Some happy news.
Ten years ago today, I defended my Masters thesis. It was the bleakest time of my life. I’d lost my father, my grandmother, and a dear friend to a freak brain tumor. I was sick with a mysterious autoimmune disease that no doctor could cure, in which my body slowly covered with strange bruises. I didn't know how to feed my body so that it felt good. My mind was weary and clouded with grief, my heart racing with anxiety, and my spirit heavy with hopelessness.
The suffering was palpable. I didn't know how to shift it.
On December 11th I stood in front of my thesis committee and defended my thesis. My voice shook and my eyes filled with tears, explaining what a victory it was to even be there — but dammit, I did it. It was approved with a few minor revisions. I walked away relieved, gutted, disenchanted, exhausted. Nothing left to give.
A few weeks later, I threw myself into a yoga philosophy program. Immersed in the study of yoga and meditation, I realized that learning to sit with suffering, to make friends with it, to meet my own suffering with compassion and grace was the key to finding joy. That program led to my dharma, my life’s purpose: teaching and writing about yoga and meditation. And here we are now.
But that bleak December 2008, I walked away from academia. I walked away from "Queering the Market God: On Eschatology and Desire." I never filed it.
Last June, when we were in Berkeley, I filed my thesis. It's official. My Masters degree in Systematic Theology, retroactively dated May 2009. Boom.
I share this to remind you that your story is never over — and that your suffering can be your greatest teacher. It's never too late to pick up where you left off; to close the circle; to finish the chapter. I'm so grateful for every difficult moment along the way. It brought me here.
If there's anything I could say to that world-weary, grieving young woman, I'd say: hang in there, girlfriend. Give yourself grace. Make friends with your suffering. It's not the end of the story. This rough patch might just send your life in the perfect direction.