This past fall, I started a PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The program in integral and transpersonal psychology seemed to encompass all the areas of mystical experience and spiritual and emotional healing that I’ve been studying on my own for the past 20 years. I could delve into intuitive self-healing, death and dying, traditional indigenous medicine/shamanism, and building compassionate communities all under one program. I went to the first weeklong residency and met the most fascinating people from all over the world. But in the course of that week, I realized that while I feel allied with the research they are doing, it is not what I am here to do.
Have you ever needed to let go of something that didn’t feel right without knowing what would come to take its place? Often there’s a job or a relationship that needs to be released before you have enough emotional space for a new one to come along. As hard as you might try to make a smooth transition from one safe step to the next, it’s not always possible, and it’s not always what’s best for the soul. Quitting is a life skill. You have to be willing to face the uncomfortable truth, feel all kinds of emotions, and trust that something new will show up in the right time.
It took me about a week after that first intensive to drop out of the PhD program. I listened to this song every morning on my walk while I was still vacillating over what to do. When I stayed present to my experience and “followed the sun,” it was pretty obvious: fear kept saying to stay, but my intuition said to go. I didn’t yet know what the next step was; all I knew was what the next step wasn’t. I was definitely committed to a much deeper dive into my work as a healer and a teacher, but academic research was too removed for what I truly needed to embody and offer. A few weeks later, after daily emotional release and prayer, I happened to see a flyer for a program in traditional healing with an Apache medicine woman in town. When I first saw a picture of Marika Alvarado from Of the Earth Healing, I knew I had found the next step in my education. So while I may be the fastest PhD dropout ever, I am grateful to that experience for schooling me in how to let Life design my curriculum.
Is there something that doesn’t feel right to you but you’re not sure what to do? Like the song says,
“So which way is the wind blowing,
and what does your heart say?”
I won’t pretend it’s easy. The process of leaving things can send you straight into heavy darkness. This is the birth canal that needs to be passed through. So I send you blessings for courage. May you trust your resilience and the miraculous ways that new paths open for you. And remember, if you need support, ask for it. Support is always there somewhere, and it’s here too. You don’t need to struggle alone.
All my love,