Pause. Repair Your World. Proceed.
Pause. Not just the button on your DVR remote, although that’s the only reference many of us have to the word. For the last few years, I’ve made it a regular practice to pause at least once in my day for meditation, and more and more I find myself pausing in gratitude or reflection throughout the day. However, pausing for short periods of time each day is not natural to me and certainly wasn’t comfortable in the beginning. I couldn’t even sit for five minutes at a time when I started meditation practice. I had a severe case of the “monkey brain”. So, as I was preparing to leave my job, making plans, starting a new business, and revving up to really put the pedal to the medal, the last thing I thought I needed to do was pause.
I’m also now a believer in surrounding myself with people who are smarter than me, who are already doing what I aspire to do, and asking help from them. So, as I was discussing my “pedal to the medal” plans that were to start immediately after my departure from my 9-5 with my Business Coach, she gently told me that she thought it’d be a great idea to take a couple of weeks between the two to decompress, relax, and reset, I listened. She told me to fully relax, like don’t do any work. Don’t do any research. Just take it easy. I have to admit, I said yes to her and then later when I was at home reviewing and digesting what we’d talked about in our session, I had some anxiety about it. It was scary enough leaving my job, but I know that I’ll be successful if I give it my full effort. Full effort in my brain meant not letting a moment pass without working. But, I’ve also learned that I’m wrong a lot, and I’ve learned how to take suggestions.
As the days were drawing to a close at my job, I felt extremely ready to do nothing. I hadn’t realized the magnitude of emotions that come with leaving a place, and more importantly, the people you’ve spent everyday for the last several years with. Tears streamed down my face for much of the day that Friday as I was embraced literally and figuratively by my work family, my blood family, and my chosen family. I went to bed at 7pm that night, exhausted from the day, and probably for the first time in years, fully relaxing.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I really felt no different. I knew intellectually that things were different, but I didn’t fully feel it. The weekend was “normal”. Traveling to my hometown to see my beautiful cousin get married and spending time with my family was a perfect beginning to the new journey. Sunday night felt weird when I didn’t mentally prepare for the work week. Monday morning even stranger as I woke up and had nowhere to be, no texts or emails from work. It was eerily quiet.
I’m not going to lie, the first couple of days of me “doing nothing” was cleaning the basement, cleaning out closets, mowing the lawn, catching up on household chores that I’d wanted to do, but never seemed to have the time for. I did insert some relaxation through reading, naps, meditation, coffee with friends, etc. By midday Wednesday, my house was spotless, the lawn manicured, closets organized, and dogs groomed. What now? There was nothing left to “do”. Maybe I should do some work? No, I’m supposed to be relaxing. Why is this so hard?! Relax, damn it! Even when it may appear that I’m relaxing, my brain is doing somersaults, backward flips, and burpees unless I truly surrender and let go of all that chaos and noise.
By Thursday I was getting the hang of it. I was starting to digest that nobody from work was calling me for help anymore, that I wasn’t just on vacation, that my identity wasn’t that position anymore, and never really had been. I started to realize that so much of the value I placed on myself was with what my job was. Now that I had no “job”, what was I? What was I going to say if someone asked the familiar question of “what do you do”? I’d always answered with what I “do” for work. But, there’s so much more to that question that a job.
I’m still processing, learning to relax, and just be. I’m learning to be Jessica instead of a position, a boss, and Administrator. It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet, and people say it probably won’t for a while. I have noticed though, that each day I find myself more grateful for the small things that I was too “busy” to notice before. Just like when I saw the words “Pause. Repair Your World. Proceed”…I knew the Universe was speaking directly to me.