Stars and Thunderbolts…

What is best to sandwich in between exam results and the arrival of study materials for the new term? I thought we might all do well with a bit about  enthusiasm, influence, creativity and change.

The roots of enthusiasm, influence and change are really interesting. Although enthusiasm is Greek in origin and influence is Latin the meaning of both terms is linked to otherworldly inspiration. The Latins believed that influence poured down over us from the stars. That is something to think about while reading Ovid.  For the Greeks enthusiasm is a direct thunderbolt from Olympus.  In our modern language this etymology can be seen as metaphor; an inspiring figurative way of expressing how ideas pop into our consciousness, how we pursue goals and dreams. Enthusiasm and influence affect our motivation; they might even be the source of our motivation. Figuratively they are lovely ideas making our optimism catching to our colleagues and help us to nurture change.

Change, interestingly, comes from an old French root meaning barter or exchange. Seen in those terms change sounds positively exciting; we exchange one term for another, exchange a comfort zone with familiar material and methods for different challenges and one set of experience and results for another.  This adventure in literature is like a journey and transition. For me in transition is a good place to be.  I can frame my thoughts about my experience and goals in terms that are the most motivating.

Habits of thought create as much of an impact as behavioral habits. Conditioning and modeling is as valid for thought and ideas as it is for learning dance or other physical activities. Quoting Disraeli, ‘nurture your mind with correct thought for you will never go higher than you think.’

Nurturing my thinking sounds productive and fun.  Managing my thinking so I can focus and accomplish what I want to is important to me; I am willing to embrace a plan to change how I think, work and learn. A great book called ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ suggests creativity refreshes and renews the energy necessary to pursue our goals and dreams; it says using creative exercises increases mental and physical energy.  Inspired, I decided to re-write portions of the Odyssey from Penelope’s and Telemachus’s point of view and write back to Rushdie regarding his portrayal of American women. Using creative exercises this way does exactly what the book promised and really sharpens my ideas about the texts.  Creative activity gets my thinking out of my ‘mental set’ or rut; it helps me to see texts and my own writing in different ways.

Engaging with the texts more creatively is my inspiration and motivation while contemplating exams and waiting for new resources.  The writing we engage with is so dense with ideas it seems almost impossible to tease them all out of the texts.  The authors’ creativity and enthusiasm is as evident as their determination and perseverance is omnipotent. I envy them; it must be wonderful to throw the thunderbolts.

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