I want to share something out of character with you today. It’s fun and frivolous and maybe even inspirational. Inspirational is not my love language. It’s doesn’t need to be yours either.
Around this time last summer, I started a year-long sabbatical to get my mojo back. There were other reasons, more community-minded reasons, but this is not about those. If you are looking for those, read Andy Crouch’s Playing God.
When I lose my mojo it looks something like this:
- waking up in the morning with no earthly idea of how I want to spend my day
- deciding it’s easier to meet other people’s needs than explore my own
- choosing to complete small tasks (responding to e-mails!) rather than big goals (making worlds out of words!)
- doing what I’m good at (or get paid for) with little reflection on whether it’s good for me
- holding high expectations for others with no expectancy that they’ll deliver – or are even capable
- feeling over-whelmed and under-stimulated by my day-to-day responsibilities
- grasping so tightly to the person I was that I don’t see the person I’m becoming — and the people that are becoming mine to love
The first order of business on sabbatical was to make a plan to have no plan. You could call this the Yoga with Adriene or “find what feels good” approach. All I knew, and all I knew to say to others, is that it was time to flex a new muscle. It was time to get curious about those parts of me that had been quieted by common sense.
This is why I’m squeeing today over a tiny, doggie-travel guide for the Research Triangle called Home Dog Roams that I created on sabbatical with the help of my freelance friend, Liv. It was birthed out of two truths:
1. Dogs bring me home to myself.
2. Travel helps me to love where I live.
(If there were a third truth, it would be that employing your freelance friends is a practice of economic justice – but then I promised to leave those community-minded truths for another day.)
I know of few better ways to get perspective on things then to spend time with old dogs on new ground. But maybe doggie-travel isn’t your thing. Maybe you don’t even live in North Carolina. As part of my new creative goal to give more than I consume, I’ve also uploaded two more free resources to help you love your life again.
What We Practice Here is a small group guide for better belonging that I’ve been using with friends who gather at my house for monthly experiments in adulting. Part of getting your mojo back might be to organize public conversations for questions you’re already asking in your head. During sabbatical I went to an InterPlay workshop on “Changing the Race Dance” where I heard myself say aloud, “I don’t know how to show up as both victim and oppressor,” to which a black woman responded, “You white women don’t talk about that?” Not the ones I know, I thought, but we could. We can.
My Lessons in Belonging Book Proposal is also now up on the website for you to use as a resource in dreaming up your own literary project. Consider if the blog posts, e-mail letters, newsletter articles, or even half-started journal entries you’ve been managing to write are pointing toward something bigger. It may feel impossible to complete something other than a to-do list right now but, at the Writing for Your Life conference, the mad-disciplined author Robert Benson reminded me that it only takes writing 600 words a day x 6 days a week x 4 months to = a full-length book. Even if it takes you another four months to make those words shine, you could still see an idea from concept to completion in less than a year. And take a weekly Sabbath.
Choose all three.
But, for the love, choose to follow your curiosity off script today.
Even if it’s, god forbid, a little inspirational as you’re doing it.