What’s Been Catching my Eye

Like many, despite being vaccinated and boosted, I caught the latest version of Covid that’s going around. For me, luckily it was just like a really, really heavy head cold with fatigue and brain fog. I think the brain fog was the worst as I struggled to read anything or write anything, even my morning journal pages!  So, getting back into posting, here are just a few random things that caught my eye the past few weeks.

Shifting from Either/Or to Both/And

One of the aspects of a Western paternalistic mindset, and one I’ve realized is firmly embedded in my thinking, is viewing the world in duality.   Many things are either one way OR the other, a versus, two opposites, a tension. You’re either for something or against it.  This fixed dualistic mindset is all about comparison, differentiation, and hierarchy.  In most dualities, one side as more positive or valued than the other. The midpoint of a tension is a null point – neither.  Or the murky ambiguous middle between the two opposing sides has no term to define it.

I realized that when I create frameworks, I always go to tensions.  A favorite framework for me is Self versus Others and Risk versus Stability.   What is the Both/And here?  How can something be both self and others, both risk and stability?

But there are also other common tensions I feel within me: Masculine versus Feminine, Analytical or Intuitive, Acceptance or Improvement.  What would be the Both/And? How can I be both analytical and intuitive, both accepting of myself and working to improve, and manifesting both masculine and feminine traits.? It’s uncomfortable and complex and something I want to explore more.  Living the Both/And.


I saw the term “discriminatory gaslighting” recently in an article talking about Imposter Syndrome.  Someone recently told me, in passing, that Imposter Syndrome wasn’t real.  Having felt the phenomenon multiple times, of course I looked into this claim. Imposter Syndrome does exist and has been extensively researched.  It’s not a mental health problem and you’re not imaging it. While it can happen to anyone, it’s more common in high-achieving professional women. One researcher claimed it was more like discriminatory gaslighting as it’s often questioning a perception of reality to foster self-doubt and maintain power. In fact, claiming there is no such thing as Imposter Syndrome is a form of gaslighting!

I rarely feel Imposter Syndrome anymore as I’m rarely in a professional space where I can be challenged or questioned. I have however been exposed to gaslighting in a personal space.  And just like Imposter Syndrome, I wonder, is it about a power play?

Random Summer Personality Quiz

I took one of those fun personality quizzes on the mind-body-green site and it listed that my summer bucket list should include: beach yoga, farmers markets, summer crafting, summer solstice intention setting, summer recipes for healthy meals, picnics, gardening, and pineapples.  Guess I have to buy some pineapples since everything else is so accurate!

Any random topics catching your eye these days?

Picture: A heron that caught my eye on recent beach walk.

19 thoughts on “What’s Been Catching my Eye

  1. So sorry to read about your Covid and its after effects. So far, touch wood and all that, we are covid free & with 4 immunisations, mask wearing and not put mixing with a lot of people we are OK. Loved reading your thoughts as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Denyse, I’m fully recovered and now maybe the fear of being out and about will be lessened. Yes, I know I can get it again, but it wasn’t that bad for me. My biggest concern is passing it on to someone who will get it worse!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like the idea of shifting to both/and, especially as it applies to accepting yourself and striving for improvement. I liken it to a developing child. We get excited as they learn new skills or become more proficient at something, but we never think of them as not good enough just the way they are.

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  3. Yes! The binary/spectrum point of view is too limiting! I hope you write more about this. I’ll be interested to hear what your exploring. Imposter syndrome never afflicted me. Mostly I’ve been struck by people flat out disbelieving me qualifications and accomplishments. It started with my high school economics teacher (who was a football coach, excuse me?) rejecting my end of year essay because “it was too good” to be written by me. I went on to get my degree in economics and win awards as a Wall Street analyst in spite of him jerk off flunking ME but passing of course all his idiot football players handing in dumb essays. But before becoming an analyst, I had to start as a secretary because no one had heard of my small school where I earned my degree and I had to sit there where traders and senior analysts asked basic maths questions of each other and was like what the hell is going on? And I am the secretary? Then, moving to Europe, the only woman in the research department, in spite of winning awards I was still the lowest paid member. Then, when pregnant I was invited to work part time, not given a pay raise so I could effing afford full time child care and continue my award winning work. I don’t think I was the imposter. Then, when one of my children had a language development delay I was told by a teacher that “what I needed to understand” was that writing was important for success in school. The child was seven years old. I explained that what the teacher needed to understand was that I had gone to school myself and indeed managed incredibly to accomplish several degrees and build an award winning writing career in an industry dominated by men who seemed very happy to say they found math difficult but got paid more anyway so I appreciated writing was an important skill, but could my daughter demonstrate learning IN THE MEANTIME in another format? That teacher and I never spoke a single word to each other again. That particular daughter is now working at a preeminent genome research institute, doesn’t write very much at all but is AGAINST ALL ODDS apparently producing work that will massively improve the lives of millions of people. The girls that got awards at that school on the other hand have a reputation for doing a lot of coke in town. But I guess they were really good at writing at age seven. I could carry on with examples of how mostly men have openly expressed doubt at my experience and qualifications. I even had one guy question whether I read things. I sometimes wonder what planet I’m on. Planet stupid.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I recently saw a reference to the Dunning-Kruger Effect (had never heard about it before) which is basically a cognitive bias that leads people to believe they are more competent than they actually are. Yep, over-confident, cocky, and not willing to accept someone else might be smarter than them. Unfortunately, the planet is full of them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I will have to look this up. Husband and I have been going through this now his mother has passed away. We want to organise ourselves to not cause similar worries for our children when we’re at that stage. We’re trying to get rid of our car now, for example, find a home with no stairs and a spacious bathroom all that stuff. I’m sure we’ll still be deluded by our capabilities (maybe we already are!!!!)

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  4. So many thoughts swirling around in my head, but for the most part, I don’t think much of anything is ever black and white and there are many, many scenarios for how a situation can play out. I think my responsibility is to listen without judgment and be willing to learn from another perspective. I do hate that we have become a society of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong.’

    I have long past imposter syndrome and have learned to accept my limitations as well as my strengths. There are enough people in this world who reject me, so why should I be one of them?

    I completely agree with your summer plans, including the pineapple. Don’t forget to plant the top. It will produce in about two years.

    Cheers to the passing of Covid. I am finally returning to me. The brain fog and fatigue were worse than the flu.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I really like that statement “There are enough people in this world who reject me, so why should I be one of them?” What a great comment about self-acceptance, something I am working on.

      And thanks for the advice about planting the pineapple top! I hadn’t thought about doing that, but definitely will.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry about Covid, but glad it wasn’t too bad. Your first issue reminds me of a quote attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” I guess we have to deal with a lot of contradictions, esp. these days. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tom, like that quote! Years ago, when I was working, often our goal was to design things that held opposing concepts – both effective and aesthetically pleasing. Yes, the “taste great, less filing” space as we always joked about. I’m still trying to figure out how to take personal risks and still have security. I do believe some of the contradictions we hear about in the news are hyperbole, driven by the need to shock and drive clicks. Had an interesting conversation last night about the separation of church and state…. two opposed ideas? Hmm.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you are recovered or at least recovering from covid. My understanding is that the brain fog can last a while, hopefully you won’t experience that.
    I find that I have shifted from either/or to both/and in my “older age” or retirement. Often, I can see both sides to the story or the pros and cons of each thing. I feel like it makes me more compassionate and understanding but it also makes me a little wishy washy as I feel like I have a harder time making up my mind. Even on things like how I dress or wear my hear or what to have for dinner. And I tend not to get into “discussions” with people about things, such as the whole Roe vs Wade things, as I am not adamant for either side when most people are. I’m less confrontational but also maybe less interesting?
    As for the whole gaslighting and Imposter Syndrome, I like to think I have been too confident to be gaslighted but the definitely felt a little Imposter Syndrome from time to time during my career. Mostly just questioning, “am I a good enough orthodontist”. I always liked to think that this made me stay “on my toes” and try to do the best job I could possibly do.
    Sounds like you are set up for a wonderful summer! Well, except for the pineapple thing – I’m not a big fan LOL. I might have to change that to margaritas!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think being more compassionate and understanding and willing to listen to the other side makes you less interesting! Confrontation is not interesting – it’s stressful! For me anyway. I avoid confrontational conversations usually. Always have. It’s nice to know you’re shifting to both/and… I am definitely trying to as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, Yes we are wired for the duality mindset, because it is the patriarchal society we were raised in. We are also wired to compete, to believe in hierarchy, and that war and fighting is the only way to achieve. Re-wiring is so needed in today’s world!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Glad you’re back to the blog and covid is in the rearview mirror Pat – it seems like everyone is going to have to deal with it sooner or later (judging from how many bloggers have been hit with it). Interesting thoughts on gaslighting and imposter syndrome – I think they both are based around insecurity – the first where you put others down to make yourself feel ‘bigger’….or the second, where you put yourself down instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Leanne, I always thought my Imposter Syndrome (and yes I experienced it many times) was about insecurity. But looking at it like a gaslighting was mind opening. I recall, many many years ago when I was graduating college and had multiple job offers, the guys were all “it’s just because you’re a woman. It’s just affirmative action. It’s not about you being better candidate.” The fact that I was a varsity athlete, president of multiple campus organizations, had a top notch GPA and internship experience…. nope, it was just affirmative action. And that was the start. It’s not an issue now, for me, but it was definitely mind opening. We are taught to put ourselves down!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry about the covid! I think it’s going to be around for a very long time, and all we can do is stay vaxxed & boosted & cautious. Thanks for this good post; but recent Supreme Court decisions obliterated all my random thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

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