Joy Redux at Sabbatical Sessions.
When I allow myself to settle into feeling how I experience Sabbatical Sessions, or “SabSesh,” as we call it, the word is joy. All the normal Baja delights and distractions are here — the clarity of the light, the sunsets, the sun and shade, ocean breezes, the whales, the workaday magic, and gathering with like-minded community.
But, co-creating an ecosystem that has adapted to our current reality while incorporating ways to protect each other, coming together to discuss ways we might become better versions of ourselves and nudge the world in a slightly better direction, while keeping 24 Pescadero families employed (our employees), hearing the happy sounds of our staff back at work, and getting to witness the outrageous care they are taking to protect our guests and each other? This is my joy right now.
Of course, there is the human undercurrent of fear; is any conversation about living through a pandemic complete without acknowledging fear? In a time when the conceptual “other” has become the practical “other” — our own families are perhaps too dangerous to gather with for a meal indoors — having a campus with outdoor spaces and ample access to the natural world is an indulgence I won’t soon take for granted.
SabSesh replaced the workshops we could no longer safely produce, and now I see that it’s been so much more than a stripping away of what wasn’t possible in the time of COVID-19. The sense of community is still here; stronger than ever, actually. The spaciousness not afforded by our intense workshop schedule allows for beach meandering, baby turtle serendipity, and the luxury of slowness. More than a few of our returning MEA alums have made me promise that SabSesh will continue on...post-pandemic.
Sabbatical Sessions are here to stay. In the dog rescue world we’d call SabSesh a “foster fail,” when a foster family falls in love — fast and hard — and adopts the pup. What a happy failure.
As the world swirls on in previously unimaginable ways, we will continue to do our best to be a force for good. A place of community and reprieve, of learning and sharing, of co-creation and care. It’s the best we can do. As my father has always told me, “You don’t need to make all the right decisions, you just need to make the next right decision.” As we say in Baja Sur, “Andele.”
Christine Sperber is the Chief Experience Officer and partner in MEA and a former pro snowboarder.