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December 7, 2008

“If we could only learn how to yield rather than resist, to give rather than take, to put timid, frightened people at ease with calm assurance and patience – what a different world this would be (p. 95).”

~Believe, Buck Brannaman

And if we could only learn how to yield to ourselves and to the callings we feel from inside. 

For two years, I was on track to live a common, mainstream life.  I was engaged, then married; I had a job in the city, an apartment in an up-and-coming neighborhood; dinners at nice restaurants – pretty much anything a 20-something on the path to settling down could want. 

But I wasn’t settled; I didn’t want to settle.  When I finally began to yield to my yearning to break out of the mold I’d fallen into, my marriage cracked and I lost my footing for another year.  I went to graduate school, another mainstream choice more or less expected of someone with my academic record.  Despite my misery in grad school, I almost finished out the second year – almost resisted breaking away, afraid that I would lose the security I felt with the boyfriend I had met in my program.

As with my husband, I did lose that boyfriend as well as the security of knowing I had someone to share my life with.  But the rewards of yielding to my desire to swim away from the current of mainstream society have far outweighed that loss.  I feel free, lightweight, overjoyed … I feel like me.

Fear can be paralyzing, but continuing down an unsuited path simply because it offers security has far worse consequences:  depression, anxiety, bad choices, a lost spirit.  What is more, security doesn’t really exist to begin with.  Anything can happen at any time of any day to completely change the course of our lives for the better or worse, upend all of our careful planning, our laid-out futures.  So why not be the one to change things first, to jump the tracks before something unexpected forces us to derail anyway?

Learn to yield to your yearnings.  Not to momentary cravings or to whimsical fantasies, but to those deep longings you feel inside to break away from life as you’ve created it.  It’s one of the best pieces of advice I can offer.  By setting yourself free from fear, you will be doing yourself and humanity an enormous favor.


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