Greetings, and congratulations on your acceptance to California Institute of Integral Studies!

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations! I am delighted to inform you of your acceptance to the California Institute of Integral Studies.  You have met all of your admissions requirements and have been fully accepted to the  Master of Arts Weekend program in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Integral Counseling Psychology for the 2015-16 Fall Semester.   You will soon receive an acceptance letter in the mail.



I’m going to graduate school.

Oh my.


I’m going into debt.

Who cares!

I’m going to graduate school, graduate school, graduate school.

Gonna get me a Masters of Fine Arts.

And learn how to spell.

Or at least sit quietly and listen to what other people need, that’s the point of being a therapist, and being of service, that’s a nice thing too.

I ran upstairs to tell the mom at work.

I had put down the monkey for his afternoon nap and coordinated with the mom at lunch about what marketing needed to be done, what I was going to make for dinner, and retrieval of said grocery items that needed to be bought.

I picked up my phone from the counter where it had been re-charging, I re-charge my phone frequently, I take a lot of photos of the boys at work and that will zap the juice from my phone faster than you’d expect.

I have been in the habit of checking my e-mail of late and I did just that before heading out the door.

I caught my breath.


There it was.

I could barely read it.

I just saw the congratulations part and my whole body filled up with light and love and gratitude and I could feel the breath tangle up in my chest and tears stung my eyes.

I got in.

“I never once thought you wouldn’t,” my dear friend told me later on the phone, “I never doubted.”

I didn’t really either, but I also didn’t want to be too cocky about it.

I felt like it was happening almost without me giving it much thought, I just kept taking these little tiny steps, little bursts of faith-based actions, and there it was the culmination of those efforts, ever since the confrontation with my employer out at Burning Man.

I am reminded of that day, the morning after I got yelled at by my boss, and how it changed me, how I allowed the change to happen within me.

There was an art piece out on the playa that my darling friend and I walked to the afternoon after the ridiculous rain storm hit and the gates were shut down and I had spent five hours hiding out in the Commissary.

It was “The Wheel of Fortune.”

A circle of doors that led where?

As it turned out one opened the door of a Major Arcana Tarot card.

I walked in through Death.

How apropos.

I had come to the realization that I was no longer going to be a nanny, or at least, that I had to do something different, and that graduate school was in order and that I had to change, my employer didn’t have to do a damn thing.

I had to change.

The death of self, the death of the idea that I knew better, the death of my old hopes/dreams (being a highly sought after published writer with all sorts of fame and monies), the surrender to the Universe that I really did not know what was best for me.

But that I hoped.


To live a life of purpose and meaning and service.

My friend and I walked around the circle and looked over the cards on the back of the doors–the art work was superlative, dandy steam punk inspired, gothic, rich in rendering, there was a circular velvet covered bench to sit on in the middle, the open blue sky above.

I, in my mind, had decided I was going to exit through the Lovers door.

I mean, that’s what Burning Man is about, another of my unrealistic hopes, to find a lover and partner at Burning Man, get me some LOVE on.



But after talking and sharing with my friend about the epiphany I had when I did some inventory on my job and shared it with a fellow the previous night and the perspective he gave me, I completely forgot about exiting through the Lovers Door.

“Let’s go see some more art,” she said.

We got up off the bench, still chatting, and without realizing it, I walked, not through the Lovers door, but rather.

The High Priestess.


The goosebumps on me when I realized what I did.

I walked out with my friend into the open playa, we had little adventures and saw much art, but that door stood open in my heart and I embraced what I needed to do next.

Then I took little actions.

I”m not saying that Burning Man completely made it clear to me that I was supposed to follow this path, but yes, as a matter of fact, it did.

I was also ready for change and despite being in a lot of fear about what it would look like, I knew that it had to happen.

I remember that night when I got back to camp after the event had opened the gates and the masses held back with the rain had been let in, I sat down in the little Bambi Airstream, my gilded cage, and booted up this very laptop.

I looked up CIIS on the web and I RSVP’d the open house for fall 2015 admissions.

And well.

Jesus on a raft.

It looks like I’m going.

Especially as I just paid the non-refundable enrollment fee of $300 to hold my spot.

I also tried to navigate the financial aid forms too, but I got a little overwhelmed and stopped.

Enough actions for today, I need to remember to enjoy this, this feeling, rich in gratitude, love, abundance, joy.

I can take tonight and bask in the glow.

I believe I have earned it.

I won’t be resting on my laurels for long, I promise.

But for the moment.


It does feel good.

It does.

I’m going back to school!



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