A decision left unmade – and how not deciding is working really well for me
I shared this on Facebook earlier in the week and I want to make sure that those of you who follow my blog and email newsletter are also in the loop.
I want to take the time to share this (very) belated report on the choice that I made about graduate school – and to thank you for your part in helping me make (my version of) a decision.
I am especially grateful that you didn’t call me out as a jerk for making this personal decision into a public conversation – and that you engaged with me, shared your own experience, demonstrating (once again) that these online circles we build can be circles of light, generosity and friendship.
During this ‘choosing’ time, you have been that for me.
So, here’s the choice: Not this year. Maybe next year. I don’t know.
Which is not so much a decision as a compromise and, I realized later, is not really about Pacifica at all. It’s part of a much deeper (and I think, more important) decision: to take the risk of NOT making this choice.
The risk of remaining curious. The risk of being willing to see – and to meet – what might happen.
The choice (and the risk) of holding open the question.
And letting the volcano of discomfort surge up.
And letting the fear and self-doubt rise.
And letting the voice that persistently scolds me for being too late on everything I have ever done.
And holding open the question anyway.
So far, what’s been happening is that sometimes I feel as if my life is on fire with little yods – sparkles of God stuff raining from a blue sky.
And sometimes, I feel like I am living in a blender. Like during flu week, more recently renamed ‘Flu month’.
Suddenly, there is – in me and in the world – the most remarkable open-ended willingness to play.
And this is big – huge – because even as a child, I didn’t know how to play.
I didn’t understand that play seems to be a kind of willingness.
To try stuff.
To not know what will happen.
Play, as I’m discovering to my great delight, seems to be about holding open space between this moment and the next one, and climbing inside of that space, like a blanket fort, and seeing what happens.
As I play with the world around me, holding open my question, the world begins playing back.
An ‘answer’ echoes back, constellating and reconstellating to bring whatever playmate or provision is needed in the moment – a book to fascinate me, a bit of cash, an insight or a dream or, as just this moment happened – a new friend dressed like a flower fairy materializing at my cafe table. Ready to play.
Watching this draw together around the bright core of my question,as filings of precious metal cluster ’round a magnet, is beautiful and rich – and soulful.
I’m still rather tongue-tied about all of this – I’ll figure out how to explain it eventually.
– to explain how, or simply explain THAT, even as I wrote those words, a little bird flew so close by the left side of my face that its wing skimmed my cheek. And how this seems to be a part of the language of this world inside an open question.
– to explain that, this morning, a blue jay hurled itself against the kitchen door while I was standing at the counter, working on the Facebook group for the new Soul Caller Training. And as I looked up, it hopped over to the picnic table where three other bluejays were picking their breakfast from the pebbled lawn.
And that for me, all of this translates, easily and simply, to love.
It’s not like this has never happened to me (or to you) before. It’s not that I am ‘so special’ – this is the opposite of that. It’s the complete lack of specialness that this all becomes when I am standing inside of this playful open-question where I do not know and I do not decide.
Which helps me to see, even this afternoon, the deeper, richer choice inside of which my Pacifica un-decision was made – a decision which it seems I have already made – or more precisely, already started melting into: the decision to stay, and to play.
The decision to trust myself and to trust the world.
Anyway, all of this is very obscure and kind of out there and, like I said, I’m having trouble writing about right now. So I will close with this story:
When I decided to not decide about Pacifica, there was another decision I DID make: I decided to write. Full time. With full engagement. To be a writer. A mystic poet. And to focus on that as if it were a real job, as if I were a real author.
To support that decision, I took some of the money I’d set aside for grad school and put it down on a lease for a small writing studio with three (really big) windows. There, I will set up a table and a chair, an electric kettle and a box of pens and then I will finish one and then another and perhaps, another of the many books I have almost written.
Claiming and paying for space for my own work feels like a small miracle to me and signing the lease felt supported and pure and glowing with angel light. Which is what a choice made from certainty looks like – easy, inevitable, supported by the seeming miraculous.
And sure enough, as soon as I took the leap – and signed the papers, the owner asked me to teach yoga there. This class (of 10) will cover the rent (times two) plus I will be teaching yoga – my first class!