About This Blog

For the next 365 days, I am focusing on KARMA as my resolution to 2010. I'm open for stories, ideas and kismet. EMAIL ME.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

FU.....N


I shouldn't promote bad behavior of my nieces and nephews, but it's too easy to do, especially when they're hysterical.

Cynderballz made me a pot roast dinner last night and invited me to take a break from my dissertation. I stopped by (it was delicious) and there was some debate about who was going to eat the last croissant. Everyone had one, but one family member already had two and was hawking to get it for his third (no names. Okay, Dylan). Disappointed, he went downstairs to blow up Nazis and destroy Russians.

Nickerdoodles finally decided because she's young and growing that she'd be the person allowed the second croissant, but being genetically connected to Casey and me, she couldn't eat it until she called her brother back upstairs. When he arrived, she bit into the croissant, which triggered and "F.U." from her brother and a "go to your room" from Cynderballs and Mike.

As he marched away, Nikki said sarcastically, "The poor boy. He only wanted a roll."

Inappropriately, we all started laughing. Cynderballs looked to the bottle of wine for a last drop and discussed something about pan-sexuality and I went to Dylan's room to tell him, "Dude. If that was me. I would have said no one ever listens to me. I'd tell them if they listened, they'd know I was spelling F.U. - D.G.E., because I wanted some for my vanilla icecream. You need to be more clever next time."

Karma is watching my childhood exhibited before my eyes through the antics of my niece and nephew.

Happy Halloween! I'm dressed as an apathetic uncle who is going to Nikki's field band championship at the Carrier Dome. I'm dressing up as an unenthusiastic relative who reads books while the bands perform. I hope people recognize my amazing efforts.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

a song from the apple picking day

video
A month ago, while taking a new colleague apple picking for the first time in New York State, and with two arrivals from Uganda sitting in the back seat, a song was sung to make our road trip a little more meaningful. Rochelle sang "America the Beautiful" with her Tennessee music and filmed the scenery of upstate New York. Yesterday, she gave me a copy of the footage and I post this clip as a karmic reminder of time and how this song and her singing of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" made the apple picking extra special and meaningful.

She told me she will kill me if she knows I posted her singing, but I wanted to put it somewhere where I knew where I could find it later on. And that is why it is here.

America was truly beautiful on that day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, man.

My colleague asked me to fill in for her at a local middle school to do a writing workshop for twenty-five 7th graders. I knew the class was all girls and that my buddy, Cedric, was doing a workshop with all the boys. What I didn't know was that they established a classroom for creating young ladies, and when I arrived, a girl asked me, "Excuse me, but what does a man know about being a lady. Where's Marcelle?'

That was the first five seconds.

The girls were loud and full of middle school drama. I only had an hour and I wanted to establish a routine quickly. We practiced a call so that they knew when they needed to listen to me. "Hey, Ladies," I'd yell, and they'd respond, "Get Funky." I'd then shout, "Say what?" and they'd snap their fingers twice, clap their hands twice, then point to themselves shouting, "Diva."

It worked.

The teachers said they were going to steal this call and response from me because they've never seen the girls so focused on anything for so long.

The problem with such karma, however, is that it took all the energy I could muster to sustain one hour of their attention. I don't know how anyone worked with the beautiful abilities of Patty Labelle and Aretha Franklin for so long. I had a room full of divas in training, and man, although I needed part of the instruction to be about me, it definitely was mostly about them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

blended verbally


My friend, Cedric Bolten of Verbal Blend, asked me to judge a poetry slam at Syracuse University, and I found this story of what he does on YouTube. I took his invitation as a sign to reconnect with what I love to hear and see: youth spitting out ideas within the parameters of how they hear the muses and meters of rhythm and verse. As the evening when on, the mics got more emotional, and from each poet became a devotional display of their thoughts. Karma is what each fought for on stage. I'm at an age to appreciate such magic.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Indian Summer Run

I admit I'm a total grump these days. I need to be, because I'm guessing at all the work I'm trying to do, while guessing about where I will find time to get any of it done. I wake up, and the guess-work begins and continues until I guess it's time I head off to bed, because I'm simply exhausted. There are days, too, that I realized I've had zero interaction with human beings. It's just me and my ideas.

But yesterday was a day for an Indian Summer run. There was no guessing at all. I knew it was probably the last glimpse of warmth that I'll have for a long time. The air was fresh, the leaves were beautiful, and the scenery cracked me up (including a few snakes that were sunning in the road and a rooster chasing four ducks by a small pond near my house).

Sometimes, I wish I could just wake up and physically run until bed time. My body couldn't handle it, but if it could, I would. The mental marathon that is my life never seems to end. I need to remember a day like today to fuel me for the other days where I'm guessing at what it is I'm actually doing.

At least, I guess I do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hmmmmm

My writing mentor, Marcelle, texted me today about making a connection with Reenah Golden (pictured above) who lives in Rochester. Reenah Golden starred in NO CHILD that was put on at Syracuse Stage. She is a writer, poet, activist and actress who works out of Rochester. Marcelle thought that it might be good to know her as I'm on the job market and there's a position opened at the University of Rochester. I've applied of course (to positions all over the nation), but something strange happened as i was reading.

I was in Manlius about to enter the school when Marcelle's text arrived. I started scrolling the message when I noticed something fluttering and blocking the light by my eyes. I looked up and there was a monarch butterfly trying to land on my tie. I thought, "Now isn't this strange." Then, when I entered the building, the door handle and wooden frame were loaded with lady bugs. They were everywhere.

It's October and a little late for nature's colorful joy, so I was a bit touched by the moment. Whether or not any of it has celestial meaning awaits to be seen. I do know, however, that I took it as a karmic moment. Something to consider as a part of the natural world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Channeling the Bangles (and high school music)



It's MoNdAy already again. I'm living a variation of Groundog's Day the movie. Oh well. At least I had two days with a few spaces of down time in them. I will carry those moments with me for the rest of the week.

Their 80s hair wasn't that bad, was it?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

7 days a week


This morning it is Saturday. Yesterday it was Friday. Tomorrow it is Sunday. And then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Seven days blurring together without much differentiation or change. I was told by my advisor that there might be a break around March where I'll have two weeks of lull time. March. Well, I can't wait. Six more months added on to the three and a half years I've already invested to this process.

In the meantime, I will let karma run my life. I want to finish this degree and move on, but there's still much more to do. The fun has just begun.

Here's to seven days a week. I'm thankful there's not more, because I'd have to work through them, too. I'm trusting that all of this will mean something when it is completed. In the meantime, inhale. Exhale. Write.

Friday, October 22, 2010

With appreciation to Sarah, her students, and Tupac


Yesterday, I visited a school where a student teacher was introducing a reading of Seedfolks by having them deconstruct the language used by Tupac and his poem "The Rose that Grew from Concrete." I've read the poem before, but today its meaning seemed more profound and I believe it was because of the delicate instruction of the teacher. She asked them to define the major words of the poem, which they did, concrete, rose, growth, cracks, dreams, and then they moved to judging the book of Seedfolks by its cover. The story is vignettes of diverse characters who work in a community garden, but also who share their personal stories.

I immediately thought about a cinderblock and a pot of soil and from which one a gardener can see the greatest growth?

From concrete, urban centers, we get buildings, schools, highways, sidewalks and prisons. It is a tool for which foundations are made and which institutions, both good and bad, are formed. From soil, we get food, flowers, trees and all the items that come from them: fragrance, tastes, nutrients, oxygen and shade.

As we educate youth of our cities, how do we best get them to see that they, too, can bloom? How do we provide the best fragrances, tastes, nutrients, oxygen and shade so they can breathe? How do we garden the concrete so that students have hope, desires, and dreams that go beyond the institutions that contain and constrain them? How do we help them to realize they must break through the concrete?

I did an environmental degree and never applied it to my career, but I've used it to think a lot about the urban/rural split. I used to laugh at my environmental self when I thought we were ruining the planet, especially when I bought a home and saw how quickly grass and trees would overtake my concrete sidewalk. Nature always prevails. The natural world wins. Humans can not outlast nature's strength.

I worry, however, that an aesthetic for our natural environment, even if it is a city built by cinderblocks, is not interrogated enough for the ways it limits a child's growth, experiences, and understanding of their humanity. Perhaps this is what urban schooling should be about.

Perhaps, this is why I appreciate the karma of Tupac's poetry, Sarah, and her students. From them, I too learn to breathe fresh air.

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

Written by Tupac Shakur (1971-1996)

PS: Tupac was born the year before me. His influence on us all is enormous.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

minimalism

They say to be strong, you need to find your demons and confront them. I was thinking about my demons and how, every night when I go to bed, I can't sleep because there is too much on my mind. Sitting in front of computer, I realize that my house is an indication of my demons. I'm excessive, cluttered, abundant, messy, and all over the place. That is my personality and I wonder about it in a world that requires organization, order, structure and linear perspectives.

That's why I thought about minimalism and how I have a secret desire to get rid of everything and live in a vacant space where I can allow vacant ideas take over my life. If I didn't have anything, and nothing could get in my way, I wouldn't be distracted by all the chaos.

And this brings me to the ultimate story of Buddha, and that of Siddhartha who tried to chill out with the ascetics by dressing in rags, starving himself, and living inside his head with nothing. That was supposed to bring Nirvana.

Yeah, right. So, karma. What a mess is my world. I will accept it so that elsewhere can be more pristine. I welcome the everything.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be Free, Mr. C


This is simply to post my regard to Tom Bosley who passed away yesterday and made me think about his success and a show that was central to my American landscape. America was different then, and the good, safe values of the 50s were definitely represented in his role as a father to Joanie and Richie. They represented a nuclear core that seems a lot more foreign in 2010.

As I listen to the theme song again, I'm reminded to the bop of my childhood and how this song seemed to play every day on at least one television in my home, but I also think about how naive our country was at that time about global issues and diversity. There's safety when one chooses to ignore "the rest of the world" and country.

R.I.P. Tom Bosley. I hope you parent in the afterlife from above to bring more sense to us below.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Senior Night


In front of me at my desk are three books: Outcasts United, Africa United, and How Soccer Explains the World. These books tell stories of what it means to be an athlete, an African man, and a citizen of the globe. As some of you know, I have ZERO talent kicking a ball and I’ve never once played soccer. Running has been my sport of choice, and that is why I wish to shout out to you during your SENIOR NIGHT of playing for the Nottingham Bulldogs. I hope to be in the stands again. You deserve the recognition.

Whether you know it or not, each of you are a testimony to history and world civilization. You are seniors in high school, athletes on a varsity team, and students who have accomplished a lot to get this far. You will reflect one day on your experiences at Nottingham as being the easiest days of your life. I want you to work hard, reflect, and enjoy every last second that you have at this school. More importantly, I hope that you are able to channel the support and love of your relatives who aren’t able to see you play tonight, the loved ones you’ve lost overseas, and the ancestry that has poured a thousand traditions, customs, and beliefs into you.

The ways stories weave in and out one’s life are rather miraculous and the very fact that you’ve introduced me to your worlds, ideas, thinking, writing, and really bad jokes (some of them are good, I guess) have changed my life forever. Although I don’t have kids of my own (just the 600 students I taught in Kentucky), working with you has made me a better man, teacher, and human being. Through you, I've gained strength.

About the game. Kick some $%#@!#$ #@!. I’ve seen you play awesome and I’ve seen you lose it. Tonight is the night for you to represent the class of 2011 and to pull out the most competitive Bulldog within you. I also want to warn you, there’s a lot of hard work ahead if you want to graduate this year. Crossing the stage is the first of many milestones in your life and I hope you will make smart choices. Be tough. Be proud. Be you. Continue to be strong.

Congratulations for being senior athletes and for leading the underclassmen through your actions, respect, and perseverance. Some people say soccer's a matter of life or death, but it isn't. It's much more important than that, especially when you realize how many people lost their lives in order for you and I to be here today in this miracle called the United States.

Be important from this day on. Make a difference through trusting who you’re meant to be. Accept this karma.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dashain


I attended the Dashain festival at the Franklin side on the north side of Syracuse. The Bhutanese/Nepalese community, recent arrivals to the Central New York region, celebrated Deshain: the longest and the most important festival of Nepal. Generally Dashain falls in late September to mid October, right after the monsoon season, a day of Victory over Demons.

According to the legend, the bloodthirsty Goddess, Durga conquered evils on the Dashain day. Huge amount of animal sacrifices take place during the festival in temples and in home to please the Goddess Durga. Some people may take such animal sacrifices negatively but they might forget how they came by their meat on their plate! There are lots of western countries consuming mass amount of meat, animals are slaughtered in factories by the hundreds and thousands. The final day of the festival is known as `Tika', a day on which the elder ones give `Tika' to the younger ones and to other relatives who come for their blessings.

The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil in a ten day ritual to celebrate the positive karma over the bad. Yesterday, I watched dancing and ate traditional foods, all while hearing immense appreciation for their place in a new country.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Emerson made the blog, not you



Friday, yesterday, was a busy day and I am unsure if I lived it, exactly, or if it was all a figment of my imagination. I was on supercharge from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. and I think there was some karmic sunshine, despite the high winds and rain.

I was at Corcoran High School and I copied a quote from a teacher's room that I really liked. He was working on a unit based upon success. He quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.

What is SUCCESS?

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the reflection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed
social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.

I sort of think this is a rather sharp list to think about on a weekly basis. I shall revisit this to think about, from time to time, just how successful I am.

Friday, October 15, 2010

In loving memory of Ann Brown, Brown School Teacher


Peas

My first four years teaching at the Brown School offered amazing mentorship, support, love, and guidance from all who taught there. Arriving to a school that was created the year I was born, I felt a sense of honor to be employed with such remarkable people. My cousins attended the school in the mid-eighties and upon hearing news of Ann’s death, they called me to say how sorry they were. Ann was their favorite teacher and my cousin, Mike, said she was the reason he stayed in school and graduated from JCPS.

As a teacher, I never took Ann’s class, but I remember vividly how much all my students loved her. One in particular, Dee Dee, would never let a day pass without doing multiple impersonations of Ann and her fear of peas. I’m unsure about the validity of the story, but in Dee Dee’s renditions, Ann was terrified of them. “Peas. I hate them. I hate them. Get them away,” Dee Dee would yell across my room in her best New York squawk.

My first three years, the high school faculty discussed all their issues in Ann’s room and I remember thinking, “Man, these people are vicious.” The safety and beauty of a staff that loves what they do is that they are always 110% honest with how they feel. Their raw emotions were a bit intense at times, but I bonded with them over the passion they shared from teaching kids. In Ann’s room, oi vay, the words would fly. I love teachers who cuss.

I remember once, during a fire drill when the electricity was out and Ann couldn’t take the elevator, Luda and I were asked to carry her downstairs in her chair. I might place that moment as one of the oddest experiences in my life, only because Ann was her usual wise-cracking self, I was not used to putting my triceps into action (although I worked out at a gym), and Luda….well, it seemed very odd to me that Ron Freeman called on Luda to be the other man to help carry Ann Brown down the stairs. Luda was 148 years olds at the time and I was worried about his health more than dropping Ann down three flights of stairs. The moment was completely surreal, but luckily we landed her on the first floor of the lobby, totally in one piece, with her scolding us the entire way. Luda, sang in his baritone voice the entire way.

Then there was the morning I arrived at 6 a.m. to hear Ron having a conversation with Cynthia over the intercom because one of Ann’s iguanas was missing and running the building. She wasn’t at school yet, and Ron was coaching Cynthia to find the dinosaur in the hallways of Brown before the students and teachers arrived. From the intercoms and walkie talkies, it was like a bad, Brown scene of Jurassic Park. The iguana, it turned out, was still in its cage. It never was missing. That was the beet Brown School morning ever.

I thought very highly of Ann Brown. Away from the school, I learn more and more about why 546 S. First Street is one of the most special places on earth. I’ve yet to find any school in the United States that has such wonderful karma, spirit, and soul. It is my hope that Ann will guide all the students who attend there in the future with the same zest she brought to her classroom and while she was teaching with all of her might.

I am thinking of Ann’s family and friends and sending my love and appreciation for all she stands for, believed in, and achieved as a miraculous woman…a one of a kind human being. She will never be forgotten. Because of her, I avoid peas as much as I can.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caveman


For the last few years, I often channel Captain Caveman when I do workshops as a way to make a point that before we had an alphabet, individuals used art and pantomime to communicate their ideas. I usually ask someone in a group to get others to guess at an item I write on a card: "Hurry, Quick! In the Hallway. There's a big woolly mammoth! Food! Let's eat."

In a few minutes, individuals usually guess at the improvisation. I then can move to cave drawings, hieroglyphics, and the politics of language in the 21st century and how some forms of communication are held as superior to others (at least at the University).

Why am I posting it? Because the karma of hearing "Captain Caveman" sing in my ears all day made me wonder if someone posted it on YouTube. They have.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

With the changing leaves...

...comes the changing pressure in my head. With the cold temperatures and the promise to the self not to turn the heat on until November, also comes the high use of a wood burning stove. Changing leaves and burning wood cause extra pain in the temples.

Karma is the reminder that my head never works just right and when it isn't working, I feel useless. Even so, I did get a post out of it, and I spent the last four hours writing.

Sometimes I wonder what it is like to live with a noggin' that isn't so susceptible to swelling and pain. I wish it was a balloon and I could just let out all the air for the night.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This makes me sad


The KFC Yum Center has opened for the Louisville Cards down the street from the J. Graham Brown School and across the river of where I lived. It was a whispered rumor when I left, a foundation when I visited in 2008, and now a reality for the fighting Cards! I envy the fact that others are there, in the thick of it all, capable of seeing this and enjoying it. Oz has been built for the basketball program in downtown Louisville and now we shall see how it pays off.

The city deserves its karma.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Forgive the vulgarities


I tried to help a young Liberian student in his freshman English class at a local community college. He was given a forty page essay written by the French scholar Jaques Lacan and was to apply his thinking to his writing and reading habits. This is a young man with five years of English classes, a refugee experience, and an introduction to literature class. I didn't show this comical video, but I watched it last night trying to make sense of how (and why) one would offer such esoteric thinking to a 19 year old freshman who is still learning English as his second language and who has very limited reading and writing experiences provided by his high school education.

The only answer I have is that we are a comedy of apes.

Language is power, and in higher education, the competition exists for who can communicate the simplest ideas in the most complicated ways. Individuals who preach equity, justice, democracy and freedom, do so from an elite language that does nothing but serve the status quo of those already in power (at least in terms of how higher education in the humanities defines power).

Karma to me, however, is being Robin Hood and stealing the language of those who bully others and being able to put it in terms that everyone can understand. The problem with this for most intellects, I believe, is that if such language was allowed to the common person, their very essence of being an academic would be obscure and obsolete.

To me, students need to learn to read and write and I will constantly question why reading Lacan as an introductory lesson on literature is useful. I don't think it is unless they who teach it are able to put it in terms a 4th grader can understand. If they can't, then I'm unsure if they should be calling themselves teachers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Circle


Yesterday, while coding data, I listened to VH1's countdown of greatest 80s music. Although I wouldn't claim it a the best decade of music, the videos did remind me of the history of my youth and I have to admit that a lot of music went through my ears at this time and despite the big hair and tight pants, it was a peppy time to grow up. A few classics were created with one-hit wonders and seeing where such musicians were now made me smile. The VH1 show was wonderful.

They featured Edie Brickell and "What I am" and I was reminded of "Circle" from the same album, and how the New Bohemiams helped me to shoot rubberbands at the moon. That cassette was central to my late adolescence and I wouldn't be me without it, including this song that I've listened to over and over and over again. For me, this was the song of my graduation and early college years. So much time has passed and whenever I hear the music again, the karma of youth rushes back into me. This makes me smile and for this, I say, thank God for music.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Something to Think About


I did professional development yesterday at Bishop's Academy at Holy Rosary in Syracuse. With a strong tradition in Catholic education, their facility is a standing monument of history and a community foundation of Syracuse. Once upon a time, the schools were loaded with students, but as generations have passed, fewer parents sent their kids to such a school. With this said, they are a facility dedicated to raising academically and spiritually strong students and I felt a little bit of sadness that more students don't receive the love, support, and family education that such schools offer. They are devoted to the whole being of every child and as I admitted to the principal, our generation of adults have lost such direction.

I felt a sense of complete respect for the old, wooden floors, huge windows, and 110% that the teachers give to their school. If only all schools loved their children and their futures in the same ways that I witnessed at their schools. I suppose a school of good karma are all of those that invest all they have into the students they teach and that the connections they have with families, the globe, education, and living a life of morality, devotion, and hard work.

When it comes down to it, a child needs to feel loved to be able to learn. I witnessed much love and the principal was correct. Her staff is special, indeed. I was immensely impressed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

purple

I made it home after a twelve hour day and did get a run in. It was dark, but I kicked up a bandana that someone must have lost in the street. I wrapped it around my wrist and when I got home I realized it was purple. Is it the Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak's?

Doubtful.

Actually, purple is the color of loyalty and passion, two words I'm channeling as my days grow longer, time seems shorter, and there's too much to accomplish in any 24 hour period. So, i was thankful for the karmic find and although I doubt I will ever wear this bandana, it is with me to remind to stay loyal and passionate to what I'm doing. That's all I can ask for on a TGIF kind of day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Karma is a free public library


One of my second homes in Syracuse is the Northern Onondaga Public Library in North Syracuse. I use their tables and quiet space to collect my thoughts, write, organize and think, and I am very thankful for its service to the community and the free access it gives to so many who use it. Truly, libraries are an underfunded, under appreciated asset to the vibrancy of a town. The mere fact that they allow you to rent movies, books, and space for free is something everyone should be thankful for.

Last night, I took advantage of their environment until I was kicked out for closing. I know I will be back there again real soon and that when I reflect on the chaos of my current life, I will be thankful for this clean, kind space that has allowed me to hone in on exactly what I need to do.

Yes, karma is a free public library and I hope they get back as much as they've given to me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

this is a very stupid post


I was trying to find a song that I heard today at the gym, because it reminded me of driving around the British Isles with my friend Amy Partin. When I searched, I failed, but I did find this Sassoon commercial from the late 70s and I'm wondering how any of us in my generation turned out okay. I mean, Sassoon jeans were tight and not comfortable, yet every cool person with feathered hair wanted a pair. This commercial is absolutely ridiculous, and I am thinking that any one who ever owned a pair of Sassoon, or even Jordache for that matter, should watch this commercial until it invades all their dreams as karmic punishment. I remember the jingle when I was eight years old and watch this as if it is pure comedy. And as you watch it today, I hope that I got a good night's rest and that the silliness of this advertisement didn't invade my dreams.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When a dog delivers much deserved karma


Not sure if it is my place to post this, but my little sister from Clarksville (that is, Alice and Charlie's daughter who was like a little sister when I lived there) received an invitation to marry a man and his dog. Whereas I'm a canine lover, I thought this proposal was wonderfully constructed and that is why I share her happiness/their happiness/my happiness on the karma site today.

Congratulations, Annie!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Auburn Cultural Experience

video
For the third year in a row, I assisted with the Schweinfurth folk-art event in Auburn, New York, bringing the Syracuse Lost Boys of Sudan Cow Project and other initiatives out of Syracuse to their program. Yesterday, dancers from Congo, Sudan, and Somalia provided instruments, song, and performance to Central New York and combined their traditions with native American music, a Syracuse garden project, a Japanese print exhibition, a pottery artist, a lacrosse stick maker, and a display of traditional needle work from many cultures.

All of this is possible, however, because of the commitment, karma, and magic of Dr. Felicia McMahon who dedicates her life to community art, families, and traditions that otherwise might get overlooked. Her brilliance as a human being makes the Syracuse area much richer and the soul work of all the participants could obviously be felt by all in attendance. Here, I present the Dinka dancers from Syracuse. Like all the performances at the event, the spirit of our universe can be felt through the joy of their song and dance - movement that brings memories of home closer to memories of the heart.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

crisp


Because the calendar won't sit still, you fit the ritual in where you can. Yesterday, although fast and earlier than usual, I believe, we ventured to Mexico to pick another Autumn's fill of apples. Despite a gloomy week of rain and a forecast to match it, the day turned out wonderful: blue skies, nice sun, and a small crowd. It didn't hurt, either, that the apples were abundant and a little too easy to pick.

There's nothing more spectacular than having the back of your tongue cringe with the first bite of a sweet, New York apple. A colleague from my department went with us and on the drive up she sang southern spirituals, including "My eye is on the sparrow," and it gave great background music for the ride there and back.

The karma came from having the gospel of the seasons sung within my car.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Coincidences


During the beautiful, sun shining day of Thursday (sarcasm, it rained all day), I returned to the gym and ran inside. While there, I reviewed I Heart Huckabees and thought, hmm, maybe everything is meant to be and there are no such things as coincidences, and I was supposed to rewatch the film again and ponder my existence.

The movie is about a man trying to find meaning in his life and seek out reasons why an African man (Sudanese) keeps appearing in the same place as him. He contacts Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman to begin an existential search for what his life is supposed to be. Is it all random or does everything that happen, truly happen for a reason? Is it your karma at work?

I guess, I'm unsure. Like this post. You are reading and it could be a complete fluke in the countless mindless occurrences of your day, or it could be a catalyst for your deeper connections to the universe. I suppose it all depends how willing you are to find the truest meaning of the experience as it is presented to you, so as you read this post, you either will know or not know the connections that life is trying to present to you.

And so, this is a presentation, of sorts. What it is supposed to mean depends on the meaning you find from it. The coincidences are everywhere and if they are to matter, we have to read and interpret them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

for yesterday's rain - a karmic metaphor of sorts


words from Andrew Gott: Class of 2008

Words are like the sun: they can bring warmth, life, and vision, but they can also burn, burden and blind. They are like water: they can be refreshing and bring relief, but they can also damage and drown. They are like the wind: they can uplift and carry but they can also tear down and destroy.

Use wisely.