Starry Ideas: What has caught my eye while learning to STOP!

I just read Thesis Whisperers latest post about Why do academics work so much? And I couldn’t help but find myself nodding at pretty much everything at that Inger wrote. I too have an extended break (but not because I’m transiting positions across universities).  I had the joy of having all of December and early January off. Here in Australia the sun is shining so I took the opportunity to organize lunch dates with people who I hadn’t seen for a while, reconnected with my yoga practice, enjoyed extended chats with friends and most of all snuck in some mountain bike riding and camping.

Learning to stop, look, and relax. Photo taken at the top of Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (N.Lemon, 2012)

Learning to stop, look, and relax. Photo taken at the top of Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (N.Lemon, 2012)

Sounds great BUT I couldn’t switch off from work. The first week of my holidays I was still working, mostly form home but I did go on campus for an afternoon to attend a workshop on supervising PhD students. I was finishing off research reports where late data had ben returned, attending industry partnership meetings, planning new research ideas, monitoring grant decisions due while still writing publications. All of these things could have waited. I went on leave with all deadlines for 2012 completed, and the tasks I was working on had deadlines set for early in the year and all at stages that were well ahead of schedule. I’m organized, some would say over organized at times, so this wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t switch my mind off from these projects.  Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t unhappy at the work but I was more unhappy with myself in that I couldn’t stop, relax and take time out for myself. I was struggling with allowing myself to have extended “me” time.

I had to physically STOP and turn the mind chatter off. In negotiating this space I taught myself to be able to sit on the couch and read a book (not connected to a research focus or my teaching) or watch a series that I had been wanting to see but had missed when it viewed on television. It worked! I got caught on (well actually addicted) to the American show Homeland. I have now watched the entire series 1 and 2 episodes and am set for series 3 once it finished filming. My mind was still clicking over but it was on different things – characters, plots, surprises and twist and turns – rather than research questions, literature, conferences, publications, teaching, and reviews. I also learnt that I could stop and that I need to do that more!

So in saying all of this one of the strategies I learnt to apply to my never ending generation of ideas and thinking was to blog about the Twitter resources I accessed, marked with a star, and am just returning to now. In the week or so that has gone past I’ve noticed some interesting quotes and affirmations that have resonated with me:

You cannot get a technologically innovative place unless it’s open to weirdeness, eccentricity & difference -Richard Florida

We can’t expect things to change if we keep doing the same things over and over. – Albert Einstein

Take risks. Ask big questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching far enough. ~ David Packard

This quote I liked and just had to include…

Most of the items on my Favorites List are links to articles I want to read. I wonder how many lifetimes it will take to accomplish that. – @EmceeReads

An interesting article about woman and work place approaches to working with others, moving forward and  perceived success grabbed my attention. This paralleled with a widely accessed article on nine ways successful people defeat stress. Having self-compassion and cutting one’s self some “slack” was a crucial point in my noticing, particularly around difficulties in allowing myself to stop and relax for a moment.

Once again technology and education is in my space of thinking. I have just had ethics approval to continue research into Twitter and pre-service teacher us for professional development and access to arts education resources, so it is no surprise that I noticed the discussion about teachers’ use of technology to support learning.  I was also fascinated in the #TwitterArtExhibit discussion on Twitter. This  reminded me of the positive response pre-service teachers I worked with last year developed from viewing their own and peers art work online via Twitter. There was a fascinating article about higher education learning and the fear expressed by some lecturers about online learning.

In the arts space I connected with the artwork of Jason Gowans who invites viewers to redefine their perspective. I loved the drawings generated by teenagers that were hung at the opening of an exhibition entrance way at Portland Art Gallery. Last year I did some work in printmaking and I begun touching on collagraphs, and the work of Gail Trowbridge with found objects reminded me of some ideas I want to explore this year.   Sir Ken Robinson and his arguments for creativity is not an option in education is being referred to again on Twitter. The place of arts in education still remains a tension point for many.

Pat Thomson wrote another intriguing post about the effects of methods assignments and offered much food for thought about the researcher explaining their own thinking while undertaking research.

What did you connect with in the past week or so?

How do you manage your need to relax? 


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