Archive for June, 2013

Piled, as they say, Higher and Deeper

June 25, 2013

I’m tired. My heart feels so full. Gimli is like a bear with a thorn in its paw, growling and snapping at anyone who gets too close. I slide past the claws and scratch him behind the ears and he whimpers a little, closes his eyes, relaxes.

I’m on a constant march, a long trek. My inadequate map fell to the forest floor miles back. The optimistic track marked out in pale green highlighter bleeds a little in the morning rains. Bootprints press one corner into the mud. Each day is unlike the day before, an entirely new terrain to traverse. I fall into bed and relive each decision, wondering if it was the right one.

It’s a good place to be… even though I’m scared about the coming weeks, scared of the challenges ahead and whether I have what it takes to make it through (a team retreat fraught with complex conflicts and emotional pitfalls, a family trip to Albania [!!!]; new personnel coming on board when we get back). At the same time I can look back at the last seven months and see how I’ve moved into this new role well, overall, I think; I like it.

I’m glad you guys liked the Enneagram stuff, I really do find it fascinating, and helpful.

More soon, I hope…




June 16, 2013

Have any of you heard of the Enneagram? Gimli and I kind of got into it about 10 years ago; it’s a way of understanding your personality type based on your fundamental, basic motivation. There are 9 different types and I won’t go into all the arcana here, but I’m supposedly a Type 4 (the Individualist – motivated by the desire to be unique) and Gimli is a Type 8 (the Challenger, motivated by the desire to be in control). Several people on our team are into posting their “Enneathought for the day” on Facebook and kind of got me hooked on it again. I have found it helpful at times, for understanding some of the conflicts G and I have, in terms of getting flashes of insight into what kinds of things feel threatening to him (he hates feeling controlled by others) as well as what he is like at his best (a compassionate leader). I’ve also used it recently to try to help him understand other people on the team.

I signed up for a free online membership to the site linked above, and now I get an Enneathought for the day (I do have to refrain from rolling my eyes slightly at the whole thing even though I also find it really fascinating) delivered to my inbox daily. Below are a sample of some of the best ones I’ve gotten:

“A major feature of average Fours is using the imagination to heighten the emotional impact of reality. Fours can relate to their fantasies instead of to reality. Watch for this tendency in yourself today.” (Deleted PWP posts, this is so relevant)

This one is kind of corny: “Ponder this Insight: How can you fully experience your Presence here and now? Allow yourself to experience the richness and subtlety of your life.”

This one hit too close to home for comfort: “How is your unconscious childhood message that ‘It’s not okay to be too functional or too happy’ affecting you today?” Gimli often teases me about (at some level) enjoying being moody. A quote from The Historian, about Eastern Europeans: “We take our pleasures sadly” – he says fits me to a T.

Here is a concept I remember from the first time we got into the Enneagram, which I have often taken as affirmation of some of my career choices (including the most recent one): “Community service of some kind will make you less self-conscious and give you a better perspective on yourself.”

I liked this one a lot, because I do it way too much (hence a few of the categories on my blog – e.g. Overthinking Things Navel-Gazing, etc.) “Remember it’s not endlessly exploring your emotions that produces change but self-knowledge and awareness. Don’t try to change your reactions today. It is enough to see them more clearly.”

So, it’s kind of fun; I take it with a grain of salt, a bit. If you know your type or take the free short test, I’d be curious to know what number you were identified as, and if you think it fits you!


June 8, 2013

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I don’t want to get so focused on myself and my own “issues” that I lose sight of why we are here. At the same time, I understand that self-care has to be a priority, and the more quickly and effectively I can deal with my issues, the more effective a worker and advocate I’ll be. There are constant visual reminders around the city of why we are here, including this huge three-part mural just half a block from our office. I pass by it every day.

There are also the people themselves; the men sleeping on the street, the youth getting shaken down by police just in front of the murals, the many street people wandering through our neighborhood – so many of them internally displaced people. Every project we support here has to do with peace-building, even if sometimes it’s somewhat indirect. We’re very small players on a huge stage but I’m certainly not at a loss for a sense of meaning and purpose at work.

Project Dreamcatcher

June 6, 2013

So I’ve signed on with Project Dreamcatcher, spearheaded by Jjiraffe at Too Many Fish To Fry. My goal is to make significant progress on my dissertation.

Now I’m not exactly sure how that is going to happen, but having a plan should make a difference, and this is something I really, really want to make happen despite the obstacles I see. 

Right now, this week, I was able to take 4 days off work in order to dedicate my days to dissertation writing. I had a long-overdue talk with my husband about how I need more support from him (on the home and work fronts) in order to get this thing done. And I watched the first TED talk that Jjiraffe assigned us for this project. 

So what can I do in the next 30 days to move towards my goal?

There are a few major events coming up that I will have to figure out how to work around. 1) our Board of Directors is coming for a 9-day “learning tour.” I have no idea how I will find writing time during those 2 weeks, especially since I will be traveling with them for 3 of the 9 days.

2) our team retreat is at the end of June, so that is 4 more days out of commission (plus time I need to put into planning parts of it that I’m responsible for).

So 7 days are definitively out, and I’m worried about how much work I will have going on during the other 23 days, and whether I’ll be able to take time away on weekends.

I have seen various people write dissertations while working and parenting, and I know it takes tremendous focus, discipline, and effort. It also takes a supportive spouse. I feel like I have more support now from my husband than I did before, but I’m also worried about how I will balance time with the kids with the time demanded for writing. 

I have a book titled “Write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day” that I’ve dipped into from time to time. I’m sort of wondering if I could block out an hour a day at work, even, maybe lunch hour, for writing. If I have a daily discipline it might not take as long to get into the headspace to begin with. 

So I’m still mulling over how this is going to work out… but it feels good to put it out there.

p.s. I’m probably going to delete the previous 3 posts on Sunday night, just fyi.