The last several months of writing my dissertation (Beyond Reason: Reconciling Emotions with Social Theory) were one of the high points of my life so far. I experienced a fountain of creativity and energy, and felt truly blessed to have the opportunity to express ideas so dear to my heart in a systematic and rigorous way.
While I did not pursue an academic career, I did not give up on teaching. While still in school, I became acquainted with Nonviolent Communication, a process and a philosophy which have informed my thinking and transformed my life. Since before my graduation I have been teaching people how to put human needs and feelings at the center of both theory and practice. I co-founded a local organization (www.baynvc.org) which is part of an international network of organizations and individual trainers, and I am happy to say that I have found my calling.
Just as much as my study of Nonviolent Communication affected my dissertation, my research in social theory has affected my teaching. I often find myself relating to my students stories, ideas, facts, and conceptualizations I came upon as part of my study of sociology. The writing bug has definitely stayed with me. I have published several articles since my graduation, and although my dissertation did not get accepted for publication, I continue to nurture a hope of revising parts of it into a book for the general educated public. I have a blog that is quite beyond the personal (baynvc.blogspot.com), and I run a monthly TV program on a local community channel that is uploaded regularly (youtube.com/baynvc). If my sociology contributes to more people in the world learning to value their feelings and needs and to act empathically towards themselves and each other, there is nothing more I could hope for as a consequence of 10 years of my life.