Recently, I quit my job, packed up my life in Auckland, New Zealand and ended 4 years of travel to make the immense pilgrimage back home to Cape Town, South Africa.
Why a “Creative Sabbatical”? I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t spend hours conjuring up a title, I just somehow knew that was what it would be. My time off didn’t need a name, and I didn’t feel the need to name it. I saw a talk in 2012 about a man who takes 1 year off every 5 years to plan the strategy for his design company for the coming 5 years. I was fascinated by his approach, and I certainly see the value in it. Working full time, no matter what we are doing, is rather engrossing. While I enjoy the regularity of 9-5, I do find that we can get into patterns of busyness and wake up years later no longer feeling free. It isn’t about structure, and it isn’t about freedom – such feelings, to me, just trigger the need for us to re-engage our creativity and to change our approach. In my case, I am taking a pause to do so. I am aware that I am blessed to do so, and I feel such depth of gratitude for this strategic pause to reassess my priorities, my life, my world within the world.
I do not know how long this will take. I do not know what this will look like. Just fine by me. I feel free, I feel my life slowing down gloriously. I find myself starting to integrate one particular element of routine into my day, some time set aside to set intention for the day, but the rest merely unfolds. It is easy to be busy. Sometimes with the pace of life around us, I find the pace of life can internally speed up too much too and the cost can often only be seen retrospectively. Busyness never was and never will be an excuse for not doing that we need to.
Above and beyond all, I dedicate this time to creativity and to life. To awareness, to the unknown, to acceptance, to expanding my horizons, to challenging my own status quo, to exploring my mind, to re-discovering my home town and country, to learning about my own roots, to going where I feel lead to go, to connecting with my people and people in general, to humanity and genuine care, to my backbone, to health and well-being, to using my body and enjoying what it can do, to walking, to nature, to the elements, to my nature, to physics, chemistry and biology, to writing, to music, to dancing, to art, to discipline, to friendship, to kinship, to expanding my view of love, of good things and the world, to finding meaningful ways to contribute, to community, to boundaries, to reading and exploring themes, to intention, to sensing things in new ways on new levels, to clarity, to peace, to breathe deeply and eat slowly, to gratitude, to contentment, to change and challenge, to taking it easy and going slow, to truth and honesty, to self discovery, to spiritual discovery, to phronesis, to play, to adventure, to fun, to simplicity, to the quiet and to find my own way to consciously, gently, deeply, consistently integrate these, the best things in life, into who I am and whatever I choose to do in the future. This is life, and I am taking a break after a long period of time away to consolidate what I have learned and to find my own way to apply it.
To peace, and a slower pace. First and foremost, I dedicate this time to rest. The rest of what is meant to be will come.
2015 Update: My sabbatical ended in June, when I began work and another phase of life.