Friday, April 14, 2006

courage and self-doubt

I've been thinking of how the past 2 years post-divorce have seen me through so many different things - a leave of absence on the PhD, starting and leaving a full-time research job, a dead-end relationship....and just the divorce itself. All seem like failures on my part, even when they are not really. But they are so different than the past 15 years... Several months back I posted about self-doubt and a person commented saying, you have self-doubts and you're so successful?! After I met my exhusband I become a little pistol, self-determined and very successful. I went from being a party animal who did not apply myself fully in my academic studies to someone who made a 4.0 in all courses. I quit the partying, became healthier, graduated with honors then published my Master's research in the top journal in ecology, and finished in two years. I always tied this behavioral switch to my 5-months in Australia, where I discovered my love of wildlife and ecology, but I wonder if having someone to share my life with also didn't become the glue that held everything together. Having someone who loved me, and to love, made it all seem there was a purpose in everything.

Throughout my childhood, the subtle (and sometimes explicitly stated) message from my mom and stepdad was that I could not make it on my own, that I needed them, that I was irresponsible, that I was not good enough as I was, that what I thought and said was not really what I thought and felt. So maybe subconsciously I believed it, and though I am entirely competent, intelligent, and motivated to succeed - and believe my career shows this - maybe now that I am independent and solo somehow I don't believe I can do the same things once again? That I am somehow unable to succeed on my own? That even though my ex had nothing explicitly to do with my academic and career success that maybe somewhere in the recesses of my brain and soul, I believe that on my own I am nothing and can do nothing right? I don't know, really, but the thought came to me today during my morning meditations/prayers. I need to reverse it. Positive visualization seems to work well. The other day I sat yoga-style in my bedroom and just imagined myself fully and completely loved and accepted and forgiven, perfect as is in the stage of my self-growth that I am at... it was difficult but nice.

So... one foot before the other. One thought before the next. I am missing Peru. I see extravagant things in stores and think how much this money could buy for the Peruvian villages... the children... and while simply throwing money in their direction is not the answer, we certainly have a culture of extreme waste and squander and a total lack of appreciation for all the people in the world who could benefit from a little money and effort applied toward solving some of the world's pressing problems. Here is a world that still has enormous swaths of nearly untouched wilderness and will the country and the people learn from the mistakes those the world over have made in their lands? We know how quickly we can permanently alter ecosystems and plunder biodiversity - and even the Amazon has suffered already. How long until it reaches a tipping point beyond which biodiversity loss is irreversible? Will the people realize the benefit they can have to preserve their natural heritage? We didn't in the U.S. for the most part, can we be so bold as to warn and help others who are still at the stage of needing to meet the basic life requirements - food, clean water, shelter, health?

And how do I contribute, and how can I help? I plan to send some of my photos down there, the children and parents seemed to like to look at the digital photos on my camera itself after I took them. Such a small act, but one of love, to speak from my heart that I find them individually valuable and precious.

So now, I need to know implicitly and explicitly that my purpose is not for any man or even myself, but to serve a higher purpose - God. I am rereading the Purpose Driven Life along with a couple of friends. Sometimes what we know in our hearts already we need to let our minds know explicitly.

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