Yesterday marked the anniversary of a MAJOR life decision for me: eight years earlier, to the day, I informed my Ph.D. program that I was quitting. I have never once regretted it. If I wish I could’ve hung on to anything from back then, it’s simply the people I met during that chapter. Luckily, those people ARE still in my world. (Thanks, guys! I love you!)
Whenever January 19th rolls around, I get pensive and take stock of how different my life looks now than then, or even than I ever imagined. (I live in Germany? Freelancing? Also, I hang out with friends regularly that I met in China? What?) Lots of differences between now and then are good ones. But there’s also so much I hoped to achieve that simply hasn’t fallen into place yet.
However. What I’m realizing lately is this: I’ve always been able to identify whatever I held most sacred — but I have also always told myself it must live inside a box, separate from the rest of my endeavors. I dabbled in what I loved, but only so far: what if it couldn’t be what I hoped? What if *I* couldn’t be what I hoped? What if it would all just fizzle out, unsustainable? Some things I never even did try; I was afraid to build my life on a foundation of what I held sacred because I put the sacred in a box, like churches do. And so, that was my experience with whatever I loved — sometimes out in the open, sometimes not. Feast or famine. Fickle.
But what if the sacred is meant NOT to be in a box? What if it’s meant to infuse everything? And what if your only task is to let it? What if THAT is what makes it sustainable?
I’m beginning to believe, now, that I ought to dare open up my own “tabernacle” and share. I always innately feared that whatever I held most holy wasn’t sustainable, had to be guarded, close to the heart — sometimes coyly, sometimes reverently, often both. Be it story, feeling, vision, gift, or dream. Now I’m suspecting that whatever we hold most sacred IS the only thing that’s sustainable.
Whether you face a major decision now or not, do this: ask yourself what you hold sacred. What fills you with life, and yet you hold yourself back from it? Ask yourself if touching, honoring, embracing, and sharing THAT life-force energy just might be the key to everything, and just might be the connection that allows your universe, at last, to sustain itself.
Meanwhile, here’s a toast. Congrats to me on walking away from a life I did not want and into the possibility of a life that I did.
And congrats to you too, for your own January 19ths.
You can read more about my recent reflections on leaving grad school and my pull to unleash the “sacred” here.