Sabbatical

This blog has been a bit of a desert for the last few years while I’ve been studying for my masters in music therapy. Thanks for staying with me, if you’re still reading! Whilst I’ve been keeping a reflective journal for the two years of study, it’s not been constructed in any way that’s appropriate to publish here, and the learning has been overwhelming –  maybe over time I’ll begin to share more of that, as the dust settles. tree in burial ground

The last 5 or so years have been a rich time of developing new skills, creating work, building local demand for music as a health intervention, giving time and attention to people’s journey through music, and latterly passing the work on to other practitioners, as well as completing a full time, two-year masters in music therapy. Busy busy busy. I am now living in the US on sabbatical for a year, and this gives me an opportunity to focus on learning, on strengthening and healing myself, imagining future work, and with no pressure to build a client group or pay the bills* (at any rate, with the US government shut-down my work permit application is in limbo). After an initial wobble believing I was in some kind of wilderness because I didn’t have a plan, I’ve arrived at a sense of openness at the possibilities this time and place might hold.

I’ve always assumed the word sabbatical meant to rest, like the sabbath day – and wikipedia** has this to say about it:

Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described several places in the Bible (Leviticus 25, for example, where there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year). In the strict sense, therefore, a sabbatical lasts a year.”

I like these balancing rules in the old testament – a bit like the jubilee rules of redistribution of wealth. I remember hearing someone say that the sabbath is a day when you stop, even if not everything is finished. This is helpful: of course I’ve not finished what I want to do, or even what needs to be done. On finishing my masters training, we had an exit interview of sorts, in which my supervisor told me to go and do lots and lots of work. I look forward to the time when I will do lots and lots of music therapy – but right now, I’m on sabbatical, even though I’m not done yet.

*a condition of our visas is that we don’t need to earn money here in the US to support ourselves while we are here – I can only apply for a work permit if I don’t need the money *mind boggles*

**Is there anything wikipedia does not know? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabbatical accessed 7th October 2013

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