What I have to show for 1 year 27 days of sabbatical
(it's not money)
I've been on a "figure out what I'm doing" sabbatical for over a year now. In that time I've been to twelve countries, three meditation retreats, two festivals, one Shaolin retreat, one mystery school, and one gathering of fellow Twitter addicts. And…
I am here to tell you that the world is VAST and BEAUTIFUL.
I am here to tell you that your inner world is EQUALLY FASCINATING and MUCH CLOSER.
I am here to tell you that I went to the sites of Kyoto and returned to my tatami mat room to create images in Midjourney, and couldn't discern which was more marvelous.
I am here to tell you that there still exist some capital cities of Western countries without Starbucks (but not many).
I am here to tell you that you can spend a whole year and a lot of money traveling and still feel that you have only glimpsed a mere crumb of the world.
I have seen the fruit fly and it is me.
I am here to tell you that what you have seen on TV is not true, and that the world is full of beauty and kind people (like Pele the taxi driver). It may not be for-sure-definitely-100%-safe, but we don't get out of life alive no matter how safe we play it.
I am here to tell you that there exists a land where stray cats are integrated into society and their existence peppers everyday life with more kawaii than all the anime shops in Akihabara. And being there, in Istanbul, I thought maybe cats shouldn't belong to any one person but to society as a whole, just as children probably ought to belong to a whole tribe instead of a nuclear family.
I am here to tell you that as exotic and glamorous as full-time exploration may seem, I spent a good chunk of the year feeling lost and lonely. I missed feeling like I mattered to those around me and that I was serving them in some way. In short, I missed my ikigai.
I also missed my weighted blanket.
But what do I have to show for this year of sabbatical, anyway?
Well, this blog, a good story about shoveling shit at a zen monastery, a quarter-written novella about a future society that uses DMT to spy on alien enemies, a handful of mystical experiences, a renewed sense that life is Good and Worth Living, a 101 understanding of Buddhism, a partner whom I love, a sense of purpose and direction, and a bit of ease knowing that should I die tomorrow, I will at least have seen a glimpse of this beautiful world.
It was a year that I produced nothing in an economic sense, and yet gained things invaluable.
I am here to tell you if your life is falling apart, if all the structures in your life are breaking down, if you feel there's nothing to do but give your life up to the winds of fate, it may just be a great blessing.
And if nothing else, well, everything's gonna be.
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