I recently began my studies as a PhD student at Pacifica Graduate Institute. I’m earning my PhD in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. In many ways, this program seems like it was custom-made just for me. It combines my childhood love of mythology, my fascination with other cultures and religions, and my all-consuming effort to better understand myself. It seems like the perfect storm of awesomeness to me.
“Yeah, but what are you gonna do with it?”
Almost from the very beginning, people have failed to see the awesomeness. When you tell people that you’re going back to school to get your PhD, the initial reaction is almost always incredibly positive. “Wow! Congratulations! What are you going to study?” Then you tell them “mythology”…and you watch their enthusiasm fade into (at best) carefully-measured neutrality or (at worst) incredible disdain. Mythology…that’s not practical…that’s not wise. People look at me fearfully and ask: “What do you want to do with that?” It’s not an uncommon question, as all of my fellow students will tell you that they, too, have heard that question hundreds of times. Nor is it completely unmerited. It’s fear-based, certainly…but that doesn’t mean it’s not valid.
Thankfully, I am finally (after 38 years on this planet) moving into a place in my life where the opinions of others don’t matter as much to me anymore, and so I was able to meet the resistance with a comfortable…
“I don’t know. It’s just something I want to do, and it *feels* right.”
However, a week before the program started, I started having some serious doubts myself. It’s a lot of debt. There’s no job market. It’s a lot of hard work. People will laugh at me. People will make fun of me. I should be more practical. I should be more wise. There are better things that I could spend the money on. I can’t afford it. It’s not going to teach me anything I don’t already know. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of energy. It won’t help me do anything……..
Stop. Just stop. Release fear…doubt….insecurity…negativity.
Center. Close your eyes. Focus. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. In……..out.
“Why am I doing this?
‘Why’ is a question the head asks that the heart has no answer for. The heart wants what the heart wants. Period.”
As I opened my eyes, I saw the course catalog from the school. I opened it up, and saw the school motto:
animae mundi colendae gratia
It means: “For the sake of tending the soul of the world.”
Why am I doing this?
To tend to the soul of the world.