Resurrection: New life in old data (by Hridaya)

(Karolyn is posting this entry on behalf of the author Hridaya, keeponbreathing)

I usually feel sort of prideful about my ability to take a concept and explore it from multiple angles and consider possibilities and critique the merits of something. I’ve noticed though, that this very ability I value seems to lead me to stagnation in approaching research/contemplative inquiry.  It goes something like this…  ideas and energy rise from the depths but before getting to fully form they attempt to pass through  my critical processes. There they find themselves blocked by this internally imagined gathering of critical peers ready to dismiss my work as full of holes, too new-agey or otherwise meaningless.

Today, I attended a lot of sessions and presented my own poster that combined some dissertation data with some newer theoretical comparisons. I noticed how I was able to appreciate others’ work for what it was, even with its limitations. I also had the experience of seeing and hearing a new audience interact with my displayed work. I noticed myself talking about it and the energy that I had squashed for some time coming alive again in dialogue with engaging peers. I noticed a new gentleness with myself about its imperfections. I heard others comment on it being a “good idea” and felt an internal smile and agreement- “this is a good idea.”

So maybe dialogue is an important ingredient for me to feed my inquiry. Maybe a healthy dose of meditation sprinkled in my day can help me to live my questions and give them voice. Maybe the breathing room provided by a couple of days focused on something I’m passionate about allowed some things to surface.  Maybe I need that “good job!” feedback more than I’d like to admit.

What do you find supports your engagement in inquiry?

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One comment on “Resurrection: New life in old data (by Hridaya)

  1. karolyn says:

    I struggle with that “good job!” being too important to me. I mean, when I was little I got the most positive feedback from grown-ups (parents and teachers) around my school-work, so it kinda makes sense (and is kinda pathetic, I guess) that I kept returning to school for that “good job!” fix.

    Early in my academic career, I was still desperately seeking that “good job!” approval from colleagues. By seeking it, I had been modifying how I’d more naturally do the job in an attempt to do what I thought others wanted me to do, what would earn me some praise. Once I realized this neurosis (is that even the right word?) I had to work for a few months to turn my mantra of “please evaluate and approve of me!” to “f*ck it, _this_ is what’s meaningful to me.”

    My identity was so tied up with being seen as “smart” that I wasn’t doing research, teaching, and service that were personally meaningful to me. I thought that stuff what would seem soft, affective, non-rational, and, as you said, New Age-y.

    Now I feel like I’m ready for a happy medium. 🙂 I am not begging for approval (and squashing my own sense of meaning) and I’m not saying “F*ck it” (and pushing against a perceived threat). I am overjoyed to have found colleagues not through my own discipline (where we academics typically find community) but through the interdiscipline of pedagogy with whom I can drop the “expert” persona and engage in critical and creative inquiry on a variety of topics from many angles.

    This doesn’t really answer your question… More of just a stream-of-consciousness response to one very small aspect of what you wrote.

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