Permission to Pause
This past weekend we changed the clocks, moving time ahead by one hour. This annual ritual always evokes a sensation of joy, as I love light and am immensely grateful for additional sun at the end of the day. Yes, sunrise is delayed. But that’s OK with me. I’ll gladly trade darker mornings for brighter evenings.
Yet, as we transition through this annual mid-March occurrence and approach the Spring Equinox, I wonder what would occur if instead of springing full steam ahead, we considered a more subtle forward motion. If we took a moment to refresh and renew ourselves, could we reawaken along with the trees and flowers? Might our own roots become stronger? And would we be more likely to bloom as the warmer weather arrives if we granted ourselves the gift to pause?
But wait, why should we pause now? For the past year, all we’ve done is isolate, cancel, postpone, and reschedule. Isn’t it time to spring?
There is no denying that this past year has been — if I may be blunt — pretty shitty. Families could not be together, people feared becoming sick, and businesses were forced to shut down. Many became ill or even died. Substance abused soared and children — many who needed the safety of the school environment — were required to learn from home.
Yet, we’ve learned a great deal during this time sequestered from our “normal lives.” People have embraced new hobbies, improved their cooking skills, and completed home project that had been on back burner. Each one of us has grown in visible and not so easy to identify ways. In the process, we’ve discovered quite a bit about ourselves. Perhaps we’ve identified a few triggers as well as uncovered some unknown joys. Despite so much sadness, we cannot deny the silver linings we experienced.
However, I believe that there is still more for us to learn. And now that things are starting to change — more sunlight each day, winter transitioning to spring, and our world reopening — let’s rejoice in all we’ve endured, celebrate our resilience, and appreciate the many ways we have grown.
But there is one more thing to consider. Could you allow yourself permission to pause — not because you have to — but because you choose to do so?
The past twelve months have been exhausting in so many ways. Whether our minds are weary from the Groundhog Day effect, our hearts are heavy with sadness, or our souls are scared, uncertain of what tomorrow may bring, now is the time to be gentle with our human selves. Let’s give our bodies the rest, nourishment, and love we require to step into our newly evolving world in a refreshed manner. Instead of instinctively springing into spring, let’s proceed slowly, taking our time to be aware and curious in this transition. Doing so will help free us from the hazy film that has been clouding so much of our vision this past year.
No doubt you know what’s best for you, but here are some of the things I plan on doing — sleeping a bit longer, allowing myself “to be” instead of always feeling the pressure “to do,” saying “no” when something feels out of alignment, spending more time in nature, and trusting my instinct instead of requiring certainty. In essence, I am committing to rest, regroup, and heal from the chaos of the past year.
When we give ourselves permission to pause, we can restore, rejuvenate, and recalibrate … necessary ingredients for becoming a higher version of ourselves. And, honoring this need to slow down and proceed deliberately not only benefits us, but it also improves the lives of those around us. For when we are rested, we are better able to respond, give from the heart, love unconditionally, and listen for understanding.
So, take a break, cash in that “get out of jail free” card, or maybe even call in sick. Do whatever you must to honor your wellbeing. Remember, you always have the power to just be. But you must allow it to happen.