These words were rarely in my vocabulary once I grew out of naps at about 8 years old.
Life consisted of go, go, go!!
Run from soccer practice to piano lessons to science fair projects. And naturally as an adult the more you did, achieved, and kept yourself busy, the more you were applauded.
‘Look at her! She can work 60 hours a week, run 60 miles a week, volunteer, keep her house clean, AND keep up a social life!’
The same expectations don’t seem to be there for men. As Mark Gungor puts it, they have a Nothing Box. Innate permission to slow down.
Not so for women. And even worse than not having a Nothing Box,
Our self-worth can be tied up in how much we do, so stopping never becomes an option.
We have to teach ourselves to stop. When I first met my husband, my weekends were filled from morning to eve with cleaning the house, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, meeting friends, paying bills, calling home, going to church, running errands, catching up on work. I never stopped. Until he lulled me into doing nothing… like only a man can do. We would spend Saturday’s lying down, doing literally nothing. It freaked me out at first. C’mon! We have to get up and DO something. And eventually we did, but for that first couple of months we we did bugger all, and it was bliss. My mind slowed down, I enjoyed the beauty of the moment, got to notice the intricacies of the man lying next to me. It was nourishing, and created some fertile soil for something beautiful to grow from it (ie our marriage). Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago. I was feeling an intense pull to slow down, pause, be still. So much so I took a nap for the first time in I can’t remember how long… possibly since I was 8. My gut was telling me I had to stop some of the things that I was doing. Namely, stop posting daily in my Love Food, Love Life facebook group. I was attaching obligation and achievement to the frequency of my posts. It didn’t feel good anymore, and it wasn’t giving me, or the group, space to grow. So for a month, I stepped away. Stopped. Was silent. And from that space, I realized that I didn’t want to run this group alone. I gained clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose, by resting. Again, it was nourishing for me, and creativity grew out of it. I see this pattern popping up everywhere for me: The Power of Pause. Why do you think your greatest genious moments are in the shower and while you’re peeing? Because it’s the closest we get to ‘doing nothing’. There’s gotta be a middle ground between peeing and spending a whole Saturday in bed. So here’s my top 5 tips on how to pause when you barely have time for a wee:
- Be still for 5 minutes a day. (Sleeping doesn’t count.) I love doing this in bed after the alarm goes off and before the lights go out. Stare out the window, at the ceiling, at your partner. Like a proper zombie stare. No talking. Just be still.
- Eat, and only eat, when you’re eating. This is called being ‘present’. Not only will your food taste nicer and your digestion work better, the physical act of nourishing your body will nourish your soul too.
- Get outside. This doesn’t have to be for a 6 mile run. Walk around your garden, to the corner and back. Change your scenery, move your body, and breathe some fresh air.
- Stop doing what isn’t working… for now. You can always come back to it later. If it doesn’t feel right, stop. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head telling you, you have to do something forever (except maybe pay your taxes).
- Turn off the wifi. Unplug yourself from the rest of the world periodically. I know your life won’t be complete without nano-second updates about what everybody else in your life is doing. But trust me, those updates will still be there, and your friends will still be doing stuff, and the world will keep turning, even after you’ve turned your phone off.
Try it. What happens when you pause? What grows from the space? What do you create? And remember this, [Tweet “Pausing, stopping, doing nothing, is owning your self-worth.”] It is necessary. It’s how you grow. It’s how you stay alive.