11:00 pm – This entry is called- “sometimes during workshops i write in my notebook”

The result of going to 3 conventions in one month…information overload and necessary expunging. Keep in mind that I mainly write for myself so some of it might be incoherent.

JAINA Convention- July 2007

I don’t think we are born into religion. But maybe that is my ignorance speaking. How can we be though? So I was born into a family that practices Jainism. That still doesn’t make me Jain. I went to Seventh Day Adventist Summer Camp, Hindu Sunday School, and patshala. Ultimately, it is my choice. And it’s a choice that I haven’t made yet. I guess that makes me a bad person. The palm reader at the JNF carnival told me that there was something big missing in my life. ( I mean isn’t there always something missing in everyone’s life?) Maybe in my life that hole can be filled by religion. Going to JAINA made me realize how much I DON’T know about Jainism- in theory, in practice, and in life. There are so many things in Jainism that I believe, but I also believe them to be fundamental tenets of all religions. “Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-possessiveness?” Maybe not. I’m not informed enough to make that statement. Like most religions, Jainism is a way of life.

I don’t think you can really convert to Jainism, it’s just a way to live. I do believe in karma though. I believe that all the negative things you do result in accruing bad karma, and until you shed that bad karma you will be stuck in this cycle of birth and death. I learned so much this weekend, but I could have definitely learned more. I guess JNF was a good experience. We met a lot of great people, but I am glad that we all went together- good company.

United States Social Forum- Atlanta, Georgia( June 2007)

These workshops are so powerful, and these people I am meeting are so strong and determined. And I am left feeling inspired but powerless. I have learned so much in such a short time. Too much information, I don’t know what to do with it. There are so many causes, so many problems, so many issues…Yesterday’s Hip Hop and sexism workshop was much more emotional that I thought it would be. Watching people do that gender walk and hearing what those women were saying- I can’t believe that someone would actually say that to someone. How can men think that it is ok to be so crude and disrespectful? So I left the workshop, emotionally charged, and as I was walking down the street- a car drove by and the passenger rolled down his window and stared me down and started saying things. I don’t even know what he was saying but I honestly almost started crying. It made me think of Wasim and how upset he gets when guys do that. Now I understand. I always said, oh it’s ok, they’re harmless, they’re not really going to do anything. But I didn’t realize that they are hurting us by just saying such things. We are all brothers and sister. How can you still be so disrespectful?

Rotary Convention 2007- Salt Lake City, Utah (June 2007)

Again I am inspired. It seems like inspiration in my life comes in bouts. How do I keep this inspiration from running out? When there are so many people doing so many great things all over the world, why is the world in such a state? Does the evil really overpower all the good? Or maybe in my life I have just seen so much good that my mind can’t wrap itself around the idea of an abundance of people acting with malice, prejudice, spite, revenge, and hatred. What does it take to drive people to act like this? I believe people are inherently good. I do not believe that we were created with tendencies to cause other people pain, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally. So what makes people act like that? I am so blessed to have never been exposed to any events, occurrences, tragedies, conflicts, etc. that cloud my judgment and invade my conscious mind. What have I been doing my whole life? I feel so inferior to all of these people.

There are so many good people in this world….but why can’t good people be good to each other?

Youth Solidarity Summer- New York City ( April 2007)

And so begins a journey into myself, my intentions, and my passions. Ever-evolving internal conflict. I am sitting here at the YSS conference ( listening to a panel on Transnational Translation- the Politics of Solidarity) and I am motivated to write? And I am sitting here thinking that I could do this for life…This inspires me beyond belief and empowers me to carry on this movement. I have a passion for people and their stories. I can’t express how much I love meeting new people and hearing what they are all about. It all coincides with the urge to learn all that I can about this world we live in and the world we have created for ourselves. I am so comfortable here. Almost too comfortable. I feel so inferior though. I have no grounding in so many of these issues, nor am I intelligent or articulate enough to contribute much. But I love hearing what everyone else thinks, thereby learning. I want to be involved in all of this. All of these organizations and movements and efforts. But I’m leaving for 2 years to do the Peace Corps? How can I work as a tool of a government that I don’t fully support? Where will my activism and dissent go? Not that it is only directed toward the US government, but will I have to curb that in the PC? ( Note: I am not doing Peace Corps anymore but I wrote this awhile ago) Can I do that? Can I accept a job that will limit me as such? There is so much I need to learn, so much I need to read. I am not well-versed in any of this. None. I am such a hypocrite and I am being so judgmental. I compare today to yesterday and just the dynamic of the people. I guess it’s not fair to compare because the situations are so different. But I am so sick of talking about boys, phone calls, and petty situations. I am so sick of over analyzing such silly situations to try to extract meaning from small instances. I am so over it, but I still do it, and I till contribute, so how can I say this? I don’t even give people a chance to be…like this. I am so amazed, impressed, and inspired by these panelists. To hear them speak with such passion, conviction, and…obscenities is so empowering. I need intellectual stimulation without the pressure of adolescence….immaturity and societal constructs of the nature of relationships. I want to meet people and i want to be loving and caring and passionate without thinking twice, without questioning my motives, without my motives being questioned. I want the superpower to repel negatives. So what now? Why don’t I just go do work in India? Why do I have to work in an institutional context? Maybe because I have been made to believe that it will look better, sound better, seem better to outsiders. “Oh wow, you are doing the Peace Corps?” is the illicted reaction. Maybe it’s just easier to say I did Peace Corps instead of ” I went to India and worked for this non-profit doing this, that, and the other.” But why am I choosing the easier thing to do again? Which one is truly easier anyway? I wish I was in India right now.

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One Comment to “11:00 pm – This entry is called- “sometimes during workshops i write in my notebook””

  1. hi! i just wanted to let you know i found your journal on the semester at sea site. i sailed in spring 2006! i read through some of your writings and i just wanted you to know that you put a lot of my thoughts into words. the whole readjusting, moving on, but keeping the memories thing. i’m not really sure what i’m trying to say, so i guess thank you will do it! i needed to read your words, know that someone else feels the same way i do 🙂 if you’d ever like to share experiences, my email is celeamin@marauder.millersville.edu
    :)Colgan

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