I’ve been having an interesting discussion with myself about the desire to take a sabbatical.
And how important it is to set aside periodic big chunks of time out of your life to recharge, and rejuvenate.
But the problem with sabbaticals is that wherever you go, there you are, which means that for most of us we drag along our allegiance to the god of productivity. ( Which is actually the subject of another post at another time.)
Now I’m primarily talking about myself in this regard. I am one of the biggest offenders around. I am addicted to productivity. It’s like a drug for me. I just feel so incredibly good when I accomplish something. And often the bigger and more challenging the accomplishment is, the better I like it.
It’s exciting. I feel a sense of mastery and achievement when I write that blog post or fill that workshop or create a new program. I have a mile long list of projects that I am either involved in or that I am looking forward to getting to.
Partly it’s the problem of being a driven creative person and having more ideas than sense.
When you work for yourself you kind of have to keep coming up with new things, like new ways to market and get the word out, or new offerings for my students and clients. It’s fun and there’s an exhilarating sense of freedom that comes with knowing that you are the driving engine behind your work and success.
It feeds the part of me that is a thrill seeker and adventurer to create something and throw it out in the world and see what happens.
Because of course, there are no guarantees. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. But it’s fun and also scary to take the risk and give it a try. And when you do that often enough, just through the law of averages, some things are going to make it.
Which is totally fulfilling and often mind-blowing. And it’s always the intermittent reinforcement that keeps you coming back for more.
But the funny thing is that I don’t actually think of myself as a gambling type of gal. I’m much more consciously identified with the side of me that is rock solid steady and reliable. The part of me that has grown my business from scratch and has gotten to where I am because of my relentless persistence and my sheer stubborn capacity to hang in there even when things get hard and frustrating.
The part of me that is actually pretty conservative in my actions and my life and doesn’t particularly like change. The part of me that NEVER moves my furniture around once it has been placed in a certain configuration or has used the same shampoo and conditioner for over 30 years.
But change is in the air. I can feel it coming.
There are all kinds of structures, patterns of doing things, belief systems and perceptions of myself that are up for re-evaluation. Certain ways of being in the world that for so long have been comforting and like part of my core identity are now feeling constraining and stale.
And not like me at all. Or at least not like this new me.
And I know I’m not the only one. As the Buddhists say, change is the only constant. But some seasons of change are more all encompassing. And dramatic. And it seems to me that a season like that is upon many of us right now.
One of the things I have observed about the process of change is that we are way more likely to fully grok the implications of the change after the fact.
We don’t say to ourselves: Yippee! I am SO hell bent on changing. Because there is a part of us that truly doesn’t EVER want to change.
We don’t say: I am going to do this thing and my life will never be the same again. Because that would scare the living bejesus out of us.
We have to sneak up on it.
It starts when we simply begin to hunger for different things. And take small steps to feed that hunger. And before we know it we have unwittingly pushed away from shore and are further out on the ocean sea of change than we ever dreamed was possible.
The change has already happened from the inside out and the task at hand is to catch up with ourselves. We need to take a deep breath, look around and admit that we are not in Kansas in anymore.
And then boldly and consciously move forward in the direction that we are already headed.
Change is scary because it always involves loss.
You can’t have the old thing and the new thing both at the same time. Something ALWAYS has to go. But we want to have it all. We don’t want to feel the heart hurt of what is dying so that we can be reborn.
We hopefully ask ourselves : Can’t I keep doing what I’ve always done and still become someone new?
And the answer from life is always an unequivocal NO. Nope. Nada. Zip. That just AIN’T happening.
Because change means leaving things and sometimes even people behind.
It means giving up a familiar activity or routine. Or walking away from a job, a house or a lifestyle. Or an identity.
Which can feel tender and sad. And sometimes even heartbreaking.
But holding onto something because you’re afraid of feeling the grief of it ending keeps you stuck. Static. Caught in the past. And ultimately without energy and that delicious sense of juicy aliveness that will pull you into the future where you can create something else just as wonderful…. if not more so.
My life already HAS changed, especially over the past few years, in some truly amazing ways.
For a long time my husband and I have talked about how great it would be to have him being much more involved in my Creative Juices Arts business which is now OUR Creative Juices Arts business. And now that long held wish is a technicolor reality and it truly IS great.
Of course, we had to be willing to say yes to this shift before we could even get started. But we tricked ourselves into it by telling ourselves that this was simply a change in our external circumstances. We had no idea … and that is probably for the best… about what it was going to bring up for us on a spirit and soul level.
But this one outward change has led to a cascade of inner changes that are more far reaching than either of us could have ever imagined. And that inner transformation is what change is always ultimately about.
So here I am. Changed and changing. On the brink. Scared and a little discombobulated. But feeling more alive than I have in a while. Which is really the whole point of this grand adventure we are all on together.