Monday, September 19, 2011

Flexibility or Expandability? That was the question...

Flexibility and expandability are both very valuable traits to have. However, I think their value is dependent upon how we define them and on what aspects of our being we are referring to.

Flexibility is defined as the ability "to bend without breaking". In this sense of the word, I think it is extremely valuable to be flexible - equally in terms of our minds, bodies and spirits. In all three areas we should constantly be able to open or bend. We should be open to new ideas, experiences and ideologies or ways of life. However, we also have to take care not to allow ourselves to break or become damaged. Sometimes we are too open. So open that we are no longer grounded in our ideas, actions or emotions.

Flexibility is also defined as "easily influenced". In this sense of the word, I feel that flexibility is not valuable. Although this conception of flexibility may seem similar to above, notice here the emphasis on "easily". Yes, we should be open to change, but I worry when change comes easily. Any change - meaningful change - should be done thoughtfully, and with a clear understanding of the intention and the result. When a change is made easily (notice here that I am assuming easily to be synonymous with quickly or fleetingly) it is very rarely done with this clarity. This can lead to all sorts of problems. Things can happen that we did not intend to. Or we may not be able or willing to accept the consequences of the change.

Expandability is defined as "to become expanded; spread out, unfold or enlarge". I think it is very valuable that one is open to expand and unfold. Isn't that the goal of the journey of life? To expand our experiences and knowledge as our physical form grows and unfolds into adulthood? Yes, some would argue that. However, I am hesitant to expand or unfold, especially in terms of my emotions and my willingness to  support others emotionally, to the point where I am no longer grounded or able to protect myself. Because, of course, the result of unfolding is that what has been unfolded is now open and exposed. Like the typical Pisces that I am, I always try to make myself available to my friends and family. To provide whatever emotional comfort or support they need. But in the same Piscean fashion, I am constantly in need of emotional comfort and support. So, if I am too focused on comforting and supporting others, I leave little-to-no reserves to comfort and support myself. Yoga (yay yogis!) teaches us that we must first ground ourselves in order to be able to expand out to the world around us. Without this initial grounding, we have no energy to spare to hold ourselves up. And if we cannot hold ourselves up, how can we ever expect to lend a helping hand in holding someone else up?

Therefore, I think, that flexibility and expandability are both equally valuable traits to have, as long as we are clear on how we conceive of each and how being either/or affects us.

Now I want to hear what you think! Which is more important to you and why: flexibility or expandability?

Thanks for reading!


Oh, and FYI:
Final Word Count – 524
Final Character Count – 2, 933…with spaces

Surprising Beginnings

The idea for this blog came to me after I spent about an hour and a half writing a response to the "Random Question" field on my Blogger profile.

First, I should mention that I did not join Blogger with the intention of blogging. I joined a few months ago to follow the deliciously insightful and charmingly...well, charming blog called Systers Wyrd. (If you are not already a follower, I highly recommend that you become one.)

But I digress! So, there I was, confronted with the question: "Which is more important to you and why: flexibility or expandability?" What a great, thought-provoking question! So provoking in fact, that it has kept me up past 3 o'clock in the morning. I was expecting something silly, but no! So, in true university-student fashion, I grabbed a pen and my notebook and began outlining my response. An hour or so later I had, what I thought, was an amazing 500 word response. Yay, me! Not so much.

I realized after I tried to input my response, that I had exceeded a character count built into the response field. I hummed and hawed about how to remedy this. Could I really cut my response to such a great inquiry down? It appeared I would have to. So, I managed in the remaining half an hour to cut it down to the 1, 200 character (not word, character - including spaces!) response that would fit nicely into my About Me section. There. I got my ideas out there. Time for bed. Yay, me! Not so much.

I went to bed feeling restless. Sure, I had conveyed the general idea of what I wanted to say, but the academic in me was not satisfied. There was so much more I could say. I mean, this is a question that I would not hesitate to give to a high-school English class as a short assignment! Then the thought popped into my head. I could blog my response. Couldn't I? I didn't see why not. I'm literate. I obviously have opinions. But who would want to read what I have to say? Then I realized that it didn't matter if anyone wanted to read what I had to say. It only mattered that I wanted to say it. So there, my mind was made up. I was going to start a blog. Who knew if it would go beyond just posting that one single response? I didn't. But again, it didn't matter. So, here we are!

My plan as of yet is simply to create a forum in which I can express myself on various topics that pop into my head and in which you can respond and engage with me. I may slide into a routine of once a week or once a month. I may not.

This brings me to the title of my blog. "Reflections of an Academic, a Woman and a Blonde". It is my personal belief that every individual is comprised of a mind, a body and a spirit. It is also my personal belief that every individual plays many different roles in society. For fear of being one of those people who explain the punch-line of a joke, I will refrain from explaining the connection I hope I have conveyed here.

So, long story not so short, welcome to my blog! If you've followed this blog, thank you very much! If you're just perusing with no thoughts of commitment, thank you just the same!

Good night, finally..