Soul in the World
For many years now, I have longed for some kind of "sabbatical." I really didn't know exactly what that meant, but I knew I needed some kind of rest and renewal. I don't work for a university so it wouldn't be a professional sabbatical. I work for myself, so if I wasn't working I wouldn't have an income. Hmmm. Somehow, though, I would find a way to have a sabbatical and for a year if I could swing it.
I slowly began backing down my hours in my main source of income over the past two years. At the end of 2017, I was done. I would still have some income from hosting retreats, seeing clients and renting retreat spaces. Technically I would still be "working," but I set my intention to clear space & time for art, writing, meditation, yoga and other sources of nourishment and practices. My birthday was on December 30th. I decided that January 1st seemed an appropriate day to officially begin sabbatical. That was the plan anyway.
And then things started to happen:
January 1st - My dog had a stroke during a women's retreat with 20 plus women here. Oh, did I mention that during the night of New Year's Eve, our main water line froze. We had guests in our retreat cabins. We had a retreat happening in the morning. We had no water. I texted around and everyone pitched in by bringing buckets of water. We had a wonderful day. The dog recovered. We left the dishes for the next day. That was Day 1.....
Day 2 to Day 64 - the tractor froze, the brake line on the truck went (while I was going down the hill), the frozen pipes burst, we fixed it then the main water valve broke, we dug up the road with help from friends, we jack-hammered the rock to put the pipe in lower, we hauled water for two weeks with help from friends & visiting family, the dog died, we ran out of firewood, our driveway was too icy to drive up so we had to cancel classes, our guests had to walk up the hill to get to their cabin, the water heater in the cabin stopped working, we had a mouse infestation in the other cabin, the main electrical fuse blew, it kept raining, it was icy, a tree fell on our house, then our building in town flooded, we rallied to clean it up then the electricity went out, the sump pump stopped working, the building flooded again, everone pitched in to clean it up, the clutch on my old vehicle went the morning I was driving it to the salvage yard, the rear brakes on my recently purchased used car went and now I have a flu.
But we are here, we are alive, we have family and friends to support us. Each time something would happen, I would imagine what it would be like to not have support, to be a refugee, to live in poverty, to be alone, to not have back up. I can't imagine that because it's not my experience. I know, however, that it is a reality for many. If the brakes go on the car, there might not be money to fix it. There might not be clean water in the first place, nevermind water coming through pipes into a home. Electricity is a dream for many. Mice are the least of some people's worries. A dog dying is one thing, but loved ones dying is another. I just haven't been able to shake these kinds of thoughts.
Each day i get up thinking about how fortunate I am. What can I do with my good fortune? We don't have alot of money, but we have so much to offer. My time of sabbatical is taking on a life of it's own. It feels as though my longing for rest is really about a longing for depth. I want to live more deeply. I want to live with more meaning. Creating space for others to enter into for their own time of rest and renewal has been my mission. Many of the people who come for retreat are helping others. Their self-care is vital in order for them to care for those whom they serve. It is very fulfilling for me to prepare a cabin or meals for retreatants. It is nourishing for me to start seedlings and make plans for our garden that will feed us an others. it is important to me that all are welcome, that anyone who needs it can come and rest awhile.
May we all find the rest and renewal we need in the everyday, normal, sometimes chaotic, moments of daily life.