Guest Post: The Great Global Pause

Over the next couple posts, we have invited some friends of ours to share their thoughts on taking a pause.


Our second guest blogger is Dr. Michael Lickers.  Mike is an amazing man/co-worker/friend.  He has taught both of us a lot over the years and held space for us by facilitating our first vision quest.  The vision quest was a big part of recognizing the need for slowing down and for bringing us to the place of creating Conscious Pause.  Mike is a sought after speaker on Indigenous ways and has taught at Royal Roads University, St. Mary’s University and the University of Calgary.  If you’re interested in his work, you can connect with him on LinkedIn.


Never before in our lifetime, have we been confronted with both a worldwide challenge and an opportunity to take a global pause and reflect. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in a way has forced the world to pause, to consider its next move. So what is next after the great pause? That was the question posed at the Rotary International 24-hour Global Cyber Peace Conference held on 27 June 2020.

I was asked to open the Americas and Caribbean session, I spoke about the opportunity that this global pause has given us and referenced the initiative “Conscious Pause”.  I referred to how the philosophies of the program are similar to how Indigenous peoples around the world traditionally took time to reflect on their life or moving from one stage of life to another (Rite of Passage). Some Indigenous peoples call it a Vision Quest. Remember not all Indigenous peoples do this or may have but in different ways.  That is the beauty of Indigenous epistemology, it is varied and diverse.

So what is a vision quest? It is a time when you sit by yourself in isolation (get to know yourself), with no technology or outside influences to interfere with your quiet reflection time alone. Some sit in the mountains, in a space surrounded by the protection of tobacco ties (pouches made from cloth filled with tobacco and tied together) maybe a small fire, and a shelter. This is a “conscious pause” or time to reflect on your life, what you are doing, have done or want to do, or the opportunity to seek your purpose in life. Simple deep questions are posed for example: if you love doing what you’re doing, what do you need to do to get better? If you don’t love what you’re doing, what do you need to do to change what you’re doing? Some people take 4 days to complete this task while fasting, some who are beginning their journey may only do a 24 hour solo.  No matter the length of time, the idea is to sit still and reflect on where you were, where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. Sitting alone gives you the opportunity to reflect and not be influenced by technology, or others. Some may find this extremely challenging.  My father would say, “If you’re scared or wanting to come back it may be because you don’t know yourself”. Why would you want to sit alone with someone you don’t know? It is a time to reflect on how we see ourselves in the world, or how we see each other as human beings, and how we see our relationship with the natural world and all of its creation, animals, birds, fishes, plants, water, and medicines and so on.

Have you been taking a conscious pause during this pandemic or just rushed along waiting for the things to go back to normal?  I encourage you to take time to reflect, take a conscious pause or do a solo or Vision quest to seek and understand. Over the coming weeks, the Rotary International will be uploading many of the panels and workshops’ recordings to  and thier Facebook page  Please share any of these videos with your community.



When is your next intentional pause?


If these questions in the post called to you, reach out to us to help you find the resources to take a pause of your own. Email us at to get started.


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