The Panic of the Pause
Thought Cookie: Edition 32: Vol 3
The world tells me:
All the time
Now and now and now.
My heart tells me:
I am beating,
slow and steady
the pace is fine.
Grace for you.
In a moment,
All the time.
Rain on my face
This and this and this.
I love you, Emily
Hello dear ones. Have you missed this little dish of comfort?
I took November off, apparently.
It was a time of many unexpected moments and occasions and so the rhythm of this missive was disrupted — paused.
In our always-on world, that can feel threatening.
That step back.
I fear being paused might mean the thing I was creating may not return again.
As a creator who loves to create, one of my shadows is I create too many things or get too much going or lose interest. So I turn my attention to the next creation and abandon the first.
But that is a harsh, linear view on the experience of being a creative person – and one that turns out not to be very inspiring or productive.
Over the years I’ve learned this is what the creative process looks like. Nonlinear, connective, generational. To quell my fear, I see the pattern, and then tell myself, what is meant to carry on will carry on. And then I wait to see what happens next. To help that, I tune into what my inner wisdom might tell me in the interim, in the pause.
It can be hard to hold a precious, fuzzy pause in my hands when the time frames of the world are so relentless and persistent and hurry up and now and now and now and scrolling, scrolling and refresh and go.
In this pinball world, it’s easy to think pauses are more fatal than they are.
Remember when we used to have more pauses in our lives, in our ingestion of the world?
Going on a walk or to a movie or on a plane or a bus trip or driving across town meant a total disconnect from the world around us.
How did you use to spend that time?
What feelings did you have in the interim?
Do you remember what that used to feel like?
For me, sometimes it is hard to recall how slipping out and slipping back in felt.
Too much nostalgia about days gone by can have a sinkhole effect. We can only move and sing and dance one way, and that is forward.
Still, briefly visiting the way things were is helpful for putting into context how harried our hearts and hours have become.
In those visits to our past, there’s something that feels more spacious, and kind about the everyday pauses, the breaks from needing to know.
I’ve found I need to know much less than I think I do.
If you give this idea a chance to seed and germinate, it keeps popping up flowers for you.
What I actually need to know is less and less. But what the Muchness makes you believe you must know right this very minute is everything.
Do you have an intentional pause coming up soon? At the end of the year, many of us do. I hope you do because we all work too much and think too much and do too much and intentional pauses are uncomfortable at first, then OK, then can be very healing.
If you do, you might use this pause to affirm what you already know, deep down.
My favorite affirmations of late are these:
You can have what you want.
You are worthy.
It will flow.
You will do your best and it will be plenty.
These five little phrases provide a big soulful squeeze for me.
They remind me not to get caught up in efforting so much.
They remind me to open my eyes and see the possible instead of spending so much energy measuring and planning for and painting the barriers to possible.
They remind me I create well!
I am a creator at my soul.
They remind me to use one of those pauses to feel the fruits of my effort in the form of celebration. That celebrating is not tempting the fates to undermine or destroy. That it is not wrong or loud or obstreperous to do so.
Instead, it is an honoring of the human mess to take a moment and feel happiness for things small and large because it’s uniquely challenging to be human.
We’ve been taught it is hard to achieve and to stay in touch with our humanity at the same time. I wonder if that is really true.
I am testing that idea of late by consciously building celebration in as a practice of grounding and uplifting in the same motion.
I could not have done so without a pause.