29th November 2011

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Just one more day now, then my sabbatical ends and I go back to work.

So, is there just enough time to … read those books still piled up on my desk, review my banking arrangements, play the piano/recorder/clarinet again, learn a new instrument, learn how to use prezi, sleep some more (never enough!), re-organise the dvds, get Christmas sorted, make bread….?

As ‘it’ comes to an end, I am plagued with what I haven’t done, and with asking myself “Have I passed my sabbatical?” Of course this is an unhelpful frame of mind and approach, an inappropriate question – and nevertheless tricky to dispel. Someone reminded me early on in my planning, when I was expressing concern that this sabbatical would be a productive time, that it was ok to drift and have plenty of downtime. Someone else that I met on Iona, also on sabbatical, talked about the question of sabbatical as ‘test’ or ‘exam’ and we encouraged one another to let go of this notion.

How? Well, at this stage I will deliberately recall some of the good stuff that my sabbatical has been made of: sleeping and daydreaming, lots of lovely train journeys, time on a wild and wonderful island, travelling in beautiful Sweden, taking photos, time with some lovely people, making new friends, a re-commitment to the power of story, sharing the joy of haiku, serendipitous online browsing and discovery of thoughtful blogs and sites and ideas, regular singing with fellow Joined Up Singers, creating this blog, time on my own, catching up with some friends, time with my family, relaxing evenings with no meetings (!!)

I like a certain amount of symmetry, so I have spent yesterday at one of my favourite places, Burnham Abbey http://www.burnhamabbey.org/ just as I began my sabbatical with a stay there, in this place woven through with warmth, hospitality, faith and silence.

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Looking through the same window, stepping the same path.. what will come to birth?

Now is the wonderful season of Advent, a time that I love because of it’s emphasis on slowing down, of allowing something new to come to birth, as it will. It is time to wait and hope that to do lists can be let go of, so that ‘to be’ intentions can start to grow. 

Thank you to all who have made it possible for me to have this time, and may we let Advent do its work on us all.

Time to make room for new growth, allow seed pods to ripen and release.

 

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