Mindfulness Meditation & Reflective Practice

The New York Times recently had an article on mindfulness meditation, which is a psychotherapeutic method that focuses on awareness and release of emotions. This is related to “just being,” rather than a focus on “doing” something active, so concepts and memories get “reframed” so that a person can recall difficult situations and experiences and learn to endure them while coming from a place of peace and quiet. 

While this work comes out of the psychotherapy literature with a Buddhist twist, it reminds me in many ways of Reflective Practice. Donald Schon initiated this concept to mean “thoughtfully considering one’s own experiences in applying knowledge to practice while being coached by professionals in the discipline.” I am an adherent of this educational philosophy (as noted in my blog’s by-line), and regularly read the same-named journal and enjoyed the MIT course (available free online).

Aren’t these two similar, and perhaps related? Don’t I need to be quiet in order to reflect on and reframe my experiences into new next steps, ones that are better informed for having processed the initial occurrences themselves? Isn’t that what I do as an educator, to best meet the needs of my students? Isn’t that what is informing the new edupunk movement? Shouldn’t that help with the next presidential election, the rise in prices associated with fossil fuels, and even terrorism?

Once again, as what is becoming a mantra for me:  
There are no unrelated fields of study nor experiential horizons.

Blogging as Creative Expression

I was asked to consider this question:

Describe one of your own creative works and what you accomplished with it – then become your own critic and find out what you could have done better.

I looked at this question for some time, as I do not normally consider myself the most creative person. Knowing this is probably not the case, I am thinking about how I am often creative in my academic research, my professional work in instructional design and organizational consulting, my teaching, and here on my blog, the one public outlet for my creativity. 

I suppose one creative work is this very blog, as it has been ongoing since my first post on December 7, 2006. Hundreds of posts later, with my daily Tweets captured here as well, I can say that I am still capturing my daily thoughts and feelings and interests and sharing them with anybody and everybody online, whether they are interested in them or not. This blog becomes fertile ground for my experiment in reflective practice.

What can (could) I (have) do (done) better? I can censor myself less by writing in a manner that more closely resembles my spoken voice. There is little that is not public, and maintaining a personal blog is one way to own my (virtual) identity. I should probably write in my own voice more, as others who do so are quite refreshing. I think Twitter is helping with this. Restated a positive way, I can be more authentic and self-identified. Perhaps that is exactly what I am attempting with all the writing about liveblogging I have been doing? Perhaps that is why liveblogging is my next area of formal research? Perhaps autoethnographically studying my liveblogging I will learn something about media-supported live expression and self-narrative?

And I thought this question would be difficult to answer!

Northern Voice; Post-Reflection

So, Northern Voice is finished. What to do with it now?

I think I will let my blogging tagline guide me for my next step as I begin my debrief:

Reflective practice in organizational learning, educational technology, and postmodern society.

Reflective Practice

I want, or rather need, to continue to reflect on my experiences. This reflection is critical to my learning. Writing new blog posts after having liveblogged every session I attended at nv08, Tweeting, and reviewing my Flickr photos to help me recall forgotten moments are all conscious choices I am making to foster my own grounding and creative development. So much content and experiences and learning so quickly was overwhelming. Strange how writing, even here, helps me to process it all.

Organizational Learning

I did not attend nv08 alone. I started to read more blogs and Tweets of people who I knew before the conference, as well as people I met while there. My FeedDemon feeds (kept current on my blog) have been working overtime, and I think that I will be adding to these in the coming week or so as I recall people who I wanted to follow but did not add them at the time.

Educational Technology

I learned edubloggers are more varied than I initially thought. For many years when I thought about edubloggers, K-12 jumped to my mind. Having met so many who teach adults, I felt more at home than I thought I would. I am actively demonstrating what I am learning via technology by committing to more actively comment than I have done in the past. I want to read and join in a community with others who have similar interests and skills and experiences and challenges. As writing helps me to learn, perhaps sharing this with others on their own social media outlets may engage others in conversation and continue the learning in new and exciting directions.

Postmodern Society

Is there a common Northern Voice attendee? Is there a common worldview there? Platform? Favorite technology? Coolest accessible app? Best approach to social media? What does it mean to have a “personal blogging and social media” conference in person at all, given the topic? Should there be a virtual conference mid-year to debrief, check-in, and prepare for the February event?

It feels liberating to consider NV within the context of my blog’s tagline. Hey, if it does not fit there, then the tagline needs to evolve. Glad to see the revised (current) one I developed a few weeks ago, after working on it for weeks, seems to be just right. For now, at least.

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Interpret Qualitative Research; Don’t Analyze It

I heard a great statement today, though I do not recall exactly who said it (I think it was an autoethnographic mailing list I follow), but I have been thinking about this all day:

We don’t analyze qualitative research, we interpret it. Only quantitative data can be analyzed.

That is one of the reasons I am so much fonder of qualitative work–interpretations can be very rich and can be done from a variety of perspectives. After all, how many interpretations have there been of the Bible or Shakespeare or even the Tarot? So much depends on experiences and assumptions, among other factors, that interpretation itself can even be interpreted.

Try doing that with quantitative research!

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Twitter Champion

I just read a fascinating post from Richard Azia, where he described some of his thoughts having recently Tweeted 10,000 times (in under a year!). He had some really thoughtful reflections about Twitter as a truly social media. I commented on his page about this, sharing my own thoughts about why I started to Tweet more. To quote my own reply:

. . . I have started using it [Twitter] again a lot more because of 3 reasons–I have a BlackBerry and started using TwitterBerry, since it makes it easier to Tweet while on the run. Secondly, I find myself more open to sharing things in my day as my own public reflective practice (like autoethnographic and narrative studies). Thirdly, I recently switched my blog from MovableType to WordPress, and use Twitter Tools–this allows me to have my