Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ramblings on Gratitude - week 9

Pondering on reflection. This solo retreat last week was awesome. Some would call it Spring Break but for me it was a retreat.  It was therefore also a time of reflection. The full definition of reflection: 1. An instance of reflecting, 2. The production of an image, 3. Something that shows the effect, existence, or character of something else, 4. The action of bending, 5. Indirect criticism, 6. a though, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation, 7. Obsolete, 8. Consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose, and 9. A transformation of a figure in which each point is replaced by a point symmetric with respect to a line or plane.
It is an old word. First known use was in the 14th century although its origins are from the Latin word reflexio (source Merriam-Webster).

I’m reflecting on my learning style. I prefer focused, structured, and complex with an emphasis on concepts and relationships. This is so scary, this insight.  It explains why I’m curious, a true researcher at heart. What is even scarier is to realise, I only buy into a team that is trying to achieve something special or that will help do something worthwhile. I’m committed to my job, as I truly believe that research skills can help you become a reflective professional. I’m not motivated to ‘doing a job’. The job, chore, needs to be important (to me), I need to believe in what I do.  I’m either reflecting or crusading, nothing in between. I’m choosing reflection over crusading. It is hard for me to channel my energy, as I’m incredibly serious and earnest. Crusading takes up too much energy. I’m always on a quest to better understand myself, but also to better the world. I spend more time than most on reflecting on the complex nuances or shades of grey in issues. This sometimes leads me to battle for ‘change‘.  I’m starting to wonder if  I act like a lose projectile. Need to focus more on my goals and not on those of others.

This week was great because I was able to think deeply and intensely about my actions.  I have to accept that not everything fits into my values ecosystem. It is not realistic to assume  (wish) that work, life, beliefs; people are all connected as a whole. Harmony cannot always reign.

I’m coming to accept that I need lots of ‘recharge‘ time. Well the great thing about this week was that I feel ‘recharged‘. Got back into walking. Something I need to do a little later this day too. On average I walked 3.5 kilometers every day.  In no time I’ll be back walking 4 to 5 km per day.  I also finished 4 blocks of the Dear Jane this week. Nearly completed the 5th one!

The above picture is of the G-3

 J-8 in progress

I’m happier than I have been for a long time and that makes me feel good. My physical health is slowly improving too. Feeling a lot healthier than a week ago! I’m grateful for this week. When is my next vacation? Or should I call it ‘recharge‘ week? The upside of working in education is that in 8 weeks I have another week off.

My challenge for coming week: May I learn to practice holy indifference when it comes to others opinions of me. May I lose my sharp ability to discern disapproval, be it real or perceived, so that I may move toward others without fear or agendas. Keep my heart light like a sacred balloon. Emily P. Freeman, 2015  Thank you Emily, for providing me with this quote and inspiration.

progress on my baby Jane

Last week I had Spring Break and had myself a little quilt retreat. A solo retreat! Look at the progress I made, woohoo!

Well starting with the J-8, Anna's Anchor.

In the picture below you see 4 trips done! 

I'm busy completing my 5th trip. Only 3 more blocks to complete after I have finished J-8 and then I can start sewing the sashings on! After this trip is completed I only have 2 more trips to go and 184 blocks to finish my baby Jane.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Saturday Quilt Bee

The last day of February was als the monthly Saturday Quilt Bee at Laura's Quilt Atelier. Had to share some pictures of the projects that everyone is working on.

Well I loved this plate, with the rooster. The cake was delicious too. You can see, as hardly a crumb is left. 

One of the bee members brought some antique sewing  & knitting notions with her that made our mouths drop open. We were nearly drooling! A real show & tell.
Little sewing was done this time, lots of talking and showing things. So I'll end this post by showing the Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren. I really should go and visit it and learn a little more about this tower in the center of Amersfoort.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ramblings on Gratitude - week 8

Looking back on week 8 I have to say this might be my best week so far in 2015. But when I listen to my inner voice I have to admit that most of the days in this week were the best since my career change. The very best! I think you want to know why? I’m trying out new teaching techniques. I’m combining 3 learning techniques (cognitive, affective & regulative) and sharing control with the students. The effect blows my mind.  Lots of interaction with 12 students 8 hours long! At the end of the day, both the students and I were impressed with the fun we had and how quickly the day flew by. It really didn’t feel like 8 hours of learning. And at the end of the day we concluded that we had all learned a lot. A couple of days later I tried it out again, and wow, the same effect. I seem to have a natural tendency for the constructivist approach to teaching and learning.
Constructivism is an approach to teaching and learning based on the premise that cognition (learning) is the result of "mental construction." In other words, students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Constructivists believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught as well as by students' beliefs and attitudes
(Renate N.Caine and Geoffrey Caine, 1991). I’m definitely going learn more about this approach or should I say teaching paradigm?

So I was on a roll till Thursday 1.30pm. After connecting with this one person I had to do some soul searching. What is it about this person that sucks all the happiness and energy out of me? I’ve been pondering on this moment ever since. Well I have found my answer. When INFJs have strong feelings or opinions about someone we often tend to express them in one way or another since this type of expression comes natural to us because of the Extraverted Feeling (Fe). This is why INFJs can be very loving and caring with the people we like but find it hard to get along with people we don’t like. And there we have it: INFJs can often end up in heated debates with other people when we feel they act careless, selfish or in any other way pose a treat to our values.

As an INFJ I have the ability to see both sides of people. The good side but also the bad ones. I see people for who they really are. This ability really sucks! I see what intentions they have and the way they value. I know when somebody is dishonest with me and that gets me every time. I can’t leave it alone. I think this is soooooo wrong! So when someone hurts me in some way, where most other people might get angry, I can only feel pity because I know that on a existential level this person can’t help it because it is part of who they are. That we all have our demons and even though we are aware how they make me or others suffer, it’s very difficult to change. So what does stupid me do, I forgive people even though they might not deserve it. This gets me in big trouble! Being forgiving makes me weak. People take advantage of me because of this weakness to forgive. And guess what? This makes this person feel wonderful. After ending the conversation, this person left all happy and bubbly. It would make me very happy if I could choose to not spend any time with this person but sadly this is not possible.

Why I feel drained after this encounter is because we, INFJs, tend to internalize a lot of our feelings.  We INFJs are very feeling oriented type of personality. We are deeply emotional and most of our problems in life will relate to this heightened emotional sensitivity. I really need to learn more how my Extraverted Feeling (Fe) affects me. That would help me create more stability in my life and maybe even serenity. And, all of a sudden we are back to time management LOL

To gain more control on my emotions, I need realize that when somebody gets me angry or upset, it is really that external energy that affects me. I choose how to react and that determines how I feel. It isn’t that person! I can learn, with practice, to change how this person affects me.

Slowly, after 50 years, acceptance is taking place. I will never really truly fit in. But I’m okay with this. The feeling of not fitting in is common to INFJs, until you manage to find the right people that are more like you. Well I’ve finally found that place and those people. I'm happy and for that I'm grateful. 

Nearly all my life I’ve felt like I’m from a different planet than other people. As I get misunderstood a lot (and it is not because of a language barrier LOL). I’m finally over that feeling to try to change myself in order to fit in. As in the end it will only drain all my energy even more since I can’t be something I’m not. So I’ve stopped trying! Well I want to stop trying to change, but there are instances when I realise I’m still learning to let go. The ‘others‘ have to accept me as I am. It is their loss, not mine. I think and believe we are all biologically wired in different ways psychologically just as we all have different appearances and features. That makes this world for me such a fascinating place to live.

Today I’m putting some order into my life as a quiltmaker. Searched for all the Dear Jane blocks that I’ve been making. I haven’t been giving this quilt in progress all the attention it deserves. Coming week I’m having a quilt retreat. A retreat can be either a time of solitude or a community experience. My retreat will be held in silence. I will be quilting alone. It will be a time of reflection, threading the needle and sewing rhythmically all the pieces together. It will not be a community experience like most quilt retreats.  

Here are the blocks that have been made in the past 18 months.

Did you know that INFJs are also perfectionistic? We are often much harder on ourselves than we are on others. The Dear Jane helps me accept my perfectionism.  After nearly 4 years I’m still contemplating on redoing F-6, Deanie’s Daisies. One of the blocks in the second trip!

Looking forward to the coming week!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Gratitude - week 7

My day can’t start any better than waking up at sunrise, which was at 7.57am today. Maybe it can get better! As we will nearly have 10 hours of daylight! To be precise we will have 9 hours and 55 minutes of daylight. During those 10 hours we will see the sun and some clouds. It is starting to look like spring is here, or is it just me wishing it was spring already? I really do prefer daylight to darkness.

What have I learned this week? Managing my time is hard, real hard. 

I think I’m starting to understand why I can't manage my time. I’m a helper and people pleasure. Helpers according to the enneagram institute are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. The downside during periods of stress is that on the outside I become aggressive and dominating. I become the challenger. I hate that side of me: the strong one, self-confident and assertive side. I SO want to be in my flow. I’m at my happiest when I’m emotionally aware, sensitive, self-deceptive, self-nurturing and reserved: the Bohemian (individualist). My greatest fear is worthlessness and so I pick-up any chore that comes my way. The more I do, the more ‘others‘ will appreciate me! This affirmation is SO wrong, don't you think? So when my task is unclear or I’m not happy with my task, I help ‘others’ because they ask. It is a distraction technique. I don’t need to choose and I show my worth.  

At my best, I share my own personal experiences and insight to assist ‘others‘ in understanding how to deal with a problem. I’m at my best in problem-solving situations. I’m a mentor and tutor in nearly all aspects of my life. What are the eight core conditions of helping: empathy, warmth, respect, genuineness, self-disclosure, concreteness, confrontation, and immediate feedback. This is me, when helping others. Are you a helper too? Is that why you don’t seem to have a fix on ‘time‘?

So in order to manage my time I need to make choices. I love being curious; I love pioneering, discovering new things, and new insights.  I love problem solving. I love working with small groups of people. In this setting I can be ‘me‘, as I can learn. I love learning. The new hype – life-time learning – isn’t wasted on me.  I need more ‘me‘ time, I need to work alone more. As I need to look from the outside in. In the next months I’m going to try and create this kind of environment.

My personality shows as a quiltmaker too. I like setting goals, but also want to finish a project (sooner rather than later), and go on to the next thing. When a project looks like it will not have closure anytime soon, I will leave it behind and go on to the next task and not look back. This explains why I have so many UFO’s. When I eventually retire, I will rediscover so many unfinished projects.  SO looking forward to that.
I love figuring out how a block needs to be constructed. Once I understand the process, I don’t need to make the same block, again and again. I’m most probably a ‘Sampeler‘ kind of Bohemian Quiltmaker. So now you know why I like the DEAR JANE. No block is the same in this quilt. 225 different blocks!!

To manage my time I’ve decided I’m going to further develop my teaching skills and letting go of becoming a researcher again. I’m really re-inventing my career.  

I’m grateful for the following:
  • Making progress on the G-3 ‘Four Leaf Clover‘

  • Having a great group of students who I will mentor/tutor the next 6 months and being able to help them discover ‘research‘
  • Ignoring my work-phone. At set times I will look if I have missed-any calls and e-mails
  • I’m learning to stay out of my work Inbox
  • Making a TODAY list and working more with ‘2DO
  • Enjoying reading romance novels. My escape from reality
  • Teddy being his cuddly old self. He is not afraid of me any more now that the whooping cough is subsiding 
  • Making time to write again, especially in English. Writing enables me to organize my thoughts and dreams 
  • In 5 days I have Spring Break!