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Life Meets Thought

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Inviting reflections on the interplay between our personal, lived experiences and intellectual theory, from both sides of the brain; blending subjectivity and objectivity; fostering humble exploration of generalities as they apply to the specifics that move us.

My desire to offer this creative and welcoming intellectual space arose from a variety of personal experiences that have juxtaposed conceptual and practical; macro and micro; theoretical and personal.

Before coming to Bryn Mawr as a McBride student (class of ’98), I worked for a number of years in the domestic violence field. I learned there about common behavioral dynamics in abusive relationships. The cycle of violence and abuse continua were two of the most practical theoretical frameworks I shared with women (I worked mostly with women), because the models affirmed they were not alone in their experience; allowed them to step back to see negative patterns that would likely continue without intervention; and helped them glimpse alternatives.

I went from a context in which theory had obvious life-and-death implications to the academic haven of Bryn Mawr. (Back in the 90’s, service learning was still just a glimmer, though one that I heartily endorsed), but I also felt the tug, especially initially, to take a break and savor intellectual pursuits more exploratory than driven. I am embarrassed to say that I naively included a comment in my Bryn Mawr application about “learning for learning’s sake.” Sometime later, a copy of my application was returned to me, and a reviewer had placed an exclamation point next to that phrase. I have, over the years, pondered my impulse to seek solace in an ivied sanctuary. As I have alternately engaged with academia (I went on to get two more masters’ degrees) and the world of practice, I have continued to observe how both reflection and action are vital components of living deeply and contributing in meaningful ways.