A lot of people I talk to are scared of taking a year out - because mentally they align it with financial scarcity - i.e. they leave their jobs and they have less money.
For the most part this is true. If we stop work, we earn less.
But we need less too.
I always remind people that the purpose of taking time out is not just to stop working for a while - far from it. The purpose is to actually stop all the things that we do inside of our western existence - making plans far in advance, scheduling everything, eating out all the time, hitting the bars and clubs, or doing a 5 mile run 3 times a week. All of these things are designed to keep us 'up to speed', physically and mentally, with a life of accumulation. But taking time out is about reduction, not accumulation.
What these activities do is increase stress - the mother of all our western diseases.
Once we reward ourselves the luxury of time out, we get to see life from another point of view. We realize that although we earn less, we want less. Although our lives seem less full, we are more complete. And as we live inside of this new, revitalizing context, we realize that in our former 'luxurious' existence, we never truly grasped the concept of luxury.
I'm gonna say something radical here: Luxury has nothing to do with handbags. Or suitcases or hotel rooms.
Taking time out gives you the chance to experience luxury first hand - real luxury I mean. Real luxury is taking a long, slow walk through Central Park on a sunny Monday morning, admiring the intensity of nature, the vibrancy of every living cell on earth.
Luxury is to observe dew melting on a cobweb for ten or fifteen minutes, and marveling at the complexity and perfection of Mother Nature.
Real luxury is free.
Luxury is to view these things with a completely uncluttered mind - with not one person to answer to but your true self, to have not one aspect of your day outside of your own choice.
Real luxury is free, and priceless at the same time.
At the beginning of my year out, 11 months ago, I realized that there was nothing that required speed or freneticism any more. Flow became my natural state. I would glide around problems, saunter through my days, open my laptop and close it exactly when I felt like it, and answer to no one.
I simply moved at my natural pace - I slowed down to the pace of nature.
Ironically, what sprung from that period is one of the busiest times of my life... But here's the thing: From the pace of nature, I connected with my natural, true self. I then expressed my true self professionally, which became Cycle 4.
And as busy as I am now, it just doesn't feel like work. I just completed my fourth 18 hour day in a row and I gotta another one tomorrow, and I can't wait for it.
I am currently writing a blog and a book, developing a property, running a freelance copy writing contract for a global logistics company, training 3 nights per week to lead major personal development seminars, AND launching Cycle 4... To expedite global change.
But it's all cool.
Take a year out to slow down to the pace of nature, distinguish ego & identity from self, and automatically find what you love doing.
And never work another day again...