How often do we go and go and go, when what we really need is a break and some space to breathe? That’s been me for most of my life.
As many of you know, I lost my husband and 40-year life partner to cancer in March 2018. Being self-employed, I took off 5 weeks to take care of business – and then went back to work. My sons rightly speculated that I just maybe was using my work to avoid dealing with grief and the enormity of upheaval of this major life loss. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was struggling – to stay focused, motivated, do my best with clients. I decided I needed a break, extended time off to absorb life’s changes and reset my life. Based on client commitments that were already made, the soonest I felt I could extricate myself was the end of July 2019. One year ago, I committed to clearing my calendar for a sabbatical August through December 2019.
I have spent the last year holding my breath. Doing my best with my work while yearning for this down time. Dreaming of hiking the Southwest Coastal Path in England, a few hours from where one of my son’s lives. Sucking up and shoving down any emotional turmoil to get through. If I didn’t really love my work, I don’t know that I would have made it. If I didn’t have supportive friends, family, colleagues and neighbors, I don’t know how I would have gotten through. In the past year, one son got married and the other became a father of beautiful twin girls. The cycle of life goes on, and brings joy even in the midst of great loss.
At last I have made it to this reset I’ve been dreaming about for a year! I bought a one-way plane ticket to the UK for early September, and very much look forward to checking out, going offline, and hiking the coast of England for a few weeks. After that? I’ve been cautioned to not try to plan. Leave the time and space open to see what emerges.
Not everyone has the luxury to take extended downtime from their work. I am grateful for that, and look forward to using the time to regain energy, focus, inspiration – and come back with a roar! These times require nothing less from those of us committed to fighting racism and the inhumanity that is sweeping across the U.S. and beyond. I invite all of you to be good to yourself, whatever that means to you. This is long haul work.
Stay tuned and thank you for bearing with me on this journey.
I just finished reading White Rage, a sobering history of all the ways that the United States has relentlessly and violently oppressed, marginalized and kept down African-Americans, decade after decade and generation after generation. The book makes structural racism, and the commitment to maintaining it at all costs, bitterly clear. I used to say that our country is ahistorical. After reading this book, I stand corrected: Our country has been intentionally delusional about all the ways that white supremacy has held a grip on white psyches, cultural norms, and government policies from its very foundation. A good read and a wake-up call about the need for transformational change.