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March 24, 2016

Is it time to pause?

mindfulness in business

This message is for the producer. The ones who calibrate success, happiness, and value by the checks on a to do list. The first ones to help a friend, assist with a fundraiser, read just one more bedtime story.

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to chat about “the pause”, my friend.

Let me tell you something: I’m an uncomfortable mix of free-spirited and head-down production. My mind and heart want to ponder interesting questions and sit in the sun with a coloring book. The alter ego to my bohemian side is an intense drive to get s*#@ done. I love, love, love a to do list. My bujo (bullet journal) looks like it belongs to a schizophrenic. Doodles are nestled beside checklists and maps of the future.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this personality combo. In fact, I think it’s a pretty unstoppable duo. But the issue for me is that my production voice is louder and uber certain of itself. Whenever there’s space in my day, a shout rings out in my mind to “Do Something!” Get something done. Check something off.

Pulsing underneath the clamor is a soft whisper. “Have a cup of tea and sit in the breeze for a minute.” It takes practice to look for that second raised hand. To honor and consider the suggestion to stop and just be, just observe, just absorb life.

So, here I am at 40, learning the true cost of only listening to the bossy voice. Which is an unhealthy way to lead this one wild and precious life.

Last year, I fell into a cyclonic pattern. My eyes were barely open before buzzing started. All day I hustled from one task to the next with urgency. But, here’s the kicker, I could hardly get anything done. My resources were depleted; my ability to problem solve was crippled.

And so, of course, I crashed … hard … painfully. And a pause was forced upon me. In my complete inability to function, I was given the gift of space. Which led me to unclench my fists and truly open my eyes for the first time in months (years?). And, in that pause, I learned so many valuable lessons.

My hope is that you don’t have to get to the point of paralysis like I did. Maybe reading this will give you a compass and a wake up call. You need to pause so that you can replenish yourself.

Here’s a random list of ideas for giving yourself a pause:

  • Delete Facebook from your phone.
  • Buy yourself a coloring book and some crayons/colored pencils/markers. Keep these goods in your bag all the time. This is like a life-preserver. Also, you’ll become magnetic to any kids around and earn the title of “the cool mom”.
  • Binge watch Fixer Upper (If you don’t know about this show on HGTV, check it out ASAP. It’s a design inspiration gold mine).
  • Bake something.
  • Throw yourself an impromptu dance party.
  • Talk to yourself out loud. Say the kindest, most encouraging things you can think of. You are beautiful. You have crazy, amazing talent. Your contribution is priceless and necessary.
  • Call a friend and lay down your burdens.
  • Drink a bottle of wine in good company.
  • Build a fire outside and just stare at the flames. Think about the resources needed for the blaze. Feel the heat. Watch the transformation from start to finish.

I’ve used these tricks in recent weeks to keep this whirling dervish of a life from spinning off the edge. It doesn’t take a ton of time for a pause. Start with 5 minutes and pretty soon you’ll be finding a way to take entire days.

If you want to verbally process the struggles you’re having right now, I’m available to listen. I might give you a suggestion or two or just commiserate. Shoot me a message and we’ll schedule a virtual unpacking. Seriously, it’s free and I really love to do it.

Alright, now go do your thing.