July, 2009

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The Waiting Place

Monday, July 27th, 2009

I think that it’s best to avoid a life of constant anticipation BUT, today, I’m drinking it all in.

Tomorrow, bright and early, is the annual departure.  I wait.  I restlessly wait.

It seems, Montreal waits more patiently for me than I do for it.

As far as annual end-of-July-beginning-of-August departures go, this is year five in a row.  A milestone. Each year has had a different cast and crew and has lasted for different amounts of time and has had different intentions (with language learning among the most ambitious).

Today is the intention setting for this trip.  It’s the last minute sun time.  It’s the packing, the daydreaming, the planning, the vowing not to over-plan, the web check-ining, the gloating.

There’s always something big in store for us and our adventures there.  Experience has taught me that there’s no guessing, at all, with what to expect–so I no longer try.  I just know that there’s no waiting there.  Just living.  Living, and laugher, and late nights, and warm days, and being, and dancing, and learning, and eating.

Be yourself.  Live life to the fullest.  In Montreal, anything that deviates from that is considered a waste.

And so I wait.  😉

In 10.

Monday, July 13th, 2009
  1. This week has changed me.  I’ve learned more than I thought was possible in a week.
  2. I’ve found out what I’m all about this week, as far as teaching goes.  When I’m doing assignments at this pace, I don’t have time to write about anything other than what I’m all about, even if I attempt to.
  3. My classmates, cohort, and colleagues are amazing.  I learn from them every day: whether in class or in casual conversation.
  4. I love learning.  I feel a bit strange giving up so much of summer, but I’ve loved the push, the conversations, and the process.
  5. I’ve never spent so much time in front of a laptop, ever.  I’ve never done so many assignments paperless.  Paperless research is a whole new ball of wax.
  6. I’m the best I’ve ever been at typing lately.
  7. I consider much of this learning a new language.  AT the very least, this has involved learning a whole new vocabulary.  SO much of this has reminded me of French summer immersion.
  8. The peaceful setting of Lethbridge is very cool to go to university in.
  9. Social media has helped me more than I thought it would: from Twitter to Facebook.
  10. My sense of time is TOTALLY distorted: between the deadlines, and the pace, and the classes.  It will be so strange being in Montreal in a few weeks, too.  This will have been quite the summer.

grad studies observations

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
  • in these condensed courses three days feels like three weeks
  • i NEED to stop over analyzing
  • this city is freakin’ WINDY, some things never change
  • grad studies in a nutshell: write, write, write
  • i’m going to be a writing pro soon
  • this has been a good look inwards
  • affirmations on an assignment calendar go a LONG way
  • classmate support goes A SUPER LONG way
  • i.  can.  do.  it.
  • with a.p.a. spacing: i. can. do. it.

haha, don’t you feel like you’re doing your masters too when you’re reading any of this?!


Monday, July 6th, 2009

1) It’s hard to know how much to let myself, in these graduate studies, get into my head and analyze and think and churn. This versus, get out of my head and take in the whole experience versus the details. It’s a whole entire right vs. left type thing. Take my first assignment here, due Wednesday, my pedagogic creed, – do I go with my heart and shut my brain off or do I go with my brain and shut my heart off. Doesn’t make sense maybe… and the good news is it all gets done no matter what.

2) Walking, as in the big city of Calgary, is a lifesaver! Just outside my house there’s an AWESOME path system made for an iPod Touch and some exercise and reflection!

Day 1 has went great. It’s always a bit daunting to see everything at once but, meh, experience lets that just be all part of the process! Not TOO big of a culture shock here in the windy city of Lethbridge. =)

Labyrinth Upgrade

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Over the winter I read a book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future, that recommended labyrinths.  I later added the author, Daniel Pink, to Twitter to tell him I took him up on his advice but he didn’t write back.  That’s okay; what I didn’t write to him on Twitter was that the book was only so-so.

A few months ago I did a guided labyrinth meditation in downtown Calgary.  [Turns out, Calgary actually has a few labyrinths.]  It was very interesting.  Many elements were reminiscent of my meditation night class continuing education course, and of yoga.

In the interests of brevity here’s the jist:  You can begin your labyrinth walk with a question or idea.  You walk into the centre of the labyrinth in a slow purposeful way thinking all the things you want to lay down [in relation to the idea or question], things you want to get rid of, not have, get taken away.  Once in the centre of the labyrinth, it’s the opposite:  you pause, for as long as neccesary, thinking of things you’d ideally receive, get, attain [again, in relation to the main idea].  Then the walk back out: a general reflection on the whole experience and how it all relates, a re-entry back to the world.

…Not a bad way to frame thoughts.  I did the walk twice: first, thinking in very general terms; then second, thinking more towards school/career/classroom-type stuff.

This brings me to yesterday.

I’d meant to get back to the labyrinth to try the whole experience on my own.  Just like anything, it took me longer to get back than I thought it would.  Yesterday, I thought to myself, I should go to this labyrinth thing and really think about grad school.  It’s been on my mind non-stop but I’ve never really given myself time to really think about how I feel about this whole thing.

I decide to go in the morning.  Stampede Parade morning.  Ug.  It becomes a labyrinth getting there, with constant thought as to which underpasses and +15’s will get me across everything and through every crowd effectively.  I get there.  It’s closed.  Downtown is too busy.  I feel dumb for trying but then have a thought.  Why don’t I just do my own walk and frame things the same way.  I don’t need this whole labyrinth prop.  I can use, oh, the real-world.

So I do.  I set my parameters quickly:  I’ll walk the length of Prince’s Island Park with the whole let-go stuff.  I’ll pause at the bridge that connects the island to the path at the opposite end for the what-it’s-going-to-take stuff.  I’ll walk the remainder of the riverside path for the how-it-all-connects piece.

Voila.  A huge success!  AND I now have a ready-to-take-anywhere walking meditation.  In fact, the whole experience was really positive.  …and because it was such an existential type effort, I can’t help but wonder if I was mean to try the labyrinth at a time that it was inaccessible SO THAT, I’d give it all a go in the way that I did.  Hmmmm…. maybe a bit to egocentric.  BUT, a great morning and great reflection is never a bad result!

I’ll do both (actual labyrinth and do it yourself labyrinth) again, I’m sure.  It’s nice knowing I have both options.

Now if only this stinkin’ elbow would get better…. and I could do the yoga thing.