Your Own Permission to Pause

In October, I took a week off and was feeling pretty proud of myself that I was taking a “pause” from my full-time job. What I didn’t recognize is that I had a great long to-do list that I was hoping to get done on the week off and just one or two meetings for work to pop into a zoom call for but was completely unintentional about actually pausing. So, of course, something felt off. Despite living and breathing this sabbatical mindset work, I didn’t pay attention to what I really needed. I struggled with this strange time scarcity that took over my brain and prevented me from really pausing because I thought that if I didn’t get my to-do’s done this week, it would be a failure.

There is an irony of knowing the tools to press pause and the sometimes lack of willingness to do it with intention. What I came to realize is that I had not given myself the permission to do nothing. Our own internal narratives of time and productivity sometimes prevent us from just being rather than being busy doing.

Rather than just being, I was consumed by my “should” list. You know the one…”I should get groceries”, “I should make those appointments”, “I should write that person back.”. I didn’t give myself the opportunity to rest because I kept thinking that I should get all the things done while I had the time. But my spirit, mind, and body were exhausted. It took me seven days before I really gave myself time to just be still.

Sometimes the person that it is hardest to convince and get permission from is ourselves. We think we need to be productive or doing something with the time we have. But your value is still the same even when you are not productive and hustling. The subtle narratives of capitalism have infiltrated our sense of value. Give yourself permission to just sit and daydream even for 15 minutes. See where your mind goes.

There is also this wonderful book “ Start Where You Are” by Meera Patel that has short exercises in reflection that may help you with your own slowing down and stillness. We know pausing is easier said than done but I am committing to this work by taking at least 15 minutes each weekend where I do nothing. I hope you join me in this practice.

If you want to learn other tools to cultivate a sabbatical mindset, check out our Sabbatical Society membership or sign up for our e-newsletter for exclusive resources and ideas for pausing.





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