Background Image | Imagen al fondo

(Background Image | Imagen al fondo)

other portals

Monday, November 29, 2010

Labels 11-29-2010

I have two obsessive habits. Labeling people and peeling labels off of bottles.

Yes, I label people. When I do so the label covers their mouth. It sticks and is difficult to git rid of it. The same label covers their soul. My first impressions of people seem to morph into outlandish ideas. The label is what I see and tend to. The person dehumanizes little by little. Think of the label as a bit of butter. Its placed on the hot toast. I see it and it is visible and obvious. Then it begins to diminish into the pours of the toast until it blends in. My label disappears visually but permeates their being. I know it is there and am unable to engage without the label making notice. These premature ideas become my characteristics of a person.

I am not capable of drawing a conclusion about others but I take the liberty of doing so. I cannot analyze their being, their actions, what they prefer and their dislikes. To be able to define who they are, or why or why not I am able to like them and share moments of life with them are all just a personal game. A grand illusion that I fall into and live.

So why do I always believe and live in this illusion?
Am I able exterminate my tendency to label someone?
Is it our way of getting to know someone? 

Maybe it is a challenge one puts up to see if the person is willing to defy the label/challenge and demonstrate who they really are. Through observation I have drawn a conclusion that exposes the paradox found in labeling others.  I become very unsettled and anxious when being labeled. Furthermore, I tend to spend a lot of my time trying to avoid it and challenge the labels. I accept some because they make me feel good and proud but also try to defy them at the same time so people are not able to pin me down. There is a lightness and a darkness to labels. The former is that its sweet and endearing when someone really gets you and both individuals feel closer. The latter is when the labels expose characteristics that you find difficult  to accept or even despise. This is why I peel labels off bottles. The habit marks my desire to not see others with labels covering their souls. I believe the soul is free of label.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Almighty Conflict 11/11/2010

So this blog stems from frustration. Its about a place where shit literally goes down. This is bout confrontation. The entry is a delayed response, the pending statement. It is about conflict that opens up floodgates. 

While going to seminars and classes before stepping into the Mission Year experience, the word conflict frequented the air. Conflict is a part of my life. It varies in duration and intensity. The longer the duration the more it pollutes my mind, my soul, my surroundings, and the people. Recently, I had the conflict of all conflicts. This particular conflict convinced me of Truth. This truth is that there are not many little and big moments of conflicts throughout life and experiences. There is a conflict. The conflict. The conflict. Allow me to try and take you through the process that led me to this Truth; to the Almighty Conflict.

Everywhere I go conflicts arrise. Conflicts at my volunteer sites, at the church, in my apartment, with my group, with my city directors, with my mind, with my family via Internet, the stray dogs running around our neighborhood, with the propaganda, with the advertisements I see, with the people I hear on the train, with my health, culture, my inability to complete simple tasks because of the conflict of laziness, the loud buses driving by our building through all hours of the night, living in a church, not having running water, having no gas, people buying ridiculous food at the supermarket, and the conflicts keep coming. The amount and frequency of the conflicts are overwhelming.

I take God to task and ask why this is so? Reveal meaning to the conflicts please. Lessons learned are not sufficient enough. Who am I to be subjugated by living this way? Are all human beings infested and bombarded constantly by all of these conflicts? All of these problems would just go away if I were not surrounded by people. All these frustrations are the result of somebody not doing something right or because of my unfair circumstances. I am a martyr and undeservedly living with all these injustices, with all of these *conflicts*. Why don't I just move to my own apartment and do things my way so life will be easier and structured perfectly for me!


Before I get wrapped up in another Paul Holzman self-pity party.

How did I get to this point? Maybe it has something to do with:

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don`t they come from desires that battle within you? You want something but do not get it." -- James 4:1

The *CONFLICT*, the Almighty Conflict, is internal. My heart. my relationship with myself. my lack of effort. my inabilities. Let's take a look back to what I wrote on my blog on September 30th, 2010.

Here is a list of things I hope to begin to learn how to do in the next year so I can keep on learning them until my journey here on earth is done, whether it be tomorrow or when I'm old and wrinkled.

- Love God and Love People.
- Learn more about my identity.
- To Serve.
- To live simply.
- Be involved in the neighborhood/community.
- Meet neighbors and build friendships.
- Build relationships with people I would usually just walk by.
- Serve in the community whether the work is something I enjoy or not.
- To Get rid of my insecurities.
- To see myself through God's eyes so I can see everyone else through His eyes as well.

It seems pretty simple. But isn't it too hard to do these things alone?

The mind is way to powerful. My mind can easily run with these ideas of self-entitlements and turn them into concrete negative ideas of myself, another person, an organization, my friends, a job, my family, or my faith in God. I would not have recognized these internal battles against my fleshly desires without the confrontation, uncomfortable conversations, awkward discussions and confessions with my team here in Buenos Aires. Community is necessary for us to live and cope with the reality of giving up comfort to live for others in this world. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Prostate Gland. 11-1-2010

Ever wondered what the primary function of the prostate gland is? Well sorry. You are out of luck because I am not going to tell you. Go google it.

Ever been to a seemingly normal dinner and asked directly out of nowhere if you knew what that primary function of the prostate was by a Argentinian Matriarch?

Well if you ever find yourself in this situation just say yes, especially if it is in another language and you cannot understand the informant fully as they explains in detail (and I mean DETAIL).

So, last night at Vicente's in Mataderos, I was with my Mission Year group and Marcelo, the pastor of our church and his mother and renowned matriarch of La Misión and its community. Azucena happens to be trained for the medical field as a nurse. Moreover, according to my team memebers,she loves to share her knowledge with younger people. Consequently, they have had a few interesting conversations and lectures from this sweet woman (she is also notorious for citing full Tangos and Poesías) A true matriarch.

At dinner, I sat in front of her with the intention of getting some knowledge and wisdom by way of getting to know her better. Through conversation of course. Towards the end of our dinner our conversation was running a little dry, not sure if it was the full belly or the drowsiness due to the full stomach. Aware of the current predicament, Azucena proceeded to pull a quick one on me.

Paul, escuchame...¿Sabés cuál es la función principal de la próstata? / Paul, listen...Do you know what the primary function of the Prostate is?

¿Perdón? / Excuse me?

(She repeats the question)

I say no.


She explains it. I am sure she explained it pretty thoroughly, however, I am left with some gaps.

I tend to have trouble understanding her in general and due to the noise in the restaurant I was having more trouble than usual.

I find it somewhat rude to pretend you understand when you really don't, which I tend to do when tired. But despite my fatigue of the time  I proceeded to ask her for some clarification. Have grace for my anatomy vocabulary is not up to par.

As words like gland, secretion, fluid (and other now very obvious words) begin to flood the table's conversation two of my female teammates on my left catch a few words coming out of her mouth and mine as I proceed to answer her last question, "¿Sabés dónde la próstata es ubicada? / Do you know where the prostate is located? I skip the first word that pops in my head because I figure that ass is definitely not appropriate and search my brain for the more "medical appropriate" term, ano or anus.

To defend myself and the table manners that my mother and father have taught me I was being polite by answering.

Needless to say, this word caught the attention of my teammates and produced some hysterical facial expressions. This made it extremely hard (yes even for this mature 24 year old man) to hold in a smile/laugh as my two teammates Meroe and Caty proceeded to join in on "'The Prostate Gland 101."

Well I couldn't keep that story to myself. This conversation did lead into some awesome advice from a very wise lady about marriage and relationships. I am thankful for the opportunities to learn first hand from people who live life to the fullest and continue to do so at such a delicate age, Azucena.