A sabbatical can mean many things to many. As far as I am concerned I've been on a break. A break from everything - from thinking, from doing, from helping, from feeling and so on.
Sometimes some experiences overwhelm you. They lift you up, take you into a whirlwind of ecstasy and then somehow manages to brutally land you down in a mire. Such are the vagaries of life.
Then there are those occassions where pain sears through you, wounds you and carves you up and just when you feel you can take no more, there is that bit more.
The ability to see pain on a receiving platter and learn its lessons is a gift from God. Yes truly. Every occassion of soul shattering pain is an opportunity to learn something primal and vital about yourself. Something that you had forgotten mattered. And it mattered deep enough to hurt.
Learn. Pain offers us an unparalleled occassion to learn from deep inside our heart, soul and mind. What did I learn?
This sabbatical I woke from a dream or maybe a better way of putting it would be to say that I woke from a trance, albeit a very lengthy trance. For the first time in a long while I remembered who and what I used to be. I remembered what used to keep me going, and who kept me going. I remembered who and what used to matter to me and what made me, me.
See, I had forgotten. Maybe even deliberately so. I had forgotten who I was and how I was for the first 25 years of my life. Especially the latter half of those 25 years.
Did it matter now? Did the past matter. For me, yes it did. The rediscovery of my past self revealed why I hurt like I do, when I do. I had mastered the why and the how of dealing with pain and even dedicated a third of my first book to it. I have helped numerous people deal with their pain and rise above it. I have been instrumental in many healing the wounds from their past. But it took me this sabbatical to learn why I hurt in the first place.
The why of why. The why of the existentential self and unrequited love. The why of why it hurts so bad when it does hurt. The why I needed to dig deep and hard and accept the person of my youth in order to fulfill the person of my future. Yes, that is why I needed to focus. However long this journey may take I will indeed reconcile the she of the past with the she of the present in order to grow the powerful she of the future.
If you and I do not engage with our past selves we run the risk that the she/he of the present will wither and die in due course. We need to explore, rediscover, revitalize and retain all the wonderful and beautiful blooms of our past in order to shape our present and invigourate our future.