21 Jan Re-entry and fitting back in
How do you fit a round peg into a square hole? Can you? Maybe if it receives enough pressure, if something (someone?) pushes really, really hard, maybe then that peg can be forced into the space not made for it, not quite filling the space properly and then maybe never to be removed again.
I participated in a month long residency program a few years ago, and one of the last lessons the facilitators tried to impart on us, was “re-entry”. I had never thought about what that term meant, because for most part my life just carried on without much self awareness, or popping in and out of routines or expectations. Anyhow, they shared that whether we realized it or not, our experience at the program had “re-shaped” us…and we would likely find that we don’t fit into our lives quite the same way as we did prior to participating in the residency. We were told that even though we look the same to family, friends and co-workers, we weren’t. Be patient, they indicated…with yourself and others…don’t make any rash decisions like quitting your job or leaving your relationship.
And it really is a phenomenon. After I came home from that program, and after I returned from my leave of absence…I looked the same to others, but didn’t quite fit my (old) life the same. My perspectives had shifted, my language had evolved and I was interested in ideas and actions that my friends and family couldn’t relate to.
Re-entry can be harsh. It can be frustrating. It’s work. It can be challenging to articulate your inner growth, or the little epiphanies that remolded your thinking. Sometimes you change so much that others can see it instantly in how you hold yourself, or how you speak or the actions you take, and it makes them uncomfortable and they want you to go back to who you used to be. Sometimes the change is so subtle that even you find it hard to believe.
So as your sabbatical comes to an end, or as your journey continues, it’s important to think about your re-entry. Maybe your sabbatical was one hour a week, or maybe it was for a whole month…but eventually you’ll find that you feel a little like that round peg, trying to fit into a square hole…and wonder… will you ever “fit” again?
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