So you would think lucid dreaming, style, uncertainty and buried feelings have nothing to do with a story about self-control in the dojo?

I tried out one of Martha Beck’s suggestions on generating ideas. The one about reading a few paragraphs from different books on different subjects and seeing what comes up. She calls it “Throwing in the kitchen sink”.

Started out with a paragraph on lucid dreaming from The 4-hour body by Timothy Ferriss. Reminded me that I dreamt about a great topic for my PhD the other day. I distinctly remembered thinking in the dream that it was a really great topic. Except that I can’t remember it now that I’m awake.

Then read a paragraph on style from The art of editing in the age of convergence by Brooks, Pinson and Sissors. Reminded me of something Justine Musk wrote in a recent post: “Style is the story you tell about yourself to the world”. I like that.

Then read a quote from Embracing Uncertainty by Susan Jeffers:

No man knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.

Not sure what to do with this…

And then I read a paragraph in The courage to be yourself by Sue Patton Thoele about how women often seem to feel tired because they suppress their feelings and then carry these unresolved and unspoken feelings around in their subconscious.

Which provides a good background and intro to the possible cause of an emotional explosion in my karate class the other day.


At the inauspicious occasion of realising that I have literally worn through my first gi (karate suit) and now have a gaping hole under my right arm, I was unfortunately also reminded of the fact that I still need to work on one specific aspect or rather lack of this aspect in my life.

After each karate class, we line up and repeat these five maxims of karate: character, etiquette, effort, sincerity, and self-control.

“Character,” says the sensei.
“CHARACTER!” shout the children.
“Etiquette.” “ETIQUETTE!”
“Effort.” “EFFORT!”
“Sincerity.” “SINCERITY!”
(You notice I leave out self-control?)

For beginner adults, training with children has its advantages. They don’t mind if you’re slow. They have patience to show you the sequence of the kata. Again. You can learn at your own pace.
But then, they also want the attention of the sensei even when the sensei is busy with you.
“Sensei! Sensei?!”
Or they’ll fool around and deem it fit to rather neaten up the weights or whatever equipment. Which would be fine, except that if there’s more than one child wanting to do it, each of them wants to do it in his/her own way. Causing loud discussions (who am I fooling?) – arguing and sometimes hitting. In the dojo, for goodness sake!
So. Self-control.
“No hitting in the dojo!” would have sufficed.
But no. I had to go on and on. In a LOUD voice. [Which I now think may be because of unresolved and unspoken issues, you see.]
Just after the incident I did manage to convert my anger into a quite powerful (for me!) kata, though.


Can’t help it, want to end off with a Terry Pratchett reference. In I shall wear midnight, Tiffany Aching tells someone that witches don’t get angry. They do feel anger, but they put it away somewhere until they can do something useful with it.
I suppose my problem is to do something useful with it before it explodes on me, hey?


Right Brain’s ego took a knock or two

Oh heavens. I took the leap last Wednesday: submitted the first draft of the research proposal. And I just received back the first batch of comments.
Now I wonder whether people whose work I’ve edited feel the same way as I do now: a bit deflated :-).
There are things that I agree with, things that I noticed after I’ve sent in the proposal. There are things that I did not think of that should be added. And then there are things that I really thought about, which should be left out. And some of my reasons for doing things need some firmer scientific foundation…
Interestingly enough I recently read a blog about editing your own work.
Writing is supposedly done by the right side of the brain and the editing part by the left side of the brain. Therese Walsh suggests the following to make sure the right brain does not throw her toys out of the cot when the left side starts suggesting and making changes:

  • Create a safety net by keeping the original and working on a copy.
  • Start big by focusing on big blocks of text rather than messing with the words.
  • Comment rather than delete.
  • Print out and use loops, circles and visual aids.

In this way I will obtain Right Brain’s approval of Left Brain’s unexpected creative streak and the rework will be acknowledged as an improvement…

Fortunately for me a) I have my safety net and b) the reviewer of my proposal adhered to starting big and commenting rather than deleting. But Right Brain is still a bit offended because she didn’t think of everything herself. 🙂