Brain Embryos has been nominated for an internet blogging award, ‘The Liebster Award’. Thank you to Danica from This Village Girl for nominating me, I very much appreciate the opportunity : ) Please see more about her blog 3 sections down, and as the primary point of this ‘award’ is about promoting other blogs, my nominations and some thoughts on some other promising blogs can be found further down as well. Worth checking them out!
It seems I’m unexpectedly participating in the initiation rites of the Tribe of the Blogosphere- a parallel universe and culture I had no awareness of until recently and had not considered being part of in my intentions for starting a blog. This is a nice reminder for me of the unexpected learnings and opportunities that appear when I’m open-minded to seeing what arises rather than remaining narrow-mindedly committed to a pre-conceived, pre-formatted path : )
What is ‘The Liebster Award’?
The Liebster Award (I learnt two days ago) is a blogosphere initiative to encourage, support and promote new bloggers. It seems like a ‘pass on the love’ activity. For each nominee to participate there are several steps to complete first (see first below, and 2018 rules here, via The Global Aussie). I can see how this award promotes a culture of support and value for other blogs, as thinking of my nominees really got me focusing on the value of their work. According to The Global Aussie:
The Liebster Award… Is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.The Global Aussie
The rules and challenges of the Liebster Award:
- Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to their blog on your blog.
- Display the award on your blog.
- For the Liebster Award 2018. write a small post about what makes you a passionate about blogging.
- Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional).
- Nominate 5-11 blogs.
- List these rules in your post.
- Inform the people/blogs that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post or The Global Aussie.
- Create new questions for your nominees to answer.
1. My Nominator: This Village Girl by Danica
Thank you for this opportunity, Danica! Danica’s blog tells the tales of a person shedding her ingrained attachments to ways of being and a life she slipped into, in pursuit of a life she’s actively creating. Her writing is personal, relatable, thought-provoking and brave in sharing this transition. Evolution: Thoughts on Outgrowing Friends and Why it’s Okay is an example piece of her honest struggles and discoveries about the normal, but difficult detachments that happen when we’re changing in different directions.
Challenge 3: What makes me passionate about blogging?
I’ve only been blogging for about a month, so I can’t yet say I’m passionate about blogging per se. However, I’ve always felt passionate about acrobatic thinking. Thinking and ideas that somersault in every direction, defy the conventions of socially-prescribed gravity in eschewing tradition and the norms of social constructs, contort into novel forms in unexpected spaces, and utilise the unrestricted aerial space of the mind to expand whilst making use of the disparate fixtures hanging from our human-made ceilings. It’s mostly been a solitary pursuit I’ve indulged in with myself, and with the occasional thinking-buddy, but recently I’ve broken the proverbial seal and my mental bladder is just. gushing. flush. after. flush. And despite the exhibitionist purpose of blogging, I’m really deriving incredible enjoyment just for myself in the process of writing again.
I also f*ing love the weird and wonderful minds of others. There isn’t much that engages me more than discovering the individuality of another’s world, especially when that internal world acts with the acrobatics I described above. So, it feels a bit overwhelming to be discovering the exciting diversity of creativity and self-expression that exists in this blogging dimension. I just. cannot. consume. it all. which is a premise I’m working to live by in life, but nonetheless I’ve been feeling delight with the discoveries of other bloggers’ writing so far. The exploration and appreciation of others’ work is also a beautiful, relieving balancer to the insularity and intense self-absorption of producing my own writing. This is a reference to my nominees further down. Thank you for your minds : )
Challenge 4: Provide 10 random facts about myself
- I struggle to distill myself into brief lists
- I also struggle with superlatives (‘best’, ‘worst’, ‘favourite’, ‘most’, ‘number one’, etc..) because I struggle with all-or-nothing/black-and-white thinking. I see most things in spectra, and I delight in the spectra.
- One superlative that does come easily to me is that I have a motivating belief that our self-awareness/self-knowledge is one of the most empowering, fulfilling and life-easing skills that any human can continuously develop. Contrary to the normal behaviour of the world which seeks to gain ease in controlling and having power over others and the external world, I see this external focus as a backwards focus and that the failure to actively develop self-awareness is the unperceived foundation of so many damaging, often painful or traumatic consequences to people.
- My list-thinking right now seems to be forming a stream of consciousness. A fascination of mine.
- My list-thinking has gone deep, straight away. A demonstration of why I’ve had to learn how to make small talk. My mind dives below the ‘What superficial events occurred today?’, ‘What tasks do you perform for a living?’ straight to things like, ‘What’s your pleasure? What’s your pain? What does Donald Trump’s posturing suggest about his insecurities?’. Small talk is a very valuable skill, however, because these conversations aren’t functional for always and every day.
- Thinking of the depth of others, I feel little patience, respect or tolerance for those who behave with self-focus, lacking in curiosity about the unique worlds of others (even if they seem to want to pay attention to me… What could their disinterest in others suggest about how consistently they can really attend to anyone else?).
- I invariably behave with patience, respect and tolerance for the above behaviours, because I can muster a cognitive empathy for their own vulnerable, insecure motivations. For a limited time only. While stocks last. Then I’ll withdraw the prize offering by withdrawing myself to a distance where I can still give the accessories- without profit, but with low cost to myself. As gently and humanely as I know how. They’re humans like me. Their experience really, really matters.
- My lifelong appreciation of the depth and uniqueness of others was supercharged by my 8 years of work with people with disabilities. What I learnt from working with this seemingly ‘different’ population of people with ‘special’ needs is that NO HUMAN’s needs are fundamentally ‘special’ because we all have the same essential emotional, physical, social, ‘life’ needs. Any individual’s needs just vary in degree along a continuum, in how they manifest and in what’s required to meet those needs.
- I’m not prone to being talkative, but I have a hell of a lot to say. Clearly…
- A good question about passion is ‘What makes you forget to eat and shit?’. I haven’t eaten whilst composing this and am busting for the toilet.
Answering This Village Girl’s thought-provoking questions (thank you):
- If you will start blogging again, what will you do differently?
- I’ve just started, with the deliberate intention to let my blogging develop, like an embryo, as it comes. I’m thoroughly enjoying embodying the the theme of my blog in my process. The discoveries and ‘brain embryos’ have been abundant, so I don’t have anything I’d do differently, which is a nice experience : )
- Would you rather be a princess in Africa or a beggar in Paris?
- Probably a beggar in Paris because I’d hate the oppressive restrictions and duties of being a princess.
- If you could live until 105 and given the chance to keep either the body or the mind of a 20 year old. Which would you prefer?
- Agh! What a conundrum! None of the above? My 20 yo mind was tense with self-focus, my body sluggish and lacking in appetite unknowingly from the stress of my mind and 105 is only something I’d want if the people I loved and the joys of life could still be enjoyed. If I had to though, I would choose the healthy brain and flexible mind of the 20 yo because that would help me be resilient in the face of whatever physical limitations I had.
- How forgiving are you when your friends or family let you down?
- I can feel forgiveness quickly as long as we’ve been able to have pragmatic, realistic and understanding conversations in which both myself and the other have demonstrated care for the impact on another, and taken responsibility for our role in that. In the absence of that my feelings still subside, but the relationships seem to become limited in their closeness. A natural consequence in relationships of anyone’s experience not being heard or validated. Addressing, rather than avoiding conflict is vital for maintaining intimacy.
- Is there anything you’d steal given an assurance that you will not be caught?
- Probably… Something needed and vital, but the absence of which would not seriously adversely impact the owner. I’m sure I would steal for survival of myself or another if I were ever in such an extreme situation. I’d probably do this even at the risk of being caught.
- Your 11-year old daughter hacked a government database and was able to walk away with 2 million dollars. When caught, she said that it was just a prank. How will she be punished?
- She wouldn’t be punished. I would be ramping up my self-reflection and education in my parenting, because at that stage her moral development would be my doing. She would be engaged in ongoing conversations and learning opportunities about ethical thought and behaviour, encouraged to take responsibility for her actions and confront the government and I would explore with her ways of utilising this obviously prodigious talent and natural interest in ways that would help her flourish and benefit the world. She would also receive reinforcement that she is loved, valuable and important inclusive of the mistakes she will inevitably make in her life. I’m sure this is what my family would have done for me and I believe that this complex, responsive, learning-aimed approach to children’s mistakes is the making of responsible, caring, self-loving and self-confident adults.
- What piece of clothing will you never be caught wearing?
- I’ve walked the streets in rags, in my pyjamas and dressed as a biker-drag-queen-fake-chested-Santa hybrid to make my grandparents laugh… I would probably wear anything for fun or a mood-lift…
- What’s your number one pet peeve?
- I used to have a lot of trivial irritations- mispronunciation, appropriation of other’s speech, misspelling… They seem to have been replaced with irritation over things that actually have an impact. Injustice, unfairness and failure to take responsibility for those things on minor and major scales.
- When are you happiest?
- When I’m spending quality, meaningful time with family and friends, enjoying each other as people and enjoying each others’ company.
- If you’re told that you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what will it be?
- Chocolate. I would be malnourished and a diabetic. But definitely chocolate.
Challenge 5: Nominate 5-11 blogs
I’ve really been enjoying seeing what others are writing and feel a little anxiety to see it all with a degree of FOMO. I just wish the blogging platforms were Facebookified or were hybridised with Facebook because then I could just be passively bombarded with all of this great content. In tribute to the work of my nominees, I want to write a thoughtful blurb for each.
1. Social Nuisance by Lucero Cantu
I discovered Social Nuisance yesterday, to much excitement via her post In a Creative Rut? Think Like a Surrealist. It’s exactly this flipside-thinking that excites me. From reading some of Lucero’s other posts and the theme of the blog, she’s not only a challenging, creative thinker, but an engaging, imaginative writer who writes on a breadth of topics such as politics, social issues and personal growth. I’m looking forward to reading more!
Happening upon Quirky Writes last week got me excited too! So far, I’ve noticed that the blogging world is swimming with health and wellbeing, money/career, fashion and parenting topics. The point of difference that got me to pause with intrigue was that Quirky Writes is solid, practical health and wellbeing from the evidence base of science. QuirkyWrites is obviously a thoughtful writer and a proficient science communicator. Deep Breathing Exercise for Stress and Anxiety is an easy to read, engaging and easily digested breathing technique, reinforced by explanation of the neural and physiological mechanisms that cause our breathing to have an impact on our mental state. I loved it because while ‘science’ knows the inseparability of mind and body, our popular concept still poo-poos it, so the more of this the better.
3. Despite Pain
The tagline of Despite Pain is “Living with chronic pain or disability is difficult. But we can still live, laugh and love, despite pain”. Despite pain writes thoughtful, wise pieces on living a fulfilling life inclusive of having chronic physical pain, from the perspective of someone with lifelong, lived-experience of chronic physical pain. The personal resonance of this theme for me is my backwards commitment to living my life inclusive of the inescapable emotional pains rather than in avoidance of them, and because several people I care about deeply live with chronic physical pain as well. This post, Learning to Listen to Your Body When You’re in Pain, is a good example of the unconventional idea of utilising painful cues as useful information, rather than battling them.
4. Big Happy Life by Natalie
The theme of Big Happy Life is “Musings on the mindset and behaviour it takes to turn a busy life into a happy life”. Natalie writes and podcasts on gems from established psychological science interspersed with humane, thoughtful and personal anecdotes. Beliefs- Cherish or Chuck is an example of a personal, thought-provoking musing on the influence of beliefs.
5. Phillslater.blog by Phill Slater
According to his blog, this writer is “Hiding in the virtual world whilst on the run from reality. I’m wanted over there for crimes against expectation”. Technically, this Liebster award is meant to go to new blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Phill has under 300, but I’d like to promote what he’s doing. I discovered his post, Today, yesterday where he writes about a day of clinical depression and anxiety quite plainly, outlining the details that are frequently glossed over when discussing an experience of depression. This is courageous. And the type of personal expression that can be influential in others gaining permission to understand and validate their experiences. Thank you for your courage, Phill.
6. Story of a Journey by Giulia
Giulia writes beautiful, mindful pieces on personal growth and development, and as far as I’ve read, her themes seem to very much focus on the mechanisms of acceptance and distancing from judgement. One piece I enjoyed was Surrender and Let Go. It encompasses a relatable analogy to the cycles of nature, as in life- the autumns and winters in which we naturally shed the old, and rest with inactivity in preparation for new growth.
7. Unsent Letters by Carine De Lozier
Carine uses her blog to complete exercises for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) associated with borderline personality disorder. The exercises range from emotional explorations, practical strategies for self-regulation and gaining self-knowledge within her personal struggles. Such as this post, This is What BPD Can Look Like which attempts to explain something very personal for her that most others find very difficult to understand. As far as I understand, in the lingo of DBT this is an exercise in ‘outing yourself’, in the phrasing of vulnerability guru, Brene Brown this would constitute ‘showing up, and being seen’ and in simple terms, it’s sharing openly about vulnerable experiences we most commonly hide, shame, judge and avoid. As for Phillslater.blog this is courageous and much needed in this world. Thank you Carine. I hope the blog is bringing you the growth you’re seeking : )
Ocio Lifestyle writes beautiful posts examining the intricacies of developing an optimistic outlook. I love this post, 23 Negative Words from a More Optimistic Perspective, because it’s exactly the topsy-turvy perspective I delight in: finding value in unexpected places.
9. Generate Magic by Kate Findley
Kate Findley’s blog explores the themes of working towards a life you want, inclusive of what happens externally that’s beyond our control. In her ‘about’ she mentions she has tutored students with disabilities which immediately grabbed my heart and my attention owing to my own career… Perhaps a heuristic that made me want to read more. How to Change Your Outlook and Reframe Your Perspective blends observational anecdote with three memorable alliterative steps to explore that tricky task of refocusing our perceptions.
10. Kape Ka-Ye by Kaye Leah
Kaye Leah writes posts musing on a range of meaningful and daily life topics from teaching, parenting, thoughts on humanity to the pleasures of food. She likens her blog to conversations in a coffee shop, which I can really see! And I love the idea. A Mother’s Speech as a Teacher blends themes of parenthood, nurturing and the importance of childhood in a touching, sentimental post.
11. Words on Wonder by The Science Magician
Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I literally just this minute came across Words on Wonder as recommended by WordPress under a post of my own. I was grabbed by the the words ‘wonder’ and the intriguing, seeming oxymoron of ‘Science Magician’. It seems Words on Wonder is a collection of interviews with scientists and researchers exploring the dynamics of wonder. I’m sorry, Science Magician, I actually haven’t yet had the time to properly read any of your posts, but in skimming, and coming across interview questions such as “Describe something that has recently amazed you and how it made you feel”, and “What do you love about magic?” you had me at daring to merge feelings and ‘magic’ with the seemingly incompatible topic of science. I’m looking forward to actually giving your posts due attention. It also seems your blog is very new too, so I’d like to promote it.
To all my nominees and my nominator, I also just had the thought that if you like my blurbs about your blog, I could share them with a link to your blogs on my Facebook page. I currently only have under 40 followers, but I thought perhaps the chance of exposure to a new audience member who could like you content might be worth it? Please let me know if you’d like me to do this. It seems in the spirit of this ‘award’.
Challenge 8: Questions for my nominees
- i. If you were a genie and a person asked you this wish, “I wish you would not grant me this wish”, what would you do? ii. If it were your wish, what would that wish be (i.e. something you want, but know it’s not ideal in the long term)? (N.B. If part ii feels too personal, feel free to skip)
- Do news reporters wear pants behind the news desk? What does it look like behind the desk?
- Where do you draw the line between helping people and showing them how to help themselves? How do you strike that balance?
- Describe the colour yellow to someone who is blind.
- If your life was a movie, what would the title be?
- Do the people in your life bring the best out of you? Do you believe you bring out the best in people in your life? (N.B. If this feels too personal, feel free to skip)
- What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?
- Do you think that what we perceive is reality or just a construct of our minds? Can our minds correctly interpret reality or is reality subjective?
- Do you think emotions are necessary for human survival? Why or why not?
- How would people communicate in a perfect world?
- If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?