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Viking Phi PhiIt’s December 1. The first day of the last month of a very big year. I feel like I’ve been on an enormous journey this year even though I’ve barely left the lounge room. I’m a couple of days from submitting my final (and major) piece of work for my Masters. It’s close enough to being done that I’m now buzzing with excitement at what lies beyond my studies.

Some people have asked whether I plan to teach, and I will continue to tutor (teach) at the Uni, however that wasn’t why I embarked on my studies. I don’t really know what I expected to do post-Masters. I know though that the process has changed me, in deep, unexpected and continuing ways. I’m loving this thinking space it has opened up inside of me. Honestly, now I wonder what I ever did with my time before I started thinking. Re-reading what I’ve just written I cringe, aware of sounding pretentious – as though I feel I’m suddenly deeper than the average Joe. But I can’t help feeling awakened to a greater awareness of what’s real in the world and what’s not. What matters and what doesn’t.

One of the great gifts of this journey over the past year has been developing my critical thinking skills. By this I mainly mean the ability to detect contradictions, perceive tensions, explore for bias, unravel whose perspectives are being privileged or marginalised and whose voices are silenced in a debate. These dimensions take thinking so far beyond the standard who, what, when, where, why and how and reveal so much of the back story to why things are as they are.

All the thinking I’ve been doing has inspired me in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’m feeling brave, less afraid to wade into uncomfortable conversations. I’m filled with a creative energy. This morning for example, I’m high as a kite and no the coffee wasn’t spiked! It’s a bubble of bliss called creativity that’s spilling over, desperate to be realised. God I wish I could paint! I’d be going all Pro Hart on it.

So I’m excited about a whole lot at the moment – mainly finishing the dissertation and showing Damien some of my favourite places in Thailand (13 sleeps to go!!). I hope he loves it like I do… and can’t wait to discover new experiences there with him. I’m fascinated to find out what happens when he and I go there – what sorts of things will we find ourselves discovering about the place that I haven’t explored before?

It seems that every trip you take has a different flavour depending on who you travel with. I’ve mainly travelled in Thailand alone. And that has led to some quite incredible happenings …. staying overnight with a family in a tiny Karen hilltribe village is definitely one of the experiences which has challenged my own worldview. Glimpsing for just that brief moment life through another lens, one that’s almost directly opposite to our WASP view of the world. I love that I filled a notebook with my thoughts during that trip in my 20s. Thinking about it now, I believe that the night spent in a family’s thatched hut started the tremor which many years later is resulting (for me) in a crumbling of the house of cards that our western way of life is built on. I wonder if Damien and I would be able to find our way into some sort of wilderness during our few days in Thailand? The thought tantalises me.

Well that’s mai Thai dreaming for now.

Note to self: you really must fill a notebook again this time around….

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