Where Have I Been?
There is this math that I sometimes do in my mind when comes to taking trips. I will calculate how many days I spend on the road traveling, and how many days I will actually be at the destination. I want to know that I will end up spending enough time experiencing the place I choose to go. I don’t want to miss out and have any regrets for not maximizing my time.
Many of you know that I took a sabbatical last year but many of you probably don’t know that I am operating like I’m still in sabbatical even though I have ended my sabbatical in April this year. You see, I miscalculated this time. I needed two years instead of one. This is what I would have done. In the first six months, I will unwind to get ready for the sabbatical. Then I’ll take the year long sabbatical. And after that, I’ll take another six months to adjust and reenter the world again. Well, that didn’t happen.
So what did I do during my time off? And what did I learn? Many people have asked me these questions. Whenever I tried to recap my time, I felt like I was lifting this humongous, intricately hand woven carpet to see where I began the first thread. Sometimes I think I’ll have better success doing an interpretive dance of my experiences than retelling them in words. As I procrastinated answering these questions, I realized what I was actually doing was holding a spacious and sacred space for integration and for reflection to slowly ripen and be harvested.
Some of you at this point might wonder why did I take a sabbatical during a time when my career was gaining momentum. The simple answer is – I W A S T I R E D. The years from 2013 to 2015 were a very trying time of my life. In three years, I lost both my parents, a beloved mentor, home, work, and spiritual community. The cross currents of these different types of loss and grief converged at the center of my heart and drilled a deep hole fragmenting the very fabric of who I had become in relations to these social systems.
During those years of loss, I continued with a full schedule of traveling and teaching. It was as if something in me refused to stop in one place. Perhaps I was afraid that I would fragment further the fragmentation and be forever lost in the abyss of sorrow and loss. Perhaps I was running away from answering the question “Who are you now without these social systems?” Well, something eventually stopped me – F A T I G U E. By the end of 2015, I began to sense depletion within me. Signs such as chronic indigestion, emotional and mental exhaustion finally paused me in my track and made me do the one thing I know I had to do – save myself from burn-out.
So in 2016, I began imagining and planning my year off and finally took a sabbatical in May 2017. I made some intentions for the year and hoped I would be rejuvenated, and inspired with a new sense of direction when the year was over. And this was what happened … to be continue