Musings from my “sabbatical”
It’s been a few months since you’ve heard from me. That’s because I took a little summer break, a sabbatical, if you will. I was feeling quite burned out, and I took the opportunity to “not work” from June-August. I didn’t have any big intentions or goals, I just wanted to see what unfolded in some open and unstructured time, and away from Austin in Santa Fe, NM.
Well, I never could have imagined what these 3 months would reveal. I took a painting class and found that I had some creative expression within me. I slept outside and felt more connected to the earth than I ever have. I spent days alone in nature, with no technology to distract me. I slept in as late as I wanted to, and I stayed up late counting the stars. I started a new book. I danced like no one was watching. I met someone I really enjoyed being with—me.
LOL, if you believed all that I have some oceanfront New Mexico property to sell you!!!
Okay, it’s true I took some time off. And it’s true that I did not set a goal, or even have an idea of what that time off would look like. And I was in Santa Fe. I did not discover a new talent, or complete a big project, change my life path, or uncover the meaning of life.
Here’s what really happened:
I was able to really feel how tired I was.
When I stepped away from my usual busy schedule, I realized how tired I was. So, I relaxed, slowed down, and rested. I lingered over meals, puttered around the house, read some books. I went to bed early. And I woke up early, because I like to do that. I tried not to immediately spring into action, and often, but not always, started my day with journaling, meditation, Yoga, or a cup of coffee outside while watching the sunrise. And, after a little while, I didn’t feel so tired anymore.
I spent quality, relaxed time with friends and family.
We had a lot of visitors this summer and each visit filled me with great joy and nourishment. Instead of a rushed coffee in the middle of the day, or one dinner, or an hour-long walk, I had time to luxuriate in the company of people I love, without the usual day-to-day distractions. Together we dedicated our time and attention to each other…catching up, hanging out, experiencing delicious meals or great beauty…together.
I hiked a lot, and it was a challenge.
I feel grounded and alive when I am in the mountains. When I am hiking, I also often feel out of breath and light-headed. When I arrived, I wanted to go on a lot of hikes—by myself, with Lucy, and with friends. But I found that at first I was not up to the challenge—the elevation and the steep grades kept me stopping a lot, gasping for breath, and wheezing out to whomever I was with, “just give me a minute”. I wanted to get stronger. So, I dedicated a lot of time to hiking, using Picacho Peak (Picacho means “Peak”, so I was hiking “Peak Peak”) as my training hike. I also joined the Orange Theory in Santa Fe—the highest altitude Orange Theory in the country-to work on my endurance and strength. It helped, a lot, and I feel a lot stronger now. I’m still not the fastest one up the mountain, but I know I can do it. I love the feeling of standing at the top, taking in the views, and listening to the wind. Fun hiking fact—nothing tastes better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after a hard climb.
I filled my the days with the basic activities of living.
Most days I had a little something to provide some structure, but it wasn’t much. And still the days went quickly by, even if I didn’t do anything. Making meals can take a big part of the day. So can walking the dog. A stop at Trader Joe’s. Making the bed. Taking a shower. Catching up with a friend in person or on the phone. Scrolling through Instagram—okay that is not an activity of living, but, dang, it can take up some time! At first this was jarring, as I asked myself if I really accomplished anything. I tried to let go of needing to accomplish anything. This left a feeling of spaciousness in the day, and I was able to have a little more spontaneity. One day a friend (if you are reading this you know who you are) called at midday to see if I could meet her for tea—she had a little extra time in Santa Fe. And I put down the phone, picked up my keys and went to meet her—it was glorious.
I had time to process and think more but did not experience a great flash of clarity.
Nor was the meaning of life revealed to me. Through more journaling, Yoga, meditation, hiking, and just sitting outside, I spent time with some thoughts and challenges that needed my time and attention. I took more time to grieve the losses of the past few years, some beloved Yoga studios and their communities, some friendships that evolved and dissolved, the loss of my dad, and all the losses of the pandemic. There is still more to do, and I will let myself have the time to do it.
Even though I tried not to expect anything specific from my time off, I think I had some expectation that some great wisdom or a new path would be revealed, but it did not happen that way. I don’t really think I need some amazing new path and will just continue to explore my path and see where it leads, with each step I take.
I got a little bored, and that was a good thing.
It did open some pathways for new ideas and approaches. And it made me feel ready to return to teaching, even though the ways in which I teach will continue to evolve.
There’s more, but that’s enough for now. I’m happy to re-emerge and return to my morning Yoga communities, just a few classes for now. And then I will see what is next, and you’ll be among the first to know!
As I get ready to return to teaching, I’d love to hear from you. This is a survey I sent to my Sunrise Flow students. If you have 5 minutes, fill it out and you will be entered to win a $25 gift card. Winner to be announced September 2 during the Sunrise Flow class. While it’s great to always be present, you need not be “present in the class” to win!
See you soon!
Be Well. ~Lisa
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