Ryan Sadigh: Odyssey Reflection

500 335 Ellen Ensher
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Ryan Sadigh and Friend in Greece

I cannot believe it has only been 27 days since arriving in Greece for the Odyssey Program. I entered this program after encountering a significant life change. I sit here now and will reflect on the ups, downs, lessons, and connections I’ve built while abroad and while on this beautiful, secluded, non-hustle culture-centered island. Afterwards, I will offer my personal ‘Training and Development’ curriculum that I used while here through the ADDIE framework (analysis, design, develop, implement, and evaluate).

If I was to refine my experiences and shift them into a few words, they’d be the following: present, curious, detached, mindful, and happy. I’ve developed a new fascination with life by experiencing various forms of novelty daily. I walk through foreign neighborhoods and realize intricate differences each time. However, most recently, the freshness that distracted me and propelled me into new habits and personality began fading, and old habits and anxiety reappeared.

I have found myself anxious and confused these past couple of days due to the dichotomies of my wants and needs: I’m a young person in Greece with so many opportunities to experience novel experiences, learn, gain perspective, and create meaningful memories, yet the desire and fear of discomfort pushes me into conflict and resistance. I sway between two ends of a spectrum, between freedom and discomfort and restriction and comfort.

I feel like I’ve gained a greater capability of navigating these difficult thoughts and emotions through the emotional curriculum I designed for myself when entering this program. Here’s the ADDIE steps I used to create my curriculum and become a more grounded traveler.


Initial personal analysis is vital for two reasons: (1) to clearly understand my emotions and thought processes and (2) to set an intention as to where I would like to be with these thoughts and emotions in the future.

The practice of checking in was beneficial in this initial analysis process. Freewriting is an approach to checking in that offers the space and risk-free fearlessness that lets my mind spit and vomit all its unorganized thoughts on a page, stringing them together in a messy but organic and fun story. It isn’t until I zoom out and read these entries that I see clearly what my mind is hearing and my body is feeling. Doing so allows me to step outside myself, seeing Ryan as a character, a person I can perceive as another, and someone I can tend to on a more objective scale rather than feeling absolutely tied to him and his unwavering ‘problems.’

Allowing my mind to flow unrestrictedly and offer space towards any resistance being built provided me with the clarity and understanding needed to tend to myself and accomplish realized goals: to further develop mindfulness skills, create a habit of gratitude, and connect with. These goals concern my emotions and are thus measured as Affective objectives; other possible measurements are behavioral and cognitive.


The curriculum I designed to meet these goals revolved around the re-implementation of practices that have proven successful in my past: meditation, morning and evening journals, and occasional free-writes.


To develop this plan into tangible, accessible, and actionable steps, I made sure to ease the gateway of entry to each practice. The best way to relax these is by setting routines, times for each practice.

Every morning I wake up, go to the port and meditate. This practice grounds me and offers me new perspectives through my Headspace guide of the day. Their tranquil and insightful words before and after every session offer me a unique perspective that I take with me and sit with for the rest of my day. The function of this routine can be described as maintaining a sense of presence in a mind that tends to sway towards future orientation and past anxieties.

After meditating, I stroll to the school’s courtyard to journal; this slow but rewarding process makes me feel confident, secure, grounded, and grateful. I aim to write five lines per the following sections: gratitude, intentions, and affirmations. The function of this process is to train my mind to think differently, more presently, confidently, and optimistically.

In the evenings in my dorm room, I’d wind down by placing my phone far from my bed, avoiding it at all costs, and trading mindless scrolling for thoughtful reflection on the day I had, marking what I loved and where I could improve for the next. To ensure added extrinsic motivation, I created a daily tasklist revolving around the three practices that I would repeat daily, checking them off chronologically and enjoying the gratification of seeing an empty box become blue with a white checkmark on top.


This step was straightforward. With the exception of two days, one of them being a tight turnaround between a post-going-out night wake-up and morning walk to the ferry for our program’s day trip, and another day where I simply forgot to journal and went straight to breakfast after meditating due to my hunger. Honestly, as I look back, I believe the first week had its ups and downs in terms of staying consistent with these practices daily, but as I flip through my journal, it’s apparent that the pages become more consistently filled as the day progresses.


I haven’t completed the evaluation section yet; I’m waiting to return home before noting my reactions, lessons learned, changed behavior, and overall results. But so far, I feel positive in all those regards; I feel much more grounded and skilled in acknowledging the thoughts I hear and the emotions I feel, sitting with them patiently, and reflecting and coming to deeper understandings with them. The only critiques I’d have is to add more practices that excite me–playing basketball, photography, writing, and/or drawing–and create routines around those practices that could even contribute to a larger overarching project.

At the end of the day, the purpose of this curriculum is for mine and your own well-being. However trackable, I pursue these practices to accomplish my own present happiness. The byproduct which relates to this class’ topic, Training and Development, is the training of my organization–consisting of my mind, body, and spirit–to navigate complex thoughts and feelings that arise, sit with them, and let them go as I continue to live presently and bask in the fascinations I find myself drawn to and thrilled by.