Today is my conferral day. In Cork. But I am in Mayo. The simple explanation for this is that I cannot afford to go to Cork, to receive the parchment that says I have attained a doctorate. I was upset when I realised I would be unable to attend the conferral ceremony. I’d tried to save money, but I have two teenage kids, and very little in the way of an income, and a couple of weeks ago, I realised that my attempts to keep any funds aside were futile. So I resigned myself to the inevitable sense of defeat and depression that lurks at the edges of my awareness now, and I buoy myself up with the encouraging thought that I did it. I may not receive the applause. I may not get my photo in the paper. No one in the community I live in knows or cares that I went through the process of doctoral research, thesis-writing, submission to deadline, and viva examination. It means nothing to anyone. But in the end, that’s all any achievement is: a phantom. The real impact is in how I live my life, and interact with others, how I find ways to disseminate the results of my research to the many others out there who also care very deeply about how we are living, and the kind of impact we are having.
One thing I’ll be working on, along with looking for work, is organising this blog, and its sister blog, http://www.yogazazen.wordpress.com. I’ll see if I can make it easier to navigate, and I’ll trim some of the longer posts. I will post once a week, but I’ll make sure I archive material that’s older, so there’s room to manoevre, as it were. Please bear with me. I’m working on this without help. I live an isolated, marginalised life, partly because what I deem important isn’t necessarily what the vast majority deem important. But I will keep sending out this tone, this sounding, this cry from the far flung shores of Erris, so that, for those for whom these things matter, the signal will serve as a sign that even here, even alone, even unable to participate, the message is, keep going, the attitude of mindful self-awareness is the key to an enriched and enriching understanding of interrelationship.
So, I rededicate this website to those of you who, like salmon, wriggling against the current, and feeling your way back to your origins, your source. The site will cover the topics of ecological mindfulness, ecologically mindful activity, and realisation as agency. It will include proposals for postdoctoral research, as well as papers and reviews I have submitted for consideration by journals and conferences (and I will note when papers have been accepted for presentation, but I have not been able to attend the conference for lack of funding. I will also note when I have been published, and when I have been able to attend and present).
Publication is not my main ambition, although it would be easier to gain recognition and to take part in philosophical and perhaps political discussion if my thesis, or some version of it, were published. I don’t believe that making objects of our work should be the main focus for thinkers of any stripe. I’m much more interested in disseminating the work and engendering discussion, and, dare I say it, creating a shift in how we view our interrelatedness as individuals, communities, societies, and as a species.
I welcome feedback, although I would deeply appreciate it if you would couch your comments in terms that are mindful, considerate, balanced and show an awareness of the threads of experience and context that have led you to your perspective. I will aim to add a post once a week, on a Friday, so if you’re following this regularly, look out for a post then.
If your interest relates to the practice of yoga as a mindfulness practice, to meditation or to related practices, then please feel free to visit my other site, http://www.yogazazen.wordpress.com
With deep bows, as a sadder but (I hope) a wiser woman, I remain,