A friend of mine who is nearing the end of this long
treacherous road and I were talking about how to make the conversations about our dissertations, or rather that accessibility available on paper. In other words, how do I make what I say about my dissertation match what I actually write? The result of our conversation was her asking me to read her work so far, to which I gladly agreed and assured her I would do so lovingly and with care. I actually responded, “Sure! I love this stuff, its like being able to see into people!”
This came hours after my work-wife Annie asked me to edit a proposal she wrote for a class we have together. A paper I also agreed to read, lovingly and with care. The way I figure, the more help I extend to others around me the better for all of us. I was tweeting this exact sentiment and closed it with a hashtag that was previously unused–so note that I am staking claim on my unprecedented use of the phrase, PhDharma.
Dharma: (Sanskrit: धर्म dhárma, Pali: धम्म dhamma) is the Law that “upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe”, Dharma has the Sanskrit root dhri, which means “that without which nothing can stand” or “that which maintains the stability and harmony of the universe.” (source)
It was perfect. Perfectly used and perfectly birthed because this cycle of conversation, community, help, and loving, careful critique is pretty much what it takes to get through this PhD program. Relationships (between you and work, you and others, you and faculty, you and you) are the foundation. You have to be able to receive feedback, and you have to be able to give it in a way that is an offering. That sacred exchange is the dharma of us doctors of philosophy-in-training. *pats self on back*
Speaking of dissertations, I just so happened to mention mine the other day on twitter to Dr. Brene Brown and she
obviously responded because we are BFFs. It got me thinking about how, had I written this dissertation two years ago, or even last year how I was in such a different place/space then and it would have been different. During my Masters, I might have felt too overwhelmed to read the work of my friends, and give any kind of constructive feedback…but one thing I can say is that in this program specifically, I have absolutely recognized the need for other people. Other opinions. Other perspectives. And I’ve found that just because I take in more of you (and you, and you) it does not make me any less me. I only helps me in getting to know myself better.
And that, dear friends, shows up in my work, bringing it full circle.
One of our Leadership Studies professors Dr. Christopher Newman asked me, “do you want your dissertation to be award-winning or do you want your dissertation to be done?” To be fair, he asked me this question because I was being a bit incredulous at the time demanding that all these parts be presented and that it was an accurate representation of X, Y and Z. What I have come to realize oddly enough by helping and talking to others, is that all the parts that I felt were important and necessary will show up in my work because I will have written it. And as it is in me, it cannot help but to be in my work.
So, cliffs notes: help others, help yourself, get PhDone.
–if you have more to add to the discussion, leave comments or tweet using hashtag #PhDharma!