Hope

Have you found yourself becoming cynical about the world? Have you found yourself feeling defeated, disappointed, helpless, or becoming apathetic? What about your heart? Have you felt any pain from what’s happening around the world? There seems to be an unrelenting hurricane of violence, injustice, intolerance, and pain. Syria, Columbia, the Sudan, Turkey, the United States, refugee violence, racial violence,and religious and social intolerance, fear mongering, corruption, and so much more around the world. This isn’t shaping up to be a hopeful post.

From immediate and emergency situations to systemic oppression, the world isn’t short on challenges or devastating circumstances. From violence against women and minority around the world to the silly, but detrimental inequities in the United States. From equal right to human rights. From gender equity to LGBTQ issues. From racial discrimination to classism divides. From displacement to resettlement. From climate change to natural resources being commodified. Sometimes it feels like the world is going to shit. It is easy to feel helpless, powerless, apathetic, and hopeless. Over the last month, I have felt the weight of all these things.

The many situations and ever-growing list challenges consumed my attention. I am deeply passionate about making the world better for others, but with that comes being aware of and in tune with that many painful experiences that are happening around the world. It can feel like too much some times. I poured on the cynicism, frustration, fatigue, and apathy for the last month or so and it affected my mood, my behavior, and my responses in a variety situations. The stress caused sleepless nights, general fatigue, and caused me to isolate myself. It wasn’t until I noticed how my body was reacting that I did something about it. I started looking for hope. I started looking for pockets of good things happening. I started find the hope that I needed to be reinvigorated and refueled to keep working toward a better world.

From my resilient camper, who in the face of great tragedy carried on with her family. From the conversations with passionated individuals seeking to do their part. From Team Refugee in the Olympics. From the love my cousin professed for his wife as we celebrated their new marriage recently. From the small, simple moments of positivity that come from seeing people laugh and smile. There is hope all around us and people doing their part.

A challenge to myself, and to anyone who reads this, is to look for the bright spots; to find inspiration and hope in those that are working alongside you, even when you can’t physically talk to them or see them. It is easy to see a broken world, one so broken that you can’t possibly see a better one. Fred Rogers said, ” When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Look for the helpers. Look for the hope. We have to build a better world.

Ocean – Questions

**You’ll find a video by John Butler for a song called Ocean. Feel free to play it as you read.

In a vulnerable act of authenticity, I’ve decided to write to you what fills my mind daily. Questions; some to which I have answers and others, for which I am still searching. Some may perceive it as unnecessary. Some may find a mirror. It is not my intention, purpose, nor decision to tell you what to find. Take what you need. If something resonates with you, please feel free to share your thoughts with me. Thank you.

Like the ocean, I am deep, powerful, and mysterious. Even to myself, parts are unknown. Some days I am patient, consistent, and peaceful. Other days, my heart and mind rage like storms that produce hurricanes and tidal waves. I become restless. I follow the moons pull. And I smash against the shores of my own soul. What lies inside me that is undiscovered? What in me creates the storms? How do I discover it? Why am I searching?

Deep, unrelenting, filled, home. This is me. This is the ocean. How can I be all of who I am if I do not know all of myself? What can I let go of? What can follow the path of nature and disappear from my identity? What can pass on and what must stay? What must remain? What must push and pull? How can I be all that I am?

The loving? The sarcastic? The kindhearted? The judgmental? The intellectual? The creative? The pacifist? The war-monger? The rage-filled? The peaceful? The impulsive? The thoughtful? The glutton? The self-disciplined? The prejudice? The unconditional lover? The dismissive? The embracing? The warm soul? The cold shoulder? The soft handed? The hardened heart? The imaginer? The pragmatic and practical? The idealist? The realist? The bold? The meek? The isolated? The surrounded?

Of this all, what can I be? Can I be it all? None of it? We’ll see. Just like many creatures in the ocean, parts of me will reveal themselves or breach as they need to; out of enjoyment and out of necessity. The ocean (me).

The Return of Students

It’s that time of year! Students are coming back, which means a few things for higher ed professionals.

Summer is coming to an end. All those empty tables at residential restaurants and short lines for morning coffee are about to disappear.

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The hope for consistent productivity is about to fly out the window because students will begin stopping by your office hourly.

Less of this:

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and more this with students:

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Those parking spots right by the office?? Gone…

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But don’t worry! Your favorite students are coming back! (You aren’t supposed to have favorites, but let’s be real, we all do.)

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And all in all, you’re ready to kick off another great year of giving students the support they need.

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We can’t wait for you all to get back!

(All gifs were retrieved from giphy.com. http://giphy.com)