January 04, 2007

Patience & The Middle Way

In his book Good Life, Good Death, Gehlek Rimpoche talks about patience as the antidote to anger. While what I have been experiencing lately was not exactly anger, it could certainly be characterized as turmoil. I have found that applying patience to my feelings and my life has let me back to where I belong, my own Middle Way.

I thought I had a choice to make between two big dreams. It turns out that I only had to look behind me to realize where I really needed to go. I am an architecture student. I am about to graduate with a degree in design. I am about to enter graduate school in which two thirds of my education will be in architecture. That is what I need to focus on.

I have been a kid in a candy store, seeing everything I have wanted all in one place at one time. I had an opportunity to create and lead my own project in community development and I had (and still have) an opportunity to work with my favorite client, Shambhala Mountain Center. But this is not why I am here at the University. I am here because I want to be an architect, and, yes, a planner too. But I know that I must be an architect first because that is the long road, from which all other roads spring.

It is too soon for me to be following such big dreams, which will soak up my time and energy and lead me away from my original purpose. My grades last semester make that clear. I need to focus on my education before giving too much effort to personal projects. I need to keep my job just that – a job, something fun to bring in the money but not something I feel compelled to pour my soul into.

I struggled over winter break to come to this decision. I wrestled with it in the back of my mind. I talked it over with my close friends and myself many, many times. I didn't push, knowing the answer would come. Finally, I know I found the right decision when the turmoil eased. The voice in the back of my head asking “What am I gonna do?” finally said “Oh, okay, that sounds nice,” and went away. My bosses both felt the decision was a sound one and encouraged me to use my own wisdom to do what I feel right.

So this summer, I will find an architectural internship, set up through the college, like a newly minted graduate student is supposed to. Hopefully, it will be out in Colorado and allow time here and there for other interests. (Now the little voice is asking “Where am I gonna be?” but it doesn’t need an answer just yet.)

In this I need to continue to exercise patience and follow the Middle Way knowing big dreams will come later.

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