[OFFICIAL BLOG LAUNCH SLATED FOR: November 21, 2011]
. . . Continued from Part 1
The main idea from Part 1 is captured in the following excerpt from it:
When my eye landed on the the bird-in-paradise flower, I thought to myself: “This flower . . . is a bird . . . and a flower . . . and lives in Paradise? Well, I’ll be! That is the message! That is the message that I have personally needed all along.”
Here’s what I took from that search experience of finding that image:
Make PEACE with being a fledgling bird. It’s just the way it goes. Besides!: Birds can fly! That’s gotta encourage. You’ll get your wings, and when you do, I’m sure you and your research will take off. But in the meanwhile, during the struggles and down times, don’t deny that you are a flower: You are a blossom, and you blossom at times. You can’t discount that because you are fledgling and will struggle. Make peace with your “both-and” fledgling-blossoming status, and this is how you maintain your residence in Paradise.
I’m absolutely LOVING the Bird-in-Paradise flower!
As I mentioned, I am making a stance, and I hope all fellow blossoming-fledgling researchers have this stance as well: I’m done counting myself out and beating myself up and apologizing to self and others for being a work in progress. If I am giving my best . . . if I am ever endeavoring to work smart and hard . . . then I have GOT to stop seeing the non-linearity of this journey as a catastrophic problem–especially not as a problem inherent to who I am as a student. No–challenges along the journey are attributable to MANY things (my skill set, whether I’m growing, my advisor’s skill set, etc.), but not to my being.
For Part 2 of this series, I continue to reflect on this idea of simultaneously being “blossoming” and “fledgling.”
Part 2: The Good New Is that Though It’s Kind of Mysterious, It Does Indeed Get Better!
At this stage, because I’ve done due diligence and READ my field’s literature, I now recognize language, I have vocabulary (authentically), and I now know where to mentally place what I’m reading. In other words: I’m no longer getting there, but I am knocking at the door. I simply need to speak (i.e. write) now. That’s a relief. I didn’t know if I’d ever find my way.
Take-away: Reading and reflecting helps. It may take awhile to help, but reading + reflecting = pathway to writing progress.
So now that I’ve discovered this, I guess my question is (and the reason for this blog is): What if I had believed this all along without questioning everything? What KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, PERSPECTIVE, MINDSET, ATTITUDES, and ACTIVITIES would have been required for me to have just believed all along? What if I hadn’t doubted the process but just accepted and embraced the way this pathway works?
It’s not like I wasn’t told or warned that this would really test my resolve. I just had a hard time walking in the dark when it got dark and there was just enough light for each step that I was on, or sometimes even less.
Some “In-the-meanwhile” Activities Are Better Than Others
To move OUT of that space, I had to know what to do when I wasn’t in the position to draft “keeper drafts.” I call this knowing the best “meanwhile activities” in which to engage.
There are good “in-the-meanwhile activities”–activities that keep you inspired, faithful, hopeful, self-confident, positive, and actually on track.
Then there are sabotaging “in-the-meanwhile activities”–activities that take you away from your researcher values: your researcher purpose, motivation, and healthful identity and mantras and mottos.
Finally, and most insidiously, there are the good “in-the-meanwhile activities” that our perspective or attitudes render as sabotaging. This happens via a process I call “guiltifying.” It’s possible to guiltify TO BAD ENDS what should be counted as good (given the moment/situation). Insidious!
Here’s an explication:
When I couldn’t write full papers or paper sections, it turns out that what I needed to do was to keep reading and writing outline after outline after outline, no matter how many times I ended up tossing them. I needed to explain my research and writing aloud to anyone who would listen. I needed to get inspiration and ideas from others . . . both live and in person, and via model studies (“inspiration from afar, on paper” I call it.)
Sometimes I or other people GUILTIFIED these activities. “I see you’re still reading and outlining. WHEN are you going to actually WRITE, though?” Or, “Oh, I see. Still outlining. Wow. Okay . . .”
What I Took Away from All of That
I don’t recommend engaging in “in-the-meanwhile activities” over more immediately productive activity if you know more directly what steps to take. But I do recommend these types of activity over the cessation of activity–possibly stemming from an internal fear founded on thoughts such as: “Should I be struggling this much? What does that mean? I’ll just stop for a moment. Just a moment.” The imposter syndrome is so insidious: It’s a lie baked in semi-reasonable yet WRONG surmisings, and I wonder if someone has written a dissertation on THAT. Probably so!
The point is: If I have learned any one lesson it’s this: Beyond the natural need to step back and reflect, don’t stop activity: Do something forward-moving (authentically productive) everyday until momentum and clarity come back around. Because they ALWAYS do given enough work and reflection.
I will continue and wrap up my reflections in Part 3 of this “Reflecting on the Metaphor of the Bird-in-Paradise Flower” series..
Thank you for visiting! PLEASE post away. We would LOVE to gain your perspective on these important matters.
Speak Your Mind!
So what say you? How do you keep going through a stall or through writers’ block? What activities constitute good “meanwhile activities” for you? What activities constitute bad “meanwhile activities” for you? Have you as has anyone else ever GUILTIFIED your good “meanwhile activity?” How did you respond/handle it?
Well! Thank you so much for visiting and supporting what I hope will be an encouraging, collaborative endeavor if all of us chime in periodically to share our hard-won know-how and wisdom.
Looking forward to your contributions, comments, alternative ideas, musings, links, encouragement, and camaraderie!
PREVIEW OF SOME UPCOMING TOPICS FOR POSTS AFTER THIS SERIES ON THE BIRD-IN-PARADISE FLOWER:
- Is there a trade-off between working digitally and working by hand (e.g. paper-to-pen)? If so, what is it, and where have you found your balance?
- Now that you are a post-doc or professor, ARE YOU HAPPY? Was it all worth it? (Inquiring minds want to know!) What, if anything, would you change or have done a little differently? (We are ALL EARS!)
- Discussion on alternatives to going into research after getting the PhD
Please click the following link for the final part (Part 3) in this series of posts. Thank you!: Part 3: In Conclusion