Have you ever felt like the best way to describe your life in a specific instance was a sound? A particular sound, not just any sound; my life right now sounds like the Night Bus (from the Harry Potter series) coming to a screeching halt. The kind of halt (if you’re not familiar with the movies) that sends everything and everyone flying forward overcome with the pull of inertia.
My mind will not stop processing. Taking in the discoveries I made in Bali and even the ones before, I decided to drop a class just to breathe. It was all moving too fast. I’d just gotten my footing back coming off a horrible semester, emotionally, and I was preparing to write my dissertation proposal. I’d left things in such a balance that any one thing would create a domino effect of catastrophe.
Sidebar: as I’m writing this post I went to upload the photo of balancing rocks from Seaport Village. During the process the website froze and after waiting I was faced with the option to close the browser window possible losing all the words thoughts feelings I’d just written and starting again or continuing to wait hoping something would change. I closed the window, restarted Chrome and here was the post, pictureless, but words all in tact waiting to be published. It was a beautiful lesson in exactly what is happening in my life right now. Sometimes you have to listen to the signs, let things go and trust that they will work out in the end just as they should.
So I dropped a class. A class that I need to graduate, only graduation has become less and less of a goal and more and more of a thing that happens at the end of something great. Kind of like cake on your birthday. The joy is in another year of life, not cake. I emailed my advisor after it was already done. And then I sat back staring proverbially at open sky. I do not yet know what is right or what my new timeline is. I didn’t let go of the May 2015 deadline, but I let go of killing myself to get there. There is a cost to every choice and this one was too high. It was creating disharmony in my life. “It was a pebble in my shoe” I told Cheryl. I had to remember why I was getting this degree in the first place. I had to remember that my work, the very nature of it, is about listening and emergence and paying attention to the things that so often go dismissed. And I was doing it! I couldn’t keep it up, but I am proud of myself for noticing it enough to make a change before one was made for me.
I shared with a few friends in Bali that life talks to us. First in whispers, then it speaks, then it yells. I was working on listening at the whisper, I told them. And something about saying it out loud meant that I had to actually do it. Also, I would have typically consulted with Christopher or Cheryl or Zachary about the decision before it was made, but I did not. I knew it was the right decision for me. I knew it would derail everything. I knew all my planning and timelines and deadlines now meant something else, if nothing at all. I knew it and I made the choice because I couldn’t not make the choice. I laugh because Annie pointed out my affinity for double negatives. They are more dramatic. More poetic I think. Then again, I’m a little dramatic. A little poetic. So maybe I like them because they’re a little like me.
So now what? Well now I’ve given myself a week to regroup. To write down what I know of my work and to mind-map the rest. To start to sketch this thing out and create a deadline that fits the work not the work that fits my deadline. Time, I learned, is not money it is relationships. So if I can take another moment to soak in something that feeds my work (which I believe strongly will eventually feed us all) then I owe it to myself, you, and God to do just that.
We were walking at the cremation site when Bobby asked me why I wasn’t afraid of death. I told him why and then began to wonder what exactly it was that did frighten me. The answer just occurred: I am afraid of leaving this life anything other than completely empty. I want to use every bit of talent I was given. I want to write every word, sing every song, dance every dance, love fully, give freely, and do so with joy in my heart. I want to literally “strain my potential until it cries for mercy”. I’m afraid of a life anything other than that one. I was given the chance to be great, to inspire greatness. So anything less is unacceptable. And if that takes a little more time than previously expected, well then it takes a little more time.
I will get there.