I like to say and I like to think that Principia College is not only my alma mater, but it’s where I grew up. It’s where I went from being a teenager to a young adult. It’s where I learned the fundamentals of theatre performance, the fundamentals of writing, of friendship, of what it means to be a good student, how to take care of oneself, and the basics of being present with Love.
Each day for 5 years I was put to the test. Each day I would boil over with everything I didn’t want to be and I wrestled with everything. I was very fortunate to have professors, friends, and loved ones that were not afraid to walk into the darkest of places with me. I would spit out every dark thought I could until daytime turned into the blackest of nights, but there was always someone there to catch me, to take my hand and show me how beautiful the sun is. There was always someone there to show me that Divine Love will always be brighter than the dark.
Principia College is the place my ego wrestled with me daily and I learned the power of making my own choices. I learned that making my own choices is a privilege, and an act of self-care. I learned that making choices is not only the adult thing to do but the caring thing to do, and with care comes love.
I learned I could choose to starve myself or make myself a meal. I learned that at the hours most go to sleep I could allow myself to rest too, or stay up until the sun came up. I learned that while the sunrise is beautiful it is easier to enjoy it when the body has had proper rest and the homework has been completed. I learned the value of time management, responsibility, taking ownership of oneself, being present, and the amazing healing power of theatre.
I learned how to shoot my ego in the foot so it won’t get up and start another raid on my soul. I learned to listen to Soul, my Holy Origin, and I began to embrace it.
As I wrestled, and fought through everything I’m not, I simultaneously began to embrace the tools I was given. These tools slowly filled in the negative space, the darkness, and I soon began to feel like positive space, beautiful light.
I learned the power of gratitude, even if it was something I could only feel. I understood how it propels one forward. I fell in love with people, connection, and friendship more than I had loved myself. And I began to fall in love with myself as I fell in love with Principia College.
I’m forever grateful for the brave and beautiful theatre professors that allowed me to wrestle and that stood beside me as I fought with my ego. Though I often enjoyed my hermit, introverted ways I continuously learned that I am not a victim. There is nothing wrong with being quiet, but I have control, and therefore do not need to be held captive by the dark. I learned that taking small, baby steps does not mean one is behind, or weak. When a child is learning to walk there is no one to compete with, no deadline to meet, and the child is always supported by their innate understanding of Divine Intuition. So they have no reason to feel weak or behind. They know no shame and are delighted to be going at their own pace. I learned how profound childlikeness is and that I am strong when I tap into childlike patience.
I learned how to be, and fell in love with being an artist. I learned that God and my artistic work are intertwined like a silk braid. I live, and breathe, for that gorgeous silk braid that is my life. Principia College is where I grew into myself and I claimed that I am an artist.
Though none of this really began to take shape until years after graduating. Like a puzzle scattered on the table all my pieces were there. College was the place where I threw out old pieces, wrestled to throw out others, found and was given new pieces, and I created other pieces. Years after graduation I looked deeply at that scattered puzzle and I have been putting it together ever since. It was scary and just as hard as being in the thick of my college days, but I am happier for it all.
Principia is where I looked Barbara deep in the face and dug out all she was not. It is where professors, friends, looked Barbara deep in the eye and asked Freeing Beauty to come out. Principia is where 8-year-old me, 15-year-old me, and the emerging young adult Barbara were all invited to come play. From all that playing Freeing Beauty merged the good facets of each stage of Barbara to create a stronger, kinder Barbara that was eventually able to stand up tall, and say confidently, “Hello. My name is Barbara Foster. I am who I am and who I am is enough. I am creative, smart, and kind. I am loved by many and grateful for it. I am not a perfectly cut gem, but I am my own painted stone, crafted by Soul, glittered with Spirit, and polished by the waters of Truth. I am grateful to be alive and to always be learning.”
Principia College is where I learned the difference between humble pride, and bombastic ego. It is where Freeing Beauty became my friend and I let go of all that kept her at bay. Beauty cannot be freed when hatred and doubt are filling the room. Beauty cannot be freed when the light bulbs are burnt out and shattered, and there is no one willing to replace them.
I had a lot of cleaning up to do. College is where I began to clean up the hate and doubt. Professors came in and replaced the light bulbs allowing my wings to warm up, rise from the dust and let Freeing Beauty emerge on her own time.
Principia College brought me home. Thank you, Principia, friends, and professors alike. There’s no turning back. Onward I fly.