Back in my late 20s, the concept of ‘taking time off’ was foreign to me. I had no time, no money, and no sense of inner permission. I was working full time, studying full time, and living in a foreign country. Yes, I was privileged to have the opportunity, but I worked hard, very hard to make it count. One day, I was talking with my teacher, complaining about feeling depressed and uninspired. He peered at me, and said, you look like a pasture whose grass has been munched down to the nubs by cows. You need a break, he said. You’re not depressed. You’re exhausted.
Of course, I argued with him. I couldn’t. I had no time. I had no money, I had to work, study, finish my thesis. I had a million reasons why taking time off was completely out of the picture. Finally, after much debate with myself I asked a friend if I could stay in her mountain cabin for 4 days. I remember the feeling of sitting in the sun, high up in the Alps. It was early spring, a bit like now. And the warm rays on my face felt like they reached right inside me, and fertilized that poor, munched down pasture. Four days. And I even brought my work with me, writing a few hours every morning. And yet, those four days felt like two weeks. I can still remember sitting on the bench, against the stone house, the warmth of the rays reflecting off the melting snow, the smells of early spring, the wind in the trees, and most of all, the sense of spaciousness. (more…)