Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

"This week may find you grappling with changing self-definition."  I wonder if that applies when I am still searching for what defines me?  It is suiting, then, that part of my job today involved hosting an online presentation by a woman who works with teachers to help them discover their "core brilliance" (whatever drives them/is unique to them) and their "brand of teaching."  This is something I am trying to discover.  I have plenty of words that I think suit me, and I know how some people describe me, but it is not yet distilled into a one sentence "I'm all about..." statement.  And so I reflect, and reflect, and reflect....

The morning pages are a useful tool of self-reflection, but I find that for me, at least, they work best in conjunction with a 30-45 minute walk. Since I live in a place that rains a lot, walking outside is not always possible.  The best days, at least based on my first attempt to journey through The Artist's Way in 2008, are when I have time to write morning pages, take a walk, work in the garden, and then come inside to work on my novel.  The quiet of the outside is inspiring.  It allows my thoughts to roam on their own, searching for new fields in which to graze. Those days are so wonderful!  And perhaps that is why when I picture retirement (many years away), this is what comes to mind: my ideal day.

As part of the work for this week, week four, the end of the first month, I am to do a few things very quickly (without time for Guilt Monster to pop up and start talking -- it's so exhausting to have a dialogue with him!):
  1. List five hobbies that sound fun.
    1. Tennis
    2. Drag-racing
    3. Horse-back riding
    4. Painting
    5. Dancing
  2. List five classes that sound fun.
    1. Painting
    2. Sculpting
    3. Photography
    4. Tai Chi
    5. Zoomba
  3. List five things you personally would never do that sound fun.
    1. Skydiving
    2. Scuba diving
    3. Pole dancing
    4. Singing on stage in a Barbara Streisand competition (is there such a thing?)
    5. I don't know what else...
  4. List five skills that would be fun to have. Can these be any skills, like the ability to transport one's self anywhere in the blink of an eye, or do they have to be real skills? The former would be more fun, but we'll stick with the latter for now.
    1. Karate or Tai Chi
    2. Painting
    3. Heal animals
    4. Sculpting
    5. Woodworking
  5. List five things you used to enjoy doing.
    1. Playing with horses (toys) and horseback riding (when I was under 10).
    2. Playing Wii (probably would still enjoy this if I found/made the time).
    3. Scrapbooking (eons ago)
    4. Reading a good book cover to cover without interruption
    5. I don't know, at least when it comes to the words used to. Is that strange/odd/sad?
  6. List five silly things you would like to try once.
    1. Wear 10" platform shoes.
    2. Help an undercover agent. (Wait, is that silly?)
    3. Pretend to be someone else.
    4. Have my astrological chart read. (Does this count as silly? What exactly is "silly"?)
    5. What else? Can I have a hint?
I think that my inability to complete simple, small lists says something about me.  I just wish that I knew what it said!

There is more to this week's chapter, but for now I am going to sleep.  Maybe my dreams will provide a bit of clarity.  They have been rather vivid recently!

Update (1/28/11):
The rest of the chapter for Week Four discussed reading deprivation.  What?!?! Give up reading for a WHOLE WEEK?!?!?!?!  I know that the purpose is to slow down and hear one's inner voice rather than having it drowned out by the words of others, but still...a difficult task.  Yet I can see how taking a number of days and filling all the time I would spend reading (articles for work, magazines, blogs, Facebook, novels) with other things might be beneficial.  When I first read about reading deprivation I thought "Oh, well, that won't be too hard -- I already fall asleep too tired to read most nights."  Then I started thinking about all the reading I do for my job, for school, for personal enjoyment (blogs) and realized that giving everything up for a week would be really difficult.  But I am going to try it in February, I think -- once the dang dissertation is done.


  1. Once when I was in the seventh grade I walked up to a boy I kept seeing around the store and acted like we knew each other and hadn't seen each other for a year. His mom believed me. He was soooo confused. I love that memory. Does that count as pretending to be someone else?

  2. Drag racing? I know you love to drive, but I never would had guessed!


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