Welcome to the August edition of the LIFE Project.

If you’re new or want to know what the LIFE Project is, just click here.

For the rest of you wonderful souls, I’ll do a quick recap of July’s LIFE Project before delving into August.


The month of sacred travel. I learned so much about myself, other people, beautiful places.

If you want a recap of these places, take a look at July Travels so far, The personal retreat and Wrapping up a month of sacred travels.

As for the meditation, mantras, affirmations and 10K daily steps, I will share that I used 1.5 LIFE days:

LIFE Day 1:

Wed 7/7: didn’t get to 10,000 steps due to travel

Friday 7/9: didn’t get to 10K steps due to travel

Tuesday 7/11: didnโ€™t get to 10K steps due to travel

Friday 7/14: didnโ€™t finish steps due to travel

Saturday 7/15: didn’t finish steps due to travel

LIFE Day 2:

Sunday 7/16: didnโ€™t finish steps due to travel

Monday 7/17: didnโ€™t finish steps due to travel

Traveling makes it really difficult, I found, to get 1-2 hours of daily exercise in.

I managed to meditate every day, though it looked really different than sitting in standard meditative position. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to get into a pose while out camping next to someone so they can look at me like I’ve been overtaken by an extraterrestrial entity.

So, when I would wake up in the mornings, I would lay there and time myself with a stopwatch for 1 hour. I’d focus on my breathing. While this still technically counts, I did miss regular meditation while traveling.

I would include my usual graphs of data, but I’ll be honest: there are gaps all over the place. It’s due to my phone not being charged (it was hard to keep it charged when it was constantly looking for a signal in very rural, remote places), having to keep it off, or not being near it due to being in the tent and it being in the car, safe from the elements.

It wouldn’t register steps, nor would it register my “mindful minutes.” I hope you will take my word for it that I have used 1.5 LIFE days. ๐Ÿ™‚

But, despite not getting to my step quota every single day due to travel time, I wasn’t that far off from the previous three months in my step counts:

10K daily steps for LIFE Project

I actually got more steps in July than in June, despite missing about 10 total days (some days I did other sports like mountain biking or gardening).

There were some days I got 15,000 or even 20,000 steps from exploring and hiking. But if we had a 5-6 hour drive, plus stops on the way, and then setting up camp and cooking meals, it was difficult to go off and get all those steps.

Each day, however, I would recite my mantras to myself, as well as my affirmations.

July was a pretty life-changing month.

In the future, I will craft more projects / intentions for travel. I love to travel and then I love coming home to relish in my adventures.

I also read, “You are a badass,” by Jen Sincero. That book will be a permanent part of my library to re-read whenever I need some inspiration.

If you’re not easily offended by expletives, this book is every woman’s “get to it already” guide to fulfilling your potential. I highly recommend it!

LIFE project


August has begun and I’ve had to change up some of the original intentions from the start of the project (for what I planned for August), namely the walking marathon. If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I wanted to complete it this month, but I couldn’t find a walking-only venue during this month.

(And, I didn’t want my first experience with it to be part of a regular marathon where they allowed “walkers.” I know I would have felt the pressure of trying to run or get to the finish line faster because, you know,ย all the runners would have been done hours before.)

I thought I might create my own marathon. But then trying to get permits and work with the police and fire departments was outside of the scope (and budget – apparently, permits can cost $500US, each) of this project, so I decided to postpone.

There is a walking (only!) marathon the first Saturday of June each year called the Wisconsin Walk in Stevens Point, WI and there’s the Bataan Memorial Death March (what a name!) in White Sands Missile Range, NM in March of each year. I intend to do one of these, but all in good time. At least I won’t have to organize it, as well.

As for the other LIFE Project intentions, here goes:

  1. publish the companion journal to the Tree of Life Coloring Book
  2. DECIDE whether to publish (or re-publish) three paranormal fiction novels under pen name, CJ Pallid
  3. otherwise, write, edit, publish, rinse, repeat
  4. AND/OR: draw/paint, refine, compile for publication or giveaway, repeat
  5. read, “The Alchemist,” “The Little Prince,” and “A Wrinkle in Time”
  6. go on a spending fast
  7. vegan recipe research
  8. continue 60 minutes of daily meditation, mantras, affirmations and journal writing


Tree of Life Companion Journal

I’ve been working on new drawings, poems, questions, and writing prompts for this journal. It will contain some of the same images from the coloring book, but only as backgrounds. There will be lots of fun exercises on intentions, mindfulness, gratitude, active meditation, and coloring. Target date: August 15.


Publish Paranormal Fiction?

I am in the process of deciding…

I published the one paranormal fiction novel just on Kindle last year.

When I went on my personal retreat, I determined that I needed to publish the other two and update the first book. Or so I thought.

I yearn to write a different kind of fiction – one that inspires and I don’t feel that this does.

For about five minutes, I thought I would publish these under the Sageleaf name. But, the genre is too different.

These books are more for “market” (I know, the dreadful “M” word) and deal with paranormal fiction.

The Sageleaf name is for inspiration and spreading love. I know that sounds cheesy. But, it’s not compatible with rogue spirits and sick and twisted plot ideas.

Notwithstanding, paranormal fiction has been a fun diversion for me to write, even if it’s not where I want my focus to be.

True, I’ve spent months of time working on these. But I’m not upset at the fact that I could consider these “practice.”

Recently I heard a pretty successful author on a podcast say to “write 3 or 4 books before you really try to publish.” This may or may not be sound advice, but her point was that you need to practice and the best way to do that is by writing novels.

There are no big launches planned. I’m also not overly concerned with how well they could do…or might not.

I don’t feel they are my absolute best writing – because I am learning to do better all the time.

Shakespeare was not known for his early plays. As he kept writing, though, he was able to craft them into masterpieces.

I want to keep trying to create my masterpiece.

But that’s the fun of publishing under a pen name. If I had some fun writing these and someone enjoys them, I may decide to publish them.

By August 11 (when I’m supposed to be finished with the coloring book), I will decide when/what to publish of these. Or, call them practice and get started on the REAL book.

Draw/Paint, Refine, Compile for Giveaway or publish, Repeat

I have been wanting to do something for awhile: create a mandala painting andย give it away. If you would like to have some input on what I might do, let me know in the comments.

I’m thinking about something like this: create a mandala using a scheme of colors. I’ll meditate to see what I should name it: peace, love, hope, unity, that sort of thing.

But I value your input: what’s your favorite color scheme, or colors that you would like to see? What would you be interested in calling it?

Three Books to Read

Read “The Alchemist”

  • I once read this in Spanish, but have wanted to revisit it – it’s the fiction version (and a REALLY good one) of a personal development story
  • As of this writing, I have already finished this wonderful book and book discussions can happen on the I & S Facebook page.

Read “The Little Prince”

  • I only just started this little book, but it has illustrations in it and it’s a classic about a Little Prince from another planet.
  • I know that many folks have found it to be inspirational and will serve as inspiration for when I tackle more visionary fiction-type books

Read “A Wrinkle in Time”

  • I once read this for a school book report in 4th grade, but do not remember it. It came up in searches about books that inspire.

I know that I’ve read so much nonfiction personal development, it’s time to read fiction versions – especially if I would eventually like to explore visionary fiction some more.

vegan stuff, inspirational books

The books I’m poring over this month.

A Spending Fast

A spending fast…to propel into the future

Y’all, part of this intention project is to move into a life where every action, every thought, every activity is mired in intention.

That is, I do it because it moves me closer to a life that is mindful, spiritual, and filled with activities that fill my heart – not take away from it.

I had a feeling when I started this project back in April that I would be looking at a career “crossroads” after July.

I just had this funny feeling then that I’d be steering my life in a completely different direction.

I also knew I’d be looking at my finances in July and August. Last month I analyzed them. This month, I’m cutting them.

For the next 30 days, I will not be purchasing anything I don’t need. I have certain bills – just like everyone else.

It’s an effort to pare down expenses so I can focus on my intentions – that’s part of what’s driving this.

The intention of getting a creative business going, the intention of having enough time and resources to do so is also driving my heart.

I’m using the discount grocery store (which has a wonderful organic selection at a fraction of the cost of a regular grocery store), cooking from scratch, and not eating out. I’ve planned all my meals for the month. I’ve called the cable company and got our internet bill reduced.

Full disclosure: we didn’t cancel cable last month. While most of my screen time is on the computer, I do watch a little television.

It’s become a bit of an outlet for us: it serves as a way to have background documentaries of educational shows on while I’m drawing or when husby is working, as well. For now, we’ll keep it, but if we find it to become a burden, we will cancel.

In the meantime, I’m moving forward.

I know from past forays into the creative realm that I also need to have social interaction.

I plan on signing up to do substitute teaching. It’s not a segue into education again; it’s a way to help maintain enough freedom and energy to do creative endeavors.

By not teaching under contract, I can come and go more easily, taking jobs as I need or want. This allows me to be in control: I can decide if I want to do a particular job or work on a particular day.

Vegan Recipe Research

I have already compiled dozens of links and checked out two books on vegan cooking.

I’m trying this out for 30 days September, but since I like cheese and eggs, I want to build in ways to not eat cheese or eggs over the course of the next few weeks.

It may be as simple as eating beans for breakfast. Or it might be more complex. I’m investigating all that this month so that the transition to next month is easier.


Help Me Choose!

I will be concluding the Tree of Life companion journal. I am looking at starting another coloring book soon.

But, you can help me decide!

I’m thinking about doing haikus.

I’ve been writing a haiku each day (with the exception of all the days I traveled in July) and creating pretty images to go with them on Canva, then sending them out on Twitter. (You can see them hereย – just scroll down until you start seeing them.)

But, what if I created haikus and put a coloring page with them?

Or, what if I did something like “totem” animals (owls, bears, wolves, foxes, turtles, etc.)?

Still, I’ve thought about a coloring book just on owls.

Or patterns.

Or just flowers.

Or butterflies.

Or “power animals” like turtles, dragonflies, butterflies, hawks, owls, eagles, bears, hummingbirds.

Or more mandalas.

Or the four directions.

Or, all of these!

What do you think?

Help Me Decide What the Next Coloring Book Should Be

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Quick Update on Social Media + Newsletters

For the purposes of this project, I think I have come up with a fun idea:

    • Each day I will post a haiku on a pretty background to Twitter (unless I create a haiku coloring book, in which case, I’ll resume when I’m finished).
    • Book discussions are ongoing on the I & S Facebook page.
    • Pictures of all my walking (and exercise adventures) will be on Instagram
    • Y’all, I’m kind ofย terrible about keeping up with newsletters. So…starting Friday, I’m going to send out weekly newsletters with free things, such as a coloring page, flash fiction, meditation tips, short stories, and more. It’s a way to stay more connected withย you, but also to share things I love to create.
intuitive and spiritual

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