A Rumi Mood

As I attempt to process the pain and chaos reigning in my country – over 100,000 citizens dead from COVID-19, near-record unemployment, relentless racial injustice, and as many different opinions about these things as there are people – I find myself drawn to Rumi to make sense of it all.  Doing so has helped me realize some things:








I no longer feel responsible for saving people from their own willful ignorance, or for educating them about things they don’t want to learn.  I will save my energy for people who want to learn, grow, and change.














I am in no position to change the world if I overlook my own internal biases, prejudices, and conditioning. Self-work, self-examination, and self-awareness are great tools to start this process. So is exposing myself to conversations and situations that might be uncomfortable.












I am done trying to make people understand, whether an alternate opinion or perspective, my feelings, decisions I or others make, etc. If after an exchange or two it’s apparent that they don’t, or won’t, understand, my next reply is silence.












Pain is where change begins. When we hurt, we want to heal. When we see others hurt, we want to help. Through the process of healing or helping, we awaken.






Life is short. Seize the day.


Go Ahead, Give Up

Grunge landscape with single tree

Image via kcisradio.com

Several years ago a higher ed colleague, whose position was grant-funded, lost her job when the grant cycle ended. She’d just completed her doctorate degree and thought for sure she’d have a new position in no time. So did I. She was well-liked, hard-working, creative, and delivered results.  Who wouldn’t want to hire someone like that?

For over a year she pounded the pavement, sent out dozens of resumes, had numerous interviews, and tapped into her network. The result of her effort  was no job offer. One day on Facebook, clearly frustrated, she posted, “I give up. It’s the only thing I haven’t tried.” She spent the next few months spending quality time with her kids and rejuvenating her tired body and spirit.  Come fall, she had a well-paying position in higher education. Two years later, through new networks she’d forged, she landed her dream job.

Her post and story have always left me wondering: When is it time to stop fighting and surrender? Is there a difference between surrendering and giving up?

I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer to either question, but I do believe that for each of us, there comes a time in our life when we need to stop the struggle and turn the fight over to a higher power. Whether you believe that power is God, a universal intelligence, fate or something else doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the act of letting go, of surrendering, is sometimes the bravest action we can take. It takes courage, faith, trust, and self-awareness to say, “You know what, I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how to solve this problem. I need help.”

This is not a process for the faint of heart. Once we surrender, then we must wait. Waiting requires patience, something I personally don’t have much of, which is probably why too often I feel like I’m struggling. It also requires stillness, because only through stillness can solutions to our greatest struggles arise, sometimes like magic, into our awareness. I know this, because I’ve had such moments. Maybe you have, too.

So if what you’ve been doing isn’t working, go ahead and give up, consciously surrender. You might be surprised where it takes you. Maybe to places you never would have arrived at on your own.