Phases of Sabbatical

Phases of Sabbatical

Life sometimes feels chaotic and random yet there are patterns if you look hard enough. These patterns can be interpreted as phases that can be articulated, examined, followed and reflected upon as we move through life.

“A sabbatical brings together elements of a pilgrimage and a vacation; it is where the questing of a pilgrimage and the rest and hiatus of a vacation come together.”

Many of you may be familiar with the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is said that to process grief or loss, you have to go through each step. Another famous example of  phases is outlined in “The Hero’s Journey” where Joseph Campbell outlines 17 steps under three main phases: Departure, Initiation and Return.

Phases of Sabbatical

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Since Conscious Pause is about sabbaticals, we are going to explore the phases of a sabbatical. There are parallels between sabbaticals and pilgrimages. Both have roots in spiritual journeys with a focus on growth and rest. Interestingly enough, both experiences have common patterns and flow. A sabbatical brings together elements of a pilgrimage and a vacation; it is where the questing of a pilgrimage and the rest and hiatus of a vacation come together.

Inspired by Phil Cousineau’s book, “The Art of Pilgrimage”, and building on conversations with numerous sabbatical-takers as well as reflections on our own experiences, the Conscious Pause team identifies five specific sabbatical phases regardless of the sabbatical’s length. The phases identified are:

1. Decision
2. Plan
3. Start
4. Sabbatical/Pause/Journey
5. Re-Entry

Over the course of our blog posts and within our sabbatical guide services, we will explore each phase more deeply to grapple with the meaning of each phase and what it means for a sabbatical.

The time spent in each of the phases widely varies. For example, the decision phase can take months for some people and for others, it is made in a day or sometimes, even made by others in the case of a medical reason to take a pause. Ideally, a sabbatical made by oneself is always more fruitful than an imposed one but depending on mindset, both can lead to shifts in narratives, priorities and deep soul rest.

We invite you to join us in the exploration and our own field notes of the process of taking a sabbatical. Will you join us?

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step – Lao Tzu

 

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