My husband and I recently had dinner with a friend of ours whose Buddhist philosophy informs many of the choices in his life. He related to us how he made the choice to defer his graduate school acceptance for a year. “I just had a feeling that there was more I had to get done where I was at,” he explained. “I wasn’t sure what, but I just knew it was something.” Looking back, he sees what he was waiting for. While my friend was finishing his graduate degree at the University of Chicago, Harris T. School of Policy, then Senator Obama announced his bid for President. “Perfect timing – if I had gone to grad school a year earlier, I wouldn’t have been in Chicago then, I wouldn’t have worked on the campaign, and I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.”
Regardless of our spiritual leanings and affiliations, I’m a believer that we all have access to “the right answer” to the big questions if we just tap into it. Tapping into it, however, requires we separate ourselves from the material manifestations we so often use to define and affirm our success – the neighborhood we live in, the clothes we wear, the prestige of the organization we work for, or our title which we often equate with our value. What if we chose to unwind our definitions of success to their origin, before the influence of inescapable societal and familial influences? What if we took time to stop for a minute, clear our head, sit with the possibility of the unknown, and make our next move free from the boundaries we have created?