Recently, I decided to go back to school. My plan simply was to take the fastest route to finish my degree. I did not even care in which major my degree would be. This may sound strange, but I was only 30 credits or so shy from having my Bachelor’s degree and my focus was the piece of paper – that and not wasting any credits I had already accumulated.
The visit to my local state college, the one I attended 29 years ago before I went to Ringling in Sarasota, Florida, took away all apprehensions of going back to school. I signed up for my first class and, within days, I was a new student. Unfortunately, when it came time to meet with an academic advisor, all the ease disappeared. At the time, I remember thinking, “Really? This person is to advise our young people?” This woman argued with me for ten minutes about what credits I did and did not already have, only to find out she had the file of another person on the screen. If I did not have the wisdom and experience that being forty-something has given me, I would have walked out of there with a sheet that told me everything I needed to take… if I were a student named Karen. What I did walk out of her office thinking was, “I will just take a few classes that I am still missing and are the basics and required for any degree, such as Public Speaking, and find a new school or go back to Ringling.”
After several phone calls and a dozen emails later, I found the same resistance with Ringling. What was happening? Was the whole reason for me to get into the public speaking class so effortlessly only for the experience that class would give me in making me a better public speaker? For the next few weeks, I let it go and immersed myself in the class. I loved it! The professor was awesome, the students were so much fun to be with, and they loved my speeches all centered around the work I do.
Over those few weeks, I concluded that getting a degree was not necessary and I would focus on the work of writing my next book. I began visualizing the success of the book and where I would go to do workshops and give talks – all of which I felt so much more confident about now that I had learned the science of credibility to add to my speaking skills. And then I realized something. As I was hugging all the students goodbye on our last day, exchanging emails to keep in touch, I realized that I loved being engaged – I loved the stimulation, humor, and commentary you have in taking a class at the college level. I was going to miss it. Listening to everyone compare notes of what classes they were taking in the fall, I decided that I wanted to take a class again, degree-seeking or not.
The class that came to mind was French. Why French? Well, in my visualizations, I often visit France. I love the country and my plans were to wander the roads of the countryside as I let in inspiration to write. However, this meant I would need to go a round with the academic advisor, again. This time it turned out very differently. As I sat in front of a very nice lady, she looked at me and said, “WOW, you have a lot of credits! I am going to put you in for seeking an Associate’s degree so you will have first choice of the classes you want to take, even though you are not declaring a Bachelor’s degree path. What kinds of classes are you interested in?” I reeled off a list I thought was interesting, watching her smile. Then she said, “I wish everyone took classes they loved, rather than focusing on a course of study. Because if they did, they would find out that there is a degree for what they want. Have you ever looked into getting a degree in philosophy?” No, I hadn’t, but six hours later, I was enrolled in French and had found that the university three miles from my home had just begun offering such a degree. Crazy!
That is when I smiled, realizing the ease that started this path was there for a purpose, and the seeming block was also there for a purpose. I did not need to see that block as a sign that I was not to continue, but rather it gave me the opportunity to see things in a new light, a more joyful perspective.
A friend of mine ran into a money block a few days ago. She recognized that if she stayed in the energy of enjoying rather than panicking, knowing full well that all would be well that she could move through the situation effortlessly. And she did. In fact, she brought many of us along on the happy ride with her.
Often, we try to flow with the universe. We try to recognize the signs and move with the energy, but we forget to follow the joy. When we do follow the joy, every seeming obstacle takes us to a path we never thought about.
Follow the Joy – it’s your yellow brick road!