Thursday, May 20, 2010

We all need sabbaticals

A sabbatical is not rare in academia.  Most professors will request a sabbatical at some time. They provide an opportunity for refreshment and new experiences.  It's a chance to get away from your normal routine - a time to immerse yourself in a different environment, a chance to see your life from a different perspective.

I think that perhaps I am going to call retirement a kind of sabbatical.  The Director came in today and told me that I can keep my office and computer here should I desire to continue to work on some manuscripts and projects.  That was a surprise to me.  We have had our differences over the years, but I told him that I appreciated the offer and would take him up on it.  I have a couple of books that I want to publish, a series of statistical lectures to complete, and some other opportunities to participate in scientific endeavors.  It sounds good to me because I will only keep the schedule that I want to keep and not one that is a must.   

I read this morning that Mary Christine, who has been writing daily for over 5 years, has decided to take a sabbatical from blogging.  I think that we all get tired and need a break from routine tasks. I like to think that those who are taking a sabbatical will connect with the dreams that can inspire them on the next stage of the journey. I certainly wish that for Mary as I have followed her flowers, her running, her work and her sobriety since I was blogging.

I am feeling inspired to dream today.  My dreams aren't elaborate ones.  They are mostly about having more time to spend at home or on the boat.  It seems that in those two places, I have the utmost freedom. I don't want to take a sabbatical from life, just from structure.  My desire is to create more space in my life so that people and opportunities will present themselves in unexpected ways. I hope to keep that spirit of openness, spaciousness, and surprise alive.  And I wish that for each of you. 

"I still recall how, with my bag on a pole, I forgot my yesterdays.
Wandered the hills, played in the water, went to the land of the clouds.
The lift of an eyebrow, the blink of an eye -- all of it samadhi.
In this great world there is nowhere that is not a wisdom hall."

Ziyong, 18th c. Chinese nun


  1. I've come across other people taking these blogging sabbatticals, and, unless they're going somewhere with no internet connexions, I have to say I really don't get it %-/...

  2. A sabbatical from routine and structure--what a grande idea! I am lucky because I get a mini-sabbatical every summer when school is not in session. This summer I plan on staying true to my plan to rejuvenate myself and also my relationship with my little girl, who is growing into a bigger little girl every day. Thanks for your blog, Syd. :)

  3. Excellent. And I love, love, LOVE that quote.

  4. that pic is the perfect dream for me, though i would bring my fam along. i think it important to take breaks periodically to help you remember why you do what you do.

  5. I like that you say you don't want to take a sabbatical from life, just from structure. I understand that completely. Now that I am not working I am free to find new interests and have time for ongoing projects at my timing. Best wishes to you on your journey into free time and new joy.

  6. How wonderful for you. I'd guess that you are one person who will treasure every new day of freedom and I'm sure you will continue being an inspiring sponsor, too.

  7. fabulous quote...
    lovely post1

  8. Love the quote, Syd. I think your outlook about leaving behind a schedule is very wise. I wish you joy.

    You are loved.


  9. Congratulations on the director giving you a computer and an office after you retire! How wonderful that you will have a free space to do your writing, and work on your books. That is a WONDERFUL gift!

  10. The word "sabbatical" comes from "sabbath," from the Hebrew word for "rest." Very important to give ourselves rest, not just when we feel like we're going to break down, but BEFORE that happens... cheers, Syd.

  11. I am happy for you. I find that routine gives us comfort and the illusion of security but ultimately makes us lethargic and uninspired. Time away always helps me see the things that I am doing out of obligation or routine and what gives me joy. I will miss you writing.

  12. What a wonderful opportunity. I'm a big believer of sabbaticals. It looks like the world has opened wide open to you. I'm so glad.


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