Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the Subject of Intent

It is very tempting to try to say what I plan to do with this blog. I will just say that I intend to take about 30 minutes every morning to write in this space, if only to write something every day.

But since hardly anything ever turns out exactly the way we envision, I will take a taoist approach to this as well. Taoism, like cultural studies and performance studies, resists definition and canonization. I suspect that is why I am drawn to all three. In my life I've found that some of the best things have been the result of having no plan. And so it will be with this blog.

And now my 30 minutes is up, so I will get on with the rest of my day. I have to set a time limit because I have a tendency to burn a lot of time pondering pondering pondering. Perhaps a time limit will make me more productive on this blog and in my day.  I sure don't have a lot of writing to show for these 30 minutes, but that stands as a testament to how clogged up my writing arteries are.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Morning Tao

The last time I practiced with any purpose was in my last year or so living in New Mexico. Those were some wonderful times -- I'd read a verse from the Tao Te Ching and then ponder it for a 3-5 mile run. Actually, they weren't totally wonderful times. I found myself banging my head against walls at home and at work, and taoist meditation was the only way I could find peace through it all. Running through the desert provided some of my favorite memories of my last year or so in the southwest.

And so it is again.

I've managed to dig myself into yet another rut, trying to run out the clock until I can move away. Worse, I've gotten away from the physical activity that is so important to me and have reverted to my emotional-baking soda ways. Just like in the fridge, I soak up all the nasty flavors and aromas of what's going on around me -- which is just a schmancy way of saying that I have this terrible tendency to get wrapped up in whatever junk plagues my social world. So back to the taoism I go.

Tao Te Ching, a text upon which taoism is based, translates roughly to "The Book of the Virtuous Way." More on that a little later, but by way of introducing my relationship with taoism, I will just say that left to my own devices, I tend toward the exact opposite of the Tao. Perhaps at the end of (or more accurately, through) writing on this blog, I will find my virtuous way.

So the morning routine I'd like to establish is this:
  1. wake up early
  2. AM yoga
  3. put the kettle on
  4. sip a cup of green tea while I consult the I Ching and meditate on the day's lesson 
  5. go about the rest of my day
I hope that by establishing this as a ritual I can prepare my bodymindspirit to meet the day in balance.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Finding My Way

    I don't know what it was about 2009. I didn't get anything written. I didn't train for anything. I did manage to travel and lay groundwork for some things that are important to me, but in terms of material gains for my effort, I have very little to show for 2009.

    I ended the year angry at the world; I decided to abandon academia altogether for some kind of career change. It would come with a $10K/year pay cut (though still double what I make now), and that seemed ill-advised. Still, it was important to me just to free myself mentally from the dysfunctional existence of what it means to be a "serious scholar." (I started several blogs with writings on why life in the academy isn't for me, but they were so angry they seemed a terrible way to begin.) Suffice to say, I have renewed my commitment to the community college mission and the contribution I think I can make there. I'll leave it at that for now as I'm sure the shape of this will only become apparent as I write.