Jottings and Notes from Cami’s Talk

Cami Kasmerchak, Appalachian Summer: To the Mountains and Back, Sunday 24  February 2013

She talked about the “call” … reminds me of Margaret Wheatley: “The notion of vocation comes from spiritual and philosophical traditions. It describes a “call,” work that is given to us, that we are meant to do. We don’t decide what our vocation is, we receive it. It always originates from outside us. Therefore, we can’t talk about vocation or a calling without acknowledging that there is something going on beyond our narrow sense of self. It helps remind us that there’s more than just me, that we’re part of a larger and purpose-filled place. …Even if we don’t use the word vocation, most of us want to experience a sense of purpose to our lives. From a young age, and especially as we mature, people often express the feeling of life working through them, of believing there’s a reason for their existence. I always love to hear a young person say that they know there’s a reason why they’re here. I know that if they can hold onto that sense of purpose, they’ll be able to deal with whatever life experiences await them. If we don’t feel there’s a meaning to our lives, life’s difficulties can easily overwhelm and discourage us.”

Cami knows the reason why she was there.

Those three months “messed me up forever, and for good” … variation on Casa de la Solidaridad, “ruined for life” … ruined in the sense of going beyond a thoughtless, banal, middle-class, self-satisfied life

Dear Layla: How people’s lives intersect

Mev in Tijuana

“You don’t have time to hold grudges”

There, you place far less emphasis on appearance [fewer masks]

“The exhaustion made me smile” [Brandon]

Thought of Easwaran writing about Gandhi: “He visited their homes, came to know their families and how they lived. Gradually he began to forget about himself in trying to find time and resources to alleviate the sufferings of these people. They were his brothers and sisters; he identified with them more every day.”

The grind of school: “I was writing a paper I didn’t want to write, for a professor who didn’t want to read it.” Contrast this with being in Tennessee: “It was the best tired I ever felt.”

“We do the best with what we have, it’s not ideal, but we’re excited”

“The people don’t have a lot of things to take their time away from being together.” Our materialism we think will bring us happiness, but by putting blocks between us and others, it frustrates that primary condition for our happiness, being together.

“To live simply, beautifully and with good purpose”

“The perfect day with new/old friends!” What Courtney Barrett said to a SLU student eager to work and be productive “doing something for” Karen House, but that day, there was nothing to do and he was disappointed: “Why don’t you just come into the office and hang out with us?” [circa fall 2000]

Michael Harrington, The Other America

“What brings out the best in you? How are you pursuing it?”

Like Sarah Bollinger, this is Cami’s riff on Rev. Thurman quotation: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” In Tennessee, Cami came fully alive.

Cami = clarity, calm

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