When I found myself reduced to living out of a suitcase on Christmas Eve 2010, I had hit an economic, emotional and spiritual bottom.

After a lifetime of work and commitments that focused on taking care of the needs of others, I was turning 60, single, financially-strapped, underemployed, and evicted from my home of 13 years.

The previous three years had been hard economically. Bit by bit, over time, I found myself sinking. Work was scarce. I took odd jobs. I tapped into my retirement. The COBRA payments for health insurance became untenable and I joined the ranks of the uninsured. Then I fell behind in my mortgage. That’s when the nightmare truly began. Despite every effort to comply, the home loan modification process with Chase turned into an unreal hall of mirrors of conflicting information and processes. The bank finally foreclosed in the fall of 2010. I decided to stay in my home and fight it in the courts. Then came the five-day eviction notice in mid-December from Fannie Mae — just in time for the holidays. I didn’t have the stomach to fight anymore. I said goodbye to the the little condo on Summertime Lane and closed the door. The future seemed bleak.

I felt defeated. I had worked hard all my life, only to come to this — couch surfing with all of my possessions either given away or in storage. I felt angry. I felt sad. I felt disillusioned.

December 24, 2010, found me heartbroken and on my knees in a state of total surrender. I wondered, where do I go from here? I wanted to give up. But something deep within wouldn’t allow me to.

I now find myself on an incredible journey of the heart.  So far, this journey has taken me to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and throughout my home state of California to places I had never seen in my own backyard. Since I was now unintentionally homeless and jobless, I began to refer playfully to it as  “my spiritual sabbatical.”  Little did I realize at the start how meaningful that phrase would become as my journey continued, and continues, to unfold.

I have found something sacred everywhere I have gone, pointing me in the direction of finding peace. This time in my life has become very much a spiritual journey. My faith is growing and deepening in unexpected directions. The Gift Of Desperation (G.O.D.) is opening my eyes and my heart in ways I have never experienced — until now.

Given my circumstances, many have asked how I manage to travel and continue to explore. I know I am fortunate, and I do not take it for granted for a single second. I can say that people are amazingly generous, and I can also say I am learning how to prioritize what is really important. There is beauty to be had in eliminating the distraction of nonessentials, and you can take a vacation by looking at what is right in front of you with new eyes.

I am learning so many lessons.  I am learning how to ask for help and how to receive it. I am learning that sometimes when we lose things, we never needed them in the first place. I am learning that life is a series of hellos and goodbyes and hellos. I am learning that change is inevitable and that I’m not the same person I was even a second ago. I am learning that there is real value I can offer someone in need by giving them a smile and a tender word. I am learning that the true purpose of life is to align myself with His purpose, not my agenda. I firmly believe that the “something deep within” that wouldn’t let me give up was God’s amazing love and plan.

In late December I was, in fact, defeated.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that being defeated was a very good thing. It led me to seek a different way to live. My life has never been more abundant than it is now.

This site is a collection of past and present journal entries from my spiritual sabbatical. I will continue to share in my writing the places I visit, the people I meet and the lessons I continue to learn — lessons I hope will offer encouragement to anyone who is at a crossroads in life and wondering which way to go.

Eleanor Brownn
Keep moving forward, step by step.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Blogging about One’s Reality | afternoonstorm

  2. That’s really kool… Writing is the best therapy a person can have… The coolest thing about it …it’s yours and no one else’s . I write poetry and journals sometimes about life’s journey travels up and down. And after that you feel so much more at ease. I really liked what you had to say…


  3. I am starting my own spiritual sabbatical at age 50. I have use this term over the last several days to describe why I am quitting my entry level temp job and spend the next year in spiritual study and self reflection.


  4. I am a bit speecless after reading this blog. I found this as I Google ‘sabbatical’, and other identifying terms that are still personal enough that I do not wish to reveal in an open forum just now.

    The surprise came from the odd similarity to my own past and current situation, and this push for me to seek out a specific type of exor


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