Monday Meditation: On Vulnerability

Life is full of little phases, phases we have to go through as we shape our character and find who we really are. This past semester has been an interesting journey in the process of finding who I was. I thought the answer was clear every morning when I looked at my self in the mirror. Yet I realized I was answering a different question. For the longest time I have being answering the question “Who I was taught to be”. I started my journey by questioning, questioning everything. I realized that I needed to find who I really was but do this by myself. This process takes courage and vulnerability.

But what does it really means to be vulnerable? Most people believe that vulnerability has a negative connotation. I have seen definitions from “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded” to “open to attack or damage.” Yet vulnerability goes far beyond that. It is a human characteristic that is not value as much anymore but is essential for personal growth. Being vulnerable is the ability to break open and let yourself be touch by the words of others. It is about letting our self-ego a side and with lots of humility understand where do others are coming from. Believe that we know what the right answer is and that we know what others are trying to say is one of human’s main limitations. This attitude prevents us from expanding our horizons and being able to be expose to someone else’s world. Being vulnerable is about finding our weaknesses and strengths and to be open to share those with others.  Vulnerability provides us with the hope of developing relationships, which will help us to shape our character and grow as individuals.

Be vulnerable. I encourage you to break open, to question life, to be change and to find who you really are. This is an ongoing process we have to take as individuals. Don’t be afraid to start the journey. It is a process that helps us to understand the world from a unique perspective. Your own perspective of life!

How would you characterize the “phase” you are currently in? How does your current phase fit in with the timeline of your life? Who were you taught to be? What is scary about questioning what you have been taught and who you have been taught to be? What does it mean to be vulnerable? With yourself? With others? With God? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? What is your “perspective” and where did that come from?

-Majo Sandi, Senior, Cortina Formation Co-Chair

Cortina Interview Project ||On Self-Reflection & Other-Centeredness

Roc O’Connor speaks on Self-Reflection & Other-Centeredness in Jesuit Higher Education.

“I’m a Vege-a-vegan-a-healthy-a-confused-a-tarian”: On Ethics, Love, and Legalism

This has been a really strange summer for me, I’ve been taking two semesters of a really time-consuming class (general physics), and so I’ve had to put more effort into staying on a schedule in the summer than ever before. This leads me to constantly have to plan meals, when I will make them, and when I will shop for them. It’s a good thing; I feel like a real grown-up because I’m getting way better at cooking for myself and doing it efficiently.

But it’s also been really, really, really, really confusing. I’ve had little time to spend with my friends and family in comparison to previous summers, and I’ve been increasingly noticing an alarming thing in myself. I have a really strong conviction, that was cultivated and honed even more during my year in Cortina, that if I am aware of something bad in the world, it is my obligation and duty to do what is in my power to change that. This led to my becoming a hardcore vegetarian for most of 2013, and since I began that, I still haven’t had a bite of meat. It also led to the strengthening of an already existing disgust with the consumerism that dictates our country and others. Towards the end of this past spring semester, I became increasingly convinced that I should actually just live in this purist monk, raw local vegan, never-buy-another-material-object-I-don’t-absolutely-need-to-survive type of existence, where I spend all of my extra time building friendships with people no one else notices. And to tell you the truth, that is the ultimate destination that I would really like to reach, because I’m gonna make money in the job that I want to do, and I would love to be able to give a high percentage of it to people who need it more than I do, and use my time and abilities to change the world :P. But somehow, in my fervor to become this person, I realized that it was not only causing me to feel insanely guilty about things none of my friends felt the same for doing, but it was also causing me to insanely judge everyone around me. I was unconsciously holding everyone else in the world to the same impossibly high standard I had set for myself. (If you’re a Christian too, this just honestly might sound like the familiar “No one is righteous, not even one” refrain).

After some brutal external processing with one of my close friends who went through Cortina with me, plenty of Bible and book reading, and prayer, I realized that I was acting exactly like the Pharisees that Jesus rebukes, like, every time he sees them. The Pharisees were known for following the law to the tiniest letter and being very “upright” in terms of their to-do lists. They were also known for turning up their noses at everyone else. My THL 100 teacher didn’t spend too much time on the Pharisees, but if you ever read the gospels, they are very hard to ignore. It’s blatantly obvious that they have gotten their priorities completely wrong. Everyone (all the normal sinners Jesus hangs out with) dislikes them. They don’t actually love anyone, and they seem like they do everything out of a despairing sense of guilt. It’s a terrible and immature religion to dedicate one’s life to.

My current confusion stems from needing to know where I should draw the lines in my own life. What guideline should I stick to, at my current level of maturity, so that I am encouraging myself to act lovingly, and not judgmentally out of my own guilt? Does it mean continuing to attempt and fail at being a vegan, or maybe taking a chill pill, eating some butter with my family and friends, and being cool with just not eating meat/fish/poultry for now? Does it mean wearing the same three shirts all week, all month, or does it mean maybe being ok with buying a couple new things to fit the new body that I have from eating veggies instead of chicken fingers? I’m still not sure about these things, but I am certain that it means wholeheartedly loving the people I am already surrounded with before going out and finding new people to “love”. I am certain that it means having a humble heart about the issues that I have been informed on, and not being so caught up in what everyone else is doing, when I have enough to work on in my own life.

Oh Cortina. I’m so excited to have a whole ‘nuther year to be a part of you and become the person I’m designed to be.

“Places, at last, are no better than their people”

Wendell Berry says some beautiful, powerful, funny, and poetic words.

If you like his “Sabbaths” series, you’ll like the reading that comes at the end.

If you don’t know anything of his “Sabbaths” series, you’ll still like the reading that comes at the end.

Enjoy.

Introducing Victor Diaz!

VIctor Diaz

Hello everyone! My name is Victor and I’m so excited to join the Cortina Program here at Creighton University.

Sine you’re probably wondering who I am and what I do, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself.  I was born in Mexico, but my parents moved my family to a tiny little town in central Florida named Deland, when I was three years old.  I like to joke that there are more cows than people in my hometown. It’s located between Daytona Beach and Orlando though, so there was plenty of stuff to do.

I got my undergraduate degree in Spanish Education from Stetson University, a private liberal arts university located in the same town that I grew up in.  I’ve always been passionate about education since I got such amazing opportunities when I was in school. Without the help, support and encouragement from all my teachers, mentors, and school counselors I would not have gotten to where I am now. I want every student out there to have the same wonderful opportunities. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, which is what drives my fire to advocate for others and to do what I can to make a difference in their lives.

During my time at Stetson I was heavily involved in quite a few organizations. Apart from being in every social justice group on campus, I was also a freshman/new student orientation leader and during my final year there I was also an RA in a freshman co-ed building.  I fell in love with energy that is prevalent on a college campus, especially hanging around others who were as heavily involved as I was. It was during my senior year that I discovered that I wanted to continue doing the work I was doing which is what lead me to pursue a career in higher education. The best part about this decision is that not only do I get to continue doing the work I love to do, but I still get to teach others. I get to teach them about themselves and about how we as a group can change the world.

I look forward to meeting all of you and I can’t wait to get this year started! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!

Peace and Blessings,
Victor Diaz