Begin at the Beginning: breakthrough

Where is your beginning? How can you go on without a beginning? Is
this elusive beginning yours? If so, at birth, before birth, in childhood,
when you left home, when passion faded out, when you understood that your beginning was only yours?
Is this elusive beginning one that belongs to a poem yet to be written; a character yet to speak to and through you; a desert’s/forest’s/river’s destruction still only being dreamed of by powerful and wealthy investors; thousands of good-hearted “Americans” going to the border to greet their new neighbors?
Start here: I am in the heart of this beginning…

I await your words.

Here are Lynette Shepard’s words on Sabbatical:

“I’m taking myself on sabbatical.” I trumpeted this to anyone who would listen (and many who wouldn’t.) I informed friends, clients, co-teachers and family that 2019 was the year that I would be unavailable for most anything save the minor tasks of eating and sleeping. OK, paying bills so we can keep the lights on.  And posting to the Menopause Blog if and when I feel like it.

“What does that even mean?” my husband asked. “You are already working for yourself, so you can structure your time however you wish.”  Meaning I can make my own schedule and still accomplish SOMETHING. I blathered through a long-winded answer that didn’t make sense even to me. Finally I said, “I’ll get back to you.”
I looked up my glorious plan.. The first answer I found was:
noun: sabbatical; plural noun: sabbaticals
  1. 1.
    a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.”she’s away on sabbatical
Hmmmm. Okayyyyyyyy. Loving the one year for every seven – that means I’m owed multiple sabbaticals by my calculations. Wikipedia expanded on it: “literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from one month to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described in several places in the Bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year. Strictly speaking, this means a sabbatical would last one year.”
Finally, a commandment that I can get behind! Inside every lapsed Catholic schoolgirl lies a demure child, her hands clasped in prayer position, trying to please the nuns. Or at least avoid a stinging slap on the hand with a ruler.
While querying Google for the meaning of “sabbatical”, I came across a website with the promising name of “The Muse dot com.” The search engine linked to an article that chronicled three burned-out women and their sabbaticals. Now we’re getting somewhere, I thought. The first paragraph read: “Imagine exploring the Pacific Northwest and finding your way to Kurt Cobain’s house. Or taking a Trans Siberian train trip from Moscow to Bangkok. Or how about six months in nature hiking the Appalachian Trail?”
Jeeeeesuuus.   (Sorry, Sister Rose Olive. Ouch, that smarts.) (I, Sister Mary, interject: “Gag me. Thank you. Sister Lynette!!”) More doing, more goals, hardcore recreation were the antithesis of what I had in mind when I announced my sabbatical. I realized I wanted open-ended, unstructured time to write, make art, and stare out the window. I wanted a to-do list that contained two or three items instead of two or three pages. I wanted to do – mostly – nothing.
OK, paying bills so we can keep the lights on.  And posting to the Menopause Blog if and when I feel like it!
Here are Elizabeth Maginnis’ words on not making 2019 resolutions: My muse left me Friday, July 6, 2018. I remember this date vividly as the day I underwent surgery to remove a precancerous polyp in my rectum. Since then, the Universe has been having a big laugh at the expense of my dignity.

I struggled to recover for months, unable to enjoy my usual summer pursuit of swimming because the pain was too intense. All I could manage was a couple of yoga poses in my recliner. Add to that my usual battle with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and you have a recipe for depression.

Meanwhile, my muse has been off enjoying a Hawaiian vacation. Perhaps she thought it was well-earned. Perhaps she was waiting to bail the first chance she got. In any event, she hasn’t come back yet. She must be having too much fun.

I won’t be making any writing resolutions for 2019. Why set myself up for frustration? My muse will march her ass off the plane when she’s good and ready. In the meantime, I’ll find something else to do.



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