Anyone who knows me understands that I am always busy. I have lots of personal and professional projects going at any one time. I readily take on new endeavors and love the new ideas and challenges they bring. The pace and volume really energize me. You know…” never a dull moment.” I know some of you can identify.
Vacation time has always been the same – planning, preparing, and making sure each day has lots of new things to do, see, and experience. We make sure we have everything they need, all the reservations are active, and each step of the day is on the list. Basically, we go on the kind of vacations where you come back and need a vacation.
Without much of that during the early days of the pandemic, my husband and I began to plan a dream trip that we would share with friends of ours. The plan was a positive; something to look forward to, and ultimately lots of research, planning and collaboration with our friends. Yay! Reinforcing the point of vacation, my husband and friends continually say, “Let’s make sure we have time to relax,” a totally foreign concept to me. Going with the flow, I uncomfortably leave spaces on the daily itinerary.
The space in the calendar was the key. All plans go beautifully. Our planned portion included boarding a plane to Europe that would take us to one of those river cruises you’ve no doubt seen on TV. In between ports, your itinerary on a river boat is intended to make you slow down and immerse yourself in a beautiful environment. Instead of just “doing” a lot of things, we spent time soaking in the experiences, being present, and savoring each moment.
Returning home, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated without a need of a vacation from my vacation. I was deliciously content. A whole different sense of peace and clarity became my foundation. The question was how to achieve this every day and by something other than a trip thousands of miles from home.
So, I set out to figure it out. One word kept coming to me over and over. Pause. Just “pause.” That sounds easy, right? But how does that work? I’m a planner. A doer. Well, duh! I choose what I plan, so I just need to plan my “pause.”
If you’re feeling anxious or on the continuous treadmill of life where you can’t find the off button, you need to plan to pause each day. It’s your choice and it’s simple. Pick a time and place that’s peaceful. For me, it’s the morning hours before anyone is up; it’s just me and a cup of coffee. This is my time for prayer, reflection, and meditation. I journal to capture the many thoughts that jump in my head that clutter up my peace.
Not only does the pause give me time to enjoy the moment, it sets my foundation for the day. As a result, I’m calmer, more patient with others, and can easily focus on the right things and what’s most important. Once you figure it out for yourself, the effect of the pause is something you won’t live without.