Monday, July 15, 2019

Greetings from Mexico City

I thought I would say hi this morning. I have been in Mexico city with my baby (21-year-old-damn- amazing-young-woman-baby), and my wonderful significant other Sandy. 

What have we done so far in our week?

Mescal tasting
Wondering the markets
Frida Kahlo museum 
Tamayo museum (contemporary art)
Diego Rivera mural museum
Wonder amazing parks
Ballet folklorico (I scored front row center seats--the clicking of heals and almost the could feel their sweat!--amazing)
The great temples (they are technically not pyramids) of Teotihuacan
Wondered around Roma, Condesa, Coyoacan a few other neighborhoods
Went to a cat cafe, twice!! 
Pet a ton of dogs, a pug named Coco being my fav, in case you need to know (important info for some of you, I know!!)
I had a great massage.
Have eaten our butts off, never thought I would want to take a day off from mole, but here I am...

And today, our last day in this amazing city, a salsa making class. I am sure I am missing something.

And yes, I have written each day, making it just short of 21 years of daily writing. There is always, always time for writing!

I am happy, healthy and well....On Tuesday, off to Lima, Peru for three days as Sandy and Rebecca return home. Lima, one of my happy places--then off to Santiago Chile for two weeks.

I will write about it more in a subsequent post or two, but in Santiago, I will be finishing the last residency and other requirements for my MFA in Creative Nonfiction--a bucket list idem for me. Yeah, I have been doing an MFA on the site :). 

Saludos all!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

It Is Ok to Love Academia

A few weeks ago, I had a suck day. That is the only word for it, suck. A two-hour program meeting that morphed into three-- some hard discussions and poor decisions, IMHO. We are about to search for a new dean, and frankly, I worry about how the administration is going to approach it. We have interim leadership next year--I am concerned.

There were other annoyances, of course, and if I don't contextualize them well, I can feel really bummed out. 

But, in spite of these annoyances, I love being a professor.  Yes, it is easy to say when you are tenured. Yes, it is a position of great privilege-- I do not take that for granted.

Still, I love academia. My job is busy and full, no question.

But, is it really alienated labor, as some suggest?

I have had a lot of hard jobs when I was younger: 
chemical plant laborer
darkroom tech, when it was sort of like being a chemical plant laborer
lamoman (ran the lamination machine in a graphic arts house--lot of burns and small scars for memories)
residential counselor for abused, abandoned and neglected children
therapist in multiple residential treatment facilities
multiple social work positions, direct services and admin

Some good times--but all hard jobs. Really hard jobs. Really hard, 40-hour plus a week jobs where I did not pick my schedule and had three weeks or less of time off a year.

Today? On my worst days, my job is reasonable. It is not soul crushing. It allows my body to continue to heal from my two total knee replacements. It is not alienating. Some of my other jobs, well, yeah, they were alienating. I could be fired on the spot, at will, for little cause. Like, that day.

In social media discussions of higher education, being pro-academia is viewed suspiciously. There is a lot of shaming of those who have positive feelings toward higher education. I have seen a lot of very tentative celebrations of new positions and tenure--this pisses me off. We should not be afraid to celebrate success. There is a huge difference between rubbing our triumphs in others' faces and life-affirming celebratations. We can celebrate and still be of service to those who need help--they are not mutually exclusive.

Yet, there is nothing wrong with loving the academe, in spite of its problems. Our leaders do not become evil, flesh eating zombies (trigger warning on link--not for those sensitive to gore) the moment they move into administrative roles. I have been an administrator--its not an easy role. 

Yes, we have a lot of work to do to make universities better places to work, but there is little value of dismissing the academe out of hand.  Doing so plays into the agendas of those that wish to dismantle public higher education. Consider that, please.

So, if you love higher education, the academe, in spite of its problems. Go ahead, love it. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Cognitive Rehearsal Tool #1: The Index Card/Sticky Note

I am sorry--I am asking you to buy very expensive, high tech tools--index cards or sticky notes. Not electronic cards, but actually physical cards or notes that you can carry with you, practice, and be disconnected from your electronic devices.

When you have a belief, perspective, attitude, cognitive challenge/disputation that you wish to more totally own (believe deeply, feel, etc.), write it (or them) down on several index cards (or sticky notes, if it is simple and short). Place the card/notes in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, office, and car. Try to read the cards every time you see them. The more we practice our new beliefs, in various contexts and  at various times, the more likely they are to sink in.

Simple tools are good tools.

Oh, and and the notes and cards work best if they have dog doggies or kitties on them. Trust Dr. Rich--he know of such things. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Open Coaching Zoom Chat: July 2019 Hiatus

To my wonderful friends who have made my open coaching chat so much fun and so productive. I will be out of the country for the rest of July, and will not be conducting the open coaching chat while I am traveling (Mexico, Peru and Chile!). For those of you who don't know about it, check out this post here!

I am going to be writing a post soon describing how it has gone.

See everyone in August! I do plan on blogging a good deal while I am traveling--it is one of my favorite times to write!

Cognitive Rehearsal

Over the last few years, I have posted many tools designed to help scholars challenge the beliefs and internalized chatter that gets in their way. One tool that I have not really explored directly before is cognitive rehearsal. I actually have presented many tools that actually include cognitive rehearsals as a key component or step, but I want to explore the method a bit more directly in order to help you consider its value.

Cognitive rehearsal is simple--it entails repeating, practicing and performing, literally rehearsing the beliefs that you wish to hold. Cognitive rehearsals differ from affirmations as not all cognitive rehearsals are designed to affirm. They can be, for example, simple instructions to self that you wish to internalize, disputations of irrational beliefs that hold you back, perspectives that you wish to adopt, intentions for thinking and behavior, or steps you wish to memorize to help you persist through your processes. 

A key principle underlining cognitive rehearsal is neuroplasticity--the brain, and our beliefs, are far more plastic, or malleable to change, than we once thought.

I will be writing a few more posts over the next few weeks suggesting tools for helping you implement cognitive rehearsals.

The End of My Blogging Hiatus

Sustaining a blog is not easy. Over the last 7 years, I have posted over 750 explorations of writing,  productivity, mental health and wellness, publishing, the scholars life, higher education, and a bit about my personal life.

I have found that, to sustain the momentum, I need to give myself little blogging breaks. For many years, I was annoyed at myself for such lapses, and lamented that I was somehow letting others (and myself) down. Now, I give myself to the ebbs and flows of bloggdom, and allow myself planned and unplanned breaks.

Fear not--I have been writing every day, as I have for more than two decades. I am not feeling ready to blog again--first substantive post will be coming soon!