This video is a recording of me doing a reading from my book of meditations onâ€¦”Next Places.” It took place at the Coffman Union Bookstore, at my University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, just recently. I truly love reading selections from this book, phrased as they are as kinds of prose-poetry. The book attempts to get each of us who is, likely, at some moment of change in life, to ask oneself who one was, was to be, is now in the various terms of how we think about ourselves â€“ to ponder who we might like to be, in our sense of our longest life. When â€“ as I ask some of my university students â€“ I reach the point in my life when I can imagine looking at myself (age: 70, 80â€¦100), and wondering how to tell myself that I have “lived a pretty good life” â€“ how can I write a â€œcontractâ€ with that idea of my future? How will that contract help to inform my life, my growth, my being each next day? Ideas gleaned from Kierkegaard, to bring into my growing being each next day.Rather than looking outside of oneself â€“ for some sense of cure or solution, or external inspiration â€“ it asks each reader to move back into oneself: who is that 2 or 5 or 13 year-old who wanders still in our imaginations? Who am I that others told me I am: family, teachers, friends, not so good friends? Who am I: others are surely real to me; how can I be as real to myself â€“ an idea from my spouse, Janis. And becoming: directions, hopes, resolves, the idea of character. Can I see how to move on, where, with some sense of moving toward new strength, a search for wisdomâ€¦for myself? Then, where is there to go, to grow? What will my Next Places be; who will I be that I am able to tell myself that I want to be? Wanted to be? Ideas, possibilities, thoughts, wonderings and wanderings in the gardens of my being.
â€œLet me see. What was I supposed to be?
Doctor, lawyer, preacher, teacher, who knew?Who knows? What was I told? What did I hear?
Did they know who I am?
Were they told? Who told them that I am?
What then? What now?
Who am I that I was told to me?
How do I tell myself that I am to be?”
(Video credits: Montana Picard, Video; Daniel Latorre, Editing/Post-Production)