Recently, in my group program, I had a REALLY interesting question come up, from two different people in one week, and I gave them two different answers.
Is it okay to press pause on a certain area of your life (even though you desire change in that area)?
Well, first off, of course, it is okay. There is no judge and jury in the way we may perceive. We are the captain of the ship.
But my short answer to this was: It depends.
Are you taking the pause out of a place of self-love and possibility?
Or are you taking it out of a place of fear of past pain?
This is a great question to ask ourselves about any number of actions we take, but let’s take a look at these circumstances.
In one circumstance, this person was putting themselves in the arena of romantic connection but was really having a tough time. This person was finding themselves overly attaching to outcomes, having constant anxiety. They were triggered on a constant basis, and it was affecting other areas of their lives, their peace, their presence. They didn’t recognize themselves.
When we looked at the situation, it was because this person felt like they needed the validation from others because they were feeling unworthy. They had been really hurt and hadn’t fully healed from some past romantic injuries which kept them from operating from a self-trusted, self-respecting, authentic place.
This told me that their fear was in the driver’s seat of this vehicle and that even though there might be an authentic, self-loving desire to find companionship and connection, fear had hijacked this road trip and it was going awry. They needed to exit the vehicle, even if it meant being alone on the roadside for a bit.
Yes, a pause, a step back, an exit from the arena of action is likely a good thing in this circumstance. Healing and clarity need silence and space and it was needed in order to approach this area in their life from a place of worthiness and belief in the possibility of the kind of relationship they desired.
It was okay because this pause is actually IN FAVOR of the desire; to align more with loving perspectives, with healing so that they could step into the arena, not bullet-proof (because that will never happen), but standing straight up with their shoulders back and their eyes clear.
It is OKAY to take a pause. Of course, it is. To take a timeout, a breather, to assess, find homeostasis and move through old wounds that have been asking for your time and attention if it is actually in FAVOR of the what you most long for in your life.
In the second circumstance, the person had started to release a narrative about how no one would want them because of the job they currently had, because of their living situation, etc and actually started speaking to someone they were excited by. Then their fear jumped in, repeated all the reasons why this person could never truly be right for them, and they started to retreat. Then they asked, is it okay if press pause?
Again, of course, it is.
But let’s take a look at this. This person wanted to press pause because they were starting to feel vulnerable. They were afraid that if they were truly seen, they would be rejected. This person had been working on healing in this area for a while, and while the wound was not completely healed, it was moving in the right direction. They felt stronger, and this next step into the arena, while vulnerable, felt aligned.
I told them “I can’t promise this person is the right person for you but I think there is something in this for you”. Pressing pause would rob them of an important exploration.
Pause is actually important when alignment is needed. It can be crucial.
As a friend of mine recently put it, it is not a “leave of absence” but a “leave of presence.” I loved that.
A lot of the time, in the self-development world at least, we are encouraged to go after “our dreams” with ferocity, with unrelenting fervor, to create BIG things in our lives, to live BIG lives, to be up to something important, to have the deepest, most life-affirming relationships, to have NO excuses and just commit, to get out of own way and BE who we want to be. Push through. Don’t wait! Seize the day!
This kind of action BEFORE alignment can sometimes lead to further damage. Sometimes we need to stand still for a while to see clearly what is going on.
If we are drowning in fear based perspectives, constantly ego-triggered, contracted, and it is dragging us down, a pause is actually a crucial step.
If this is the case, stop taking action. It’s time to actually take a step back.
I’m all about the commitment of course, as consistent action is how we start to create in the physical world. It is how we sculpt our own reality, minute by minute. As Louise Hay puts it in You Can Heal Your Life, if we want to get from one room to another, we have to get up from the chair and walk step by step into the other room. At least in our current reality, we cannot physically teleport.
That goes for ANY change we are making. We need to be willing to move our bodies into action, use our minds to strategize and overcome the universal forces at play (like gravity) to create momentum.
If we truly want to find love, for instance, hanging out by ourselves up in our homes, watching movies and bingeing on popcorn probably isn’t the best course of action.
However, what I am coming to learn more and more is that our emotional frequency actually matters in what we wind up creating. INTENTION matters. The sponsoring motivation behind our actions really does matter. We need to pay equal attention if not more attention to the intention behind our actions as the actions themselves.
The cause=the effect.
We need to do the work on our relationship with our career, or our bodies, or our romantic lives. We need to recognize that they are largely a mirror of our relationship with ourselves and that we need to look at what is going on beneath our motivations and attachments in these areas, how they are dragging us into old cycles and ways of being.
Otherwise, even though we are taking new action, we still wind up in the same toxic cycles.
If we create out of a sponsoring motivation of fear, out of a place of unworthiness or not-enoughness, unless there is a major miracle throughout the process, we will never experience acceptance of self-love as a result. On the other end of the weight loss journey, we will still experience feelings of anxiety, fear of gaining, unworthiness and not-enoughness. We will fear gaining weight because we are so attached to the new weight equating our worthiness.
If we are experiencing boatload of negative stories in a certain area of our lives (say our romantic life), if we don’t believe something is truly possible for us in that area, it will affect our behavior AS we put ourselves into the arena of action. It will affect how we are perceived. It will affect our energy, our “thirstiness”, how we manage being triggered and what we are capable of giving of ourselves. We may attract people who on the same level of awareness, who operate from the same fear, or who want to exploit our fears to meet their needs. It will solidify the SAME old stories and beliefs we have in that area.
If we pursue a lucrative career out of a place of fearing being poor, we may make a ton of money, but we will always live with an inner poverty we cannot quite name, or extreme attachment to our wealth that constricts our freedom to listen to our authentic desires.
Jane Fonda all but disappeared from the acting industry for almost sixteen years! And when she has been interviewed about it, she has been honest that her relationship with acting was no longer fun, it was toxic. She returned when she could approach it from a place of possibility and joy.
Actions are not enough to produce the feelings and results we are seeking. We need to work on the foundation beneath our action. We need to work on the relationship with the area of our lives that is creating so much fear and attachment.
Sometimes in the space, in the pause, is when the magic happens, when we can slow down and start to see what really is, we can start to plant the seeds that will turn into a garden at a later date. We can start to build a foundation instead of building our actions on quicksand. This is provided we are taking the pause OUT of a place of enoughness rather than a fear of not being enough as we are.
Rock On & Be Well,