I spent the month of September 2015 in a small cabin in the mountains of Tennessee. To paraphrase Thoreau, I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. To paraphrase Jesus, I went to the woods because I had lost myself in the “coming and going” and needed to come away with Him to a quiet place and rest (Mk. 6:31). Does any of that sound vaguely familiar?
Although personal retreats and sabbaticals have played an integral part of my journey for 20 years, this was the longest I have ever spent alone…and I approached it with a strange brew of eagerness and apprehension. Now, on the other side, I can say what I hoped to be able to say: it was simply transformative. I return the same guy yet significantly changed. And much for the better, as my wife will tell you!
The following brief posts will apply a few of the insights from the sabbatical experience to the perennial challenge of thriving as a leader. A new post will appear each week and each will include a specific practice for you to try that will enhance your vitality. As Ruth Haley Barton likes to say, “The best thing you can bring to your leadership is your own transforming self.”
- Retreat for Recovery: moving from dangerously tired to passionately energetic.
- Retreat for Transformation: moving from emotionally flat to spiritually engaged.
- Retreat for Connection: moving from relationally destructive to communally redemptive.
- Retreat for Perspective: moving from chronically myopic to wisely focused.
This sabbatical gave birth to something else: plans for a new book after a 10-year hiatus! A book on how to and why to incorporate the practice of sabbaticals and personal retreats as an essential component for thriving in your life and leadership. You’ll hear more as this vision progresses; in the meantime I welcome your prayers as the seed germinates and comes to life. Thanks.