Mental Spring Cleaning Week 3 – Reflections

What we like to think of ourselves and what we really are rarely have much in common, I should think.

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (Stephen King)

For the third and penultimate week of my March Maple Challenge I started writing daily Reflections from Crys Wood’s “Consider It (Vol 1)” Reflection package. As in previous weeks, I was surprised at how I had underestimated both the benefits and difficulties of the exercise.

On Day One when the first prompt came up, I immediately said “nope” and clicked on to the next one. It’s wasn’t a bad prompt; the problem was that the question was so good and deep that thinking about answering it triggered a bunch of emotions I wasn’t prepared to deal with. It was like being thrown onto a therapist’s couch suddenly and without warning. Rattled, I quickly typed out a response to the next Reflection prompt that came up (which was also deep, but not as triggering), saved it, and went on with my day.

So, the first thing I learned was that writing Reflections isn’t something that can be done idly. We are used to using social media to frivolously browse what other people post as a distraction from our lives but working in Maple is not like that at all. It’s actually work; and as such it requires emotional preparation, time, and effort.

But, as I’ve been learning all month, the work pays off in insight and personal growth, which is something social media simply cannot provide.

The next day’s prompt was another good one. Halfway through typing my response, however, I realized that I was just going through my rote canned response to the subject of the question. It was the same thing I’d say if the topic came up during a regular conversation at Happy Hour or something.

And that’s when I realized the real potential to the hard work of journaling and reflections: it’s a great opportunity to call bullshit on yourself.

It’s not that my usual response in this case was right or wrong, it’s just that I had it stored away somewhere in my brain and called it up without consciously considering it again.

I figured that since I was writing a Reflection that only I can see, I owed it to myself to stop and actually reflect for a minute. When I did that, I realized that the answer I usually identified with as “my position on that topic” was much more nuanced than I had thought. I’d been saying and thinking the same thing about that idea for many, many years, even though so much of my world and life has changed dramatically in that same time.

It was an eye-opening revelation, and exactly the kind of insight that we had hoped Maple could help facilitate for people.

For my upcoming last week, I’m going to write a daily journal. I was planning on writing in my daily writing journal again, in which I write 750+ words on the first topic that comes to mind. I started one of these in Maple last year but stopped when things just got too busy to keep up with it. It was something I really enjoyed doing, and I was kind of looking forward to getting back to it.

However, after the insights I got from reflecting on Crys’ Consider It Reflection package, I decided instead to start keeping a daily journal, which is something I’ve never done before. I am looking forward to seeing what I learn from doing it, and as usual I’ll be back to share my experience with you all.

Until then, Happy Mapling!

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Scott Waletzko is the managing partner responsible for all things technical at R. Alliance, including the design and development of Maple.

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