After six days in Portland with Kenzie, I am back in Chicago, with Ian and Cassidy, until Sunday evening. This two-week trip, beyond getting me out of my little corner of the world, was absolutely essential to my mental health. I was tired to the point of being short-tempered and uninspired, which was not ideal for me, the people I spend my days with, or DRC. Those profound levels of exhaustion were bringing me dangerously close to burn-out. In the last few months, while dealing with everyday responsibilities and crises, along with all the tasks related to founding a not-for profit, without a significant break, in two years, I realized that despite the deep joy and pride my work produces, I was becoming increasingly ambivalent to everything I had spent nearly six years creating.
No matter how invested you are in your work – whether it is something you have built from scratch or is purely a day job, everyone needs an occasional break. In these two weeks, I have learned, once again, that taking care of myself – doing “nothing” while staring off into space, reading a book for pure enjoyment, wandering, aimlessly, around an unfamiliar city, eating food that delights my palette, sleeping and waking without a schedule, writing, and spending time with people I adore – is absolutely necessary for, not only my sanity, but also, my ability to fully engage with the folks who need me, as well as the growth of Deep Root Center.
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My month of travel continues on Wednesday, after a brief stop at home, to visit my brother’s farm in Vermont and then the three day Liberated Learner Conference in Amherst, MA., which is one of the highlights of my year. It is where I am so very fortunate to have the yearly opportunity to connect with my colleagues, who are also building Self-Directed Learning Centers around the Country. I will spend the remainder of the month in Eastern MA. with my sister and then back in VT. to help plant my brother’s hemp crop. I’ll be back “in the saddle,” fully refreshed, the first week of July.