Academic term

quick update!

Thus begins the spring semester!

I feel so bloody grateful lately. Things are going well, with a few minor setbacks. I’ve been in a writing frenzy for the thesis of course, but I’ve been submitting small grant applications for projects I have up my sleeve. I figured I would take a stab at finding research funding. Even if nothing comes from it, I’m learning from the experience!

Some quick updates: I’ve recently been hired to create a couple of websites. I’ve been waddling through materials for the Muhs Project – my biggest problem is the lack of dated material I have to work with. I’ve been in a decluttering mood lately – my office is spotless (this is unheard of). My schedule this semester rocks. Lots of projects in the midst – I’m starting to focus more on my Tibetan projects. Focusing on one at a time is the problem here. My goals are to focus on me, to crawl out of my spiritual emergency, and to be as creative as possible 🙂

More soon –


Sanskrit blogging on the rise

For the past several years I’ve kept a copy of Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way close to my nightstand.  I’ve read it through several times, yet most often I pick it up and review a few passages when I’m feeling the need to reroute myself. I bring it up today not only because my dog decided this morning that it was a good binding  to chew on, but because one particular paragraph fits today’s existence:

We learn what we want and ultimately become willing to make the changes needed to get it. But not without a kriya, a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender. (I always think of kriyas as spiritual seizures. Perhaps they should be spelled crias because the are the cries of the soul as it is wrung through changes). (Ch. 5)

I would like to modify this definition/understanding a bit, because throughout the past twenty years I’ve picked up some sanskrit through buddhist teachings. Kriya is typically linked with a branch of yoga – it is analogous to achieving a specific [physical/spiritual] result through the cyclical completion of asanas (yoga postures).  I would link the concept of kriya with spiritual emergence rather than spiritual emergency.  Slight difference, same etymology – and I’m only modifying it because today we tend to think of the words “emergence,” and “emergency” differently.  Kriya then, involves the emergence of coiled energies (kundalini – a serpent coiled at the base of our spine) to unblock the spiritual and physical self.

There is a point to all of this. The past four months (the fall semester) have been difficult, and today I came to the realization that my body, my identity, my spiritual self – are all enduring these spiritual seizures. To paraphrase another concept from Julie Cameron, I need to intervene by performing some sort of spiritual chiropractic method. My work suffered horribly this semester because I stepped over the threshold of do-ability and feasibility, allowing myself to take on far more than I could handle. Last year went so well that, as I have done my entire life, I thought to myself, “I should step it up.” Well, now that I’ve potentially screwed myself out of a plethora of opportunities as a result of an almost-arrogant confidence in my ability to multitask, I need to breathe and consider how to carefully take my next steps.

In order to ensure the quality of my work continues to develop, I need to spend the next two weeks (winter break) re-identifying the self that I lost in the process of seizing – but for the first few days I need to allow myself to stop seizing by simply resting.  I have to develop boundaries to arrive at some semblance of clarity before this next semester begins, as it consists solely of thesis writing (and thus I need a great deal of self-discipline).  On a pragmatic level, this means re-aligning my personal relationships, fostering integrity, and wiping the foggy mirror clear of the blur I’ve allowed to settle in place of my kundalini energy.

That’s all for now…

Four Weeks Left

The semester is coming to a close, and it feels like it just started. Thanks to a professor who has been out of town for a conference, I was able to sleep in for four days in a row. I am unbelievably grateful!

As you know, I use TeuxDeux to organize my life. It’s simple and quick enough for me to just compile everything in one spot, plus it’s got a handy-dandy iPhone app that syncs up to my mac in a lovely way.  While I appreciate that if you don’t complete something on a due date the item rolls over to the next day, right now that list is quite long and quite frankly, irritating. As long as I get one or two items crossed off per day, I’ll stay happy. Okay – I guess I’ll stop rambling.

I realized this morning that I hate humidity and I’ll be happy if I can spend the entirety of the summer somewhere without it. I’m not sure how I lived in New Orleans for so long and avoided making that statement. I just don’t like it. I hate walking outside and feeling like I’m breathing underwater. It feels the same here in Florida. It just makes me feel – dirty.

Speaking of summer, I’ve completely avoided making plans for it because every time I think about it, my head spins. I was offered two awesome volunteer positions overseas, but I’m worried about finances. I’m also not sure it would be entirely fruitful as I’ve decided that my thesis will be on the music of New Orleans.  I don’t want to spend the summer in New Orleans because most of the street musicians (at least those I’m working with) go north for the summer, there aren’t many tourists, and musically not a whole lot happens in NOLA after fest-season (until Satchmo Fest in August) – BUT I have a cool internship opportunity there, so we’ll see.  I don’t want to spend it with family because I spent over a week with them in December, and really, that’ll do for the year (just my mother in particular, really).  I also don’t want to spend the summer pent up in my home office in front of my mac. I’d get cabin fever after a day or so. Anyway, you get the point. My goal is that by the end of this week, I have a tentative summer schedule down.  Sorry I’m complaining so much  – its more of a venting process than anything. Two things I’m sure of: Bonnaroo to help lead Stan’s drum workshop (500 drums built in four days!), and Falcon Ridge Folk Fest with my sisters (which will also include some drum-building).  It’s a start!

Physically I’m doing much better, thanks to a curious doctor and a couple of prescriptions (that I’m hoping I can be done with soon, but it’s doubtful)…  my physical anxiety is about 80% better than it was a few weeks ago.

This week I’m focusing on the beginning phases of two research papers, one for Indonesia, and one for India. I haven’t narrowed down the topics completely yet, so that’s step one. My photo essay is finished and I’m a little disappointed that the copy center wants $75 to print one copy of my presentation – so needless to say, it will be digital. I have a concert tomorrow night with African and Gamelan, and several recording clips to catch this week for our Field & Lab video project. I have to keep my prospectus in mind as its due next month (not the official one, but close enough – 2nd lit review due this week), and I have a TON of papers to grade.  Add an IRB application, a grant application, two exams, four books to read, a book review, a thesis presentation,  and a transcription project and that about sums up my next four weeks (minus all the TA stuff, rehearsals, and actual classes).

I’m raising my glass to grad school about now…

(a show and tell will be coming up soon)