Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts

8.7.17

That Time I Arrived in Beijing to Begin a Six City Tour of China

Grill work from a door 
in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

In the Summer of 2017, we took a month-long tour of China. Here is the first post of that journey:

I feel relieved and at peace today.

It's been four days since we landed in La Guardia after a twenty-one day, six-city tour of China.

Coming home on the Sunday before the Fourth of July, we first landed in Detroit, went through
immigration retrieved our luggage and grabbed our connecting flight home.
Monday was the Fourth of July. You'd think I
would've been journey-weary; but, I scooped up
whatever energy I had left and watched Macy's fireworks on the East River with my age-old buddy Anthony Charles who was in town for work.
I hadn't sorted through all the photographs we'd taken, ticket stubs, leftover RMB notes, and select tchotchkes bought and packed, but sitting in the park before the fireworks started, I told Tony about our trip.

8.3.13

"Who AM I?" And Do We Ever Change (Also A Brief Reflection On "Is Being Together Possible?")

Looking Back At March 31, 1997

Pencils in My Pocket
I spent last Saturday reading my journal from 1997. Look at what I wrote on March 31, 1997.
It’s proof that I have not changed. At all. I will be sixty and still wondering about my place in the cosmos (and hopefully with a better HMO):

How do I fit in the grand scheme of the cosmos? I am seventeen, medium height, medium weight, hazel eyes, brown hair, mild complexion, have acne, am Catholic, attend a public high school, love to read and participate in other cultural activities, learn about historical events, visit art museums and view fine films. That’s me in a nutshell (into clichés tonight). I am an independent person and don’t care for much intervention. I get the most joy out of completing tasks by myself, not because I like doing it by myself. I don’t get my joy for performing and doing things for others, when I act I please myself. It is fun to see people laugh at my jokes or comment or something. I do, but frankly I don’t do it for them. People who know me well may think I am cold-hearted, I don’t think so. I love people and love seeing people happy. I desire the best for anyone I know; I am talking about the core of my being, what gives me most enjoyment: people or myself? The answer must be myself. I’d rather ride my bike alone or walk my dog alone. I’d rather cook a meal or read a book alone. I’d rather tour a museum alone or view the stars by myself. But I do love sharing my experiences. I am not shy when it comes to depositing my knowledge. The gift of teaching resides in me. That is what God gave me. I never grow tired of friendships and good conversation. I would get lonesome being by myself too long. I would want to escape and experience something else …. I have more to offer the world than wash dishes, get braces, being obedient, etc. I am impatient, but am hanging on the vine.
  I am not sure I agree with my seventeen-year-old self that teaching is depositing knowledge but I will forgive him because he had not read yet Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I no longer have acne and I am not sure where I stand on Catholicism but the gist of what I wrote that night in March of 1997 still rings true in 2013. Is this the same for everyone? Even if you don’t have access to a journal entry you wrote 16 years ago it is still interesting to reflect on how much we change. It's interesting I wrote that entry during my Senior year of high school. So it makes sense I would be thinking about what I want out of life. Now after having finished college and two graduate degree programs, as well as some years of teaching - and don't forget my six years as a Benedictine monk - I still think of what this seventeen-year-old boy was thinking: who the hell am I?
I think I am thinking about this more than ever because I feel this persistent push to be something, to do something, but at the same time I have this other feeling inside of me that I am (and have been) doing it all along - I just hadn’t noticed. It’s like I spend so much time thinking about what I will be or will do that I have forgotten what I did, what I have seen and heard. My seventeen-year-old self is telling my thirty-three-year-old self “to please myself” and continue to take pleasure out of art, novels, friends and all that jazz.
It sounds like what I am saying is that if I am ever going to find someone else to share my life with they also have to know their joy. We come together and share what joys we know. When I first read this entry I thought, shit, I will be alone for the rest of my life. But I read it again and it struck me, something I did not notice the first time I read this scrap of paper from the past. It’s so human to want to please yourself and to think of the future but at the same, I sense a longing to share that something with someone else and to know their joy. Is that what they call interdependence? It's when I say “I love sharing my experiences.” That’s the art of being together. That’s what I crave and I think it is what a lot of human beings crave. I love how at the end I say I am impatient and holding on the vine. That’s very Greig Roselli.