Sabbatical: a time period in which a person does not report to his regular job (or life?) but who remains employed with that company, usually lasting between a couple of months and a year.
When your gut says “GO!” and your real life says “ARE YOU NUTS?” it’s not a fun place to be.
Let’s be real.
Logistically, there was no way I could remove myself from my everyday life responsibilities (uh…hello! wife and mother!) in order to go live in Paris for a year to find myself. But I also knew how great I felt when I was in Paris and the opportunity to have a perspective shift on my life from the viewpoint of an observer was verrrrry tempting.
What if I could do it energetically?
What if I could take a sabbatical year from my life while still living in my everyday life? Physically I would be home in Calgary, but mentally and energetically I would be living my days AS IF I were in Paris. What would that look like? How would I be? How would my days go? How would my actions be different?
Oh, the possibilities were exciting!
Like that Eddy Arnold song from today’s blog title, I was going to make the world go away and take the weight off my shoulders.
I went dark.
I cleared my schedule as much as I could and said no to anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
I temporarily disabled my social media accounts. I didn’t need to be distracted by what everyone was doing and, to be honest, I was falling into a wicked case of comparison-itis.
Creating a bubble for myself, to keep what mattered close and to block out what just didn’t matter, I tuned out the world and started to trust that I knew best.
This social butterfly went back into her cocoon.
I woke up every morning thinking to myself, “If I were in Paris today, what would I do? How would I fill my day?”
Happily, how I was already living wasn’t that different than what I would do in Paris.
I played French music, had fresh flowers, prepared fresh food, surrounded myself with beautiful things.
The differences were:
I limited my social media/internet use.
I removed clutter.
I walked and meandered more. (The French have a word for it, bien sûr - Flâneur)
I dressed better - my clothes better represented my personality.
The extra time, free from distractions, was uncomfortable!
I was alone with my thoughts and those thoughts were incredibly judge-y. The surprising thing was those thoughts had always been there, but they had been running in the background - slowly draining my energy. and self worth. Now, they were front and centre in my consciousness and I was seriously starting to rethink my idea. Stripping away the identities that I had put on as a shield had left me feeling vulnerable and unsettled.
The woman I imagined myself to be, strolling the streets of Paris, did not give a shit how others saw her.
But the woman I was, was still fighting my inner critics.
The sabbatical was helping me to stop doing and start being, but I wasn’t any closer to knowing who that being truly was.