Being a hard worker, I finished my master in mental health precisely within one year. I was eager to go from my text books to the real stage, from practicing on actors to real patients. I can do this! I'm good at this! Bring it on.. But writing application letter after application letter, putting all my enthusiasm into words and fancy lay-outs, I was never invited to show myself. I lacked experience.
I worked for free for one year, to gain experience, because surely, either that institution would recognize my talent, or my experience would at least give me a bigger chance on the market. But no such luck, and after rejection after rejection, I started to worry. Until then, my coping strategy existed solely of 'adding effort', 'try harder', 'doorbijten' as we say in Dutch. But that just didn't seem to work this time. Expressing my worries to my sensei, he replied that I shouldn't go after whatever 'they' want, but what is really meaningful to me. What resonates so deeply within me, thàt is the direction I should follow. I meditated.
And I found out, that the quiet insights gained by mindfulness and meditation the past five years stir something I want more of, and that I wish to share that with others. Teaching them to look inside, the wonders that await there but where we look past every day because 'the outer world is more important, more demanding'. I stepped inside, and let everything go. There is the now, my awareness, and the world revolving around me. And from my core, I am just looking.
Two weeks later there was an aikido seminar, and many people from other dojo's came to join. A woman sat next to me, and she was sure she had met me before. Having heard that many times, I smiled and explored with her, concluding that we hadn't met. But there was a connection, and in our exploration, she learned about my education, my interest in mindfulness, and she invited me to the university where she is professor. Because she was looking for someone to fill a PhD-position on mindfulness.
I went, and even though I never even considered science as a career, I love it. I learn, I teach, I explore. Letting go seemed to have given me the opening through which the flow of life reached me again, where my tension before blocked my receptivity.
Now though, three years later, I notice that again I'm caught up in the rush of society. The time has come to settle back from the buzzing academic world where status, politics and applying for grants is vital, into myself again.
And see what life will bring.