Sunday, November 2, 2008

sentimental sunday

Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.
Aldous Huxley

This morning over 100,000 people from all over the world woke up and set out to run/wheel 26.2 miles.
I wasn't one of them.
But I love them for their passion and perseverance and desire to push their own physical (and in some cases, mental) limits.

It is a gorgeous crisp fall day and we are SAVING daylight today-- which is fun, right?
Or, alternately, getting an extra hour of sleep.

I went to CITYterm in Dobbs Ferry, NY early yesterday morning for a meeting of a council I am on and I really love everything about that place. The train ride along the Hudson, the steep hill up to the Masters School, the humble Tudor building where the program is housed-- dorms upstairs, classrooms downstairs... I lived there for about 4 months my junior year of high school but collectively they were probably the single most formative four months of my life. It is a semester program with an emphasis on not just 'learning things' per se, but learning HOW to learn. How to be the author of your own learning, of your experiences. How to 'read' any interaction or experience as if it is a text rich with meaning and the opportunity for interpretation/analysis. I learned what it means to collaborate and how the reflection on the end product is as important as the production itself. I learned how to use the scientific-method-- and not just in the context of science. I practice what I learned at CITYterm in my daily life, in the interpersonal exchanges and in my work-- putting on a play is in fact very akin to a giant collaborative science project.

I saw a few old friends last night and other old friends earlier in the week, also some GREAT plays, Black Watch-- which was one of the best shows I have seen in my entire life, and Farragut North, written by my good friend Beau Willimon. I am so proud of Beau and excited and also even the themes of the plays have me thinking a lot about potential-- what 'potential' means-- what our individual roles on this planet, in this life, are... and how to deal with the expectations of ourselves and others for these lives we lead. A friend was describing her boyfriend's unique ability to resist specific career goals but instead opt for embracing the 'exploration.' A former math teach who is now working in finance-- I imagine the fluidity with which he appears to be accepting his path will serve him well in this economic depression... and his flexibility will most certainly make him an attractive asset to a company.

I have been pretty flexible in my life lately-- with my career, with my home locale, friendships/relationships, and I am finding it incredibly rewarding, if sometimes a bit confusing. My friend Alex asked me if I felt a bit rudderless lately-- and though I did at that moment, I don't see it that way anymore.
Just as a poem is singular in its ability to compress complex ideas & feelings into relatively sparse language thereby increasing the density of the space the words take up-- this time of so many unknowns is a time of great authorship for me, for my life, my work. I think it may serve me best to subvert my expectations for what I 'should' be doing-- and really embrace the exploring and the 'authoring' of my experience. I may not know precisely what it all means until the reflection stage-- but at least I will know I am fully engaged in the active experimentation and the concrete experience.

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