My dear friend, Gracie, hosted a workshop at the yoga studio this weekend entitled, Bats and the Unsuspecting Lullaby. As part of it, she created a mesmerizing art installation encompassing hanging dream catchers made from doilies of varying sizes, shapes and designs. I didn’t get to attend the workshop, but I did get to practice yoga amidst this beautiful display and received some of Gracie’s underlying intentions as a result.

As I stood among these suspended treasures, I took in this idea of quietude and standing in one’s own quietude. Being still and feeling calm. Exuding tranquility even when life is swirling about. This concept spoke to me yesterday especially since I had lots of things swirling in my mind. I think we all do … most of the time.

I felt like I was floating in this dreamy landscape.

While being still and quiet, I started to feel strength inside myself stemming from the stillness and listening. The dreamcatchers would softly shift their stance midair and slowly reveal another side of themselves. When we become quiet and still, I believe that is when our strength arises and our truth makes itself known. If we let it. The beauty surrounding me inspired me to relish in my own beauty. The stillness among this beauty reinforced my own belief in myself.

The dream catchers revealing alternate sides of themselves.

I wanted to write this post and share this experience with our McNair scholar community because it also makes me think of our scholars currently finding their voice through their work. Perhaps searching for their inner strength and stature. I’ve had recent conversations that point to self-doubt and questioning. Questioning one’s voice amidst the noisy playing field that is academe. Perhaps questioning if the effort required to grow one’s knowledge and utilize one’s voice is worthwhile.

I’ve had my fair share of “questioning moments” recently as well. As a matter of fact, today I will engage in discussion related to my own voice and work in this world. I spent a lot of time questioning myself, who I really am, what I’m really passionate about, how I wish to impact change and empower others. And right now, I’m done with the questioning. Not to say that the “questioning” won’t arise again and again. Because it will. It always does. But right now, I’m feeling firm in my own voice, in my choices in how I interact with others, how I share and bring beauty to each day.

In my exchange with Gracie, post-class, and thinking further about this notion of quietude and how it can lead to strength and clarity … about one’s purpose … about one’s work.

Gracie writes:

How bad do you want it? How good do you want it? Work is an unambiguous action. What do you want for yourself? What do you want for others? HOW do you keep going? Hint: it’s okay to die a little. Know your trade-offs. Know your exchange rate. You must love yourself more than any other version of you, each day, anew. You must trust yourself more than anyone. You must be content “going alone.” Details, interactions, time construction all matter. Do you believe in your work? If the answer is no, it’s time to refigure. If the answer is yes, you’re already on the path.

This is really an excerpt from her forthcoming work on Resiliency: An Art Form. I think it really captures the essence of what I’m trying communicate here today. If you are feeling a little “wobbly” with your work, where you are in your journey, try to embrace it as much as you can. Listen to the “questioning” that might be bubbling up for you. And then become quiet and still and really listen. Your strength and truth are there, if just below the surface. I’m definitely of the opinion that if you listen you will come to know. How about you?

P.S. You can find out more about Gracie and her work at HERE.