Support Your Spirit
This past winter I took a four month sabbatical to deepen my connection with myself and the world around me. During that time I learned one of the greatest practical lessons for maintaining energy and well-being:�Â� consistently and intentionally�Â� surround yourself with people and activities that feed your Spirit. This may seem obvious, but ask yourself how often you do things that you find meaningful and fulfilling at the deepest level. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Never? And compare that to the amount of time spent on things that leave you feeling drained, or that you do just to fill time and chase away boredom.�Â� If your energy and satisfaction are waning, consider implementing some of the following ideas to support and deepen your connection to your Spirit.
Find a Mentor
Two weeks before my sabbatical began, I visited a healer that I work with and told him of my plan to take some time off. He said "Great! And it's important that you choose someone to have at least a phone conversation with every week to make sure you are staying true to your intention."�Â� I soon found out why. My "sabbatical" started December 1, and December was by far the busiest month that I had all year! Even though I wasn't teaching, I continued to accept other projects and engage in habitual "time filling". �Â� Energy Lesson #1: If you aren't consciously staying true to your intention and life path, it can quickly manifest as increased stress, irritability, fatigue, and negative thought patterns. I needed help! Lots of it. And it is all around us.
The first thing I did was to take my healer's advice and set up weekly phone conversations with a mentor that I trust and respect. Good qualities for a mentor include practical wisdom and a healthy mix of compassion and brutal honesty. We don't want someone to stroke our egos and let us get away with less than what we truly want. A good mentor will hold us accountable, encourage us, and offer practical, implementable actions. My first action plan was to start small and carve out weekly "Sabbatical Days".
Most of us have job and family responsibilities that don't allow us to take 2 months or more off with nothing to do other than to follow our bliss. But most of us do have at least one day a week that we can set aside for�Â� only�Â� those things which feed and nourish us. Here's where it gets fun. The day is your blank canvas, and your oyster. Enjoy planning it! �Â� If you could do anything, what would it be? Meet a close friend for lunch. Get a massage. Go to an art museum. Go hiking. Take a dance or cooking class. Spend the day reading in a hammock. Soak in a hot tub. The choices are endless.
Three additional tips related to sabbatical days:
- Keep them holy. Don't let other things creep in. They will try. Get good at saying no. Almost everything can be done or rescheduled for the day before or after.
- Watch your habits. This is a day about conscious decisions. Be careful not to find yourself turning on the TV or checking your email every few minutes. If you don't like your own company, then you especially need this time to heal the connection to yourself.
- Don't restrict these carved out spots to just one day. Spread them throughout the week.�Â� For example, on Tuesdays I spend the morning meditating with a teacher, on Wednesdays I take a yoga class, on Fridays my wife and I spend the day together, on Saturdays I ride dirtbikes with my son, on Sunday mornings a friend comes over to do yoga together, and I spend the afternoons exploring the mountain trails by myself. Life is too short not to spend it with the people and doing the things that you enjoy.
There is immense value in stepping away from our daily routines to gain a new perspective on where we are at, the work we need to do on ourselves, and how we can better serve and be a loving presence to those around us.�Â� Does this feel long overdue? Then what are you waiting for?!
No matter where you live, I guarantee that within a couple hours drive there is a retreat center where you can go to get away from your normal daily life to re-examine your life direction and get clear on your hearts deepest impulses. Get out your calendar and find a weekend that's free and go for it! Do it now!�Â� There are places inside of you that will thank you.