In the run-up to my sabbatical I thought I was going to dive straight into learning about my new topic of interest. I had even already enrolled in a course covering that very same topic. Yet, the start of the course was postponed from July to September. “Unfortunately”, I first thought. From hindsight, this was a blessing in disguise.
What I didn’t anticipate was that my body (and my nervous system) had come up with a different plan altogether. One that focussed on first getting restored. On getting my batteries charged up again after all those years of continuous drainage. And before I realized, I suddenly found myself watching educational videos on nutrition, cooking healthy meals two times a day, experimenting with fermented foods, buying myself barefoot shoes, massaging my feet and having leisurely strolls in the nearby forest, some with shoes, some without. And blogging again.
It’s as if my body conciousness had taken over. And rightly so.
True to my former productive self, I had originally started looking for something useful to do with my suddenly plentiful time. A course that would set me up well for future professional endeavours seemed reasonable enough. Of course, I had also foreseen some time for relaxation. But not that much, really. The course date was set. And so was the beginning of my being productive again.
The postponement of the course stopped me in my tracks and made me remember that I had taken this time off in order to not have to be productive for once. I once read a social media post that came back to mind today:
“Society pushes us since childhood to be in the chronic state of fight or flight. Rush to school. Compete for good grades. Compete in sports. Achieve. Perform.
Our nervous system needs: stillness, quiet, play + creativity.
We’re humans, not machines”
I have just broken free from pretty close to forty years of uninterrupted performing. At school, at college, at university, at my job. It seems that through practice during all that time I have made living in productive mode my default mode, to the extend that when I finally do get the chance to be unproductive the first thing I do is rush to fill the void. With being productive.
Even now that I have realized this I still find myself having internal dialogues justifying my audacity to just enjoy myself. Without any measurable contribution to GDP.
Yet, there also is a new voice within me. A pulling and longing to step out of this unnatural state of being, and back into what my nervous systems is biologically designed to thrive on.
So my only “to do” from now on until the course eventually does start in September will be just that: Be still. Be quiet. Play. And be creative.