I’ve had a few friends and colleagues that have had sabbatical in the last year. One asked for a bit of guidance to help shape the time. And to shape some of his energy for being in sabbatical. I came up with nine questions that I list below. As always, I love the way that basic questions can guide more nuanced rivers in which to flow — the picture above is from a recent bike ride along the Provo River where I live, gaining inspiration from rivers.
- What do you anticipate doing or not doing your first week?
- What do you anticipate doing or not doing your last week?
- What are you saying to others about your sabbatical?
- What are you saying to yourself about your sabbatical?
- Is there a “mistake” or “regret” that you would feel at the end of your sabbatical — that you wish to deliberately avoid?
- Is there unique rest that you seek?
- Is there something that feels easy for you about this sabbatical? Is there anything that feels hard for you about this sabbatical?
- Is there connection for you between “sabbatical” and “sabbath” — what might this be for you?
- Is there a particular harvest your intend?
As so often is true for me, these aren’t questions to prematurely reify and calcify. Each of them can live at the layer of inner and outer, in the tangible and in the intangible, in the resolved and in the unresolved. The purpose of the questions is to bring awareness, clarity, and maybe even some surprise. The purpose is to bring added presence to life unfolding in the unique circumstance of life lived out of the ordinary.
I offered the questions to a few people. But also, truth be told, I got quite excited about responding myself in some private journalling that was to shape a next phase of life for me.
Here’s to flow — be it for the sabbaticals, or for the moments of deliberate reflection to be with a next important phase of life. Here’s to thoughtfulness, inner and among the company of others.