In the last two days, I’ve come across the reference to the Greek myth of labyrinth and the Minotaur. Once in the book Callings, Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy and a blog entry here on WordPress by Kachaiweb – Food.for.Thoughts. Now this isn’t something that usually happens to me coming across […]
I’ve been deeply immersed in a personal writing project so I am likely to post a little less frequently in the few months. I have come to enjoy my Sunday haiku, so I’m not giving that up. We all have much going on in our lives, and YOU are no exception. But I do want to keep in touch so if you do want to connect and I’m taking an offline hiatus, you can reach me via email.
In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on something I posted about last week, an incident in which I was blind-sided at work by something I never saw coming.
Now that I’ve had the chance to think it through I realized I had not respected the unwritten protocols that exist in this organization. As a clinical researcher by training, I have a love/hate relationship with protocols.
Protocols are awesome because they give you a clear definition of what needs to be done. They are written in language that is specific and precise. Since scientific experiments need to be reproducible and consistent in their execution, protocols are a necessity. When you work with human subjects research, regulations require protocols that are well-vetted, statistically validated and approved by an institutional review board or medical ethics committee.
Organizations often have “power protocols” also. These are the unwritten protocols that take typically 6-18 months at any organization or department (sometimes more) to learn. They are things like:
Having a PhD or M.D. counts (especially true in academic organizations).
If you have a choice to talk with the PI for a grant, or the chief of staff, pick the latter. She’s the one who actually gets the job done; he’s the name on the letterhead. In a university system, it’s fascinating to me how this mirrors a very patriarchal structure.
I had opened the communication channels during a project in which I was gathering feedback. But I did not bank on the fact that, while I was trying to be system-agnostic in my analysis, the department wanted me to fix the tool they already have rather than to select the best tool.
Now that I understand what they want, I can execute on that. I may not agree with the decision, but others with higher grade levels are determining the parameters. And that’s where I encountered one of the unwritten protocols at this institution: if grant money has been used to build a tool, it would take a LOT for us to abandon the tool.
I am reflecting on a conversation I had with a lovely friend recently. I heard in her voice a yearning, a desire to feel deeply understood and loved. I recognize that longing; it is profoundly human. We all want to be appreciated for who we are, and we want to feel valued and seen.
At the same time, we forget to attend to what we want when we are in the habit of giving to others. We may see ourselves as valuable only when we are giving, achieving or being productive. Social conditioning may tell us we are incomplete unless we have a certain kind of relationship. Certainly advertising makes it clear that we need something outside ourselves to feel complete.
But what if we could recognize the deeply abundant creators and nurturers that we all are, deep at our cores? What if we could truly see our value, and that we offered to ourselves opportunities to “play” with those joys within us more?
I am guessing what would happen is that we would see radical transformation in the world. If we could all truly appreciate the beauty within us, and the lightness and completeness of our beings at a soul level, entire systems of oppression would crumble.
This is one reason why I enjoy the process of coaching. Most of us have blind spots to our own potential that are hard to see in ourselves. We may not be able to unpack some of the beliefs that hold us back from appreciating our amazing qualities.
Once we start start to value ourselves, we begin scheduling activities that nurture us and keep us balanced. We spend time with the people who give us energy and those who reflect our light back to us. We begin to act from love rather than fear. When we are in love with our lives, we seem to emit some type of vibration that attracts others as well.
So it might be worthwhile to ask yourself not and then: how am I honoring and valuing myself? Are there ways I can nurture myself more fully, so that I can live well and give to others also?