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Christine Tsen

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The Agony and the Thrill
1/12/2015 5:16:52 PM
More thoughts :)

The Agony and the Thrill


Sometimes it takes an experiment in logical play for me to see, to be reminded, that the words I put out into the world can have also have a reciprocal effect on me.  After all, the words that sounded so clever in the writing, as I played with them, would sound just as clever in the reading, right?  Boy, was I wrong.  What originally started as an experiment in prose, an exploration of competitiveness, triggered a firestorm of emotions within myself about this topic.


Well, just after I posted that blog and read it on the web for the first time I remembered all the awful things about competitiveness.  Especially those that came out of my own experiences of forced competition as a musician.  In hindsight, I’m so grateful this is not a part of our school system as it was when I was growing up.  Where, I ask, was the compassion in that system?  At Interlochen Arts for example the playoffs each week pitted each member of the section against the one next to them.  These “challenges” made everyone apprehensive.  Some kids would actually go behind the building and get sick right before and after.  How shame-inducing it was when I was not prepared or how awful I’d feel for those who tripped the notes. 


Each time I pick up the trophy that the coach gave my daughter for her “participation” in soccer I smile that it made her feel good.  This was before I knew she was autistic and that these happy moments would be few and far between until she reached the later setting of college.  What if the school system still subscribed to the hard-edged view of competition, where the kids who are more fanciful are relegated to the side lines?  This would have affected her outlook in such a sad way and would have left me as her mother feeling very vicariously dejected.


Kids are judged soon enough.  We all are.  And when the dominoes are falling all around us, we need to be able to call upon our self-compassion … if we have any idea how to do so (I’ve been so enchanted with Kristin Neff’s and Brené Brown’s ideas on self compassion as of late).  So let’s teach our kids how to do that.



“A patch of blue often brings more pleasure than an entirely clear sky.”

--Robert Schumann, Letter to mother, 1834

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More Blogs by Christine Tsen
•  The Agony and the Thrill - Monday, January 12, 2015  
• The Thrill and the Agony? - Sunday, January 11, 2015
• Precipice - Sunday, January 04, 2015
• The Retreat - Friday, October 31, 2014
• Lighthouse Thoughts - Tuesday, June 17, 2014
• Flying - Sunday, June 08, 2014
• To Valinor - Sunday, February 24, 2013
• Attraversiamo - Sunday, December 30, 2012
• Thankful - Thursday, November 22, 2012
• Detours - Wednesday, October 24, 2012
• Sacrifice - Monday, October 08, 2012
• Soulful Thinking - Tuesday, October 02, 2012
• Aspiness to Happiness - Sunday, August 12, 2012
• A collage of my father. - Monday, March 26, 2012
• Tea Talk - Saturday, February 04, 2012
• Agape - Monday, January 16, 2012
• Spatial Musings - Thursday, December 01, 2011
• Spiritual Leeks - Sunday, September 25, 2011
• Existential - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
• Mona Lisa - Friday, May 20, 2011
• No Matter What - Monday, May 16, 2011
• Firestarter - Sunday, May 08, 2011
• Happiness - Tuesday, April 26, 2011
• Indigo - Saturday, April 23, 2011
• Friendships - Friday, April 22, 2011
• Ocean Currents - Monday, April 18, 2011
• Elementals - Saturday, April 16, 2011
• Grace - Thursday, April 14, 2011

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