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Feeling Stagnant

by Kimberly on July 9, 2014 · 0 comments

I’ve been struggling to come up with topic ideas for this blog. It’s not a new struggle—this kind of stagnation has happened periodically in my 5+ years of blogging. You may even call it writer’s block.

My initial reaction to this feeling is always one of alarm. After all, I take a developmental approach and believe that learning doesn’t end—it’s important to stay intellectually and creatively stimulated. But isn’t that the opposite of this stagnate feeling? After all, if I were feeling that stimulation, wouldn’t the ideas be pouring out of me as they have in the past?

Then I pause and consider where I am in the “big picture” of the years behind and ahead of me. My journey in the PhD program has afforded tremendous growth by allowing me time and space to read, reflect, and process. In many ways this accumulated (at least initially) with the crafting of my dissertation proposal. Since then I’ve been “sitting” on this proposal as it moved through IRB, facility and participant recruitment, and data collection. Although there are moments of strategizing and problem-solving involved in this “sitting” phase, most have revolved around the logistics of facilitating research. They don’t involve the creative, big picture, theoretical, integrative work that has pushed and challenged me as a music therapist.

But soon this will change. Soon the data collection will end and the analysis and interpretation will begin. This will again bring me to the creative, big picture, theoretical, integrative space that I have enjoyed the past several years. Plus I will begin teaching, a process that in the past has consistently pushed me to analyze, reflect, and explore ideas both old and new.

When considered in this light, perhaps this stagnate phase I am feeling can be likened to the silence in music. Music is not simply created from sound, but from the space between sounds—the silence.

So perhaps this is my silence. Maybe it’s a necessary break, a time for me to rest and allow myself to be, to not feel forced to grow.

As for blog topic ideas? They will come back. If I’ve made it 5 years here, then I can make it 5 more, and 5 more after that. And hopefully with an increase in experience there will be an increase in trust in the process, a certain familiar comfort with the stagnant silence.

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