In the Fall 2009 I didn’t have a clue about the focus of my doctoral dissertation. I had lots of ideas, but not one that stood out. I felt anxious and concerned about whether I would finish by my deadline.
A year and a half later, I had finished my dissertation and graduated.
In retrospect it seems like my dissertation happened effortlessly. I read. Opportunities to contribute to scholarship on a topic appeared. I quickly identified other resources I needed to consult. Just as effortlessly, I lined up a site where I could conduct my research.
I didn’t question it. I didn’t doubt what I felt. I didn’t wonder if there was “something better.” I simply proceeded to do the work, day after day, one step at a time.
I felt at the time that the process was a miracle. I knew how long I had been blocked from identifying a dissertation topic. Somehow the path unfolded before me. I didn’t have to apply the full force of my brain power. The dissertation seemed to just happen.
But it wasn’t a miracle. Everything I had done up to that point in my life led me to my topic. I only needed to step back, relax, and let the idea step forward in my subconscious. And it did. And then, BOOM—I saw what I needed to do. And I did it with all due enthusiasm and speed.
In other words, my idea took hold of me in a deep, visceral way. I could feel it, not just think it. And I only needed to get out of its way to allow it to happen. And I did.
That feeling was special. I hadn’t experienced it a lot up to that point in my life. I knew how rare it was. And how vital it could be for helping me to create what I truly want (which is not what I necessarily believe or even say I want).
I have that feeling now about a piece I am writing. I know I only need spend the time to do what’s required. Then, I can open the doors to my energy and commitment. I need to let it flow. I only need to start by getting out of its way. Just like I did with my doctoral dissertation.
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