Congratulations! You’re going to take a Sabbatical.

Maybe you’ve caught it early and the impact on your life is modest and you’re still weighing your options, or perhaps things have gotten to the point that you are counting the days until your surgery. In any case, this situation has thrown a wrench in your plans.

It’s not like we didn’t have plenty going on- our work, our family and friendships, our personal practices and leisure activities, our community involvements and our inner life. All of it has been impacted, and we can be forgiven for resenting it.

Maybe it’s sucking all the joy out of your life and you can think of little else, or maybe you’re compartmentalizing it, minimizing it, even hoping it might just go away. In any case, it’s easy to feel like we’re at the mercy of something out of control, that our body has betrayed us, or that we’ve gotten a bum deal.

I’m inviting you to consider a reframe: what if this could be a launchpad for a new phase of our life? What if we considered this a Sabbatical (the word means a  rest and ceasing from work) from which we will emerge in much better physical condition and improved in other ways as well?

That’s right, you’re going to be taking a Sabbatical, that extended break from workaday commitments usually reserved for tenured professors. You are going to be taking one! And like them, you’re not going to be laying about. The question is whether you get to the end of yours discouraged by lack of progress (and I know professors who felt that way after their Sabbatical!) or in a new place altogether.

Embrace this, and you’re going to be learning and building new competencies that will accelerate your recovery and deliver a better outcome. You’ll have a new relationship to physical discomfort, you’ll have taken (at least shared) responsibility for your own healing process. And guess what?  That means you’ll be much better prepared for any future health issues you encounter down the road.

Maybe you’ll be going back to work in as little as two weeks. Or maybe you have six weeks but will be working from home for part of the time. Or maybe you’re self-employed or retired and have more flexibility. In any of these scenarios, you can still embrace the concept of fully committing to your healing and using this opportunity to develop your self-healing and self-care repertoire.

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