It was 2013 when I got a letter from my manager, I was offered redundancy and I decided I was going to take it, not because I had a clear plan in mind, but after working at the same company for 21 years I felt it was time. My colleagues are wonderful persons, but I struggled to go to work every day, it was just not inspiring, and I do not like to be told that I am a Technical Assistant, Graphic Artist, or whatever titles they plug at you in a corporation. It just reminded me of slavery when you had those who picked cotton, harvesting sugar cane, harvesting rice, dairy workers, railroad workers, carpentry, weaving, even those strong men who had to service the women for reproduction, and of course those who were promoted to stay in the owner’s mansion. I was turned off from it all, none of it made sense anymore.
My divorce was final two years before that, I felt misplaced and disconnected, what was I going to do. I got so good at faking a smile that folks thought I was doing great, the pretending was excellent.
I decided to read, the one thing in the world that I actually enjoy doing is finding a good book, I would get lost in a book, just any book, but now not even a good book was the answer, nothing was distracting me from my feeling of hurt and underachievement. What can I do now? At my age to go seeking employment again was for me out of the question, so I tried my hand at business. Every day I went out, not knowing where to start, the culture was so different from my old company, it was a dog eat dog environment and I was not going to be a part of that and so I decided to stop!
I knew something had to give but I did not know how to put my foot forward, do I start with the left or right? I gave myself permission to stop. Then I got a call from my brother who said my dad was not doing so well, so I went to see my dad doubled over like a boxer who was thumped below the belt, my mom who was looking scared but not sure what she was scared about because she was struggling with stage 3 dementia.
My feelings were all over the place, what am I going to do about my feelings, did I say I gave myself the permission to stop? Take a pause, I kept telling myself, just pause or you will get a nervous breakdown. That was the most challenging and enlightening period of my life, that I could tell my mind to take a pause and it did.
During this time, I had to numb myself from wanting to feel my feelings and vulnerabilities and for the main reason of feeling that I am going to lose myself if I continued worrying about what next. I would sit in silence for hours, I would go by the beach front and watched the sea roar and the seagulls fly. My life started to change a little at a time as I consciously became aware of the power of taking a pause.
As I started to change, I then realized the power of taking a pause from your feelings.
What is the pause? Just that, the ability to take the time to be in the moment.
What happens when you do? This is just taking the time to tap into your energy source, to reconnect with your wise side, we are all blessed with wisdom but we get so caught up with life that we forget that the answers to our lives are right there inside of us, that we are blessed and highly favoured, that sometimes on a journey we are so focused on our destination we forget to stop and nurture our bodies.
What did I do?
- I took a deep breath… a long one.
- Taking the time to look at the good things I have done, places I have been, but journaling my feelings by writing or drawing assisted me with the process of taking a pause.
- I remembered a few jokes and laughed, and laughed… I remembered my younger days when a friend of mine would make me laugh, he was very good at it, Romaine Plummer, I am laughing as I am writing this.
- Whether I was hungry or not, I found time to eat something that will bless my body.
- And the best thing of all… when asked a favour, think before saying yes! Run the question through your mind three times, if you feel good about the answer then answer, but ensure that when you give an answer or a response it is the response or question you are satisfied with.
- Can you remember when you were a child and you learned something for the first time how excited you were? You can harness that feeling again because you think at your age you know it all, there is always something new to learn, just go for it, I did and it worked.
Those were (6) things that I did while taking the pause, sure I did other things but for you I will start with six. You do not have to sit in silence wondering what do I do next, I have messed it all up! When you take the pause, you will rediscover things about yourself that you never knew, your emotional intelligence will soar. You will find that the most important thing in life is life itself and your source of happiness is lying right there inside of you.
by The Author