This weekend is a huge, brutal mush of social justice intercultural learning tolerance love jibber jabber, and while I’m usually not so fatalistic about the whole enterprise, going on long retreats and spending time overanalyzing everything I say and do will do that to me. Also, snot that I am, I had to judge the living crap out of Baraka, which will never live up to Koyaanisqatsi for me. Of course, that probably had less to do with the film itself than the conditions of my viewing it. After nearly two days of retreat is not the time to show me a film that, under the right circumstances is deeply moving and under the wrong is just annoying.

Another reason I’m getting really tired of this retreat process is how much it takes away from my weekly routine. There’s a thing that I do every week, every day. I’m actually terrified that I’ve gotten to be such a creature of habit, but I like my Sunday morning brunches at work, my Thursday afternoon pints at Red Hawk, my Monday night happy hour sessions at Arbor Brewing Company, and that way I don’t forget what classes I have when. When my schedule is messed up, I am likely to forget what it is that I’m doing and lose focus generally. A function of not really getting the dynamics of time, I think, that is pretty detrimental. I guess if I expected sheer and utter randomness I might be able to cope with it, but thrust into it unawares is no good.

I might be moving into a more deeply conceptual stage of my understanding of my own commitment to social justice, as well as a very concrete stage in my interests for personal progress. This might not be a good thing, but I think that the time that I spend considering the specific actions of individuals the more pissed off I get. The more I sit around in a room analyzing the way a group of forty undergraduates reacted to a certain situation (and the more the target groups collude with their own oppression) the more I just want to get the hell out of this line of work. On the other hand, the things I do want to do are large scale and very concrete: this summer I’m looking at working with Robbie to overhaul the gender syllabus for the Program on Intergroup Relations, and executing whatever needs to be done next for the transgender and allies scholarship project.

Or maybe I’m just getting tired and cranky because I have had no time for myself in the past three weeks, excluding the flight home from London; I’m losing valuable time at work; I’m really behind on a bunch of projects that I could be working on outside of this retreat; and it looks like I’m not going to sleep tonight. At least once this weekend is over, the hard part is done. I’m going to China this summer for intergroup dialogue work. Getting back to my roots should be fun.

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