I’ve been reading Thomas Merton’s book No Man is an Island. Everything in this book resonates with my soul. I love the following quote from the book,
“It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we so this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no expects us to be “as gods”. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.”
Ironically, it has been a little over 4 years (around the time I decided on a grad-school) since I wrote this post entitled I’m like an island. It is strange indeed to see how much and yet how little has changed. I’ve never wanted a transient self-sustaining life, I’ve merely developed this lifestyle as a mere result of societal norms. Now I am finding myself back at square one, with the exact same thoughts plaguing me now as they did then. Something must change.
and so, as Merton adequately expresses in his book,
“Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda.
The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.”
I have decided it is time for me to take a break. A break from the rumble of vacuum pumps, the pollution of fluorescent lights, the egotism of academia, and the cries of debauchery.
Therefore, in a little less than a couple of weeks, I’m going to spend the summer living in nature, on a farm in Kentucky, River Cottage Farm to be exact. I hope to spend the summer having a bit of a sabbatical; I’ve finally recognized that I am burned out on science and that I deserve a much needed break. I hope to spend the summer doing a bit of soul searching, listening to the voice inside of my head, necessarily applying for jobs (but being pickier than I have been about it), and aim to develop a sense of community. I no longer seek the island life.
I know, it seems like a total aberration for me, a complete 180. I figure it will take a few months to up to a year for me to find a fulfilling job, and keeping my mind, heart, and soul occupied in nature and serving others will uplift my spirit during this time of uncertainty. Also, hanging out with cows, sheep, goats, and the like ought to provide me with a myriad of interesting stories to tell later on in life. I’m really excited about this new direction!