Sabbatical insights and musings for life

After six-weeks away on my Egyptian sabbatical, it’s good to be back in Brisbane to my ‘home’ and children. I learned so much while I was ‘offline’. Whilst nothing much has changed on the ‘outside’, there have been some significant changes on the ‘inside’. These shifts are observable through my presence and my choices. Those who have met with me since returning have commented without me saying a word. I feel more grounded, present and peace-full.

13139348_10153429929906415_9125757608743113871_nGoing on sabbatical with no internet, computer or telephone was so liberating – freeing – physically, emotionally and mentally…. TOTALLY!! The greatest gift I gave myself was complete permission to tune out from everybody else and tune IN to me and to every moment I found myself in. The result was powerful – supremely present in every moment – truly maximising the experiences, allowing myself to savour the deliciousness of where I was at any given time. No pressure. No deadlines. No expectations. Simply allowed myself to BE.

The biggest insights/themes from my sabbatical are:

  • Self-care and self-nurturance: this is not optional any more – it’s a priority – I’m a priority. My morning routines of meditation, journaling and nature walk with my dogs enrich, enliven and nourish me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are vital rituals and non-negotiable.
  • Make JOY a keystone to daily life: get off the ‘treadmill’ of busyness of life with the endless list of ‘to do’s’ and integrate more play and joy in my BEingness. This is easy. When life gets serious, it can make us ‘serious’ too and we forget the inner child like essence of ourselves that reminds us that life is to be enJOYed not simply endured.
  • We are all connected: connection and intimacy are vital aspects to our humanity and remind us that it’s not just our ‘highlights’ that connect us. We connect and relate most to one another in the ‘lowlights’ of life. These are usually the times we contract and withdraw from each other instead of reaching out and connecting making the journey less lonely and more loving. I will create greater wholeness and balance by dedicating quality time for those people and causes that matter most to me (including myself).
  • Boundaries are important: the automatic ‘yes’ has been replaced with greater discernment to ensure I honour and respect my own needs. The people I allow close to me must be good for/to me too, and the ‘work’ I choose to do must be in direct alignment with my values and purpose. It’s important to keep technology in perspective too – I did not miss it at all. There will be no computer time on weekends.

13138967_10153429929326415_1106616045783192945_nThe time away allowed me to break old habits and moulds that had me bound to patterns of busy-ness and mind-FULL-ness. I was able to feel the freedom and aliveness in BEing fully present, able to appreciate the richness and wonder of the spaces and places I found myself in. This was liberating, freeing and so deeply enJOYable. I could breathe deeply. I could savour the wonder and awe of the places, the people and the experiences of Egypt in a way that would not have been possible if my mind and attention was divided or distracted. Being without mobile phone, internet or computer for that six-weeks reminded me of what life was like in my childhood. I remember long rides in the back seat of the car – making screeching noises when Dad took turns (ticking Dad off) and laughing our heads off (there were three of us in the back seat); squashing whoever was sitting on the sides depending whether we turned left or right (I still do this and encourage my kids too); sang songs; played “I spy” or “Charades”; or just talked about random things with one another. We would actively engage with one another. Life was fun and simple and we were supremely present. I miss those days. My Egypt experience was great for that reason – it was the much needed circuit breaker I needed to break the cycle of overworking and under living.

What life is all about

Being fully present with no distractions and able to tune INto ourselves by disconnecting from the outer world and re-connecting to the INNER world for quality periods of time, is a key to enabling us to remember what life is really all about. We are human BEings not human DOings! I think we often lose sight of this. My eyes and heart are completely open to truly appreciating the countless breathtaking discoveries that are around me right now and in every moment when I’m ‘unplugged’. I encourage you to try it too and relish in the experience of allowing yourself to be free and totally present right here right now – even if it’s only for an hour, or even 10-minutes a day. It takes great discipline but it’s totally worth it. YOU are worth it, and those you love will appreciate it too.

Where your attention goes, energy flows

Let’s get back to basics and create the life experience we deeply crave for – authentic, present, real, passionate and chosen! Are you up for the challenge? Would you like to enjoy some quality time and freedom to tune IN and simply BE? How can you incorporate some time into your day and week just to BE for YOU? So if anyone asks me: “Are you out of your mind?” I will simply say: YES!!!
With love,






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  • Lee Jones-Shehata says:

    I am happily married to an Egyptian and we visit Alexandria Egypt every year … so far … met 2000 (fell crazy in love) married 2005 and still crazy in love. Thank You God. I love Australia and it is home but Alexandria has our 2nd home. I now have a big warm loving Egyptian family to love. Life is challenging for them but they keep it simple and are generally happy. No fancy toys. I always return refreshed from my time in Alexandria.

  • Paul Barnard says:

    Hi Josie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts above. You sound great. Barney