Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 48 - Halfway home

Wow! Yesterday marked the halfway point in the fall semester. This means that I am a mere 47 days (and 47 blog posts) away from earning this Masters degree. It doesn't seem possible that I can write two major papers along with several shorter writing assignments, a number of exams, 2 major presentations and 6 quizzes in such a short time, and yet, I am confident that I will do that successfully - blogging all the while. The reading and assignments thus far have really kept me hopping, but now the end is in sight.

Along with the fall breeze which blew in today, I am feeling a little more stress in the wind. Of course, it's just me putting way too much pressure on myself. Is is just me or don't we all have this tendency? I'm worried about my two major research assignments, especially the Comprehensive Project. For over a week now, I've been sending out survey invitations to staff, faculty and students on campus - but have received nowhere near the level of response I hoped for - yet. I've encountered a major glitch in the survey distribution ...but I will not give up! I know I can find some way to collect enough relevant data and generate a publishable journal article (my first, and hopefully not my last).

The highlight of the week was my successful presentation to an undergraduate journalism class about the software and the processes I am using in my research. It went well...I think. Standing in front of that class was definitely a new (scary) experience. Another professor from the JMC department who attended said afterwards that I looked remarkably comfortable and sounded like I knew my stuff. That was a surprise. In reality, I could not have been more nervous. My faculty advisor supported the effort and I owe her some thanks for making it possible. After all, my goal is to ultimately teach, so this was a good time to start getting my feet wet. Now, however, I am back to concentrating on the projects themselves.

How much praise do you really need?
I've been thinking a lot this week about whether I seem to need too much outside approval. I realize this is one of my main flaws. The only legitimate approval comes from within - for every one of us. Someone else’s opinion of you says a LOT more about THEM than it does about you. It's true! A common concept in Buddhism is that of “emptiness” - knowing (understanding) that the world is empty of meaning except that which we give it. Think of it as a Rorschach ink test—you know, the one where you look at an ink blot and tell the therapist what you see. Well, what you see has NOTHING to do with the blob on the paper and EVERYTHING to do with you.

It's the same when we lend credence to what others think of us, our work, our performance or personality. It doesn't matter. How someone sees anyone has to do with THEM. Not us. (The same goes for how anyone sees ANYTHING. Rain can make one person dance naked with joy while anther will always curse the terrible weather. It is empty. You get to pick your meaning.)

So, the next time someone appears to be acting mean or hyper-critical of you, just remember, they’re telling you more about their issues than they are you or yours. A more self-actualized person is not shaken by EITHER praise OR blame.

A thought to ponder over the beautiful fall weekend: "It's easy to see the faults of is harder to see our own."

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