Saturday, August 21, 2010

From the Heights at Boston College to New Heights in Life

The picture below is of Gasson Hall on the Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, MA.  This is where I took most of my English and Literature classes.  Many people have asked me since I graduated, if I liked attending Boston College, and if so, what was my favorite aspect.  In answer to this question, I've heard others say, "good football team, school pride, academics, networking opportunities, and city to live in." To me, Boston College often felt magical.

Why? The strong Jesuit teachings, which, above all, taught me the importance of seeking balance as a means to an end of achieving happiness every day (or most days).  Through this daily exercise of striving to achieve balance, one is less likely to wander down the perilous road of any extreme, and so be more joyful and at peace on any given day.  One is more likely to appreciate a hot cup of coffee early in the morning, a beautiful view, or an inspiring interaction.  In this way, life can be experienced in a richer manner. I have found (as the Jesuits role-modeled for me), when you live a balanced life, you are more free to appreciate and notice life and everything takes on a deeper color, smell, meaning, and yes, can seem magical.  I remember walking to class early in the morning, and because I was not binging in one direction, would look up at the buildings, and they did, in fact, look just like the picture above.  Magical, in my opinion.  Granted, during finals, I probably didn't look around that much, so I guess once in a while, you do have to go to a mini-extreme to have an overall major balance.

To comment more on the idea of binging, I remember learning from a professor, Father Michael Himes, exactly why binging doesn't work.  Most things we binge on (money, power, material stuff, title, food, a person!! yikes), hoping to find happiness in the binging, were never meant to stand up to the binging in the first place, and in turn, this binging is inherently flawed.

I was reminded of my appreciation for these Jesuit instilled values when I recently started reading Ted Leonsis' book "The Business of Happiness."  Overall, I like the book and think its worth the read, but my favorite parts are when he reflects on his time as an undergraduate student at Georgetown, also a Jesuit university.  Much like my interactions and shaping from Jesuit professors, some of the best lessons of Ted's life were learned at the age of 20 from his mentor Father Durkin.
"He passed on to me the desire to live a life which you have given more than you have taken. He taught me that the way you function should also balance with all other aspects of your life, which should include work, sports, the arts - all of the pleasures of life that enhance our humanity. Father Durkin tried to instill the desire to live an engage and fulfilling life with all the pieces in balance."

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