On Monday 26th November I finally submitted my thesis and now I have time and space to step away from the computer and academic work it feels quite odd to be back at my desk for a day. It was both a relief and an anticlimax to finally hand in the thesis, as I secretly wanted a fanfare of trumpets and shouts of acclamation at the very least. Instead I had to wait 3 hours for the printers to soft bind the copies, then queue for half an hour at students services before finally getting to that point of hand in. At least the chap behind the desk appreciated the poignancy of the moment, and stood up to recieve it, because 'it's worth standing up for'!!
Since then I have been at home, enjoying not having to travel into York every day and having time to sew, and make Christmas presents. I have also missed the cameradarie and banter of the G-lab, the Graduate centre where I had my desk. I went in at a later date to clear my desk and bring all Thay's books home, and this was another significant moment, almost a rite of passage. The end is in sight but I still have to wait for the viva date and prepare for the examination.
It feels like I am on holiday and shortly I will have to get back to 'it', except I remind myself there is no 'it' to get back to now! I really have reached that point that for the last 4 years seemed to be a mythological, moving one that I would never reach. I have poured heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into bringing the thesis into being and after a pause for a huge sigh of relief, there is also a sense of 'what now?' I am very aware of not plunging head first into the next project, and appreciating the space that has been created, whilst not filling every moment of the day as it was filled a month ago.
'What now?' remains a question that is yet to be answered. There are plans for mindfulness retreats for 2013, and running some MBSR courses, but I am in the very fortunate position of not immediately needing to earn money and so have some space to find out what will come next.
This is a real lesson in impermanence and finding out what that means, and how one lives when there seems to be a natural urge to cling to permanence, or what one thinks is permanent. Looking for the permanent in an ever-shifting, changing landscape creates many difficulties in a mind that longs for rest, for peace. Accepting what is right now must be the only answer.
Thank you to those of you following and reading this blog, and passing it on to others. This journey I have undertaken was only possible because of people like you, and what comes next will most likely involve you as well! Let's enjoy it together :)