“Maybe you should take a sabbatical,” my husband said at dinner last night. “Professors do it, and everyone thinks it’s a good idea.”
I like the sound of the word. It is derived from “sabbath,” and it means a rest from work. Typically, according to that source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, a sabbatical lasts from two weeks to a year.
Henry floated the idea because I expressed a need for some reinvention. Something about my current path doesn’t feel right, and I want to adjust. Problem is, I don’t know what that means. To do that requires time and quiet.
From what do I need to take a sabbatical? It’s not like I have a demanding job to go to.
Do I want to stop writing? No. That would be like asking if I wanted to stop living. I’m cranky when I don’t write. I’m restructuring my novel, and it’s coming along slowly but well. It doesn’t feel like the time to set it aside.
Stop gardening? Well, no, I’m not willing to do that, either. I’m besotted by green growing things, especially the edible variety, and I’m sneaking out on sunny days to prune and weed when the ground isn’t overly wet. Connecting to the earth connects me to my spirit and brings me wholeness.
Then there are the various and sundry interests I have: crafts, genealogy, cooking, health. I get jazzed by all of them, and it’s hard to think of giving any of them up.
So what then?
Noise. I can take a sabbatical from noise. That means Facebook, primarily. Of course, staying off of Facebook also keeps me away from a variety of other websites and useless articles.
I can take a sabbatical from rushing from one task to the next. In Jewish tradition, each section of the service ends with a kaddish, a prayer sanctifying God’s name. In yoga, we use certain poses, such as tree pose, to transition from standing to seated postures. Why not have more transitions in the day, moments of quiet and breathing between tasks?
Funny thing is, when I take the time to rest and relax, I still get the same amount of work done.
I can take a sabbatical from self-imposed pressure. What if I returned to that time when writing felt like play? Too often, when I’m wearing my editor hat, I turn into a taskmaster. What if I relaxed and enjoyed the process? What if I kept working on the book, but stopped heaping deadlines and ultimatums upon myself?
Maybe it’s time to set aside the Puritan work ethic. It would be great if I could give that one up for good, but that seems impossible. It’s deeply ingrained in my DNA.
But a sabbatical…I could do that.
What would a sabbatical look like for you?