Category Archives: belief

Full Disclosures on Freedom and the Storms that Brew in Offices

 

INTRODUCTION

Prior to arriving in New York City, I’d made decisions that once again limited my freedom—that is, maintaining a relationship for which I was the sole financial supporter during the five months abroad in Southeast Asia and the first month in New York City. This happens in life, occasionally. Perhaps your partner gets laid off. Perhaps your spouse becomes temporarily disabled. One breadwinner in a two-person relationship is an acceptable heterosexual model, although it is less frequent in society now, as the idealized American “middle class” gets replaced by “working poor.” (You know the story—occupy everything because the flow of money has been uni-directional towards the 1%–an integral component of capitalism, but I digress.)

In any case, it is clear that when we value something as individuals, we try to keep it by whatever means necessary. During most of my adolescent and adult life, my philosophy had been that money is merely material—that is, it’s replaceable. Love—true, unconditional, compassionate love—however, is not. Of course, this leaves me as a prime target for a plethora of debacles. How can you know what is true up front? I just believe so and let the rest unfold.

What unfolded in those final few months abroad and my first month in New York City was that my then-partner and I needed to part ways. I was depleted and could no longer continue to limit my freedom for the sake of a fragile relationship. But I would help her transition in the city—one that she detested before meeting me—until she found employment. I did so on the premise that our friendship was true and valuable, but subsequent unfolding indicated otherwise.

I didn’t realize then, that when you limit one kind of freedom, you consequently limit other freedoms, such as being able to choose a job that actually coincides with your own values. While I’m not exactly against medicine, I don’t entirely value its agendas. To me, the body is finite, but ideas, culture, literature, meaning—those actually resonate with my soul.

Of course, as a naturally curious person, I enjoyed science enough. I even finished a minor in biology, thinking that I would be a conservationist of some type. I knew I would enjoy the co-editor position at a medical journal, at least for the next year until I was able to get settled in New York City, a city I’d dreamed of living in since my first visit.

In fact, I was extremely happy and grateful. Not many people can find jobs now, especially not through Skype ten thousand miles away with Hurricane Irene in the Atlantic and Typhoon Mina in the Pacific.

Read the rest on scribd: here.

 

–O. Ayes

 

Prior to arriving in New York City, I’d made decisions that once again limited my freedom—that is, maintaining a relationship for which I was the sole financial supporter during the five months abroad in Southeast Asia and the first month in New York City. This happens in life, occasionally. Perhaps your partner gets laid off. Perhaps your spouse becomes temporarily disabled. One breadwinner in a two-person relationship is an acceptable heterosexual model, although it is less frequent in society now, as the idealized American “middle class” gets replaced by “working poor.” (You know the story—occupy everything because the flow of money has been uni-directional towards the 1%–an integral component of capitalism, but I digress.)

In any case, it is clear that when we value something as individuals, we try to keep it by whatever means necessary. During most of my adolescent and adult life, my philosophy had been that money is merely material—that is, it’s replaceable. Love—true, unconditional, compassionate love—however, is not. Of course, this leaves me as a prime target for a plethora of debacles. How can you know what is true up front? I just believe so and let the rest unfold.

What unfolded in those final few months abroad and my first month in New York City was that my then-partner and I needed to part ways. I was depleted and could no longer continue to limit my freedom for the sake of a fragile relationship. But I would help her transition in the city—one that she detested before meeting me—until she found employment. I did so on the premise that our friendship was true and valuable, but subsequent unfolding indicated otherwise.

I didn’t realize then, that when you limit one kind of freedom, you consequently limit other freedoms, such as not being able to choose a job that actually coincides with your own values. While I’m not exactly against medicine, I didn’t value its agendas. To me, the body is finite, but ideas, culture, literature, meaning—those actually resonate with my soul.

Of course, as a naturally curious person, I enjoyed science enough. I even finished a minor in biology, thinking that I would be a conservationist of some type. I knew I would enjoy the co-editor position at a medical journal, at least for the next year until I was able to get settled in New York City, a city I’d dreamed of living in.

In fact, I was extremely happy and grateful. Not many people can find jobs now, especially not through Skype ten thousand miles away with Hurricane Irene in the Atlantic and Typhoon Mina in the Pacific.

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Choosing Humanities

Before my Technical Writing class today, I overheard two relatively young adjuncts having a familiar conversation:

“In grad school, no one told me the job prospects would be this slim. Sure, they said, you can teach, but no one said it would be at several campuses and that getting a full time position would be nearly impossible.”

“Yeah. I worked my butt off. I’m not lazy. I apply to things all the time, but there are so many people qualified for these positions.”

“I didn’t know I’d be an adjunct for several years.”

When we hear of a recent hire, we fume with envy. “So and so got lucky” or “so and so knew members of the hiring committee.” Often, we deem the unfairness of our situations as the end. We either surrender to the lack of appreciation or get out through some desperate means, forever questioning our worth because we failed to make it in our field.

It’s sad to see these individuals feeling trapped by the system of academia. Some accountability definitely falls on the institution that feeds on our naivete and idealism. But a lot of it falls on us and our individual choices and how we choose to perceive these choices. (I have to remind myself of this a lot.) We chose to pursue humanities for a reason: we are concerned about abstract ideas, humankind, the multitude of cultural/spiritual forces that connect us. We are concerned about processing our experiences and drawing meaning from it.

Society does not value what we do in a way that makes our survival easy, but we make a way. We are well-rounded generalists who can find use in the workplace. We live interesting lives as we find contentment in the simplest things. We are usually aware of our inner selves and larger trends in culture. We are driven to create. We are useful members of society, simply because our daily lives promote our ideals.

We must keep from being consumed by this animalistic drive for dominance and prestige. We must not let society consume our ideals. Easier said than done, but finding kindreds during our travels, in corners of book stores, at poetry readings and art galleries, even our neighborhood bar, usually help us cope along the way.

Synchronicity

At 12, I questioned faith and renounced Catholicism, which I deemed to be imposed on me. I was told by parental figures that I would go to hell. I didn’t care. To me, hell was following something blindly, just because I was told to. For a while, I only believed in science: What cannot be proven does not exist. I’ve since learned that science only knows truth through a limited perspective, that answers merely beget more questions. I’ve studied other belief systems, astrology, metaphysical teachings. Not one system held all of the answers–rather, all of them do.

What’s important is having belief in humanity and our power. I believe in interconnectedness of ourselves and the universe. Our predominant thoughts will manifest. Thoughts turn to action, and we must be the agents of change, as Gandhi stated, that we wish to see in the world.

Though I haven’t yet had time to process all that’s transpired recently, I received some much needed clarity on purpose, power, meaning. A growing consciousness emerges, and I feel more in tune with the universe/myself.