The next right thing

There is something beautiful about watching lightly falling rain. Clear glass droplets rolling off of autumn leaves. Small pools of cascading ripples. Me, inside, with a cozy cup of tea. Writing.

It has been one month since I’ve moved to Germany. The PhD feels close yet far away. I’ve been learning how to slow down, to relax, and to take time. I’ve been learning not to measure the worth of my days (and indirectly, myself) by how productive I’ve been. I’ve been learning how to sit in the discomfort of not knowing what’s next, and all the anxiety, anticipation and questions of self-worth that it encompasses. It’s hard and scary. And sometimes, if I dare, exciting and electrifying.

I don’t know my path yet.

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StadtPark. Köln, Germany

So I bike around and explore the city. I try out new cafes and people watch. I read and think and draw. I get inspired. I write down ideas. I feel up. I feel down. I feel like I’m making progress and gaining clarity. I learn that clarity can’t be forced. In moments of quiet and stillness, I know I’m on the right path. In moments of fear, I’m itching to have it all figured out and am despondent I’m not there yet.

As Glennon Doyle Melton writes, “You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.

So I sit with this discomfort. I invite it for tea. Stay as long as you like, I say. It’s okay that I don’t know what’s next. I’ll just keep showing up. I’ll do my part and move forward everyday. I’ll sift through what I want and don’t want. As I do this, Clarity makes brief  appearances. Discomfort becomes a familiar friend. Process and Journey become my guide posts.

As Melton writes, “Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.”

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