HOW TO USE THE BOOK – where some key themes are located
Why a SECRET Sabbatical? The Course (on which the book is based) helped a wide range of people explore options without necessarily “going public” with possible thoughts of change regarding work or their personal lives. This discretion gave them more freedom to explore future directions.
The Preface and Intro provide the background of how the book came to be and why it’s needed.
A story that weaves the book together:
Chapter 1 is a re-telling of an old quest story, a story of a journey we may all take one day. At midlife and retirement the key themes of this tale become personal and current, and are realized as central.
(The story is about a search for a lost garden and the painting on this page is the original by artist Alexis Cawood, from which the cover was adapted.)
Background on the loss of the imagination:
If you are concerned about the modern imagination (including your own!) have a look at Chapters 2 and 3.
A useful and more practical model than Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs
Chapter 4 presents an overview of a powerful model that predates Maslow (by a long shot!) It presents a broader model that has the all-important benefit of specifying the fulcrum of personal change. Where do we start?
Check out Chapters 5, 6 and 7. These present the revised model and its pivotal transforming link. You’ll find practical advice on what you need to do to renew YOUR imagination and to re-imagine YOUR future.
The three diverse guides who help you work through the stages of the book
Chapters 8, 9 and 10 stand alone; to some extent. They need not be read in the context of the rest of the book. These chapters include three of the best Guides I have found. Cesar Millan, an animal trainer, teaches owners to manage their own stress, which as it turns out, has huge consequences when it comes to their pet’s behaviour. We learn what that has to do with “me.” It turns out Cesar helps all of us because he presents a self-management foundation at it’s most basic level.
Marcus Aurelius, the greatest CEO of all time, knew leadership, politics and strategy. The Secret Sabbatical offers a simple and clear way of approaching and gaining his profound guiding skills. He could lead a diverse nation, and he can lead us.
Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who has lived through a catastrophic event and returned to help us manage our day-to-day lives. She teaches practical “how to” steps and we gain an awareness of the interplay of daily events.
Future directions you may want to explore:
Chapters 11 and 12 are more far ranging than the earlier chapters. They delve into the future and include a take on fate versus destiny, and the key role of the feminine qualities needed in any sustainable future.
The Postscript offers some long-term studies that support the contents and conclusions of the book. It also presents ideas on such topics as “giving back.” The Secret Sabbatical Course includes learning ways one’s new insights can take root in the real world and it turns out that giving back is one of the most effective. To learn more please check out this section.
I hope you’ll decide to read The Secret Sabbatical in sequence, as arguments and examples build with added references over the course of the book. The sequence really has had a lot of thought!
Who has commented?
We have had feedback from people connected to the world’s great religious traditions. The book is not based on any one tradition but is valuable for interfaith purposes. Unitarians really get this!
Hindus appreciate the fact that the basic model of change has not been oversimplified, as it has been in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The central feature of the model was dropped by Maslow in the interests of simplicity and is now restored.
People from China and other Asian countries note that there are many Buddhist concepts in the book.
Muslims mostly love the poems of Rumi which form a rich thread throughout the book.
Catholics and other Christians see many references to these Western roots.
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