I am often asked how did I really deal with being on “sabbatical?” It began with the mindset of thinking of it as just that – a sabbatical. I had read a lot of Thomas Merton and the thought of a long retreat at a monastery had some appeal. Others I knew thought of it as a “boot camp” – a place to get in really good shape. Others thought of it as a place to go to do something they always wanted to do – like learn a second language, a musical instrument, or study the classics. Sadly, most who went on sabbatical weren’t mentally able to adapt their surroundings to a quiet retreat or a spa.
When, I counsel people who are about to go in for any length of time. I usually begin by asking them, “If you were told you had to just go away from everything for a year what would you like to do or accomplish?” From their answer I am able to begin the process of helping them to adapt and convert what many believe to be a living hell to a positive.
We don’t have to go on “sabbatical” to engage in this process. In the science of living we develop skill by adapting to our existing conditions as cheerfully and promptly as possible. It begins with a mental process. It is externalized eventually in a satisfactory environment. The first step in overcoming difficulty is to dismiss all antagonism toward people or events. It is easier said than done, but with effort, it can be done, and in doing so we are prepared to consider the questions and future calmly – as we would weigh a mathematical proposition.
Try it my friends. First eliminate any antagonism toward all people and events who you feel brought you to a problem, especially yourself. Then any difficulty can be adaptated to an exciting adventure.