn pandemic under control.

So before looking ahead to the next new moon (which will be Sagittarius new moon), I should look back at the goals I set for the Scorpio new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Scorpio new moon included:

  1. Continue working on healing my relationship with food and movement.
  2. Continue with my evening meditations/sitting quietly for at least five minutes
  3. Start working through the complete personal finance course that I bought on Udemy
  4. Continue working through the Write Your Way to Freedom copywriting course

So how did I do with each of them?

I’m still working on mending/healing my relationship with food and movement. I’ve started a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 and will be pairing it with walking (so there may be days when I’m not pushing ‘play’, but instead took a two-hour nature walk). I’m still working on getting more protein in during the day (and I do realize that I feel better on the days that I have my yogurt or cottage cheese for snacks). Still working on drinking more water during the day (I did buy a gallon water jug and now am working at actually trying to drink that much water during the day; currently it takes me about four to six days to drink that much water), getting more fruits and veggies in during the day as well.

While the Wi-Fi issues were resolved, I didn’t do much computer work this past month. Mainly—I let my inner critic/imposter syndrome win a couple of internal arguments that I didn’t realize I was having with myself. Therefore I didn’t make any progress on the personal finance or copywriting course.

I need to expand the time for my sitting quietly/meditation in the evenings. This past month, it was more just sitting quietly—I didn’t feel like lighting the candles and actually trying to meditate, though that is something that I’m going to be working on going forward.

Minor progress was made on goals (I’d say about thirty to forty percent), but huge progress was made in realizing where I was tripping myself up at this past month. If I actually acknowledge the feelings (namely anxiety), I can figure out ways of working through the panic/anxiety attacks and still be productive—instead of trying to ‘put my head in the sand’ and ignoring the bigger issues.

My plan now is when I’m realizing that I’m having a panic/anxiety attack–I will shut down (or at least put to sleep) the computer and just writing things out by hand. Tonight for example–I’ll be doing my monthly ‘brain dump’ after I done here, along with figuring out my December goals (two things I should have done earlier this week).

I’ve also realized that the anxiety/panic attacks are caused by me overthinking and making things a lot more complicated than they really need to be–so progress is being made.

So, now it will be time to focus on goals and brain dumps for the night, a nature walk tomorrow morning, Sagittarius goal planning tomorrow afternoon, and working on a couple of writing assignments this weekend as well.

Do you try to get out into nature to help cure anxiety/panic attacks??

No Comments careerfinancesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

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?

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

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.

No Comments HealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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

No Comments AstrologycareerNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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.

No Comments Pandemic2020Reflections