Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interested in relational approaches to science practice? Retreat? Community?

So, I've got a small bit of funding to convene a group of folks that are interested in relationship-centered approaches to professional practice across disciplines. Over the past several years in my own work, I've fortunately connected with lawyers, doctors, psychologists, scientists, and others that have similar interests. There is a core group of us that will get together sometime this spring/early summer for a couple day retreat, and I want to extend an invitation to a few more folks that might have interest but that I might not have connected with yet (or haven't explicitly talked to about this).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The secret superpower of subjectivity in science practice

Subjectivity - our internal experiences and perceptions of ourselves and our world - can be devalued in many aspects of life, and particularly in scientific training and careers. The pursuit of objective methods and analyses can lead to a sense that subjective experience more broadly is unimportant or inaccurate or irrational -- this is part of the "hidden curriculum" in graduate training and related professional norms. But, the thing you are rarely shown is that a healthy relationship with your subjective experience can be a big asset, particularly in fluid, practice-based careers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Compassion practice & our common humanity on this shared planet

"Real compassion kicks butt and takes names, and it is not pleasant on certain days." Ken Wilber

A dearly beloved person gave me the
Quan Yin figure in the top right photo
as a symbol of compassion,
it's helpful to have the reminders. 
There are times when compassion feels effortless, and times when it take real work. In graduate school I had a longer version of the Ken Wilber quote above on a piece of paper taped to my desk to remind me the hard days were okay. It was at least a dozen years ago and I had just begun a more conscious relationship with compassion, particularly with self-compassion, largely as a result of needing some help getting through my doctoral qualifying exams with what I came to understand later was a severe case of impostor syndrome. Seriously, every first year graduate school seminar should start with this topic just to get it out of the way early since so many of us encounter it unexpectedly.

My particular version came from feeling out of place at a major research university as a female, working class kid in a body that didn't and still doesn't fit the mold, combined with a lifelong family struggle that came to a head at the same time as an utterly confusing and identity-shifting personal relationship developed. I am grateful that instead of the many other ways it could have gone, this confluence of events started me on a complex and ultimately healing journey, with compassion as one of its main ingredients.