Taking some time to renew and reset.
This will be my last newsletter…for a few months. I am taking this summer off, to reflect on the past 16 months (or so), to rest, and to renew.
A Surprising First
This is a first for me. I have had been working or had a “job” since I was 15. Even before that if you count babysitting. At the age of 15, I worked after school at Kegg’s Candies in Houston. Picture a more practical, and slightly less magical Willy Wonka situation. Still a great job, and I came home, smelling of chocolate, and with lots of broken and unsellable pieces of candy for my family. Then came a job as a cashier at the Foodarama, the grocery store close to my house. In college I worked again with chocolate, in the campus bookstore ice cream shoppe, and as a student teacher for Spanish and a TA for Statistics. I’ve worked at a bank, and in retail leasing. I’ve forecasted coal consumption and built a bi-lingual market research department. I’ve worked in marketing and advertising of toothpaste, cosmetics, and wine and spirits. I’ve worked for big companies, agencies, and been a small business owner. I’ve written a book. I’ve been a personal trainer, an aerobics teacher (remember those?), a a Yoga and meditation guide, and a mindfulness consultant. I am probably forgetting a few gigs as well, but you get the picture. I am a person who works.
So, imagine my surprise, a few months ago, when the idea of a summer sabbatical began to take hold. Like everyone, I completely changed the way I worked when the pandemic hit. I learned a lot of new skills in order to take my work “virtual”. It was frustrating, and it was rewarding. There were technical glitches and trial and error with lights, microphones and cameras. There were tears and profanity. There was also the great joy of connecting with students, friends and family from all over the country, and even all over the world. Like everyone, each morning I got up and plugged in and did what I had to do to be able to work. It was great, we made it work, and I am officially exhausted.
Hit the Pause Button
We all live with tiredness; it’s nothing new. But this time, for me, it was beyond that. I was feeling really depleted and began to question whether or not I could be effective—for myself or for anyone else-in this state. And deep in my gut I knew it would be a good idea to hit the pause button. It’s what I teach and talk about all the time. How would it work? What would I do? Could I really do it?
Once the calling was there, I got a bit excited about it. I knew it would be good for me to take the time to nourish and replenish myself—mind, body, soul and spirit. My schedule had gotten a little too full. Cutting back just a little is really hard for me—I have a tendency to let things creep back in until I am overly busy again. And I wanted time to really reflect upon how I work, what and how I teach, and how I keep myself fresh and engaged in my work. I knew I would have to do something different—a real discontinuity. A summer sabbatical. A time to just be. And I’m doing it!
Paying Attention on Purpose
Mindfulness is about paying attention on purpose. And when you pay attention to both your inner and external landscape you get a sense of all the things that come and go, as well as a sense of the radiant aliveness that is always there that is your true nature as being. A meditation practice, where you tune into the “being” rather than the “doing” we are usually consumed with, allows you to feel your wholeness, and regain perspective, calm, peace and joy over time. I’m excited to take a very extended practice in “being” this summer!
So, that’s it. I wish you a summer of exploration and renewal as well—whatever that looks like for you. See you in September!!!
Be Well. ~Lisa
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.
– Donna Faulds