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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

If you’re too busy to give your neighbor a helping hand, then you’re just too darned busy.
Marie T. Freeman

To honor 10/10/10, I created my five-year-plan i.e. the Time Capsule. I started writing my Time Capsule by writing my name and the date five years from now in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. I’m totally a mind map kind of person, so the format was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to focus on practicalities at all, so I started with a basic question – what do I want to fill my days with in five years? The answer consisted of four key verbs that became the nodes of my mind map and a series of four posts.

The first two nodes were the red one and the green one. What followed was the orange one – I Help.

One of the key parts of what I want to do in the future is help others. I know this on several levels. Still, this post has been hiding in the dark for several weeks. See, after creating my Time Capsule, I started to question whether I really really want to help people. Or rather, if helping people is what I want, instead of thinking it’s what others want me to want.

Tricky and complicated? Yes.

In a previous post, I mulled over the need to feel useful.  In other words, the belief says that if I’m not useful, I’m worth nothing. I’m trying my best to let go of that belief, but it’s not easy. After all, it’s been present in my life for at least a decade, if not two. Seeing how I’m only 27, it’s a large part of my life. 🙂 Whenever I end up doing something that is not ultimately useful, I feel like I’m wasting time, for me and those around me.

So is the whole “I help” thing really only a thinly veiled channel to feed that mistaken belief? Am I building myself a life of living on someone else’s terms and not my own? These were the questions I thought about for the past few weeks, as I was trying to write this post.

Because on the one hand, there’s inherent value in helping other people. I know that, and I’ve experienced it time and time again. And on the other hand, there’s the bitterness that comes from only ever doing what others want you to do and never pursuing your own dreams. I don’t want to end up being an eighty-year-old grandma who only ever talks about how she could have been this and could have been that, but she ended up taking the conventional route and helping others succeed instead.

I think the solution lies in the kind of help I want to provide others. I’ve done a fair share of altruistic helping, and of course that bears its own rewards when you see how happy the recipient is. I’ve also helped people out of a sense of duty or debt – or to receive praise, admiration and gratitude. But that is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

In my ideal world, I would get to do what I love and, almost incidentally, help people as a side product. I want to teach others and help them improve their skills in communication, among other things. I want to write about my experiences and provide inspiration and comfort for people who are struggling with the same questions. I want to sing, dance, laugh and play from the bottom of my creative heart, and then let others see what I’ve created and feel moved in one way or another.

In other words, I want to do what I Love – the fourth and final node of my Time Capsule.

More on that sooner rather than later, I hope.

Thank you again for tuning in, and plentiful insightings in your neck of the woods!

Love,

Sari

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Authenticity is invaluable. Originality is non-existent.
Paul Arden

To honor 10/10/10, I created my five-year-plan i.e. the Time Capsule. I started writing my Time Capsule by writing my name and the date five years from now in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. I’m totally a mind map kind of person, so the format was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to focus on practicalities at all, so I started with a basic question – what do I want to fill my days with in five years? The answer consisted of four key verbs that became the nodes of my mind map and a series of four posts.

The first node, I Teach, was the topic of yesterday’s post. The next node that blossomed on the paper was the green one.

I Create.

At the moment, the biggest creation I’m brewing is my MA thesis. Despite all the drama, trauma and self-work associated with it – or maybe because of them – I really want to do some amount of research after graduating, too. There’s a certain appeal to processing volumes upon volumes of information and data, slicing it, sieving it, and distilling it into a bottle of This Is What I Found Out.

In my thesis process, I’m knee-deep in analysis. I can’t see the bigger picture yet, but some shapes and flavors are starting to emerge. The creative process is bubbling within me and within the data, and the scent of something not-quite-finished-but-on-its-way is almost tangible. It’s frustrating, it’s hard work – it’s a prime example of the boulder (the video contains the kind of vocabulary teenagers invariably learn first in whatever foreign language they choose to take up) that has to be pushed up the hill.

But it’s fabulous. It’s a chance to actually create new ways of thinking so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Furthermore, it’s learning in the most profound way you could imagine. And after learning whatever there is to learn in the data, you have to write a research report to communicate your new knowledge to the scientific community. Awesome.

Creating through research is also intimately linked to teaching. First, by learning through my research I will become better at my chosen profession, assuming I keep researching the teaching situation. Second, the process of planning what to teach and how is very much a creative one. And finally, if I manage to get a position as a postgraduate student at the university, my job description will most probably include lecturing and teaching, too.

Besides research and teaching, I’d love to be able to create on the fields of music and drama. For the most part, I’m drawn to improvisation. Over the years, I’ve become more or less addicted to the carpe diem effect that comes joining an improvisation, whether dramatic or musical. There is something about a good impro that heals the soul. I wouldn’t mind performing, either, but I’d be surprised if I ended up earning my keep as a professional musician or actress. Happily surprised, mind you. 🙂

One more important channel of creativity is my writing and especially the blog. I’m so happy I’ve managed to recreate a relationship with the blog, since there was a long period (at least in Internet time) of blocks and not feeling like writing anything much at all. The blog allows me to process things out loud and come up with new ways of thinking, much like research – but without as much bibliography or analytical rigidity. 🙂 It is a space for me to spitball, as it were, about phenomena that I find fascinating.

(Some of the areas in this node will hopefully become Contribution ones. While doodling my Time Capsule, I was acutely aware of the fact that all the passion in the world won’t pay the mortgage on its own. Since making “I Earn Money” a node in itself was not an option, I drew a yellow bubble between the I Create and I Help nodes. The yellow bubble represents the money people are willing to pay in exchange for the value my contribution creates in their life.)

Why teach? Why create? There’s a strong undercurrent of wanting to help others. Quite naturally, the following node was I Help. More on that in a few days.

Thank you for tuning in! And, as always, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.
Stacey Charter

For those of you wondering, I do read other things besides Havi’s blog. 🙂 The fact is, though, that her writing inspires me so often that I end up giving you links to her posts a lot more than to any other writers combined. This time, her post about plans inspired me to craft a five-year-plan of my very own. (Truth be told it wasn’t as much the actual post as the word “Time Capsule” in JoVE’s comment – which led me to find another brilliant addition to my feed – that sparked my imagination and pushed me into grabbing my pencil case and a sheet of paper and get cracking.)

I started writing my Time Capsule by writing my name and the date five years from now in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. I’m totally a mind map kind of person, so the format was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to focus on practicalities at all, so I started with a basic question – what do I want to fill my days with in five years?

The answer consisted of four key verbs that became the nodes of my mind map. Being my life’s passions, I think each node deserves its own post. 🙂

The first node I came up with was the red one.

I teach

Sooner or later, I’ll graduate as a teacher. However, it’s not just the education that pushes me towards teaching. Rather, it’s been the drive to teach that has led me to seek out the education I’m about to finish. Since I’m pretty passionate about communication, it will probably be the core of what I teach.

As an English as a Foreign Language teacher, I want to give students the possibility to actually communicate in the foreign language from the very beginning. Language is a tool for expressing emotions and opinions, influencing others, navigating in social situations and creating a shared understanding of the world around us.

The big, painful task is to convey this fabulousness to students who might not even realize that some people actually speak English. As, you know, their mother tongue. As in, they don’t speak any other language. By the time they finish compulsory education in Finland, most students will have studied at least two languages besides their mother tongue, so learning a foreign language and its culture may turn into a chore, not a gift. My passion is to help them see it as a gift.

I also want to teach communication and social skills using my drama teacher education. Nonverbal communication, listening and awareness of status changes are among the things I want my students to learn. Drama also has a big element of self-communication – reflecting on the things you’ve done and seen is a key part of learning in drama, as well as a key skill in life.

Besides communication, I would love to teach Shiva Nata for a living. In a way, it does link to communication, though – Shiva Nata is to self-work what cable Internet is to communication. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t tried it. 🙂

Furthermore, I have a feeling that the whole “embrace the failures” mentality of Shiva Nata would be an interesting spice to the activities of any improvisational theater activity. I will hopefully have a chance to try out a session of Shiva Nata and impro later this fall, and I will report back as soon as I recover from the experience.

Why, then, do I want to teach? Teaching is inherently linked to the other nodes in my Time Capsule Mind Map – I Create, I Help, and I Love. More on those in following posts.

Thank you so much for reading, once again – keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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The basis of human trust is established through play signals.
Dr. Stuart Brown

As I mentioned earlier, I’m hooked on TED.com. Since I don’t really have time to just sit down and watch the lectures all day, I multi-task. While doing the dishes last week, I listened to Dr. Stuart Brown’s lecture on the importance of play throughout our lives. Something clicked.

Doubt

Since I’m approaching the final stages of my studies and the dreaded G word (graduation), I’m inevitably thinking about what I’ll do when I no longer have the security of school and student status. Sure, I’ll be a teacher, and teachers are always needed. How long will it take, though, for me to be old, wise and experienced enough for someone to employ me full-time?

Since jobseeking is a relevant topic for others I know as well, I’ve been keeping an eye on the job market for Arts majors without significant financial or technological expertise. You know what? It’s not hot. Every now and then, I find myself thinking I maybe should have done a more marketable degree, read more relevant minors, acquired more financial expertise and so on.

During one of these soul-searches, I happened to listen to Dr. Stuart Brown’s lecture. Much of it I already knew, having studied drama education for a year and a half now. Still, there were a few points that really resonated. One was the notion quoted above that trust is established through play signals.

Another was the story about play-deprived rats and regular rats. When presented with a cat-smelling object, the rats all ran and hid, regardless of their play history. The play-deprived ones, however, never came out. They didn’t have whatever it takes to start exploring the surroundings to find out if the danger is still imminent or already gone.

Drama as play

Essentially, drama is about play and make-believe. In English, the word play encompasses both the fun, frivolous, unorganized activity and the theatrical presentation of a drama text. All in all, one of the central concepts in drama and drama education is that of play, playfulness and a shared understanding of “creating an elsewhere”.

That shared understanding, I’d imagine, is the very thing that builds trust.

Jokes, flirtation, throwing someone a baseball or watching a soap opera all require a certain mindset both from the initiator and from the respondent. If the initiator wants to play catch as she throws the ball, and the respondent thinks they’re being attacked, there’s a huge miscommunication that might well result in bruising and bitter words. Jokes work in much the same way, only verbally. There, too, the danger of bitter words and emotional bruising is obvious.

That same trust – in oneself and in others – could again be the reason why the undeprived rats started to explore their surroundings and why the play-deprived ones didn’t.

Play is that significant.

*ding*

I’m training to be a drama teacher. That means I’ll be teaching, instructing and guiding kids, teenagers and adults how to play without feeling stupid about it. Or, better yet, how to play and feel stupid and not care.

Which will improve their communication skills, their risk-taking skills, their trusting skills, and more.

How is that not the single most awesome thing in the world?

How could that not be something people want to learn?

My goal for the rest of my studies will be to figure out and build myself a way to bring that to the people who need it most. A school is a good context for that, but it’s definitely not the only one. By focusing on my future title – teacher – I’m probably limiting my career possibilities.

I feel my dream job is getting closer and closer. 🙂

Thank you for popping by and taking the time to read this – I hope you enjoy(ed) the Stuart Brown lecture! Until next time, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
Lord Byron

I assure you, Havi is not the only person in the world to inspire me. But she does it so well, and so often, that the traces of that inspiration sometimes find their way back here. This time, her post about writing a personal letter budged me. All that mixture of intentions, communicating with yourself and – when writing it out in public – communicating with the entire world really struck a chord.

Seeing as I’m studying to be a teacher, I’ve obviously got a hunch of the things I’d like to do when I grow up. However, I feel I have more to give than just (and by just I don’t mean I don’t respect the awesome professional skill of teachers) my teaching side. So let’s see if we can get something rolling here.

Dear Dream Job,

I know you’re out there, and we’re looking for each other. You give me a chance to be creative in several ways – writing, singing, acting, communicating in both of “my” languages – and yet you provide a reliable framework for me to build my life on.

You lavish me with loving individuals and a supportive work community, while allowing me all the independence I need. You give me responsibility in suitable doses, and I get to share that responsibility with my colleagues. You are fun.

When I go home, you stay at work and don’t follow me. You allow me to have plenty of free time.

You give me a feeling of security, emotional as well as financial, and allow me to flourish to my fullest potential. You appreciate my talent and intelligence. You resonate with my values: love, respect, learning, honesty. You make me happy to wake up in the morning and energized after the day is done. You inspire me to develop my skills further without pressuring me to change who I am.

Is this you? Is this a job you know? Pop me a comment or a Twitter message, and we’ll see if we’re meant for each other.

Eagerly waiting to fall in love with you,

Sari

Writing this has suddenly spurred up an “isn’t it preposterous to think I could have all that?” reaction. I’m sure that’s only natural, and I will keep gently reminding myself that yes, honey, you can have all that. It’s all out there, waiting for you to find it. Or better yet, making its way to you as we speak.

(…that’s still preposterous…)

Yes, you deserve to have a wonderful job that makes you happy.

Yes, you do.

… I guess this might take some time for some parts of me to believe. [Deep breath.] And that’s okay. This job will be there for me once I believe it. 🙂

Thank you so much for popping by. If this inspired you to write your own personal letter, I’d love to hear about it in the comments, and until we meet again –  keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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What Will Never Be

Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.
Sylvia Robinson

So two major things happened during the past year.

First, my only sister lost her battle against cancer and died January 10, 2008, at the age of 33. Once I’ve gotten to the stage of the process where I can say I’ve actually learned something from that whole thing, I’ll tell you more.

Second, in July 2008, my boyfriend proposed to me, and we’re getting married July 25, 2009.

Both of these things were emotionally extreme, although almost exact opposites. Both are also things that are quite final in some sense, and thus close a lot of doors. I know marriage is not nearly as final as death, but since we’re vowing to be together for the rest of our lives, I want to see it as a total commitment. I’m also noticing some parallel emotional reactions as I’m preparing to be a wedded wife.

What do I mean by closing doors?

Glad you asked. Whatever happens in this life, I will never have a sibling again. If we ever have children, they won’t have cousins from their mother’s side, and my children will be the only grandchildren my parents ever have. Our family celebrations won’t be filled with stories from Auntie K about how I used to do this and she used to do that.

On the other hand, by choosing to commit to my now fiancé for the rest of my life I’m automatically ruling out a bunch of possible future spouses (sorry, Orlando…), as well as possible extended families. I love my future husband, as well as my future in-laws, but it still seems all so… final.

Even if I meet someone that I’m really really in synch with, mentally and emotionally and physically, I’ll be unable to do anything about it. Or rather, I’ll choose to not do anything about it and silently suffer the pain and anguish of letting go of that possible love affair.

There are some things that have helped me cope with this whole boiling pit of sticky emotion about What Will Never Be, and may help you if you’re struggling with something similar.

Grieving

First, I’m trying to let myself grieve over the loss. Because it is, in essence, a kind of loss, even if you’ve never had what you’ve lost. If you can imagine it, it is a possibility. Having to dismiss something as impossible the moment you imagine it is sad and painful and horrible.

The grief process around the death of my sister has dealt with the things I’ve lost from my life as she is gone, but also the things that will never be, such as summers at the family cottage or crazy girls’ nights out.

I think it’s easier to grieve What Will Never Be if the finality arises from something sad, such as death. I was really surprised when, at the midst of this pink engagement cloud, I started to feel resentful, wistful, sad and trapped. I was also having some unexpected crushes on my male friends. Not the stuff you’d expect from a newly engaged bride.

I probably wouldn’t have realised what was going on if I hadn’t recognised that there was a similar process happening in the part of my brain where I was grieving for my sister. After I figured out the connection, I could give myself a mental hug and let my emotions run wild without them really affecting my behavior.

Dreaming

The second thing that helps me is dreaming. Just because it won’t happen in real life doesn’t mean it can’t happen in your imagination. Sometimes indulging in a vivid mental improvisation of your dream house, family, job or career is even more entertaining than actually having those things.

You can imagine yourself as a rockstar onstage in front of thousands of people – and ignore the endless sound checks, stressing over ticket sales, fretting over costumes and getting to bed at dawn. Just be sure that you don’t spend your life fantasising while the chances to fulfill other dreams pass you by.

Then again, as you fantasise about your impossible dream, focus on the things that really appeal to you. Is there something you could actually incorporate in your life?

Finding the nucleus

My sister was one of my closest friends, and I keep a photo of the two of us on my nightstand and another next to my computer. I constantly find myself using idioms, phrases, and intonations that she would have used, and whenever I come across a movie, book, article or tv-show she would’ve enjoyed, I make a mental note of it. In a way, she is still a part of my life, and I’m sure she always will.

Even if I can’t have my sister around anymore in a real sense, I can hold on to the nucleus of what made her so important to me. I still remember the fights and resentment we used to have, and I loved her in spite of all that. It’s not nucleal for me to remind myself of that, though.

As for Orlando and all the other fascinating men, I’m willing to sacrifice the physical and the emotional for the other stuff. The people I find most drawn to are the ones that share my sense of humor, my appreciation of music and arts, and my interest in constructing hypotheses out of thin air.

Fortunately, sharing that nucleus doesn’t require an exchange of bodily fluids or whispered sweet nothings.

Or take the aspiring rockstar. Is it the music? Learn to play one song on the guitar, join a group, or find a karaoke bar with the right atmosphere. Is it the show? Try finding an amateur theater group you could join. Or you wanted to be a flight attendant? If it was for the outfits, start wearing high heels and silk scarves to work – even if you’re working from home. The customer service? Ask around and find out if you could incorporate some customer service into your work. And so on.

Such is life.

There’s not really a good way to wrap up this post, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll wish you well and hope this helps someone somewhere. If you have suggestions of what might help, or what helped you in a similar situation, feel free to comment.

Until we meet again – keep catching those insightings.

Love,

Sari

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