Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Stage

I am not sure if I heard anything. I felt a firm handshake and I kept walking. There was stuff in my hands. My enormous robe disguised the fact that my knees were shaking. Somehow it was difficult to walk across that stage. All of the implied metaphor—it suddenly had meaning as I waited for my name to be called. Thousands of faces pressed their attention on me, asking me to suddenly find some importance and foreboding weight in the event. I found it. Nothing was lost on me. The same questions still raced through my mind. What is really important about wearing a gown and processing across a stage? Realistically nothing. But in the moment it was everything.

But the speeches were important. I connected with the messages. The three main points: listen to your body, teach, and build community. Listen to your body, it is a tool of intuition and power. If you listen to your body it is possible to understand the world at an instinctive level; to find a grounding with the world. By being receptive to the subtle cues of the body I will be able to find a higher truth in a subtle manner beyond the logical. It is a power. Just as a shark can feel vibrations in the water, my body can tell me things that I would otherwise be blind to. My body is a tool to be used, revered, and maintained. I must take care of it and build a lasting relationship with it—one of trust and cohesion. I cannot move through the world if I distance myself from my body. A mind cannot travel without its vessel body; the guardian, the receiver, the protector.

Teach. I need to become a teacher; I need to revere teachers. Teachers do not exist solely in a professional setting, but the ones that do have undertaken a most noble profession. Teaching is the way of humanity; exploring, learning, sharing, and giving. A teacher excites the minds of their pupils, fosters curiosity and critical thinking in a world desperately in need of it. Teaching is the labor of the apple tree—the students are the fruits. I am about to embark upon the world and what I gather I must give back. I will eventually give back everything I am in physical form. To give back what knowledge I have is but another way of unifying myself with the universe, of being a progressive participant in the world. I will never stop being a student, and I will never stop being a teacher. And I will campaign for those that make it their profession; the underdog laborers that hold the liquid knowledge of the world in their hands up to the mouths of the next generation to drink from. Teachers—being one, supporting one, learning from one—matter.

Build community. Community is a group of people concerned with the collective fate of the people that compose it. They are in it together. Community is a part of every human; inseparable. One cannot take a human out of a community or a community out of a human. Community, large and small, creates every human. And to have a healthy humanity, it is important to have a healthy community. At Skidmore, I have pursued the call of community to the limit of my abilities. I want to pursue that endeavor everywhere I go, I want to continue that far beyond the limits of a tiny northeastern liberal arts college campus. Community is humanity, and it must be built and strengthened.