LEARNING TO PAUSE.
It’s been obviously out of this world.
I hate part of it. But I also love part of it and am so thankful.
I am embarrassed that I sometimes think God sent it to us not to harm our health, but to get us to pause. I am trying to pause. I am pausing.
*I don’t know what was wrong with me. I was born this way. I only knew hard work. I don’t know what circulated in my blood differently, but I was different and I knew it. I didn’t want other things. I wanted work. Even when I was young, I was focused on waking up early and getting a “head start.”
*The only thing that ever mattered to me from age 6-16 was gymnastics. I probably had an inkling I would be limited in my success, but with this, I had an inner vow to myself. I would never waste a day. I would frankly never waste an hour. It was great. It was also disastrous and just fed the monster. My monster was perfection, obsession and self-criticism. It was unending. It was also exhilarating. I was so addicted to it, and it fed my heart and soul. I had some success, but I also created my own success channels by imprinting on my heart that I would always be the hardest worker. I may never get to the Olympics, but there would be no one that could work harder. There would be no one who could accept more intensity, who would be willing to be so laser focused.
In college, particularly because I had to transfer to the school I wanted to go to, UVA, I was terrified that I didn’t belong and again, hyper vigilant on my work. I don’t mean I studied hard. I mean, it was really compulsive and obsessive. There was always more for me to do, I would switch from subject to subject, underlining, memorizing. My internal motto was that I would learn it well enough to be able to “teach it.” I would know it like the back of my hand. It was awesome. Awesomely dangerous and bad. I didn’t know how to stop. My life was a whirling cycle of reaching further… And I LOVED IT. I was exhilarated by it, I loved learning everything so fully and it fueled my hard work. Halfway through undergrad, I got my first A- and cried myself silly. I had ruined my perfect A college streak. So I worked harder so it would never happen again.
I could go on and on, to grad school, beginning my full time career, starting my own business, and then the final whirling of our families adoption journey, that maybe was the epitome of my lifetime of work. I worked and worked and could never really stop. Until everything came crashing and our adoption ended, and I worried so intensely that my kids would never heal. I didn’t know if I would either. I remember taking breaths and wondering if somehow that would be my last one. It sounds obviously strange, but I didn’t know if my devastation and fear would physically allow me to take the next breath.
This was my first pause. It has been 5 years. I committed then to slowing down. And I did. I sat on my porch. I sat in my house and just let myself feel SAFE. And breathed. I found dead silence in my house and I Honestly just listened to it, aware of how odd I was to be literally listening to my house silent and my body breathing. And I literally listened to my breath and reminded myself that I didn’t have to doubt that the next one would come. I sat on the porch again. I let myself sit at the swimming pool. I let myself say no to work. I let myself stop obsessing over being the one who never stopped working. I let myself read books. Actual books with stories (not just how to parent better, training studies, anatomy and yoga books, but actual fiction stories!). I let myself struggle with the guilt of being still, and tried to work through that guilt.
I’m renewing that pause now. But now, I’m focusing on the pause and stillness WITHOUT GUILT. I am not feeling bad about just “being” because there are others out there now also that are “just being.” It is easier to feel less guilt, that I’m not getting behind, since this is affecting us all. I am focusing on the silver lining of being able to sleep in a few days now each week. My body was so over fatigued, I knew I was so far down in a sleep hole, but there wasn’t any way to get out of it, basically except this “opportunity” of having my life upended, and here it is. Of course, none of this is good for anyone’s financial “fitness”, but at this point, I am choosing to see the opportunities that are arising from the situation. Letting my health be taken care of and getting more sleep has been a huge blessing.
I am always keeping aligned with my goals and what makes me feel good. Fitness makes me feel happy, and with this coronavirus shutdown, I do truly believe that anyone out there that has a goal of fitness has literally no excuse to not make that happen. Easy for me to say though, because I enjoy fitness. So I also have told myself that if I want to do things that aren’t as easy for me, now is the time to open myself up to those priorities. Keeping my house clean is not super high on my list, but now is a time that I am actually committing to daily doing “family 15” where we all contribute 15 minutes, and maybe little by little, we will notice a difference.
There are silver linings everywhere. What are yours?