Small Confession: Taking a Pause didn’t come naturally to me. Here’s my story.
Three years ago, I broke.
I’m one of those people–perhaps like you–who was constantly busy, doing, performing, and taking care of others. Basically, I was constantly striving to prove myself.
You could call me a perfectionist, a high-achiever, super-reliable, whatever you named it, it came from an energy to please and prove so that I felt okay.
My inner story reads something like this:
I have value because look at all that I do!
And If I’m not doing, I have no value.
After 16 years in a corporate job with huge responsibilities and even more duties at home as a mother, I burned out. And I burned out in a big way.
You see, I not only never stopped to care for my emotional and spiritual self, but I also never took care of my physical body. Productivity was everything.
So when I was in charge of an important tech project at work, I put in insane hours. I wanted to be responsive, to contribute, and most importantly, to make things happen.
(yeah, you can see where this is going.)
So I worked around the clock and in places where my posture wasn’t supported. Until one day, the ache and numbness in my shoulder, neck, and right arm was too hard to ignore.
I couldn’t lift my hand to work the mouse of my computer anymore, and I couldn’t hold a fork or turn a doorknob.
I reluctantly reported this to my doctor and she said it was a repetitive stress injury from having used my body repetitively, in constant tension, without taking breaks.
And then she told me the worst news: she ordered me to take a disability leave from work.
Even though she was an expert telling me I needed a break, I still felt I could keep going –maybe I could get around the injury somehow and see it through? But the doctor insisted I rest and sent the official order to my manager.
You see, inside, I felt I was letting people down, I felt that they were going to see me as lazy, or making things up, or exaggerating just to get out of work.
So I felt a huge amount of shame for having to take time for myself.
For my recovery, the doctor prescribed acupuncture. I went in for my first visit thinking the needles are going to be so scary. The practitioner put in the needles, and it was surprisingly manageable, but then she lowered the lights and turned up the heater and said, “Okay, I’m going to leave you for 20 minutes.”
That was the first time I’d ever spent 20 minutes doing nothing. Just laying there: being with my own thoughts, my feelings, and my pain –and oh, how the floodgates opened.
I began blubbering, doing the ugly cry, face down in that massage table doughnut. I kept thinking, “get yourself together. Stop crying. What’s happening?” But I couldn’t stop.
The waves just kept coming, and I had no choice but to surrender to them.
I surrendered to the regret for having treated myself so poorly and to the sadness for criticizing myself so harshly. And I opened to the relief of finally receiving care, tenderness, and space.
I felt so grateful.
And that’s when I understood I’m worth making room for.
I’m worth taking time for. I’m worth listening to and caring for.
That’s when I decided to leave my corporate job to heal.
Out of that rest and reflection came the mission for my company, Pause Box.
Now that you’ve heard my story, here’s what I want you to know:
- When we listen to our innermost self, we receive soul-level nourishment.
- When we embrace our feelings, honor our hunches and inklings, our life dramatically improves.
- And the most obvious lesson of my experience is don’t wait. Don’t wait for a forced pause to compel you.
- Take an intentional pause regularly.
Are you ready?
How Are You Showing Up?
Are you showing up energetically as a leader and creator? or is your energy mixed with doubt, fear, and lack? What if there was a practical system to help you find your way back to optimal energy even when you feel triggered, tired, or overwhelmed?