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  • Beth Delany

Say "Goodbye" To Quarantine and "Hello" To Soulbbatical

Author Shelley Paxton shares insight into turning a crisis into clarity

"Soubbatical expert Shelley Paxton left her corporate job of 26 years

It's been a long four months and as Americans prepare themselves to return to normal, many are asking themselves whether normal was working in the first place. In a world that rarely rests, even among crisis, Shelley Paxton is encouraging us to slow down and tune into our purpose, worth and value -- or as she calls it, starting the journey of your "soulbbatical."

Paxton, a Chicago resident and retired corporate exec, has been teaching the art of finding purpose for over three years now. Her techniques transcend generations -- from college grads to C-suite busybodies. Her latest book, Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel's Guide to Finding Your Best Life, is a step-by-step guide to becoming the Chief Soul Officer of your own life. Whether you're stuck in a quiet moment or struggling to find peace, Paxton's gritty encouragement and spirited passion is surely to jumpstart your next move.

As the world begins to open up and "new normals" are introduced into society, we're faced with the fact that a different world might require different outlooks. How can we leave our houses and instead of reverting back into our old ways, harness our individual power and influence to create a better world than the one we left months ago? Paxton's approach was practically made for this unprecedented moment in time.

Here, she shares the secret to living courageously and even opens up about her own pandemic burnout.

Can you define what a soulbbatical is? When I first let the corporate world, I was leaving on a soulbbatical -- a way to nurture and nourish my creative soul. [I wanted] to understand its truth, its wisdom and its values. Soulbbatical is about a way of being; it's about a way to live and lead more authentically, more courageously and more purposefully. A soulbbatical is about being Chief Soul Officer in your own life -- rebelling for who you are, what you want and the impact you want to have in the world. A crisis always comes to teach us something. There's pain and suffering and there's also an opportunity to get in touch with ourselves and tune into that little voice inside and understand whether we're living our truth. This is the time to slow down, kick our busyness addiction and to find our own personal signal again -- stability from the inside out.

How can we transition back into our "new normal" while carrying with us the lessons from a soulbbatical? Get really clear on what you want more of and what you want less of. I call it the "corona commitment." We can make intentional commitments to how we want to grow in this moment. I'm setting an intention based on what I learned from sitting still. We have the opportunity to redesign our lives in ways that we want to take hold and in ways we want to create. It's a daily practice. The soul process is a way to go from insight to intention to action. It's one baby step at a time and it's starting to unleash our intentions into the world and then live into it. Once we set those intentions and we practice them daily, it's up to us to continue them as the world shifts into whatever the new normal looks like. We have the agency to create and shape what we want that new normal to be in our lives.

How can your practices our newest college graduates of 2020 It's a great time to get clear on who you are and what you want and the impact you want to have in the world. All that comes with slowing down; be courageous about expressing that. We're [living through] a moment of leaning in. Be on fire for that clarity, [even if you're] just starting to play with it. "Purpose" is a big, overwhelming word for a lot of people, especially if you're a college grad. I talk about following the bread crumbs of your passions. [Find] what doors open and follow those bread crumbs.

Have you experienced burnout that you didn't expect? Have you learned new coping tools? I have had my fair share of burnout. What surprised me is how busy I got and how over busy I let myself continue to be. I was trying to outrun sitting with myself; it's almost another way of numbing. I caught myself in this cycle for the first six weeks of the pandemic. I snapped out of it and took a heaping dose of [my] own medicine. I took five days and reconnected and experienced new things. I practiced sound baths and it was a beautiful experience to calm me down and get me present and centered. When you're experiencing those moments, don't try to snap out of it. Sit in it and feel present. Understand [what you're feeling], name the emotion and find your way of dealing with it.

The lockdown is nearly over, but is it still a good time to slow down and find your soulbbatical? The journey never ends. 't A soulbbatical forces us all into the moment of slowing down, taking a deep breath and time of reflecting, rediscovering and resetting. At least start the practice of tuning in and slowing down so we can set up what we want to come out of this [pandemic]. My love note to the world is that authenticity is the truest form of rebellion. If people use this time to tap into their authentic self, [it] will reap rewards individually and collectively for what comes next. If not now, then when?

Follow Shelley on Instagram at @soulbbatical and visit her website at


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