“Oh, how I long to pause more, to step back
into that moment between things”
My history of being driven by doing is extensive. In high school, I got to study hall at 5:30am, afraid of the conflict and emptiness in my home life. In college I read the suggested and required reading before my courses began. While I lived in community, I worked two full time positions. In my career until my early 50's, I often worked 80 hour weeks. While it's true I loved and still do love my work in Leading from the Hearts, this was way out of balance.
wrong with me. I know I am not alone. What is it about waking up at 3 am with obsessive thoughts and dreadful feelings that cannot be abated without a pharmaceutical remedy?
Those of us who have been faced with a sudden illness, depression, loss of job or loss of direction know what “enforced” pauses(the kind of pause in which we did not have a choice) can engender is our spiritual and emotional lives. We live in a culture where worth is measured by how busy we are. Doing MORE and having MORE is our mantra.
So, the question is “why would anyone want to pause?” In my early 50's, I left my life's work in Denver for my first long-term sabbatical. I thought the sabbatical would last 3 months but it actually took 3 years before I was really ready to reenter the work arena as a spiritual entrepreneur. I could see that the way I was working was not working. I wanted to take the risk of a time out.
My definition of “pausing” would be to suspend activity and to temporarily disengage from goals and the outdated value that says “doing” is God and making money, in and of itself, is holy. A pause can last a moment, a few days, or be a longer retreat or an extensive sabbatical. When we pause, we disrupt the pattern and we open to the possibilities that exist in the stillness. When we say no to “doing”, we say yes to “being”, and pausing becomes a practice, our life becomes fuller and richer.
While in that 3 years traveling around the US and Canada, every feeling under the sun came up(in fact, all the feelings I was suppressing by being so busy showed up for healing). Learning how to be with the feelings and how to honor the process was and still is a significant life skill. When I went back to work, I had so much more capacity for compassion, for quiet, for equality, for depth, and I had a renewed spring in my step. Creativity guided all my next decisions and my business has been thriving ever since.
I know most of my readers are not at a place to take a long-term sabbatical, however, learning to meditate can be a daily way to get respite. I use centering prayer and mindfulness meditation to fill the need for a refreshing pause.
I am learning to be the kind of person who values kindness over productivity. I really don't even believe in success or failure. I just want to show up in the moment and be true to the students I work with. I value being of service more than making money, though making money is absolutely okay with me. I have decided that I make “enough” money.
I am discovering that if I say “I'm going to pause here”, or “let me think about this”, or even “I don't know”, my world will not fall apart. Instead, I have a chance to return to center, to a spacious place within. At the end of our work days, my husband and I are learning to ask “when did you take time for being today?”, rather than the question about “what did you do today?”
I think I'll take a pause now, maybe a nap – pick this writing back up in a day or two to see what could open up after a time out. Perhaps you would like to join me in your own pause!
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, PATRICIA
By Hamid Rahimi
One’s throat must be like a garden
And one’s eyes like windows
Through which love passes;
And one’s stature
Must be like a tree
That rises out of rocks;
And poetry must be like a singing bird
Perching on the highest branch of a tree,
Breaking the heavy silence of the world.