On Change, Creativity & Taking a Pseudo-Sabbatical

Untied Shoes (via Octoberling)What's a pseudo-sabbatical, you ask? It's giving myself permission to work according to my own energy, creativity and inspiration this month. And hey, you too if you decide to join me :)

Although this is how I generally strive to operate my business, I tend to be pretty hard on myself about making impeccable commitments, answering every email and tying up every little loose end in a perfect little bow.

I have a looooong list of tasks in Workflowy that were pushed off, postponed and boomerang'd until after my website launch. Which is now. Part of me feels like I should be doing them, but the website launch was an enormous (and rewarding) effort this past year, and now my entire system is asking begging me to take a break.

When I find myself shoulding too many mornings in a row, I know something is off. I should write a blog post. I should answer gazillions of emails. I should have a second cup of coffee (wait — the answer to that IS always yes).

I speak for myself, but sometimes it's easy to take life too seriously — to let the bumps and lows and stressors get the best of us.

Embrace change by busting out of your routine

On Monday I signed up for a Trapeze Class. I figured now is as good a time as any to seek adventure, scare myself a little bit, and swing in the air like a little kid pretending to be a monkey as I also move from bar to metaphorical bar in my own life.

One of my all-time favorite pieces of writing is The Parable of the Trapeze by Danaan Perry. An excerpt:

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life.

But every once in a while as I'm merrily (or even not-so-merrily) swinging along, I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know that, for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar and move to the new one.

Each time, I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. I am each time afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between bars. I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where the real change, the real growth, occurs for us. The transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

I showed up for class with butterflies in my belly, but within five minutes of the start time it began raining and class was cancelled.

That's the thing about adventure and change: sometimes life rains on your parade. But you show up anyway.

Hot Dogs & Creativity

Those of us in the states are celebrating our independence tomorrow for Fourth of July.

This also week marks an extra-special celebration for me, since July 5 is my two-year anniversary of quitting my job to venture out on my own. I never imagined I would make it to this point, still standing on my own two business feet (even if a bit wobbly from time-to-time).

So what on earth do Trapeze Class and the Fourth of July and my two year solopreneur-versary have in common?


It's summer, and I hereby declare it time to play. Time to cut ourselves just a little more slack than usual, and to let ourselves be surprised about what fills the void.

How I'm Taking My Pseduo-Sabbatical Seriously

If you email me this week, you'll get the following auto-responder:

Thanks for your email!

I am traveling and pseudo-sabaticaling (yes, I just made that up) for the month of July. I may be verrrry slow to respond until Tuesday, July 9, then just plain slow after that. Then again, I could decide to randomly go on an email spree -- who knows?! Thanks for your patience as I follow my own work rhythm this month.

Have a wonderful day!


In the meantime, come hang out at one of my online homes:

—New & Shiny! http://JennyBlake.me
—Greatest Hits: http://LifeAfterCollege.org

This is to honor my values of freedom, health, happiness, rest, and celebration. It's about giving myself a little more permission than usual to take time off — to let my mind loose to dream, scheme, CREATE and generally just roam free around my biggest ideas.

So . . . anyone else want to join me?!

Even if you don't take a full-on pseudo-sabbatical, my assignment for you this week: put your obligations down (and the guilt and pressure that comes with them), leave the house, and go do something that feels ridiculously, giddily, out-of-control FUN. How can you cut yourself some slack? What would make your heart sing?

Reply in the comments and let me know!