Friday, May 22, 2015

Death and Grief

This is, in part, an Agents of Shield reaction post to the Season 2 finale, "S.O.S. part 2." If you desire to be completely spoiler-free, you might wish to watch that first. That said, I don't intend to discuss Agents of Shield itself, it's more my own thoughts, influenced by the show, that build on my recent blogposts and other articles I've read and topics I want to write about.

It starts with a story that I read from Anthony de Mello, that comes from the Rabbinical tradition. There once was a woman who lost a family member. Perhaps her husband, perhaps her child, she lost someone she loved, and she wanted them back. She went to the Rabbi and asked him how she could bring her loved one back. The Rabbi told her she could weave a shroud for them, but she must obtain the thread from houses that had not known death. And so she knocked on every door in the village, but every house had known death.

"Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand." - Dr. Herb True, paraphrasing Xunzi

I've written a lot about grief in the past two years, particularly on Glee forums since the untimely passing of Cory Monteith. The popular 7 phases of grief (shock, anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance) do happen, but not in any particular order nor on a given timeframe. Every person grieves in their own way, and grief has it's own time.

One can reach acceptance of the death of a lost loved one, then later find that wound re-opened, a fresh wave or new layer of grief, years after the fact. Sometimes the renewed grief may be triggered by a date: their birthday, their death day, an important anniversary. Sometimes renewed grief is triggered by a scent, a sound, an experience. And sometimes renewed grief may be triggered by words on a page.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The future is here, it is global, it is multiple.

Yesterday's post on women and poverty comes with many caveats, nuances. I try to touch on a couple of those caveats today.

Ten years ago, when I took Cultures of Asia, Dr. Reddy emphasized that we needed to re-think our image of "Asia." She discussed how there are MANY different cultures of Asia, and we couldn't hope to cover them all in a single semester, even in graduate-level coursework.

One of the first days, we saw a slideshow or video of parts of Asia, the cities as well as the countryside. The images emphasized modernity, the ways that Asian cities are similar to places like New York or San Francisco.

Here's a photo from our trip to South Korea, with Starbucks in the background.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Additional background: Women, Poverty, and Microlending.

In 2000, I moved to Houston, TX. I've written occasionally about my encounters with Studies of the Future. Over the next few years, I had many conversations with futurists, discussing how we could improve the world.

We discussed the research on education, poverty, and gender, and the ways that gender equality plays a key role in building a better world.

We discussed the role that poverty plays in fostering terrorism, and the potential microlending has as a tool to end extreme poverty and thereby end terrorism:

All of this knowledge feeds into what I believe now, and into my own attempts at praxis.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life, the universe, and everything

Last week was a little bitty whirlwind slice of life, death, and nearly everything in between.

I don't like writing too much about the future on my blog, protective of my family's security, but the past is over and done, and often fair game.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and a decent day for all of us.

On Monday, one of our friends from church passed away suddenly. We knew he had been in the hospital, but on Sunday he had seemed to be recovering. And then he was gone.

I knew in January that I would be job-searching, and was open to moving. I would very much like to get back to Houston--some day. I feel like that's where I was able to really be my best self, and to be respected for who I am. But I'm starting to wonder how much of it is just wishing to go back. I don't think I would stay settled in Houston now. Maybe another few years, and then move on again.

Here, there has been too much... some of it is just pressure to be quiet, conform, be smaller... I'm not sure whether it's the whole town, or just that I hadn't quite found the right fit yet. But there are things I would miss if we left, and this dance studio is one of them.