The start of our new academic year is just a week away at Imperial. I have been remembering my holidays in the summer and getting ready for the new start.
I really like the ‘process of return’ expressed in this French word I kept seeing on my holiday. “La rentrée” sums up the whole phenomena of ‘back to school and back to work’.
Supermarkets stockpile new school bags, pens and stationary required for “la rentrée”. The newspapers talk about politicians making their “rentrée” – with new policy announcements and campaigns. I am told it is also the excuse for late deliveries because well…people have been away and are just coming back to work… “c’est la rentrée!”
We can’t avoid the end of the holiday. We do have to go back to school or work and all the stuff of daily life. So what I like is the way “la rentrée ” suggests that this is a process, and it can take some time, and we should probably all just bear with one another because it is going to take a while to get back to life as usual.
In one sense returning from holiday is straightforward. Just get home, get back in the office and start getting on with things. But like the space shuttle’s “re-entry” it can be a dramatic process returning to the familiar atmosphere and the gravity of work.
And in the course of the holiday and the return journey we may have changed a little. Maybe we are for the moment more relaxed, or returning with a new vision.
In daily life, and in the practices of spirituality that we weave through our daily lives, it can take time to pick up all the patterns and routines. It is good to do this slowly if possible. Maybe, after the break there might be some new things to try, some things to ditch and some re-ordering of the work.
I also found that “à la rentrée ” is a way of wishing someone a ‘good return to work’; blessing for the ‘process of return’.
Whether you’re getting back to work, about to start the annual academic cycle, or exploring new patterns of spirituality, ‘Bon courage!