Four Lessons From My Hiatus

When you are in it, you cant see it. A hiatus is a great way of examining yourself, your actions, intentions and results from a distance.  Distance brings clarity. I have been on a hiatus of sorts from several default dens. Large parts of social media, large conferences, get-togethers and the like. It has given me to rediscover many facets and dust up promises made. Here are four lessons from my hiatus.

A few months ago, a vague gnawing feeling kept me company.  I couldn’t quite place a steady finger on a particular problem. It presented an opportunity to relook at several things.  In a conversation with a friend, the need to slow down emerged. At the place where the road curved, I realised the need to ‘Play’ more. so much so, that it became my word of the year!  

A hiatus was well in place by then. Most of the social media was (and still continues to be) off my phone. I reconfigured my phone. I cleaned up my bookshelf and the wardrobe. My hard drive remains by far incomplete.  I took a break from many conferences and preferring smaller more intimate conversations.  And so on. I see more and hear more these days. It has been refreshing.

So, the other day, I sat down wondering what all has emerged for me. On a whim, I wrote four lessons from a hiatus. Written more for me and not as a prescription to the world. 

1. The Acceleration Problem:

I thought acceleration in life is tough. I realise that getting off the fast lane is tougher to start with! There are all kinds of fears that dominate. But to have the courage to continue staying off the grid exposes the hollowness of several fears. I cut out the argumentative froth on social media.   The inventive algorithmic persuasion of Facebook and such other apps was evident, as the gaps they left behind on the calendar, helped me read far more. And about staying updated, it was obvious that if it’s that earth-shattering a news, it will reach! Life is beautiful beyond these empty fears.

2. The Accumulation Problem:

As the years roll by we tend to accumulate. It’s easy. It’s a good feeling. We accumulate material possessions, friends, ideas, opinions etc! Of course, the accumulation of fat in the body, tartar in teeth and dogma in the mind, happen whilst we are busy.  If we are not careful, they come in the way of leading a full life.

A friend told me, “you have a problem only if you let things in. You need to filter at the source”. That is prescient advice, I realise.  In a world where information and opinion is cheap, we need to find ways to stay sane. One way is to have strong filters. Works for fat, tartar, dogma or the wardrobe!

3. Default Vs Design:

The hiatus has helped me examine the defaults that have eased their way in. Living life to a design and a plan requires calling out the defaults and elbowing them out! Doing the right thing is not the same as doing the easy, natural thing. To eat right, staying fit, having quality conversations, getting to do quality work, are all products of choices.  They are shaped by disciplined choices in the space of other inviting options that hold allure. 

4. The force of dead habit:

The hiatus brought me face to face with dead habits. I realise that habits that were good for a point in time and that are past their prime have kept me stiff company.  And then there are some plain bad ones that have stuck on too. Some bad ones masqueraded as good ones. Others didn’t find any need to.  Obviously, I am far from being free of these. But I am now better acquainted with them and the stories my mind tells me about them!

The deal with the hiatus is that it gives the time and space to examine. It gives opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. The thing about insights from a hiatus is that you can’t force it to appear. Insights come with deep reflection, conversation and courageous examination. These require ample time, a free mind and some breeze to shoot. Those are aplenty in a hiatus.

One more thing.

One of the greatest realisations I have is that it is possible to have a hiatus whilst going about work and putting bread on the table. It means making parts of your calendar inaccessible to your regular ways. It requires a commitment to tune in to deeper desires and transcending immediate pulls and pressures.

So, am plodding on rearranging blocks of my life. To roll the log of ‘lived life’ over and see what crawls out from beneath it with curiosity, is interesting. To say the least.

In more than one sense, I am upgrading. It is work in progress and it still has jarred edges. Please adjust! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Four Lessons From My Hiatus

  1. Yateen says:

    Resonate most with my current state of mind!
    Stepping back and assess was one way as a jungle person I would do regularly even today!

    Clarity, design vs default, rearranging blocks of life these few things stood out most for me.

    I wonder if i get to see you someplace in mountains preferably Himalayas , lost to the world and attuned to the nature and savoring personal connect with it.
    Basking in what nature has to offer and may be a company of lots of gods and few human beings!

    No race, no hurry, no Ought to finish deadlines!

    Pure bliss of Nothingness and Present in here and now!

    The question that help me always is – What am I not learning from current situation?

    My thoughts.

    Yateen

  2. Barbara says:

    Great read! Thanks for sharing yourself. I too am in a transition – an upgrade as you call it. Feels great while also a little daunting letting go of who I was to become who I am now.

  3. Aashish kshetry says:

    Thoughts helped me a lot as these relevant gor any transition . Hope the upgrade is a success for you

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