Monday, October 10, 2005

Life - a gift?

I am in the last 3 months of my PhD funding. Ideally I want to finish by Christmas, but this doesn't look all that promising right now. I'm bored and frustrated, job hunting and hoping beyond hope that somehow I'll find the energy and motivation to finish this thing.

I try to see life as a gift. It is an immense joy to experience life - to live, to breathe, to love, to simply be alive. I try to appreciate it and milk it for all its worth. But, my attitude for the last few weeks, maybe even months hasn't been to accept this stage of my PhD as a gift, but rather as a curse, to be got over as quickly as possible so that I can collapse at the end of it, have my viva, make my amendments (if they tell me to re-submit or do more studies, the answer will be no way on this sweet earth), get the binded copies into the library, give one to my dad and get on with life and put this whole damned charade behind me.

But this is not a way to live. This quotation from John Woolman spoke to me.

"Open your eyes to the flaming vision
of the wonder of such a life.
Begin where you are. Now.
If you slip and stumble
don't spend too much time in anguished regrets
and self-accustions but begin again
Don't grit your teeth and clench your fists and say,
"I will! I will!" Relax.
Take hands off. Submit yourself to God...
Let life be willed through you.'


So can these next few months be accepted as a gift to unwrap and celebrate? They will be tough, I have no doubt about it. But can I accept them with joy? I'll try, I will try to stop and remember what a wonder it is simply to be. Maybe its ironic that after reading some Woolman, by thoughts turn to a quotation I read in Dawkin's 'Unweaving the rainbow' which said, 'To live at all is miracle enough.' Indeed it is - even if it means the inevitable frustration and turmoil that come with finishing a PhD.

Although damn it, I still just want a holiday free of PhD worries...)

6 comments:

Cigamybab said...

Wazz up

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abbyladybug said...

Finishing a Ph.D. does really happen. You really will be Dr. Contemplative Activist! Hi, it's Abby here. I had dinner with Peterson the other night, and he told me about your blog. I just finished my Ph.D. in Psychology. It took 7 years. It took forever. Just keep the ball rolling, no matter how slow it's rolling. What helped me finish the #%$^@%! dissertation was setting up a standing study meeting a few times a week with a friend in a similar boat. Man, it's hard, but it can be done.

Contemplative Activist said...

Thanks Abby :)

I'm probably quite lucky - I share an office with lots of other PhD students, although I'm going to be the next to finish - so I'm more stressed than the rest atm. Still, I will get there in the end.

7 years?!?!? OMG - don't say things like that! I've been here just over 3 years, including a 3 month study-break (not a break at all) type thing in New York. If I go on much after Christmas, I'm going to go absolutely insane!

Lorcan said...

re: going insane....

and the downside is???????

You can come and keep you're other crazy Friends company here on the other side of the Atlantic...

Still crazy after all these years.
lor

Contemplative Activist said...

Lor - you don't suffer from insanity. You enjoy it ;)

Lorcan said...

I agree, CA, and I don't agree... and I am taking myself to lunch to argue about it, and which ever one of me wins, I will write and tell you...
:)
lor