When I was in graduate school, I took a class on Sabbath.
We talked about the history of Sabbath in the Jewish tradition, began a Sabbath practice, and discovered what it really means to cease from doing and focus on being. Given my interest in pilgrimage, however, and my focus on long-term journeys, what stayed with me most was our exploration of sabbatical—an ancient biblical practice modeled after the Sabbath meant to offer rest for both people and the land.
For most of us, today “land” means our work in the world. And while the practice of sabbatical and taking significant time away from work is common for both academics and ministers, it’s not well-known amongst many other professions. It benefits, though, are extraordinary. In that same Sabbath class, we watched a TED Talk by Stefan Sagmeister, a graphic designer based in New York City. Instead of working straight through until retirement, he decided to bring retirement to him in bits and pieces, choosing to close his agency for a full year every seven years. Though unconventional, this practice, he said, has come to fuel his creativity for years to come. In fact, his work wouldn’t be as good without it.
I’ve remembered his words ever since, and have returned to his TED Talk often, recommending it to others as well. And, given that my field of spiritual formation and spiritual direction doesn’t have a natural retirement age—in fact, when I’m in my 60s and 70s I’ll be in my prime!—I’ve figured that it’s best to take some time along the way to pause and turn inward as I refill my cup and discern what new creations await.
So, inspired by Stefan Sagmeister and the practice of sabbatical, I’m doing just that. For six years I’ve been tending to the journeys of others here at asacredjourney.net; this year is devoted to tending to my own. The seventh year of A Sacred Journey, 2019 will be a bit quieter here on the site. While the Journey Shop will still be open, Journey Guide will still be available, and I’ll still be meeting with clients (learn more about Journey Consultations here and join the spiritual direction waitlist here), I won’t be writing new blog posts, publishing new podcast episodes, or sending out many emails.
That’s not to say there won’t be resources to explore as you seek to journey further—there is a wealth of inspiration to be found in previous blog posts and podcast episodes, and you can find my collection of resources here and favorite guides here. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll also hear from me from time to time when I have news to share (including—yes—some sabbatical-year pilgrimage opportunities that are in the works). Sign up to receive updates here so you don’t miss a thing. Feel free to reach out as well—though I might be slower to respond, I’ll be sure to get back to you.
Before I press pause, though, I wanted to share with you about the practice of sabbatical so you can join me in intention from afar, which is why the final episode of Pilgrim Podcast, for the time being, is all about sabbatical. Learn more about sabbatical and how you can make it a practice of your own, too, in my interview below with John Valters Paintner, online prior at abbeyofthearts.com.
Enjoy the year, and I’ll “see” you again in 2020!
Blessings on the Journey,
Pilgrim Podcast: Sabbatical Episode
Are you planning a pilgrimage? This episode is brought to you by Journey Guide, a step-by-step travel companion for your pilgrimage of a lifetime. Journey Guide is a multi-media travel resource infused with soul, including guides and writing prompts for each stage of the journey, worksheets and resources to go deeper, interviews with pilgrims, and more. Learn more about Journey Guide at asacredjourney.net.