Reflections after Day One

After one of those weeks where I feel blessed beyond measure to be one within this community of people who encourage questions uncertainty and growth in the now…there was more.

It has been a long day and at the end of it, all I wanted was quiet. I wanted to close my eyes with my keyboard in my lap, as I am doing right now, and let all the words that had bubbled to the surface of my consciousness flow out of my fingertips. I write from the purest space when my eyes are closed. It’s like I can hear better then. I suppose it makes sense…because when vision is taken away then the other senses are heightened. Also, it is curious that I rarely make typing mistakes when my eyes are closed, or if I do I can correct them easily, however when my eyes are open I stumble all over the place. Curious and yet not curious at all.

Anyway, so I spent my day at an Action Research Conference at my university. Ever since I really understood what it was, I’ve been fascinated by it, mainly because the rsearcher has a place in the work and reflection is welcomed. I seems like a type of research that fits with me…I can imagine that throughout my dissertation process if I did not do action research, I would have jornals upon journals filled with thoughts and reflections. Why not make the apart of the process? Anyway so I had so many memorable quotes and reflections (to see them check out the hashtag #SOLESar2013) but among them, was this:

2. Willingness of practitioner to self-disclose, telling his or her own story and how that relates to that of the students they advise. Vulnerability begets vulnerability, are we, in student affairs practitioner training programs, setting an expectation of discomfort/uncertainty/vulnerability? <>Torbert
–>>idea of self disclosure opening one up to judgment and questions of the safety of space as excuse to avoid the work of vulnerability. Work avoidance.
–>>action research on dynamics course?

I find myself, throughout the refinement of my research area of interest, constantly trying to balance my love of self-work and the practitioner, and how said work then affections our actions, and the self-work itself. At first I wanted to look at how practitioners rejuvenate, spiritually. Then I wanted to look at how spiritual practice affected decision making. That turned into how identity (en totale) affects decision making. Which evolved into how decision making processes are different for those with different identities. That, then, became looking at how identity negotiation and salience affected decision making. And now we have arrived at how the development of the practitioner affects the development of the practitioner. And perhaps it is not yet done evolving because it still has to get smaller, more focused. The obvious choice, after hearing today would be to explore story-telling and how transparency/authenticity/vulnerability of the practitioner affected their students. But…when I step back from it all and think about what all these things have in common I see, self work, and how that somehow informs professional practice. In what ways do we bring our true self to our professions? And how does that influence our product/output?

I think that this absolutely comes from self-inquiry. I HAVE to feel at home in work in order for me to do it. I cannot just put my head down and bear through things, I have to make a bed in work. Swim in it. Live in it. I have to be intimately connected to my work. I think that is why I a really good at jobs I love and really horrible at jobs I do not love. In those instances…I bail. In reflecting on a situation where I was being asked (silently) to connect and to share in a time and space where I felt I shouldn’t have it, I bailed. In looking back I wish I would have realized in that moment or in those series of moments that I was being solicited for intimacy and withstood the discomfort…my OWN discomfort for the growth of something bigger than myself and more resilient/functional/useful than my shadow. Once upon a time it may have served me to retreat? Maybe? But I guess I now want to call attention to it and stand firm in the eye of it…and I want to know how other people are coming to those conclusions as well.

Long day…still processing, but lost in thought isn’t the worst place to wander.


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