My friend, Laura Berger, did what most of us only dream of doing. She ditched her stressful life in the city and her struggles to achieve work life balance and headed to the jungle for a radical sabbatical. Berger is now back in the corporate world, coaching corporate executives how to get ahead, but she credits her time in the jungle with giving her new perspective.
Laura and her husband, Glen Tibaldeo have published a book about their experience and lessons learned on their sabbatical. It's a great read and has been described as a couples Eat, Pray, Love meets the Hangover. Today, Glen is my guest blogger and shares some insights.
The Joys of Imbalance
Is your life out of balance? Why you should be thrilled.
by Glen Tibaldeo
“I was a magnet to a better professional image. If all of a sudden those guys following horses in parades with shovels drove BMWs, wore Armani, and were the talk at cocktail parties, I’d be the first to sign up for a Master’s of Science in Equestrian Excrement Elimination. Add to that my all-or-nothing mentality and my need to be a hero for more kudos and accolades. If too much of a good thing is bad, then what’s too much of a bad thing?”
This is how my wife Laura and I describe my life before our big adventure in Radical Sabbatical began. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and nowhere is it more apparent than in our story. I was a hopelessly overworked geek who had inflicted an extreme imbalance to my life, and the universe was yearning to rectify it.
And so at 35, Laura and I moved to the gorgeous, untouched seaside town that we call Pair-o-Dice village. In less than twenty-four hours we had gone from roaring subway trains and dodging fellow sidewalk pedestrians to rugged dirt roads and wildlife dripping from the trees—so plentiful that sometimes it just randomly fell from the sky.
And all the while, all we could wonder was, “why us?” “Why here?” And “How did we get here?” But with time comes wisdom. We can see how the universe corrects all imbalances -- and get this: the less balance you have, the more the cosmos wants to get you there. So how ironic that when your life feels out of whack — when it is, you’ll know it — the universe is waiting to push you to center.
So what are the laws of nature waiting for? They’re waiting for you to just give things a good, deliberate nudge. Yes, Laura and I went from the big city to the middle of nowhere overnight, but it took us 2 years to analyze all our options and make our decision. But once we decided to quit our jobs and move to the jungle, our world blew up.
We describe that life-changing explosion in Radical Sabbatical, our new comedic travel memoir about the time we risked everything we had to get the life we always wanted. In the midst of a setting that couldn’t be better for someone in the right mindset to find inner peace, we struggled to adjust to our abrupt life change. We battled serpents and surreal insects. We risked our lives on harrowing mountain runs in decrepit 4x4s. We were given mysterious potions from shamans. Laura, until then deathly afraid of heights, launched herself off a 2,000 foot mountainside. And last, but certainly not least, we rather clumsily navigated a brand new culture.
And to experience all that, all we had to do was decide to make a change. That may seem hard from where you’re sitting, but once you have decided to move, you’ll wonder what you were waiting for.
Still not convinced you’ve got it in you? Here are a few things you can do to give things that little nudge:
1. Think of a handful of easy and enjoyable tasks you can do to make progress toward your big dream. The hardest and most important part is starting.
2. Post pictures or collages of your dream life in the places you go most frequently. The more joy you can simulate, your subconscious will eventually want to make that dream happen.
3. Clear minor changes from your life so you can focus on the big bang of your dream. Your spirit can only take so much change at once.
4. Anyone trying to shake up their lives experiences significant setbacks. God knows we did. Anticipate them, so they won’t throw you off balance when they happen.
5.If you’re having trouble getting in the right mindset to start, go on vacation somewhere with the express goal of thinking and fantasizing about your new life. Habits play a huge part in staying in a rut. Just changing settings can be enough to get you to decide to get going.
We owe our exciting lives as they are now to that magical and trying time in the jungle. The people we met, the experiences we had, and all our successes and failures made the jungle both a natural theme park and life boot camp.
The brilliance of it all is that if you are so far out of balance that you can’t even see straight, you might just be on the precipice of the ride of your life.