All true achievements and accomplishments start within.
Choice always precedes action.
Forgiveness always precedes change.
Internal change always precedes external action and results.
In the midst of my very busy life, I found myself in a place of a deep pause.
There have been but a few times when have lived through something like that. Every time it happened, once the pause had been over and my energy had returned, I would experience a profound change in my life, often a 180 degree turn from the the direction I had been going.
Suddenly I would be able to make a choice that until that moment had been impossible to make, no matter how many times I had played with the idea.
Suddenly, as if out of the blue, I would have astounding clarity, all doubts removed, knowing what I needed to do and doing it.
That's how I had found the courage to leave the secure job of a director in an art gallery in order to open my own gallery.
That's how I had found the strength to leave the marriage that had become destructive to both my then husband and myself...
Both decisions came to me at the end of a deep pause.
A pause like that is not a comfortable state. You feel stopped, put on hold, held in place with no explanation. Your creativity drains, inspiration is nowhere to be found, what seemed exciting no longer is.
An external event, or a series of them usually precede a pause of that nature. Something you must deal with, because delaying it is no longer an option.
A pause like that cannot be rushed. It needs to be honored. It will take as long as it takes.
Because something is changing inside of you for which you don't yet have the words.
Accept it, even if you have no understanding of what's happening.
Know that you will emerge on the other side, and when you do, there will be a decision to make that will be inevitable and clear, no matter how painful or scary it might seem.
The pause had prepared you for it, and you are ready.
In life, there are times when the circumstances push us to step out of our comfort zone, (real or imagined,) and step into what may seem like a frightening abyss of the unknown.
We know we need to do it, and yet we can't.
That's when a deep pause comes to us. A welcome delay, rendering us suddenly unable to act on anything that requires a decision.
Magic happened outside our view. As the rational mind finds itself at a loss, profound internal process is at play in the very depth of our psyche.
I will quote Albert Einstein who said : "I have never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking."
Imagine yourself a caterpillar inside a cocoon. No one has seen what happens there. If you break the cocoon the butterfly will never emerge. So you need to wait for the cocoon to open when the time is right.
How does a crawling insect or moth change and become a beautiful butterfly that has wings and can fly?
It is a mystery.
The same is true for the process of making a choice followed by a decision to act on that choice. It happens internally, outside our view. If the choice is a hard one to make, it often happens during a deep pause.
Now back to me.:).
For this is where I am now. It a state of pause. Participating in life, but only to the extend that is necessary.
I attempted writing my weekly blog, several times, but nothing came out. It was the same with the book I had been writing, that had until then been so wonderfully all consuming.
I only had one or two bursts of creativity during that entire time...
No, this is not "a writer's block." I don't believe in writer's blocks.
To me, what people call "writer's blocks" are usually either self-pity or a time when you are simply not inspired, you can't find your creativity.
The answer to both is - to write anyway.
Because as you do, you will break through this state. You will step out of self-pity ( if this was the case,) and even if it wasn't, you will find your voice again, the creative juices will start flowing even if the first number of pages you write is only good for the waste basket.
You will break through. Then you can just discard these pages with gratitude and a chuckle. How often, since I had begun writing have I been grateful for the "delete" button on my own key board:)!
So why didn't I follow my own advice and write then?
Because it was not what was going on with me.
I haven't been "blocked", nor was I sorry for myself. Something was pulling me inward, into deep introspection, into a deep pause.
And I honored it.
I honored myself in it. And frankly, I didn't have much choice in the matter.
Swimming upstream is hard. Fighting "what is" is not just hard, it is pointless. And so I embraced it. I gave myself permission to flow with it, however long it took.
* * *
Life didn't stop of course.
I still worked with my private clients, I still taught at my private group.
To show you how elegant life is, doing these things had not been an effort at all, but a pleasure and fun as it has always been.
A paradox, it seems, but something I could understand, because once I was working with people, the me that was introspective and quiet would step aside, so I could be there for others with the same caring and awareness I had been before.
I am sharing this with you for two reasons mainly.
One, because I have always been intimate with you, my readers.
I don't really know how not to be this way in anything I do, in my books, in my radio, in these blogs, in one-on-one interactions.
If I can't share myself and be real, I'd rather not do it at all. And also, because I think reading about my quiet time may help you when your own quiet time comes, as it always does.
So that you recognize it, don't judge it or yourself, give yourself all the time and space you need.
Sadly, we live in a culture where we don't have the permission to do this. We are supposed "to buckle up," ignore our soul's call to pause, fight ourselves and work harder. Which is never a good idea, of course, because we will slow down anyway, even if it takes getting a cold or a flue or worse.
Don't do it. Instead - you, give yourself permission to honor the pause when it comes.
Don't ignore it, don't force yourself to do more than absolutely necessary. Don't "plow through it."
Do what you need to do, continue to be responsible, don't let people down, and don't sabotage yourself.
And at the same time - don't miss this great opportunity for growth and healing.
When a deep slowing down happens to you, it doesn't come out of nowhere, though it may often seem so.
Consider that perhaps it is your soul calling on you, asking you to pay attention, to trust it, and not your ego that is telling you once again that something must be wrong with you.
Consider that perhaps something is very right, and respect this time of pause as your sacred time. A time when you integrate what you've learned, a time of deepening. Trust it, even if you don't know what exactly you are integrating or deepening. Your soul knows. And in time, you will too.
This phase won't go on forever. It will end, and you will come back into the light with new insights and deeper understandings. With choices to make that will be clear and obvious.
Be patient with yourself. You want to be more self-loving? This is how to do it. Besides, none of us have ever been too successful with overpowering the soul.
How much more elegant - to listen and to give it voice rather than fight it and get ourselves sick, forced to stop because we refused to listen to "whispers," so they turned into "shouts."
The soul will get our attention either way. Because it knows the truth: the only reason we are here is to grow. Grow as a human being, grow spiritually.
Pausing and going inward is an essential part of growth.
Think about it.