One of the important functions an evaluator performs for a program or organization is to help clarify, question, and make explicit the assumptions upon which activities, processes and behaviors are based. Depending on the context, this can be a welcome opportunity for learning or a threat to deeply held and accepted norms.
We can engage in a similar exercise of thinking critically and asking questions about our own beliefs and thought patterns. The key here is to be gentle with yourself. This is NOT an exercise in self-flagellation for past failures and mistakes. The feeling should be one of curiosity and openness.
Not long ago I realized that between 8th and 10th grade I decided that my sister was the creative and artistic member of the family- the natural heir to my paternal grandmother’s keen eye and considerable flare. There are a few problems with this. Who said there was rule that only one of us could be artistic or that my forms of creative expression were less worthy? Since when does a person have to choose between artistry and scholarship? And why in the world would anyone need permission to play with color, flavor, shape or verse? I put pursuit of artistic expression away in a box- the same box that for as long as I can remember has held crayons, markers and colored pens for doodling. It was right next to the canvas bag stuffed with yarn, pattern books and Grandma’s crochet hooks. I carried on my grandmother’s tradition of welcoming a newborn to the world with a crocheted blanket and made a distinction between her work (art) and mine (dabbling). Pish Posh!
To challenge my assumptions I’ve started playing with art again. It feels indulgent and so alive! I don’t know what I’m doing and it doesn’t matter.
Since blogs are about sharing, here’s the painting I made yesterday. There may be more.
What assumptions have you made about who you are and what you can do? What small steps can you take to gently, bravely challenge yourself?
Most successful bloggers would say you should identify an audience before you start communicating. This sounds like common sense advice, and I agree with it…mostly. I advocate testing an idea, using what works for you and tossing what doesn’t so that’s what I did with the “have a niche” advice. Having an identified audience is fine IF identifying the audience doesn’t stop you from communicating. The advice to find a niche before starting my blog didn’t work for me. I was never able to conjure the image in my head of a person whose life I sought to improve, or a predetermined goal I wanted to reach. I tried.
Truth is, I’m not one for “niches”. I’d rather explore than be confined to a single cubbyhole, no matter how cozy and comfortable. I’ve managed to keep my curiosity for the world in tact, despite (perhaps because of) societal admonitions to find a path and stay on it. If you’re an inquisitive type with eclectic interests and sometimes feel challenged or isolated by those qualities, I recommend checking out Puttylike. There’s comfort and inspiration to be found there.
I believe we’re all multi-faceted, complex, facinating, flawed beings full of potential. My intention for this space is to reconoitre through material that challenges and elevates.
In the next post I’ll explain more about the name for this blog and some of the journey that brought me here.
Welcome to evaluatedlife.com!
I’m glad you’re here!
Until I create a proper first post, I’ll leave you with a quote from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet:
“…go into yourself and examine the depths from which your life springs; at its source you will find the answer to the question of whether you have to write.”
In the next few weeks I’ll spiff things up a bit and add what I hope will be thoughtful content and attractive images. I’ll even attempt to convey the purpose and focus of this blog, though I reserve the right to wander at will.