Circle of Influence

In this course, we have learned so much about wicked problems and how to  show curiosity compassionately and practice mindfulness. I had never been introduced to thinking like this before this class. When looking at a problem, I always tried to look at it from all perspectives, so I was used to looking at them in an emotional way to see how it would affect everyone. But when it came to thinking about the crazy amount of solutions and the different outcome they all had is what I struggle with the most. I always want to choose the best solution, but sometimes everyone might not agree with it. Showing compassionate curiosity is so important in everything in the world today. I think treating others with compassion and kindness are so important, so we should treat the way we treat ourselves and the environment the same exact way. After reading the YES readings and hearing about the NO readings, there is an obvious reason to look at things with compassion. I changed my major this year from Applied Exercise Science to Interior Design. So I never really thought about the environment and what to do to help the earth. I only ever thought about being a physical therapist and I always knew I wanted to work with people because I love showing others compassion, especially when they are going through things like physical therapy. But since changing my major, my eyes have been open and I now think more about the environment. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t compassionate enough to think about what this industry and many zxother industries have done to the environment. I was never curious about the environment before but my eyes have been open to think about it and I have been having more conversations about it with the people in my class and people outside of class including my roommates. Since learning about compassionate curiosity, I have learned so many new things that I never thought about before.  It helps me remain in the present moment and to appreciate things more than I ever had before. As well as practicing compassionate curiosity, I have been practicing mindfulness for about a month now, and I have been so peaceful and calm since starting this. I have bad anxiety, and it would cause me to get irritable and stressed out all the time. My road rage was so bad and since beginning practicing mindfulness, anytime I drive, I don’t get road rage anymore. It really is a big deal that I haven’t experienced road rage anymore because it got so bad at one point. When I first began practicing mindfulness, I would practice it when I would walk to class. I think our campus is so beautiful and I have loved walking to classes since I was a freshman, but I always listened to music. But when I started practicing, I stopped listening to music and just walked to class. It helped me focus on the things outside or not think about things that were stressing me out. Listening to music on the way to class kept me connected to my phone and social media. Constantly being on my phone and checking social media has a huge impact on my anxiety and stress level. So getting off my phone has helped me tremendously. But I have also started practicing mindfulness right before bed. I used to struggle going to bed and would be up so late because I was watching videos on my phone or stressing myself out. But since adding it to my night routine, I have been able to fall asleep earlier and actually get good sleep too. Since starting this practice, I have been thankful for everything around me and have been appreciative of the environment. It’s really nice to realize these things because that means I am actually passionate about this topic and am continuing to learn and appreciate the topic. 

After practicing both of these things, I have developed a new way to face wicked problems. When faced with a wicked problem in the past that had to do with the environment, I used to think things like “this doesn’t affect my daily life at all, so I’m not going to worry about this,” and brush it off my shoulder. I hate that I used to think like that. I was always only worried about how to make others happy and take care of others, not the environment. Now when I am faced with a wicked problem or hear about a wicked problem, I think about it with compassion and am humble about the wicked problems. I never knew the type of things the world was put through until this class. With all the readings and examples we read throughout this class, it’s crazy to think that there are thousands more wicked problems we are faced with today. I never used to worry about climate change and global warming, but it makes me so sad now. Even today as I’m writing this paper, I noticed that yesterday’s weather was so cold and today was almost in the eighties, and it makes me upset that this is caused by the way we treat the world. This class has opened my eyes and made me realize that I do a lot of things to harm the environment. I use so much plastic and produce so much trash, so I started using a water bottle and stopped using paper plates and plastic utensils. I’ll continue to do these habits for the rest of my life and continue to create new ones as well. My friends have already noticed that I stopped going out to get food as much and eating at my house instead. 

After taking this class for the past two months, I can say it has been a very positive and uplifting learning space for me. I did not know a single thing about this topic before this class. I had only ever practiced meditation in my dance classes I took in high school, but I didn’t take meditation seriously in high school. I still struggled with it in class at the beginning of this course, just because I would lose focus and get caught up in my own thoughts. I know I talked about this in the last paper, but a quote that was said in class about thoughts has stuck with me, and it has helped me in meditation, but also even when I’m just in my head stressing myself out. When I remind myself of this quote, I am able to be present and focus on the things around me. I will keep meditation in my circle of influence and try to influence others to join me while meditating. I will also continue to make decisions that will benefit the environment instead of harm it. I will also try to get my friends to do these things with me. I am going to be living on my own next year, so I am going to start recycling and will do this for the rest of my life. I know I will continue to learn more about sustainability and learn new ways I can change my lifestyle to make a difference. I hope these changes can make a difference and that the people around me will start making changes in their life to help the planet.

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