Spain: a new Self

I’ve been living in Spain for nearly four weeks now. And it has been a rollercoaster of an experience so far. I have seen more fascinating sights than I could’ve expected, and I’m nowhere near done. These ups have not been without their downs. Seemingly everything is different than life in my small midwest town. My senses constantly overwhelmed. As of yet, there have been a few really bad episodes of culture shock. At a certain point you become physically done with the novelty. For me, it usually centers around my lack of language skills and the necessity to rely on other people. The reality of vulnerability. It has been painful at times.

One thought that is comforting is the vast new perspective I’m gaining of myself. It reminds me of a quote from Doctor Who,

“We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all throughout our lives. And that’s ok; that’s good. You gotta keep moving so long as you remember all the people you used to be.” –The Doctor

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m leaving bits and pieces of who I was all over Spain. This semester is taking from me, and that is the best situation I can hope for. It allows for a new mindset, gives me a chance to fill in those holes with what I need to carry me forward.

Soon I’ll find myself back at that beautiful, familiar farm where I grew up. Will it recognize me? I know that I’ll be a different person. I know that everyday here, all the way to the end, will be a struggle. When I return to Missouri it will also be a struggle. I’ve learned there is no such thing as normal, and that is what I wake up every morning to face. Knowing that I am constantly recreating myself for the better.

Peace, Love, and Happiness… blogdoctorwho

–Joe

Save

Save

Tell me a story

my words grow few

nothing permeates my foul mood

meaningless chatter is nothing more

Please, just tell me a story.

make it a good one

Weave a tale of heroics & half-truths

that Inspire me to listen.

show me something worthwhile,

Bring me back to earth

go ahead, Tell me a Story…


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Twenty-One

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I turned 21 on a street corner

a discreet place to grow old

conversing of mecca & happenstance

Our words foreign to the place.

Beyond me lays a world yet unknown,

piece by piece I strive to comprehend.

Though not a child of the Spanish son

adopted by the indifference of night

As I turn 21 on a street corner


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Gentleman & a Scholar

There’s a, shall we say experienced, man I know who when you do him a favor will refer to you as a “gentleman and a scholar.” This is definitely a phrase of the past, one of those expressions we are worse off for losing. Though we brush it off as an oddity, he intends it as the utmost compliment. What does it mean to be a gentleman and a scholar? my belief is that if we can master the traits of these two characteristics, then we can vastly improve our little portion of the world. Let’s see if we can break this down.

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At a time in history when incredible numbers of people are earning higher degrees, and an increasing number of jobs look at credentials both first and last. We have lost the concept of scholarship. Sitting in a classroom for four years and passing the correct number of tests does not guarantee quality work in a future career. So why do I, and so many others, pursue this way of life? I will not speak for my classmates. Though as for me I study not so as to grasp a choice career, rather with aspirations of knowledge. I want to practice learning. The hope is that beyond my lectures and tests I will be able to continue the pursuit of knowledge. To always remain a student. Being a scholar only requires a slight adjustment of perspective, and is the easier component to achieve. Far more difficult are the traits of a gentleman.

It’s easy to sound elitist with words such as, “pursuit of knowledge” and “practice learning.” Knowing more than the next guy could make you feel powerful. Unfortunately we’ve all met a snobbish academic. maybe that’s why we quit trying to be scholars. This is definitely why it is important to be both a gentleman and a scholar. A scholar is familiar with the world from the inside out. A gentleman is humble about it. He knows his place. And if he finds himself more capable in some regard than another, then he takes it on himself to share what he has. Because a gentle person cares about you. They will tell you what they mean, and they are always true to their word.

So then let’s all attempt to adopt the traits of a gentleman and a scholar. It’s about working hard to Bemore. It’s about bettering ourselves, and giving ourselves to others.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Author’s note: For my sensitive readers, when I say “traits of a gentleman” it’s not meant to be exclusionary. This applies to all of us

a short note to self

Beyond what you know lies a whole new world. Beyond one’s comfort zone is the realm of infinite possibility. It is ours for the taking, all that is required is that we agree to take each step anew.

Comfort is an illusion. What is there if we do not push the boundaries? Where we sit offers nothing but decay and more of the same. Now full disclosure, pushing the envelope will hurt. It’ll push back, and you’ll discover pain. Always the best we can do is simply keep trying.

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Your journeys will earn you scars. Pieces of you left behind, and experiences carried onward. Sometimes it’ll be tangible changes; a face worn by the sun, or a tongue with a hint of another language. Often they are less apparent and yet more powerful. Perhaps you’ll have a new perspective, or maybe you’ll encounter an entire paradigm shift. With certainty, travel makes you a different person.

Change is important. It helps us understand better who we are. Change allows us to discard that which pollutes us, and is the lens through which we may focus on that which remains important. It is easy to become dismayed by the anxiety and hurt we feel, exposed as we are. It’s in these moments that I strive to remember why I do this. It is not for myself now, rather I continue to Bemore for the person I will be tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Status Quo

Your silence is deafening

does it help you see?

If so, your actions scream indifference.

How could you witness this,

and not do anything?

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I understand The fear.

the Fear of fronting the wrong words

Is that who you are?

A man forever positioned

by the primal force of fear

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No! I believe you can Be more

you are well-versed

in the ways of refined words

Yet your silence permeates your soul

You choose to not declare a single thought.

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Tradition holds silence as a form of consent,

permission to the status quo

are you absolutely Fine with that?

Yes, Each word we choose has an impact

though not nearly the power of our silence.


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Spain: beforehand

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Occasionally life throws you a curve ball that you’re just not quite sure what you did to deserve. Often they can be amazing opportunities, and sometimes the hardest part is simply to say yes. It’s so easy to remain skeptical and watch a chance pass you by.

Back in September I was walking through the student union; earbuds in, ignoring the world. Fortunately there was a professor intent on making sure I knew about a certain study abroad program. I tried all the excuses, and he shot them all down. The cost, the language barrier, too late in my academic career, etc., etc. He countered it all. So I took a flyer and agreed to speak with my advisor about it.

Short version of this story is that I’m going to Spain next semester. I’ll be studying for three months at the Instituto Franklin UAH just outside Madrid. The decision came after a good long bout of personal turmoil, discussions with some people I trust for advice, and great deal of prayer. You see I had ruled out the possibility of studying abroad early in my collegiate studies. Of course, one of my more immediate faults is that once my mind is made up I have trouble going a different way. Yet here I am.

Fast forward to now. It’s December, I’ve finished my fall semester and the full notion that shortly I’ll be living in another country has really sunk in. Everyone keeps asking if I’m ready for my trip, the answer is always no but I am excited. Scared shitless is a more proper description of my state of mind. But I guess that’s okay. Being a little uncomfortable is how we grow. This will be so many things, I just hope that I can find the words to tell the story.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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a Treaty on character

Authentic. Trusting. Passionate.

We live in a culture that no longer values putting an honest image of yourself out there. Preferring for each of us to fit a preset mold. most often this causes us to wear a view of ourselves that is far from the truth. The authenticity that I seek is contrary to this cultural norm. I choose to pursue the entirety of who I am. and not just the most convenient parts. Fully aware that pieces of who I am are faults. And while I will try to overcome said issues, I refuse to hide them from view. We are best as a whole person. To disregard our blemishes is a hindrance to the truth. A lie that damages us most of all. St. Irenaeus told us, “The glory of God is human being fully alive.” We cannot hope to become fully alive if we do not accept who we are. So I choose to be authentic. To show the world my whole self, the good with the bad.

everyday we are surrounded by individuals who give us no reason to trust them, or worse, give us reason not to.It’s easy to walk through life wary of every step and each character we meet. not only is it convenient, but also the safer route. We are more likely to come to a gentle rest at the end of our days if we have kept to ourselves. Unfortunately, though it be a softer landing, it will most certainly be lonelier. Therefore it is in our interest to trust others. To bring them into our inner circle. The trouble with this is that we feel an obligation to protect those we hold close. This becomes difficult the more trust we give away. Regardless, we must simply do our best to trust them all and embrace the consequences. Now I do not wish for you to think me naive, I know that my trust will be misplaced often. Yet if I must error it will be in favor of an innocent trust. I believe that every person deserves my respect, and so I choose to begin at the top of that spectrum. I will trust.

Both Shakespeare’s King Leer and the Greek philosopher Parmenide Proclaim Nihil Fit Ex Nihilo, that is “nothing comes from nothing.” This continues to hold true to this day. If you want something you have to put the effort in. I am part of a generation oft associated with demanding the world be handed to us. Welfare babies and laissez faire workers. We are millenials. And still we are the generation with the most potential to change the world. Passion is about pushing the envelope. A passionate person cannot afford half measures. To be passionate is to envision what it takes to complete the task. The pain, frustration, and sacrifice that passion requires is enormous. The guiding light is that the rewards of these are limited only by our imaginations and the effort we put forth.

It is my desire that these will define who I am. Authenticity boils down to fully being the person you are. Trust is simply loving each person for who they are. Passion is a commitment to what we love, and a rejection of half measures. These I’ll strive for today, tomorrow, and after that.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

In thanksgiving

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I wasn’t going to post anything today. But then I thought, you know what? Tomorrow is thanksgiving here in the U.S. might as well capitalize on it. God knows every other niche in our society uses it to their advantage.

I’m reminded that I have so much to be thankful for in my life. Among which I must count this this site where I am able to share my pointless writing with you.

As a treat I want to share something that is actually beautiful, aka not written by Joe… Below is the ancient prayer of thanksgiving. Enjoy.

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
V.  Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R.  Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
V.  Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
R.  Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
V.  Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R.  Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
V.  Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
R.  In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

If you have a few minutes go listen to it in the traditional Gregorian chant here or there’s one of the better known English translations of it here.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving, eat too much turkey and all that. If you happen to see a retail worker who has to leave dinner early because people can’t seem to wait one more day to shop, give them a hug. Make it weird for everybody.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

blackfriday

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It’s a tired Feeling

an Exhaustion that creeps into your bones

“Get some sleep” they suggest

If only it was that easy,

sometimes turning it off and back on again

Simply doesn’t work.

though it’s not all gloom and doom

retrospect shows more good than bad

there’s always something to smile at

our lives are comprised of moments

yet even the biggest pile of beautiful ones

struggles to offset the emotion of one bad one.

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I tell you this

not so you’ll fret

rather that maybe you’ll understand.

To show you the cracks in my facade

my belief is that they’re a beautiful part

of a whole person.

These are my immense and unique flaws

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Conclusion —

pick your chin up,

Because we all hurt a little.

and you are definitely not alone

you see we all share the human condition

So Apply the past to the future

know that the good always trumps the bad,

the sun will rise tomorrow,

and that we always continue to Be more


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe