Several weeks ago I wrote a lovely post about listening to my body’s wisdom and taking a sabbatical… however, after a lovely, languid, lazy two weeks, numerous elements in my world went sideways and BAM! Just like that, my sabbatical was over.
The interesting thing is that within a day or so of ending my sabbatical, everyone around me – including my animals – seemed to exhale. And in many ways, life was equally peaceful, yet also invigorating, back doing things I love.
So that started me wondering about the value of balance, versus something drastic like a sabbatical. Of course, most people’s version of a sabbatical is not just rest, but travel or working on one specific project. Which started me thinking about retirement. Retiring is yet another instance where you normally do not do any work – it is supposed to be your time to finally rest and not have to do anything. But look at the stats around what happens to people’s health when they retire! And one study found the risk of death doubled when workers retired early at age 55.
But I’ll tell you, it is much harder for me to sustain a balanced work/rest ratio, than to just do one or the other! Whether you want to call it the artistic temperament, or the obsessive temperament, my mum, my daughter, and me all have it. When we get going on a project or creative endeavour, we’ll be up all night, no problem. We just LOVE the intensity of sinking into the flow of creative space and riding that wave all the way in to shore!
However, what thrills the mind and soul is not always supportive or considerate of the physical body. Our mind and soul are not tethered by earthly concerns like gravity, time, food and water. And so there’s our beleaguered incarnate body hobbling along behind, calling out, “Wait… wait!”
It is this integration of the mind/body/soul that my husband Ian is SO good at. Seriously, he’s never had more than a cold or very mild flu bug his whole life – because he has super strong boundaries around his body’s needs. I have learned so much from watching him over the last 24 years.
The paradox for me is that I don’t know how to achieve balance unless I set out a schedule and stick to it. BUT I hate schedules! I try to schedule as few things as possible. But then I inevitably end up doing too much each day and become overwhelmed. Perhaps this is something I can tap on. Perhaps if I change my feeling about schedules (not psychologically, but emotionally) and re-frame it as a positive element, that might open up new possibilities for me…
If anyone else in a similar position has found a work-around for this, I’d love to hear your ideas!