October’s theme of Rest chose me. Now that we have settled into our new apartment life, I was anticipating a time of renewed energy and focus and instead found myself so exhausted, rest was the only option. These 30 days are an official sabbatical for me and even with the help of the internet, I was unable to find a map for what a sabbatical could look like in my reality.
While I appreciate the quote, “When the student is ready the teacher appears, ” it also annoys me when I think I am ready and my teacher is no where in sight. Can you imagine my delight, when two days before my official days of rest begin, I have coffee with a beautiful teacher who says, “Would you like me to help you plan your sabbatical?” I am ready and my very own sabbath guide appears.
Yesterday, we spent a little over an hour creating a map together. These 30 days will be divided into four stages. And we are using the body’s natural sleep cycle as a map for this month.
Stage 1: Slowing down, light brain waves, transition from wakefulness to sleep (theta waves). This is my week of spaciousness, breathing room, and allowing margin for transition from a fast paced, quick response life to a slower one. During this week (which also happens to be my 21st wedding anniversary) I will be on vacation with my husband. Our idea of a vacation is doing nothing. We love to read, go to coffee shops, eat out at nice restaurants and sit in nature.
Stage 2: Rapid, rhythmic brain waves where body temperature decreases and breathing patterns slow (sleep spindles). This will be a time to reflect on the past six years and notice God’s work in my life. My spiritual director said it would be lovely if I could write down the names of my clients, my friends, and my family that have so blessed me in this past season and freshly entrust them to God, acknowledging that He is the ultimate resource for all things and trusting Him with those so dear to my heart.
Stage 3: Less reactive, noises and activities in the environment fail to generate a response (delta waves). This will be a time for me to heal and recover from the aches and burdens I have been carrying and to tend to those tender places inside of me that need nourishment, time and attention.
Stage 4: Dreaming, rapid eye movement, brain and body systems increase while the muscles become more relaxed and even paralyzed. The longer one sleeps the deeper and longer REM lasts. This will be a time for creativity without productivity. I imagine coloring, taking photographs, exploring my dreams and listening to music.
This map is a light sketch, a gently penciled outline that integrates my body’s need for rest with my soul’s need for rest. It is not a set of directions that must be perfectly executed, but a map that illustrates that my needs are valid and supports me in trusting the process.
For more information about sleep cycles, visit here: http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/a/SleepStages.htm