Project Ivy Status Update -- And What's Coming Next

Time for the potentially embarrassing personal project update. (Note: I don't expect anyone else to care about this as much as I do. I'm updating not only because it keeps me accountable, but also because I think a lot of the information is applicable across domains -- that is, you can use it for your own projects).

Project Ivy has been going well overall, but some weaknesses in my plan are becoming evident. This is actually quite normal for a new project. You start with some ideas of what makes sense, but no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy -- even if the enemy is your own life, tendency to procrastinate, and entropy. The trick is to adjust and adapt to what you are finding, rather than deciding to give up.

First step? Make sure your goals are still the right goals. I can't overstate this. People in general are terrible at knowing what they want and, even moreso, what will make them happy. So you shouldn't be afraid of or ashamed to adjust goals as you go, or even change them completely. I hope this message has been clear throughout, but project management does not equal inflexibility.

My project is a batch of small goals that are pretty cut and dried in terms of being solid goals. No one can argue with the idea that getting more exercise is good for you. But there have been a few small adjustments.

Next step, figure out what the weak points are and come up with ideas to strengthen them.

I started this project by making a commitment to outdoor exercise on a daily (or realistically near-daily) basis. This has been going really well as long as there isn't a treacherous storm. I'd say I'd been getting out at least 6 mornings a week, again except for Death by Ice days.*

The exercise, however moderate, is helping me get a lot of other stuff done as well, which is why I chose it as a starting point. It's a keystone habit.

* This is not an exaggeration. My spouse went out to help one of the many cars that were slip-sliding up and down our street, slipped while literally standing still, and fractured his wrist. No good deed goes unpunished.

My next goal included performing regular small devotions to the spirits and ancestors (previously, I was communicating more regularly and offering less regularly -- that's what I wanted to change). Keeping routines simple is important when starting a new habit, so this work doesn't take a lot of time. This has also been going well, but not quite as well as the exercise. I think that's because unlike my morning schedule, my evening schedule is a lot more variable. So the solution here may be as simple as setting a regular "wrapping up time" where I commit to including these devotions into the other evening stuff. One tweak here is that I purchased a better translation of the Orphic hymns. My new translation is pleasantly non-rhyming (personal preference). Thanks Gordon for the recommendation.

Of course it helps that I have a strong overlap between my person practice and the entities in these hymns. For those with a more British Isles bent, the Carmina Gadelica is wonderful (and I admit to a great fondness for Mike Nichols Pagan Carmina Gadelica as well).

A bigger weakness is in accomplishing less regular items. I clearly need to do more work on items that are monthly or quarterly. Because these items aren't in front of me every day, I find I'm not making as much traction on them. First I need to break some stuff down into smaller chunks. This is PM 101 (told you, embarrassing!), but sometimes you just can't see you haven't made the tasks small enough until you get into it. Second, for items that are already small but just infrequent (like a monthly devotion) I need to make sure I'm scheduling in advance. It's not enough to note the day, I really need to block out the time too. Sigh, I had no idea my life had become so busy!

But I do have a holiday break from work, so I'll use some of that time to prepare for the coming year. This includes reviewing the project itself in detail. This is a common catch-22. You get so busy that you don't take the time to plan and organize... so you stay busy. Anyone (even people who PM for a living) can get caught up in this.

Finally, my project includes plenty of magic which I've been making good progress with, however I think my plan is light on the magic to make my project itself successful. So I've got new devotional habits and magic work for certain ends, but I don't have as much magic for the project itself. This is easily rectified however as I can conceive of some workings to tie things together at the meta-level. When doing a major project, it's important for the project itself to become an entity so that it takes on a life of its own. I'll be talking more about this soon.

So again, I don't expect anyone to care about the details of my life. But I do think that it's increasingly important that we focus on real life and real change. As the social fabric starts coming apart at the seams and consensus reality gets increasingly manipulated and mushy, your ability to make changes in your own life are not only a practical benefit, but a balm against the riding tide of, well, insanity out there.

Starting after the Solstice, I'm going to be kicking off another round of PMPM posts. Some content will be repurposed (I have many more readers now), some will be material previously shared only with a select few, and some will be brand new.

I'm sharing this material for free because I believe in its importance. It's becoming increasingly hard to own your own life. In order to remain as free and soverign as you can, you must be able to conquor your own inertia, limitations, and blocks. You have to make positive change in your own life and the lives of those you care about and connect with. Because no one else is going to do it for you and in fact, many forces are aligned against you.

A year ago on the blog: Mind War: This Butterfly -- Smashing Teacups for a Better Tomorrow


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