August 31, 2011
August 28, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 25, 2011
What does it mean to fall in love with me? Is it buying me flowers, making me dinner, saying I love me? Actually, I already do all this - but these continue to be external pursuits of harmony.
Internal harmony, perhaps, is listening to my intuition, respecting my feelings, being kind and gentle when I do not meet my expectations. It is taking time to recharge my energy, meditating. Being in love with myself is allowing me to be flexible, physically and mentally, to explore my body's physicality and my mind's playfulness.
Similarly, it is giving myself permission not to obsess over missteps, like a tongue continuously exploring the hole left by a missing tooth. My mind tends to work that way, playing and replaying a situation until I am avoiding people and objects that trigger the circular thinking.
So, being in love with myself is letting go of trying to make order of everything, the continual pursuit of meaning and analysis of what was not and will not be.
A few nights ago, before going to sleep, I asked myself how I can fall in love with me. In the morning I reflected on my dreams and recognized that I need to find my voice. This may seem ironic for someone who teaches and blogs. But voice is a metaphor for both pursuing my creativity and stating my needs. My career is focused on doing this for everyone else and I love what I do. But what about loving myself with that same enthusiasm?
I have a long-term date with myself. In September I begin the Advanced Studies program at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. My intention is to deepen my yoga practice. This is an opportunity to stretch both my body and mind, gently confronting perceived limitations, linking the physical with the cerebral and spiritual, and evolving my internal harmony as I awaken my voice that says, "now is the time to fall in love with myself."
August 19, 2011
The little purple spot in the corner is from a berry that was lovingly plucked and enjoyed by a fellow faculty member.
This is a very bad place for a diet.
August 18, 2011
When we asked the VP how she selects entry level people she told us that she administers a test. The candidate is asked to interpret an article, write up a short summary for the client, identify key content, and then frame it in a way that is truthful and insightful. Of course, their ability to be successful with this assignment is just one of the factors she considers. When asked if she is interested in their ability to think strategically she said that that would certainly help the candidate move ahead in the company, but that is not one of her hiring considerations.
Now I am rethinking my curriculum to include more skill development around tactic identification and completion. Could my students complete her test? Honestly, week six into an eleven week course and I would say no, they couldn't. Next quarter I am going to build in more writing and research activities, while alluding to strategy as opposed to the other way around.
August 17, 2011
Simplicity. Now I have just four email addresses. Still too many.
If you need to get in touch with me, post a message and I'll send you my Amy Kweskin email.
August 16, 2011
One of the best parts of the lunch was eating in one of our school's huge industrial kitchens. I wish my mom could have been there too because I know she would have loved seeing the students prepare the dishes, present them to us, explain the ingredients, and then to be part of our judging discussion.
One thing I learned is that I'm a hard judge to please. It surprised me how seriously I took my assignment and how firm I was with my scores. I suppose this comes from having high expectations as a restaurant patron. Interestingly, in class, I think I grade a lot easier. Perhaps it is because I have a quarter-long relationship with those students.
As the judges were leaving one of the students said, "thank you Ms. Kweskin." So sweet! Students usually just call me Amy but in the kitchen greetings are much more formal. Thankfully I had already handed in my score cards.
August 14, 2011
August 13, 2011
I enjoyed thinking outside the box, questioning authority and getting my friends excited and engaged in breaking the rules. Guess what I also got in trouble for doing? Yes, all of that. This perfectly explains my personality type, ENFJ. It also explains why I had so many difficulties in jobs where my boss "set the rules and told me to follow them or else."
These affirmations actually brought tears to my eyes.
August 9, 2011
To get to know some of the people in advance of the conference I volunteered today to stuff registration bags. The conversation amongst the bag stuffers gave me a taste of what Type Professionals talk about - analyzing their spouses and children. It was fun to listen in as the volunteers discussed how they were an INFJ raising and ESTP and married to a ENTJ. This is going to be an interesting conference for an ENFJ.
August 8, 2011
But, as I look around my place, I am realizing that everything fits so beautifully. Every nook and cranny is filled with my favorite things. And it doesn't feel too crowded or too empty. Somehow I've also managed on occasion to sleep four people in my little one bedroom apartment and it feels snug but not too overcrowded. Honestly, I can't figure out a better location to live than the one I occupy here in the Bay Area.
The realization that everything around me is sustained, 100%, because of my own doing, kind of blows my mind. I'm completely independent (although sometimes getting a little bridge loan from my parents, quickly repaid) and take care of myself. That's quite an achievement for a woman of 42 living in an expensive metropolitan area. I'm loving every minute of this adventure.
August 5, 2011
In the final article, "The Banality of Heroism" by psychology researchers Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo, the following paragraph encapsulates the concept of developing this compassionate instinct:
"...it is important not to fear interpersonal conflict and to develop the personal hardiness necessary to stand firm for principles we cherish. In fact, we shouldn't think of difficult interactions as conflicts but rather as attempts to challenge other people to support their own principles and ideology."
This statement resonates with me as it encourages meaningful interaction that advances societal compassion. In fact, it is what I work on helping my students develop in the classes I teach. In my courses we continuously explore our own values and beliefs and then apply these to how we develop our organizational and leadership practices. I've heard from students that my classes have the reputation of "being deep".
As an instructor and a strategic planning consultant I am becoming ever more comfortable encouraging this type of discussion, one that develops a social compassion. However, I am still learning to express my voice in personal relationships. As an intuitive and feeling person (Myers-Briggs Type ENFJ) I am drawn into observing how people behave and interact. But when I am conflicted by the discontinuity of their actions, or observe that they are unable to pinpoint the source of their feelings of disconnection, I do not move towards interpersonal conflict. Instead, I remain silent. It may take days, months or even years for me to process the conflict of principles and ideologies that were off-kilter with their actions and behaviors. By that point a discussion feels pointless as I have either continued allowing this person treat myself or others without compassion, or I have passively ended our relationship. This approach is a missed opportunity for personal and societal evolution.
What if I were to initiate a dialogue in the moment, instead of locking my thoughts away for future contemplation? To do this I need to practice separating the fear of rejection that I harbor with the opportunity to develop a deeper connection. Perhaps the end result would still be a parting of ways, but at least we would both have exercised an exploration of values that results in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. I predict that this approach will result in clarity of personal values, for each of us, and have a ripple effect of developing a compassionate instinct in all our interactions.