Monday, December 2, 2013

Journeys | Lessons from Chance

So far almost everything in my almost nine months of the PhD journey in Australia went completely differently from what was planned and anticipated —both academically and in personal life. Yet it has been a remarkable experience: the PhD has turned into a self-growth spiritual journey, from which I have learned several life lessons beyond academia. 
Although I have been in quite emotional distress in a state of almost complete isolation for such a long time, yet I have been able to cope and survive many circumstances. I have learned:
  • To accept the challenge of sharing a living space with people different cultures 
  • Not to expect and be open to be the unexpected without fear
  • Not to plan but accepting chance
  • To overcome academic difficulties and politics by reminding myself several times a day of the purpose of my research
  • To accept moments of weakness and despair knowing that energy and strength will return
  • The importance of a yoga practice which I can always bring with me even if I have to modify it
  • That there are always a few places offering solace and comfort, like the beautiful and comfortable university libraries
  • To use what places have to offer, even if unusual, like the Geelong shark proof swimming enclosure where I finally went swimming this afternoon.
  • To be without my phone, which has been my only companion not only for communication with other humans but also for music and photo-video recording, which are so much part of my life; since yesterday by beloved companion is not giving signs of life and I have to wait until my return to the US to fix it.
  • To live in an nature hostile environment and overcome fears of mice, spiders. This morning I was thinking that I have been spared encounters with snakes, and this evening I have been offered this experience too. On my walk back to my residence in rural Waurn Ponds, I was on the side of the road and a USV makes a u-turn right next to me. The driver ---a blond woman with young children--- lowers the car window and tells me to be aware of a snake on the road. I turned my head and saw, probably less twenty or thirty meters away something coiled, probably the snake she was talking about. I screamed and thanked her.
The list of my learning experiences is not over; most of all, I learned of being on my own, not to despair, of letting go of attachments, and to expect the unexpected, having faith I will encounter one the many angels, always there, even for a few minutes, when I need them.