When you found yourself here today, you probably noticed the new banner at the top of the page. I like banners. They allow me an opportunity to make a little art and share it, to add a little color and something extra to my blog. I’ve used them to describe myself (“A gay Jewish storyteller speaks”), to give greetings (“Happy New Year!”), and even to make a political point (remember SOPA?). But now? Now I’m using it as a way of inviting you deeper.
Today began my ASB Team’s retreat and we spent the day learning about Fair Trade and then doing some activities to broaden our perspectives and allow us to gain greater insight into our personalities and the makeup of our group. I’ll get to all of those points next week–for now, I need to discuss why Belize is important to me.
Believe it or not, it means more than even I had thought it would.
It’s hard to admit it was last year when I last mentioned my trip to Belize in the spring (and I had to say it–the joke’s too good not to). On the bright side, with many thanks to my contributors, I’ve reached twelve percent of my fundraising goal! If you’re able to help, you can make a donation here. If you’re still not convinced, keep reading and hopefully I’ll change your mind.
I knew it was raining when my class was interrupted by the squeaking from the hallway. By the time I left the building to cross a small breadth of campus to my second course, it was merely a light rain, and when after that course I crossed to the bus stop, the light rain hadn’t picked up a great deal–but on account of now standing in the rain, by nature it seemed heavier.
I got on the bus, the standing crowd moving slowly toward the back to make room for the new recruits at the front.
It hasn’t even been a week since I’ve been back and it already feels like my trip to Cherokee was ages ago. This has been a long week in terms of assignments, and with NC Pride this weekend and classes grinding to a brief halt next week for fall break before I’m bombarded with another round of tests, I can’t but imagine this’ll be a long weekend. Indeed, like last weekend, I expect it will be over too quickly.
On Saturday night we all went to a buffet for some home-made southern cooking (and let me tell you, it was delicious). As we were leaving, it suddenly occurred to me that after morning came, we would be returning to the nonstop, chaotic world centered about N.C. State but extending throughout all Western civilization.
And when I realized that, I knew I’d miss being in Cherokee.
It’s not often these teachings stump me completely. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of reading the teachings sooner than I must write my post, to allow for a deeper level of consideration on what they may mean, but this week’s mishneh still has me profoundly confounded. Why don’t you read it for yourself?
The past couple of days I’ve been at the beach with my man. It’s been heaven, but more it’s been the juxtaposition of land and sea. We’ve gone into the water and spent hours walking up and down the shore. It’s been relaxing, invigorating, tiring, peaceful, and brilliant. The wind has roared. The waves have crashed. And one thing is certain: the oceansong is amazing.
Have you ever stepped outside to see everything in high definition? The leaves on the trees in glorious three dimensions? The fractures in the asphalt, the oil stains in thirty shades of grey, and the skid marks like brush strokes painted upon the road? Or the sunlight shining through every blade of grass and the diffractions of shadows cast from the heavens onto the ground?
One of my goals this year has been to meditate more. It calms the mind, soothes the body, and I need all of the above. Especially this week, when I really feel reality slipping and my consciousness dripping all over the floor around me and puddling up in the mattress beneath me, something to take the edge off without alcohol is appreciated.
That’s where meditation comes in.
But the last couple months, sitting still hasn’t been helpful. Making time to stop isn’t meditative–it just makes me more anxious, as in minutes I see all the hours of work I could get done–and then watch as time passes while I merely sit there. That’s not meditation. That’s torture.
For the first day in about ninety, I felt…relaxed. Well, not the whole day: I woke up convinced I had woken up early, and then went back to bed and overslept. I ran to get dressed, print my assignments, and then–remarkably–only arrived fifteen minutes late to class. I wasn’t even winded from the stairs.
Class went well. My second class was less a class than a test, and of the twenty questions, there was one I really didn’t know (and will kick myself for getting wrong, since I should’ave known it) and two more that I could have argued for each option. Not exactly the kind of feeling I like having after a test, but I got out of class an hour early, and isn’t that something?