When I was in grad school I participated as a volunteer leader in an urban program in Chicago for college students during spring break. It was an immersive experience for most of the students, especially those who were white. We were in a neighborhood that was 98% African American and for many students, having to notice their own skin for the first time as they walked down the street was an experience in and of itself that pushed them to learn and grow.

The leader of the program talked about how the experiences themselves were not where the true growth happened. Growth and insight happen in the debrief of those experiences. It is incredibly important to process through experiences correctly for us to come to appropriate and healthy conclusions. A lot of the time, we need guidance in how to go about doing that well.

I’ve noticed that in my own life, in the various experiences that I have, I need to process them outside of the experiences themselves. Hence some of the recent life-changes I’ve made for myself. I try to set up an environment for myself that allows my thoughts and insights to incubate until I can gather them together to learn from, to gain wisdom for my own life.

For therapy, I highly doubt my therapist is going to have some sort of incredibly insightful suggestion or strategy for my life that I find life-changing. It’s going to be the process of debriefing with her that is going to impact my life. There’s a two week incubation period in-between sessions in which I will allow thoughts and insights to grow.



2 thoughts on “Incubate

  1. Beautiful post. Yes, it is not the experience in which learning occurs, mainly because things are happening too quickly. But, in th debriefing when we take time to think about the elements and aspects of our experience that stayed with us, we grow. Thank you for such an insightful post.


  2. One of the most important steps in my work when developing software is the incubation period I give to certain ideas to let them stew for a while before putting them into practice. We have an experience or a thought and it suddenly becomes our entire fixation, there are only pros and no cons, there is only the single way I see before my eyes and no obstacles lie in the path. Incubation to me is letting my find relax and pull out of the cloud, to pull myself out of the experience and the ideas and let the subconscious form its proper connections. It always surprises me how letting go of something so clear at the time gives it the chance to grow and form and mature. Thanks for the post.


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