Sometime this summer, I listened to a podcast (I think it was the Good Life Project, but I don't remember the guest's name). The guest said that very few people can arrange a whole year "off" to take a sabbatical. Even though he worked for himself, he couldn't manage it. He realized, though, that he could manage to schedule a week "off" for a mini sabbatical. He tried it and liked it and decided to make it a regular part of his life. He works for 7 weeks and then takes one week off, then repeats the cycle.
The week off isn't necessarily to just binge watch Farscape (which I would also love to do). It is to refill the well. Recharge the batteries. Feed what feeds you. Attend to your soul. You know, all the things that get pushed down the To Do List.
Even though I work for myself, I couldn't take off completely. So I compromised by only attending to the essentials, which could be done in less than a hour a day.
I broke up my hour with 30 minutes just before lunch. That was the first time I would launch my email that day. I'd do what I could for 30 minutes, then done. Later, about 30 minutes before the end of my working day, I checked my email again.
Most interesting, was my sabbatical week rules for Facebook. I can't tell you how much time I spend on FB. There is a lot about FB that I love and I would never "give it up." Instead, I realized that I need to re-evaluate the time I spend there and the purpose I am there. Good: keeping up with friends. Bad: FOMO...Fear of missing out. After just checking in with FB once or twice a day for a week, this weekend I went back to my normal practices and was shocked to see that so much of what read was nothing new. I know. But really, I was shocked. I realized that FOMO kept me from being as present as possible in my own life. I realized that I am interested in almost everything and I could spend my whole life reading about fascinating and forgettable things posted on FB.
By keeping my online visits to a minimum, I was really surprised by all the time I had and how much I accomplished. And I wasn't trying to accomplish anything in particular.
Now that the week is over, I declare it a success. By the end of the weekend, I was energized and ready to get to work. I think I will approach my work over the next 7 weeks with passion and no resentment. You see, I'm interested in lots of things and sometimes I get really sad that I can't do or explore everything I want. Now I will know that every 8th week, I'll be able to go wherever my fancy takes me.
I realize I am lucky, that I can structure my work life so that I can do this. Maybe you can't take a full week off. But the guy who originally had the idea knew he couldn't do a year, so he came up with an option that worked for him (and me). That means, you can figure out something that works for you, maybe a long weekend or maybe one evening a week.
Maybe it seems indulgent or irresponsible to do this. But I don't think so. I think refilling our wells and exploring the things that delight our souls, even if they don't earn money, add great benefit to our lives. Yes, it has taken me, a stereotypical Capricorn, over 50 years to realize this. Better late than never!
Here are some things I did last week since I wasn't on email or FB or working much.
I journaled and read.
I made art. The leaf is watercolor, the pumpkin is oil pastels, the rattle is pencil. I also watched a ton of YouTube videos on watercolor instruction. I would have watched ones on oil pastels but there aren't many.
I took walks around Como Lake and through my neighborhood.
I copied about a hundred scraps of paper (with brilliant ideas scribbled on them) onto index cards for easy sorting and reviewing. I refreshed my altar.
May you, my dear friends, find some time to nourish your souls. May life make it easy for you to feed what feeds you. May you find inspiration and refreshment whenever you need it.