Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Are Your Core Projects

By Cheryl Oreglia

I have the privilege of a rather unique perch for observing personalities. Unobserved, or at least tolerated, I eavesdrop on private conversations, and interpersonal interactions. It's my work and I'm paid to do it. I teach high school and from my podium the view is spectacular. Through a sea of human subjects I've learned to appreciate the amazing variety of operating systems we lug around with us ~ ones that prosper, ones that get us by, and ones that fail.

It's not surprising that my favorite types have remained consistent through the years. Teacher's pet is a real thing. I'm enamored with well grounded people, someone who is present, confident, and reliable but does not lack kindness or empathy. That's a deal breaker. There are also appealing types who are shy, still developing a sense of self, who after four years of high school emerge as confident empowered women. I throughly enjoy the enthusiastic types who serge with energy, are lively, and although hard to contain, they are a joy to be around after a few cups of coffee.

The displaced, depressed, angry types don't scare me as much as the apathetic, judgemental, rude ones, who absolutely could give a damn about anything but their cell phones, and deplore you for giving them a poor grade? But even these types have hope because we are not glued to one phase, one roll, one way of being in the world.

It is rare for a student to surprise me. They stay pretty true to form throughout the high school years. I've discovered again and again how early childhood experiences are the dominating factors in developing a strategy for coping with life. Children emulate the adults who care for them, if the adults don't have it together, neither will the children but when they do, it's magic.

Experience is powerful, it shapes the lens with which we view life, the more poignant the experience, the more efficacious it is to our foundation. Some things can not be undone and that can be good especially when it comes to a loving family, strong values, constructive guidance, laughter, and loyalty. Violence, ridicule, neglect, and bullying can sentence a person to hell on earth. Anyone can survive in life but to thrive is a gift. 
"I'm a big personality. I walk into a room, big and tall and loud." Adele
So of course this got me thinking about free-will and our ability to choose right from wrong, healthy vs insalubrious, apathy or engagement, patience over temper. Is it possible to ignore formational experiences, break free from engrained patterns of behavior, and choose the attitude we would like to adopt on any given day? Most people would prefer to stay in the rut they dug for themselves then opt for change. I'm one of them. 
Henry Morgan "people with insufficient personalities are fond of cats. These people adore being ignored."
Of course there is the case of the introvert vs the extrovert, from my laboratory I started observing and storing information, this is what I found. Regardless of the machine that drives you (intro or extro) when a student has a core project they will employ most any strategy to get the work done. Engagement is critical. The introvert can give a polished presentation in front of thirty students if need be, the extrovert can dim themselves in order for peers to shine, and I realized together the possibilities are endless. 

I pride myself on being calm and kind in most situations (Larry has his own perspective but he's wrong) but when my mother was sick and I needed an approval for treatment, a key to the front gate, or an emergency appointment I was ruthless, determined, downright rude if need be. My core project was mom and I was able to pull up aspects of myself (the bitch was a favorite) that I did not know existed in order to serve her needs. This is who we really are (not bitches, you know what I mean), our personalities are in service of our core projects, and even when it is not comfortable we are able to meticulously resurrect a variety of characteristics when needed.
"If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature." Bruce Barton
Does awareness matter? If your entire adult life is tethered to formational experiences, patterns we continually recreate, where is the space for improvement? Is there space? Or are we "predestined" so to speak to be enslaved to our histories? This is what keeps me up at night. You? 

We're not always what we seem. What are your core projects? 

I'm Living in the Gap when I'm not Across the Board


Carrie Beckort said...

I love reading your thoughts, Cheryl. I think you and I would have long conversations if we ever met in person. As 44 year old, I know all about trying to break free from formational experiences. I think the hardest part, at least from what I've experienced, is you have to go backwards a bit when breaking free. And no one likes to go backwards. We want progress and going back feels like failure -- and we fight against that, even if it means staying in our current state of 'failure' because that's at least comfortable. But it is possible if we are willing to give up the control and let the magic take over, for however long it takes. Oh, and in college someone one told me I had 'bitch potential'. My response was, "Damn right I do, and I know how to use it." :)

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Carrie those are about the kindest words I've read in a while. I too think we would get on splendidly if we were to meet in person. I've noticed in my decades of living that I have these sporadic periods of successfully overcoming entrenched behaviors only to revert back during times of intense stress. Like the seasons I shift and change but winter always squeezes in after the fall and just before the spring. Thank God we can lean on our inner 'bitch' when needed. Thanks for the comment Carrie!

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