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Perfecting the Pause

Updated: Feb 2

In my last post I wrote about a failure that I had experienced in the process of launching my website. The overall message was to allow for failure and down times with the knowledge that it is all a part of the process. It can be important to take a pause when things aren't flowing smoothly. When considering a pause, a fear may naturally arise, sounding something like: a pause sounds great but what about when I pause and it turns into a full stop?

Scrabble tiles reading Pause, Breathe, Resume
Photo by Brett Jordan

There is a natural ebb and flow of life; times where we feel more or less motivated and active. Society often teaches us to push through these periods of decreased motivation and downtime to be "more productive". The issue is that when we push through, a lot of the time we're exhausting ourselves which leads to burnout and we're producing low quality "product".

"Society often teaches us to push through these periods of decreased motivation and downtime to be 'more productive'."

On the flip side many people struggle with getting "back on the horse" when we've fallen off so we desperately hold on and hang on for dear life with a fear that we won't finish "the race" if we pause to refresh with rest, playtime, and food and water. But there are ways to work with the pause that don't sabotage your goals and aspirations - and actually strengthens your commitment. In these moments we have to ask ourselves: what is the overall goal of this project? Does pushing through this obstacle really support my vision? Does pushing through this obstacle really support me? And what else might be possible besides the two options of stepping on the accelerator or grinding to a screeching halt?

"In these moments we have to ask ourselves, what is the overall goal of this project? Does pushing through this obstacle really support my vision? Does pushing through this obstacle really support me?"

If we come to the conclusion that a bit of time off is actually just what the doctor ordered we can support our comeback with the intention that this break will be temporary. Reflecting on some of these questions can help us create a plan to come back to the project when the time is right:

  • What will help remind me of the importance of coming back to this project?

  • Is there anything I need besides rest to feel better than I do now about continuing?

  • What can I do to support myself in returning to the work after I take a period of time off?

  • How will I be able to discern between a well deserved indulgence and a distraction?

These questions can guide us to the types of activities to do during our break as well as what to avoid. Maybe it really is rest that we need but sometimes actively cultivating joy, connection with others, or attending to a personal issue that's calling our attention will help inspire better progress after stepping away. Sometimes giving ourselves a return date or telling people about the pause can support a timely come back. Personally I find the mantra: "the universe is supporting me" to be extremely helpful in these times. It reminds me that even if I feel like I'm off track, I'm exactly where I need to be and from that place I can consider the question: how can I be an active participant in the support that the universe is trying to give me?


Creating supports to get back on track after a break will not only keep us accountable to coming back, it will also help us have more of a rejuvenating break. One where we can completely relax, forget about the project, and not have it gnawing on our brain in the background.

When our brain is fully relaxed surprising new insights can come in that didn't have the space to before. We've all had that moment in the shower when we suddenly realize something or a solution to a problem just magically appears after a good night's sleep. Similarly, approaching the break as a 'long shower' where a new understanding may emerge that we hadn't thought of before can be helpful. Staying open to new information that may be wanting to come in is always a great mindset to have but during a natural rest period it is a particularly fruitful time for such occurrences.

"When our brain is fully relaxed surprising new insights can come in that didn't have the space to before."

Pausing has benefits beyond just rest and there are ways we can set ourselves up for a successful pause. Using these techniques and keeping the break in perspective puts us on a path of honoring ourselves and our external goals. When we allow ourselves a pause, or are gifted a pause by the universe, and use it mindfully we can actually strengthen our commitment to our goals. Working with and through difficulties builds our self confidence and provides us with lessons we can take into future projects. Surprising new insights may come in that can renew our commitment at a deeper level than before.

"When we allow ourselves a pause, or are gifted a pause by the universe, and use it mindfully we can actually strengthen our commitment to our goals. "

Rather than being a scary endeavor, pressing pause with intention can be a very 'pausitive' choice!













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