fuschia and integrity

So that’s fuschia.

Approximately the shade of my face this afternoon while attempting a group fitness 30/30 cycling/strength&cardio class at the campus gym.

artist-scholar-athlete (???)

In this humbled state, (and reflecting upon several other moments in the first week and a half of the semester) I’ve been thinking about self-awareness, patience, and that interesting way we can sometimes try to step outside and evaluate (without too much judgement) how we’re actually doing and (with honesty) try to do things better.

I’ve been thinking about the sweet spot of self awareness between humility and confidence- an ideal condition for meaningful learning and growth to take place. (and interpersonal interactions, grocery shopping, living.)

We’re reading an excerpt of Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach in a Pedagogy seminar with Professor Susan Van Pelt- Petry, in which Palmer describes that same sweet spot of calm self-knowledge as  integrity.

Paraphrased for pronouns:

Identity is : “an evolving nexus where all the forces that constitute (one’s) life converge in the mystery of self… a moving intersection of inner and outer forces that make (a person) who (they are)”

Integrity is :”whatever wholeness (one is) able to find within that nexus as its vectors form and re-form the pattern of (one’s) life”

I’m drawn to the acknowledgement of identity as dynamic, especially considering social pressures to self-label, or be easily labeled as _____. (Insert political party, religious affiliation, occupation, race, gender, or other “box” here).  As well as the grounding note:  “the self is not infinitely elastic- it has potentials and it has limits.”

I’m drawn to the notion of integrity as the way we navigate the shifting self (as far as it can shift) in a shifting world. Sometimes, hopefully, with aplomb.

On that note, I plan to take another humbling fitness class next week – anyone wanna join?


Back to it. And winter break non-syllabus reading re-cap.

School tomorrow. I’m happy to be back and to start up a new term.

Reinserting yourself in New York  City for three weeks as a partial observer is interesting, disorienting, and slightly FOMO tinged.

I read interesting things, saw interesting things, traveled a little and spent time with people I love.

As I get back to this place in a new term and new year I’m interrogating why I’m here;  I’m thinking about the body, the vessel, how it functions, what we do to it, how we affect it through our emotions and mindset and how mental state and emotion impact the body.  Thinking about why we do what we do. Function literally and figuratively.  And about the vessel and what  it is and what happens to it.

Some non reading-list reading from break:

Image result for evil cradling book

An Evil Cradling (1992) by Brian Keenan  (Review)

  • Not exactly beach reading though I was on a beach when I finished it. The memoir by Northern Irish writer, Brian Keenan, documents his capture while teaching English at American University in Beirut and subsequent captivity for over four years at the hands of Lebanese Shi-ite militias.  It is fascinating and compelling reading, probing the frightening depths of mindfulness and mindlessness, of compassion and brutality, that humanity can reach.

Image result for from here to eternity caitlin doughty

From Here to Eternity : Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (2017) by Caitlin Doughty   (Review)

  • A fast-paced, well researched, painlessly delivered sucker punch to your brain about some things many of us haven’t really thought about or don’t want to think about: What happens to us… after? Funeral home director and mortician Caitlin Doughty narrates a variety of encounters with deathcare traditions and businesses from cultures around the world – exploring distinct perspectives and practices for honoring the dead.  From $7000 caskets and 2-4/7-9 regulated viewings in many American funeral homes, to an open air pyre in Colorado, Sky Burials in Nepal, unearthed remains in Tana Toraja, Indonesia, the Bolivian Festival of Natitas, Japanese hi-tech crematoria, the Parsi Tower of Silence, re-composition, and why whales and whale matter matter – told with wit and respect.
    • It made me regret not taking “Death and Dying,” a religious studies elective in high school in which students planned their own funerals…

Spontaneous Movie

Image result for The Green Book

Today I took myself to the movies to see the Green Book.  So glad I did.

Looks like it just won Golden Globes for Best Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley). Thanks internet.

A few months ago I wrote about that unsatisfied empty feeling after a film/dance performance event. I didn’t have that today. A laugh, cry, think, kind of movie. An odd couple road trip to friendship. It makes you think about where we were, how far we have and have not come around issues of prejudice, racism, classism, and about the power of individual actions and individual friendships.

[BTW  in Columbus you can take yourself to a movie and get popcorn and an obscenely large “small” soda for the price of just the movie ticket in Midtown  – just sayin.]