Creative Sabbatical

It may have a ‘new age’ sort of tone to it, but there is necessity in taking rest after adding so much to a plate that you forget the balance of math is to subtract as much (if not more!) than add. 2017 was about a lot of adding and a lot of reflecting, but what I noticed was some of my passionate things were put to the side until a “better” time.

better time.

Don’t we all have that feeling now and again? Like there will be some mystical change that allows for one to dive into something they so deeply love without having to give up anything?

Surrender is important. It’s healthy. Letting go is just as powerful as manifesting. I know this to be true as I have created much of my work around teaching others how to make room for what they desire by surrendering and letting go to what no longer serves, or what has grown stagnant in your life.

I’m also a big proponent of knowing thyself, where we witness and notice our own personal patterns and rhythms, and with the noticing we are able to identify key blockages or stagnant periods that hold us back. It requires radical honesty with oneself, free of judgment, shame, blame, or guilt.

I noticed in my pattern that I put other things that were necessary in front of things that were personally important to me. My scales tipped, and what I wanted to do was put further and further behind, lingering on a thread of “someday” and “when things lighten up” or “when I have more time”, etc.

In particular I was witnessing when my personal creative time was, and how for years I was sort of “forcing” it to be at my beck and call during a time where I didn’t feel as creative, in particular the Summer months, when really, I am most creative now. Fall into Winter I am brewing deep in my centered cauldron. From this I decided I needed to plan a creative break to tend to my desires.

Plan?! Oh yes… P-L-A-N.

While I wanted to jump right on in, I knew things would have to be arranged for this time, such as:

  • Letting my family know of my plans to take time ‘off’.
  • Determining what “time off’ meant; how much; to what end?
  • Decide on the time frame to start where it wasn’t too far away to push off, but far enough away to make arrangements.
  • Decide what I could put on hold and what I couldn’t (due to established commitments).
  • Let friends know that my creative sabbatical would (likely) mean I would be unavailable for socialization during that time.
  • How would social media fit, or not fit, into this time off?

These were a lot of questions I had for someone who just wanted some creative time off! The questioning was helpful. I was able to narrow down these fundamentals into something that made sense for me. It’s not completely set in stone, there is some wiggle room as I need and desire, but the core message is clear: take a creative break. Emphasis on the word creative.

This doesn’t mean I am taking a break from creativity. No no! Far from it! I am taking a break from things which I feel have taken up time and space from my creativity, so when I emerge from my break I can be more skillful in balancing needs, desires, commitments, and responsibilities. I honestly don’t know how it will look, and I am open to being in the process of uncovering.

But what about social media?

I am removing the FB app from my phone and only tending to it when necessary for groups that I am in as teacher and/or student; quick “hey this event is coming up” reminder that serves to bring me to present moment awareness and to bring it into other’s radar; no Twitter during this time (I use it less as a professional tool and more of unleashing my sarcasm and utter silliness); however I do plan to leave Instagram available. Why? It is the one social media tool that I find nourishing. I follow what I want, there is always beauty in what I see, and it’s visually stimulating, which also can turn into creative prompts.

What is my plan during my creative sabbatical? In no particular order:

  1. Redevelop my daily practice. I was just gifted some gorgeous deity statues and malas from my brother who travels the world and will bring me wonderful gifts for my spiritual practice. These particular gifts were unplanned (as in I didn’t specifically say “Hey could you pick up such and such while you’re there?) and they are all rather aligned in a unique way that feels rather significant.
  2. Write. I have some writing projects that hit a plateau in the middle of this year because I pushed it back to tend to other things. This time I put the other things on hold to tend to the writing. There are two projects I am working on, and I’m honestly not sure (at the time of this writing) which is going to grab my attention more, or if I am meant to work with both.
  3. Read a book. I haven’t done as much reading this year as I normally do. Reading feeds me and it inspires me. I have a book in particular that I purchased over a year ago and haven’t touched it. Not even to smell it! *gasp* I believe this will take priority over any other book on my shelf.
  4. Don’t be a slave to my phone. Notifications go off and while I never run to my phone, I do find that nagging feeling of “it might be important” lingering in my mind until I eventually check it. I plan to have plenty of moments with it on silent and away from me.
  5. Paint. I also need my home to reflect these creative shifts for inspiration and energetic momentum. This means I get out the canvas, pull out some paints, and allow the paintbrush and myself to become one. I have a personal goal of completing three paintings during my creative sabbatical.

All manageable tasks. As I tell my students when stepping into a shift:

Set yourself up for success.