If you haven’t seen Toy Story 3, let me save you the tears: Andy goes to college, and his toys are forsaken.
Two years ago,the summer before I left for Pearson College, I sat in a theater in Towson, Maryland, and watched this devastating journey unfold on the giant movie screen. I felt so sympathetic for Woody, Rex, and Mr. Potatoe Head as they fought to be reconnected with their owner; on the other hand, I also understood Andy’s lack of closet space.
Image source: troysbucket.blogspot.com
At that time, I was so focused on getting-the-heck-out-of-Maryland that I never considered cleaning out my closet. I packed my two suitcases with summer clothes in a few hours, without researching the climate of a temperate rainforest. In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more naive.
Now, here I am at another forkroad: the summer before Davidson College. Most people have told me that college will be stressful. There will be academic pressures at Davidson, they warn me. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true. But from what I learned at Pearson, I am choosing to handle this pressure differently at Davidson. The older but wiser adage resonates with me – and here is what I hope to change.
I spent the last two years performing in every way possible, focused on grades, community building, and even performing poetry and dance. My mind, and my body and heart, never truly rested. Now, this summer, I have had a major reality check on the importance of my health. I cannot imagine being anywhere but home, where I have found rest. In my recovery I am finally witnessing the space between my thoughts. Silence. The field of all possibilities.
This healing space has encouraged me to take my focus from performance to life without effort. As impossible as this sounds in my mind, I have realized that planning and perfecting is energy-draining. It takes mounds of energy to anticipate life, rather than just live it. Effortless living is in the moment, genuine, trusting my heart to lead me from one minute to the next.
The skeptic people-pleaser within me is uncomfortable with this concept of surrendering to God to lead my life. Finding fulfillment from inner Light, rather than report cards, inspires fear within. But it also is humbly empowering to have a renewed perspective heading to college.
Like that summer two years ago, I still am packing too many belongings and excitedly anticipating back-to-school shopping. But my greatest preparation comes from my daily walks, precious minutes of silence, and conversations with family. These moments have taught me more than any textbook from my years of studying.
So, as I finish a room renovation and begin college packing, I am faced with decisions about the toys and artifacts from years past. With a new wholehearted view, I am taking time to clean out old ways of thinking and old toys – and make space for new Wisdom!