Y’all, it’s almost 2020–new decade, new government, new, new, new!
I have been reviewing the decade (aka rereading my journals) and remembered this brilliant move I made in 2011. I took a sabbatical in January. I was teaching and was so tapped. I found myself, in December, accepting invitations and acting festive but feeling bereft. I let my entire social circle know that I was taking a “sabbatical” at the top of the year, and I did it: instead of spending my non-working hours with friends, I chose solitude. I read, I cooked, I daydreamed, I rested. I felt rejuvenated, for sure. I felt like I got to know myself again. I also felt a little lonely, which had become a foreign feeling at that time in my life.
Of course, I also worked. Hard. Long hours. With a lot of love.
This sabbatical was the beginning of a long evaluation: if I couldn’t have my job and the social stimulation I enjoyed and my wellbeing, then what shifts could I make?
As the decade progressed, I made some shifts, to be sure. One constant, though, is my embodiment of this darkness at the solstice and in the weeks following. I can wax poetic about the light I find in this darkest time of year (for example, I get to see the sky at sunrise every single day), but the truth is, I feel the darkness. I feel insular and insulated, and I feel like I’m working against my quiet, still self in the literal hustle and bustle.
At this yin center of the year, my body and soul want to dive in. Give me that silence and stillness, that dark that showcases the light so clearly; let me go yinward till I feel the outside is far, far away.
As you know if you’ve been in the clinic this month, North Node Clinic is closed from December 23 until January 14. Kellen and I are taking a sabbatical.* We will study and rest–we will study our rest. We will nourish the heck out of the yin in us and around us, and we will return to North Node Clinic restored and renewed.
This month, starting today, at the darkest time of the year, consider creating a ritual of sabbatical by reflecting:
- How do I feel in darkness, stillness, silence?
- How can I use yin to understand more/anew/better?
- Where in my day do I have/can I add some yin nourishment? (Pro-tip: showering in low light is prime yin activity.)
With wishes for stillness and deep understanding,
Ellice and Kellen
*For your etymological reference: sabbatical comes from the word sabbath. 😉