Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ode to a Sabbatical

I wrote this post sometime back in September but it never made it onto my blog.  With the recent article from NUVO, I thought it would be appropriate for me to go ahead and make this post and give this blog some closure.  One note, the “ode” started in jest.  And though I doubt it technically meets the standard of an ode, the experience of a sabbatical is certainly worthy of an ode J  Thanks to all who have followed this blog and for the many supportive comments I have received.

Our time in Peru has been a gift.  The experience of living in another culture, of learning a new language,  of having meaningful time as a family and spending lots of one-on-one time with Simon, and further connecting with the people and mission behind fair trade was certainly as much as I could have hoped for.  I return to the US energized, invigorated, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for Global Gifts' future growth and impact, and as relaxed as I have felt in a long time. 

Oh sabbatical, a gift you have been to me! 
May I repay you with fulfillment of the ideas and passion you have instilled
And with at least a continual reminder
That the harried and rushed life full of deadlines and impatience
Has a more relaxed and peaceful counterpoint.

Slowing down.  About 13 years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a year in Northern Ireland and attend graduate school there.  When I returned to the US there was a cheerful, relaxed, and more present me that I hardly recognized.  I was delighted and surprised to find this new me upon my return.  But within a couple of weeks, a fear, almost a panic came over me as that high began to wear off.  I hadn’t expected to feel that way when I came home, and then I hadn’t expected those feelings to slip away as they did.  Before long I was once again fidgeting while waiting in lines at the checkout counter, racing through yellow (sometimes red) lights, and hardly concentrating on the moment or person in front of me due to worry and planning about the next.  I recognized that the high I was on was fading fast, and yet, there was little I could do to maintain a bit of that more relaxed feeling.

It is my hope and even my belief, that this time will be different.  I return from Peru older, hopefully wiser, with more direction and support, and with the knowledge of my Northern Ireland experience with me.  This time I can recognize the high for what it is and enjoy it while it lasts.  At the same time I can hold reasonable expectations and be more deliberate about holding onto that pleasant sense of relaxation and enthusiasm that I bring home from my sabbatical in Peru.  More than anything I want to remember to enjoy and be present in the moment at hand and concentrate just a bit less on what lies ahead.

My experience with Northern Ireland is one time of my life that currently sticks in my mind.  But there is another life changing event that I also relate to.  That is the time when I first started working at Global Gifts some 12 years ago.  After my sabbatical I feel the same sense of adventure, creative energy, and the beginning of something new that I felt when I first started working at Global Gifts.  I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead for our organization and the wonderful staff, volunteers, and board members who make Global Gifts a daily reality.  I also return with a renewed sense of mission and the connection I feel to artisans in Peru like Fermin Vilcapoma, Daniel Novoa, Rosa Pariona, and others which extends beyond Peru to those artisans Global Gifts partners with in over 40 countries.

So I leave you and this blog with a repeat of these lines, “Oh sabbatical, a gift you have been to me!  May I repay you with fulfillment of the ideas and passion you have instilled . . .”

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sam I just found your blog through Global Gifts web. My husband and I just moved to Bloomington, from Peru. I am glad you and your family enjoyed the experiences in my country. We´d like to meet you guys someday, if you have any time. I worked in social and environmental projects there.Thanks!