Archive for September, 2010

I’m a Journalist

At first, I thought to be named a “Journalist” I would have to get a job at a publication such as a magazine, newspaper, journal, or anything that will get my name on print.  But that’s not true.

I soon learned that I am a journalist, right now, right here.  I am doing a capping project for my communications class that requires me to do many interviews and research for my 10 articles.  I have to email, call, and search the world wide web for information on my beloved home, Hawaii, to create a magazine of spiritual sites of Hawaii.  I have gotten a couple interviews out of the way through email which is easier on me, but I know that I will have to call some people for quotes and such, and with the six hour time difference, that is not going to be easy.  I was doing a lot of research just a few minutes ago for my articles when I just realized that I am a journalist.  I used to believe that I had to get my name on print at an actual publication to be called a journalist.  But really, I already am one.

I’m doing interviews, research, and writing stories that I believe the public will find great interest in.  I love to write where if it’s a story on a person, or a beautiful place like the Ali’i Kula Lavender farm on Maui.  Designing my magazine is difficult too since I have to take into consideration of photos to make the magazine more alluring for my readers.  Which means that I have to get approval and credit my photos to the right people otherwise, well…legal issues could come to surface.

Anyways, I just felt like writing this because this is the first time that I actually felt like a journalist and I do not want to forget this feeling.  This is what I want my life to entail–writing stories on people, places, and events that I am passionate about.  Being in New York, it’s hard to keep in touch with my friends that are back home.  But doing this project on Hawaii and its beautiful island offerings, I’m keeping home as close to me as possible, while finding sites on the different islands that I myself would like to visit some day.  I feel amazing right now as I write this knowing that I finally feel like a writer and with the skills I learn at Marist College and through personal experience, I hope that I can become a journalist in the future for a company that would love to share my words with its readers.

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Cleansing and Purifying

I feel like I’m deathly ill.  I’m probably exaggerating but this is my own feeling of how physically ill I am and who’s to say that I’m wrong?  I absolutely hate it when I catch a cold but this is one of the worst colds that I have had in a long time.  I feel aches and pain all over my body and my head refuses to be able to breath normally.  Maybe there’s something more to just the physical illness…Maybe it’s deeper than that.

I got to my dorm exactly three weeks ago and I have not cleansed it.  I kept putting it off because as soon as classes started, I just had that much work to do.  I probably haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should have and had gotten sick.  Last night, I felt possessed by something darker than just a cold.  I kept feeling as if someone or some being was in my room, watching me, not leaving me alone.  I asked it to leave like I would any entity, telling them that I do not want to see them, but that did not work.  It, man or women, just would not leave.  It hovered over me as I tried to sleep.  Sleeping was another obstacle.  I could not sleep for the life of me.  It was horrible.  I called my boyfriend, Daniel, because his voice usually soothes me and puts me to sleep but even that didn’t work as well as it normally does.  That’s when I realized, at around 2:30 in the morning, that I must cleanse and purify my room. The only solution I could think of was to ask Sedona, the store I work at back in Hawaii, to send me some sage spray since I could not burn the traditional herb–I may set off the fire alarm and people may think that I’m smoking pot (it smells like pot when you burn sage). But then I knew that it wouldn’t come for another week or so and I had to get this thing out of my room.  Finally, I remembered that I had a  little bottle of sage oil in my little collection of oils.  I knew exactly what to do.

As soon as I got home from my last class the next morning, I came back to my room and started cleansing.  I put on Pandora Internet Radio and put it on the Sleeptheif channel for soothing, calming music.  I opened the window so that the entity would have a passage to leave my room.  I grabbed my sage oil and started sprinkling it all over my room.  I could already feel my room clearing of any negative energy that may have been stuck in here–I started to feel calm.  I opened the door to give another exit for the energy to be sure that it was gone.  Then I grabbed a few more oils–Rose Haven because I love rose scent, Amethyst and Moonstone Gemscent near my bed for relaxation, Pure Clairty near my desk for when I do work, New Life to bring in positive energy, and Gingerbread for protection (I think I remember someone telling me that Gingerbread oil could be good for protection…Not sure but I went with my instincts).

And now, my room feels so much better.  I feel relaxed, no negative energy is present from what I can feel, and I feel at peace.  I now love coming back to my room.  As a final touch, I put a pentacle on my door for protection, one next to my bed, and one next to my alter.  I need all the protection I can get, there’s a lot of negative energy around Marist College and I can’t have any of it in my room.

As for my cold…well, only time, NyQuil, and lots of orange juice can get rid of that.  My friend is having a party tonight…I probably shouldn’t go considering my condition and I wouldn’t want to get anybody sick…But I would love the social interaction.  It’s 7 p.m., I have a couple hours to decide.

The Many Faces of a Smile

“Never frown, even when you’re said, because you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile.”–Unknown

I’m not sure who wrote that, but that is one of the best quotes that I have ever heard.  It’s amazing how true it is.  Smiles are very distinct in a way that you can immediately tell whether if a person’s smile is for you or if it’s fake.  When you meet someone for the first time, the smile can be professional, friendly, seductive, or a realization of a deeper connection.  A person’s eyes also comes into play when you’re wondering why this particular person is smiling at you.  Smiles aren’t always good.

But when that one particular person smiles at you, the camera, or just because, you know their true emotions show right now every if they are putting on a fake smile for show.  There’s nothing I love seeing more than a smile on my boyfriend’s face knowing that I am the one that put it there.  It’s even better when he laughs.  The sound of his laughter let’s me know that I have brightened his day even if it’s just by that one little joke or one simple sentence from the heart.  The smile that he presents me reassures the love that he has for me in a way that only facial expression can really entail.  Looking deep into his eyes I know that that smile is true and our love is true.

A smile tells everything you need to know about someone.  Look into their eyes and you’ll know what their intentions are.  If they are being sincere and really honestly want to get to know you, or if they just want to play.

“Never frown, even when you’re said, because you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile.”

I love this quote.  You can be in a crowded room at a friends party just having a good time with close people and you don’t even think about keeping on your smile because it comes naturally when you’re around people you love.  But among those people can be someone you’ve never met before.  And as he or she gazed across the room to see you, smiling with your beautiful insignificant, consuming smile, you can make their heart stop.  It is quite possible that with one look, with one smile, you can make their heart skip a beat or stop entirely for one second to take in your breathtaking beauty presented only through happiness.

So keep this in mind.  Smile, even when you’re sad, because someone will fall in love with you and your smile, and would want to keep that smile on your lovely face for as long as they believe possible.

Letting Go and Dealing with “Death”

8: Death (Tarot deck unknown)

Don’t let the name of the card discourage you just because it’s Death.  I can’t tell you how many times people freaked out and said “Oh my God! It’s Death!!! Am I going to die?!” I just laugh because part of this card’s message is about the unknown.  This card is misunderstood on many levels so let me clear up the unknown message here.

We are all going through a transition while here in college.  A lot of it has to do with ending things and beginning a new opportunity.  That is the main message that the Death card entails; the death of something but the birth of something else.  Now, we all know that the human body eventually dies off so there is no subject like that whatsoever regarding this card; it is not physical death.  It’s basically about change—ending something, but beginning something else in its place.

Some decks draw Death as a skeletal figure dressed as a Knight riding on a horse.  I chose to illustrate the Deviant Moon Tarot deck, obviously very differently illustrated, because I found that this illustration had a better picture of what’s going on.  Picture if you will the little creature being trampled upon as the person that is you that you want to change.  The bigger creature is then you that you should be transforming yourself into.  Basically what I’m trying to say is that we need to stop our old habits and move on.  The creatures illustrated are also drawn with a skeletal head of a horse.  This represents our basic instinct of when we know when it’s time to let go.  There is also a ship in the background which symbolizes our old habits being sailed away.

Forgiveness is another message Death generates.  It’s to “bury the hatchet” and let go of our rage and bitterness.  Having done that, Death will give us energy to give a whole new perspective on attentiveness and development.   But the flip side is that not many of us are so easily accustomed to change.  Even though in our minds we may know that it’s time to move on, we subconsciously create a wall of excuses and we stay where we are.  It kind of serves as a security blanket because of the familiarity it provides.  So we may stay in an emotionally harmful relationship or a bad job all because we know what to expect and are too afraid to see what else is out there; what may be available in the future—the unknown.  But if we build up the strength to let all the old habits go, we can create for ourselves a more genuine experience.

But to gain this experience, we must be able to create closure, forgive, and basically just let go of what might be standing in the way of our future plans.  The “shadow” side to the Death card is that you could end up ending the relationship or projects in an untimely way or as the book by Paul Quinn, Tarot for Life, states “affecting an attitude of nonattachment as a defense against the fear of loss.”  This means that we could be denying the truth when we’ve lost something or refusing to let go and move on.

So, like it is portrayed in the Death card shown, overpower your old self, let the ship take away your old bad habits, and begin something that you’ll really appreciate in the end.  One last sentence that Quinn said that stuck with me also was, “the ego’s fears of losing control are as intense as its terrors of a literal demise.”

Students Travel Overseas to Attend Marist and Play Tennis

From left to right: Nicolas Pisecky, Coach Tim Smith, and Joris van Eck

Published in the Diversity Works Newsletter of Marist College in Spring semester 2010.

Marist College has served students well in the academic field in many ways.  It is a excellent school for business, communication and the college provides many clubs to help get students more involved with college life and to help them meet people from around the world—As far around the world as say Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Junior Nicolas Pisecky and freshman Joris van Eck have traveled half way around the world to come to Marist College to exceed both in their academic life as well as to play the sport of their passion: Tennis.

Pisecky has traveled from Lausanne, Switzerland coming to Marist to major in international business with a minor in global studies.  He speaks multiple languages including French (his first language), Swiss German, German, and English.  His friend from home, Loic Sessagesimi, a senior, has recommended Pisecky to the head coach of tennis, Tim Smith, to consider a college career here at Marist in both academics and sports.

“I was pretty excited,” said Pisecky.  “I was kind of lost at first since I didn’t speak English and Loic was my only connection.”

In Europe, the colleges do not have programs where they allow students to play a sport and go to school simultaneously which made Marist more of a reason for Pisecky to come to the U.S.

“I had a good scholarship here and I liked the place, so I didn’t even try to look for any other schools,” said Pisecky.

Upon entering Marist, Pisecky was given a tennis scholarship. Since beginning his tennis career at Marist, he has won awards such as “Player of the Week” and the tennis team has won the MAAC Championship in 2008 and 2009.

“I knew his ranking and it was similar to Loic’s,” said Coach Smith.  “And Loic has been a tremendous addition to our team.  So I knew Nic would fit right in academically and to the tennis team.”

Not only does Marist have a couple talented tennis players from Switzerland, but has just recruited an individual from the Netherlands.

Joris van Eck from Maastricht, Netherlands transferred to Marist in spring 2010 majoring in international business.  He speaks multiple languages, just as Pisecky, including Dutch, Spanish, German, French and English.

“New York is totally not what I expected,” said van Eck.  “They [the tennis staff] help you more here, they really care about you.  In the Netherlands, it’s more about being independent.”

Eck heard about Marist while playing in a tennis tournament in Belgium, Spain from one of his competitors Dennis Mertens who happened to work for a company named Overborder.com, sports and studies in the USA, which specializes in students studying abroad.

“The location [of Marist] is good and I want a job in business,” said van Eck.  “And after a few days I felt comfortable, it was not hard for me to adapt.”

The tennis team has been a great resource for both Pisecky and Eck to meet people.

“It was nice to have international teammates,” said Pisecky.  “Even though they’re not from the same country, they’re more similar than American people.  It’s nice to have both European and American friends.”

This year, the tennis team has international players from Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia.  In the past they have had athletes from Paraguay, Mexico, Norway and Austria.  From the U.S., they have had players from New York to California with Iowa, Missouri, Texas and Arizona.

“When I think of diversity, I think geographic as well as cultural,” said Coach Smith.  “In the past 11 years at Marist, I had players from 20 states and 17 countries.  Now that’s diversity.”

Coach Smith grew up in a middle sized town outside of Buffalo, NY.

“Having the good fortune of my dad being an athletic director and my mom special ed., we had kids on our teams from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds tossed in with the special needs children my mom taught,” said Coach Smith.

He has also spent part of his life in the Navy.  Coach Smith’s ship was stationed in Japan for a world’s fair and while in Japan, he visited the Hiroshima Museum.

“It was in the navy that I was exposed to many cultures and had my first hand experience with feeling like a minority,” said Coach Smith.  “There was probably 75 to 100 people in the museum when I first went in and I was the only Caucasian.  No one spoke English and everything was in Japanese; I felt very alone.”

But this experience, he said, has made him more aware of diversity.

“I think that this has made me more aware to ensure that in my coaching, I utilize the opportunity to bring students from different racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds,” said Coach Smith.

One of Coach Smith’s favorite tennis players and a person he has had a chance to do workshops with was Arthur Ashe, a professional African American tennis player.

“What a role model for the importance of having encouragement and putting diversity into your own life, your family and people you teach or coach,” said Coach Smith.

But coming from Europe to America, most people would agree, is not an easy thing to do.

“I think it’s easier if you play a sport and you play on a team than coming here not knowing anyone,” said Pisecky.

Eck also felt that the tennis team played a great role in finding friends as well.

“They were my first friends,” said van Eck.  “I really enjoy spending time with them, on court and off court.  They all came here for the first time [the international players] and they know how exactly to deal with it and it made me feel comfortable.”

When coming to a new country, all international students must learn to adapt to the new environment and accept the cultural differences.

“People in American don’t know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland,” said Pisecky.  “So they always think I speak Swedish.  People are curious—they want to know how it is back home and what language I speak, I get that a lot.”

The language barrier was also a concern for Coach Smith in determining the proficiency of English of the students.

“I guess if a student can speak three languages, they can navigate through Marist academic courses,” said Coach Smith.  “My international students collectively have an average over a 3.5 GPA and all have graduated.  That’s no brag, just fact.”

When asking both athletes, if given the opportunity to do it all over, if they would choose Marist again, they both said yes.

“Definitely,” said Pisecky.  “I like it here.”

Coach Smith has also played an important role in these students life and has made a bond with them through the sport of tennis.

“I’ll tell you when I’ve formed a good bond with my players,” said Coach Smith.  “When they invite me to their wedding.”

Let the Chariot Pull and Go Forth

From the Rider Waite Tarot

So here we are again in our first, second, third, or final year at Marist College.  We are all entering into a state of shock probably wondering where the time went.  College is a place where you test your individuality and face what you fear the most.  What most of us call the “real world” starts, what we think, to be when we’re out of college.  But really, it starts here, today, in the present of reality.

The Chariot signifies us facing away from our past and from our confinement of childhood (let’s face it, most of our parents still tried to control us in high school) to prepare ourselves to venture into the world of college to prove a larger world waiting for us in the near future.  To be prepared for such an adventure that we may or may not be ready for, we must be courageous and we must be purposefully charging ourselves into the challenges that are set in our way for advancement.  The Chariot’s number, seven, signifies just that: advancement.  Paul Quinn’s Tarot for Life does excellent comparisons.

As we leave the comfort of our home, we bring with us parting gifts from our loved ones.  These parting gifts that we take with us symbolize the love that our family has for us.  It is not only difficult for us to leave the flock, but for our parents to see us sore into adulthood.  We see the Chariot’s rider holding the Magician’s wand which shows the riders ambition and power to manifest what he wants the most out of this life journey.  The two sphinx like creatures at the bottom represent our polar opposites within ourselves that will ultimately pull the chariot in the right direction.

They serve as our protection and our conscious self to make sure that our ego does not get involved when making decisions.  The very idea that we are finally on our own away from our parents can often lead to zealous behavior which then conflicts with our ego and those who are in our path of our chariot get trampled along the way.  This can also be caused by the fact that we are afraid of being on our own.

Notice the invisible reins that are controlled not by us, but by a higher authority.  This could be a professor that we become close to and that will help us to achieve what we want the most.  These professors can help us to move beyond our ego-driven selves to see the bigger picture that living life doesn’t have to be done alone.  We are not solely in charge when we don’t want to be; there will always be help.

Getting back to the two sphinx like creatures, notice that they are both looking in opposite directions.  This signifies our opposing directions in which we may not know which path to take.  This could mean that you may have a thought that you want to pursue, but a rational doubtful thought stands in your way.  You must have self-trust to overcome this thought and understand that your ambition and self-driven awareness that college is where you want to be is the right path for you.  You chose this path to college in the understanding that this experience will lead to a better life.  Rather than waiting for things to get better, just say “Screw it” and let the chariot pull full force into what you’re life entails.  Eventually, these opposing paths will reconcile.

Although the Chariot has many good things to say about moving forward, you must be aware of the “shadow” side of this card.  Don’t think that the only way of receiving good credit from those you love is through achievement of work.  Family will always support you no matter what.  Don’t let this thought succumb to low-drive, just go for it.  You’re here now for a reason, don’t think, just go.