HOW TO BECOME A DROPOUT
(IN ORDER TO DROP IN)
As a college administrator, I used to encourage students to become dropouts.
For someone who strongly advocates for higher education, this seems antithetical to wise practice. Working in higher education I sometimes came across students who were just going through the motions.
They were unhappy, stressed out, lost, disinterested, and trying to meet someone else’s expectations. When this happened, there was little chance for them to be successful until they intentionally and consciously dropped out. When they did this, they came face to face with having to become very clear about their desires, their vision and what they had to give to life. They had to pause and literally drop out of doing to reconnect with their being. After taking time out, most came back stronger and with a deeper commitment to creating a foundation for bringing their gifts to life.
Dropping out of doing is a methodology that works well in our everyday life – with a little twist.
This past Friday, I was driving home from the city of David, Panama. I had taken my husband to the airport for his return trip to Virginia and had a truck full of groceries, our gardener and his 10-year-old nephew in the car. As I made my way up the long, climb to the mountain town of Boquete, I pushed the accelerator to the floor and the truck slowed to a crawl.
It was one of the worst nights to be coming home on this busy highway. The Boquete Coffee & Flower Fair had opened, and they were expecting 150,000 visitors to a town that normally hosts around 21,000 residents. In the past, I had seen images of miles of cars backed up for miles and miles, so I was nervous to be on the road in this type of traffic.
Slowly I inched my way to an area where I could pull off the road – right below a light house. (Why do they have a light house in the mountains??) I took a deep breathe. My thoughts raced with, “Was it the transmission? Did I blow a gasket? Could I get hold of my insurance company to call for a tow truck? Where would they take the car? In Panama, you don’t always have the luxury of calling Triple AAA or a mechanic, or even a tow truck. “Aaacckkkk! What to do??!!”
Stress had me by the throat. I took another deep breath and remembered my practice of dropping out, also known as Pause, Position, Presence. The practice goes like this: slow down, pause, trade the position of stress for a position of internal stillness and silence that helps you connect with, and be exquisitely present with the infinite. Repeat until you feel calm, connected, and present.
Once I was calm and connected, I could see, feel – and intuitively know – what I needed. Immediately a person came to mind – I needed Bernardo! Without stopping to think whether my friend might be available on one of the busiest nights of the year, I picked up the phone and called him. He answered and came to my assistance within 20 minutes. We were home and unpacked within an hour. (Thank you, Bernardo!)
When emergencies show up, or even in the experience of our daily lives, our modern world can overwhelm our connection with ourselves, each other, the source of our being – the Infinite. The most important aspects of our lives can get lost in the resulting stress and strain
When this happens, it’s important to use the practice of pause, position, and presence to slow down and consider how you want to BE in this moment – no matter what is happening around you. You can ask, “How do I want to BE in relationship to what is unfolding?” “What qualities call to me?” “Calmness, peace, freedom, resourcefulness, confidence, love?” “What else?”
Dropping out to drop in, doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit and go live in a cave. It means that you invest time and practice in taking care of your soul. You take a moment to breathe, to connect, and/or enjoy the moment – despite the circumstances.
Our stress tells us, “I have bills to pay, children to care for, cars to fix, relationships to tend! Are you crazy?!! People will think I’m irresponsible and lazy. I can’t afford to “drop out!”
Yup. I get it. I was living there…until I found another way. Our sense of time, money, value, worthiness, and resources is driven by our beliefs, our perception of how much of each is available to us. Those beliefs are driven by fear and scarcity mentality.
Sometimes, we forget that we are both infinite and finite. The most powerful part of our being is the Infinite, yet we often allow the finite to rule our day. The Infinite “also known as the absolute” is a field of pure energy that is neither created nor destroyed, while the finite (also known as the relative) is the material world. Because our material world is co-created with and from the Infinite, there are no limitations on time, money, love, or resources in the absolute. However, if we try to co-create from the finite world, we will encounter the limitations of the material world. It’s wise to know where we are creating from in any given moment.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of practicing dropping out to drop in. The moments when we most need to connect to the resources of the Infinite are the times that we are least likely to access them. Humans are habituated to patterns of stress, strain and striving. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a practice of pause, position, and presence in your daily life – before your car breaks down. The three pearls of practice, pause, position and presence are some of the most valuable gems you’ll ever acquire. I promise, if you learn to drop out to drop in, if you learn to reconnect with the Infinite on a regular basis, it will change your life.
So, here’s to becoming a drop out!