In just a couple weeks, I’ll be taking a sabbatical. The word, from Latin (sabbaticus), Greek (sabbatikos), and Hebrew (shabbat) means “ceasing.” Or in other words, a sabbatical is a rest from work.
Here’s what I’ve noticed. The first question people ask after hearing about my sabbatical is: “What will you do?”
A tempting question, indeed, especially for an artist.
The minute this question is asked, my mind starts to spin. Six weeks with no external commitments! I could go do this, or create that, or learn this, or work on that …
Isn’t the point NOT to work?
And yet, I can’t picture myself lounging on the couch eating bon-bons. Nor do I think that laying around and binge eating will produce the benefits a sabbatical is meant to bring.
And that brings us to the heart of the thing. Here’s why I want to take a sabbatical in the first place. I want to learn how to be purposeful without being my own personal task master. I want to let the dust settle so that in the quiet, I can observe the path I’ve traveled so far, see clearly where I am now, and glimpse where I’m headed.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to find my way to the quiet.
That quest will be my first task on my sabbatical. I’ll experiment, and see what happens. I’m sure that some attempts will be false starts. For me, work is so tightly woven into play and vice versa. Mindset is a huge part of the puzzle. The reason I’m drawing or playing guitar or hiking is likely more important than the activity itself.
I fully expect to learn all sorts of things that I can’t nail down clearly right now.
I like the idea of a quest. That’s not surprising, I’m sure, to anyone who reads this blog regularly. Maybe my very loose plan should be to take on a quest with three tasks, the first of which is finding the quiet. Wouldn’t it be lovely if I could find a doorway that remained, even after the sabbatical? Like a secret doorway behind ivy, maybe once found, the passage into the quiet could be forever known. That quiet space could be tended and nurtured until it blossomed.
I plan to post one more time before my sabbatical, and then I’ll be away for a while. When I return, I look forward to sharing about my quest, the tasks I discovered, and what I learned along the way.
In the meantime, here’s to you and to your journey.