On Saturday Mark and I leave for Nevis, a small island in the West Indies. We rent a little cottage surrounded by beautiful gardens; a cottage by the sea. Our five weeks on Nevis are completely unplugged: no Internet, email, television, phone, or news. We're off the grid. And we're also amazingly alive.
I remember 12 years ago, Mark suggested our first long sabbatical in the Bahamas. Twelve years ago, I didn't have a meditation practice. I was addicted to busyness and achievement. I worried what people would think of me. For all these reasons my reaction was tense: can we really do this? And if we can, do I want to do this?
My reactions came from fear. Fear of being alone with myself. Fear of losing my identities. Fear of non-doing. Fear of the unknown. I hear these same reactions when I tell people about our trip. I smile inwardly, knowing the place from which they come. And also knowing the other side. This is our sixth long sabbatical, completely unplugged. The days are wondrously long.
We read stacks of books. We meditate, do yoga, and swim in the ocean. Mark plays music. I write and photograph. We bike to the market; we cook food; we linger over dinner, talking in new ways. For us individually and as a couple, this time is priceless. It's how we restore, reconnect, and reset. We come home more alive and aware of our choices.
If your response to this post is "there's no way I could do that because [fill in the blank]," please think again. If there's a place in your heart that yearns to be heard and nourished, maybe you need a sabbatical. It might look different from ours, but it could restore you just the same.
I'll be away for a while, friends. Away and unplugged. Please take very good care of your precious selves.