On Monday, I decided to take a sacred pause for the Spring Equinox. I spoke about this concept on my weekly Periscope show this past weekend: the importance of taking a pause to reassess, reflect and renew.
I’ve been feeling really behind in my year so far, struggling to clear space for myself to get clear on what I want to create and bring forth in my life and work this year. I have a big picture vision, but the specifics — and a plan to implement them — have eluded me.
The Perfect Time to Pause
This is the time to work that out: Spring Equinox, one of the four major shifts of the Earth, bringing us a new season. This week we enter Aries, the first in the Zodiac signs. The new moon next week ushers in the Hebrew month of Nissan, the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar. And we are approaching the end of the first quarter on the Gregorian Calendar.
All around, this is a time for transitions and for creating new beginnings.
My intention was to finish up my plan for this year and the next quarter. An actual plan, with defined areas for focus and specific intentions for what I want to create over the next few months. This turned into a bigger project than I anticipated.
The Guilt Factor
Today, I realized I hadn’t checked email in a few days and I started to get anxious about it. Guilt started to set in. I’m being irresponsible. I’m abandoning clients. I’m not “doing my job.”
Then I had an a-ha moment:
Instead of beating myself up for not checking email, for not working “in my business” this week, for not publishing to my blog or “making progress” on my goals – why not treat this as what it is:
An intentional, deliberate pause.
I feel like I’m traveling with clarity on my destination, but no idea on how to get there. The result is that I’m easily pulled away anytime something urgent comes up in my business.
If I’m being honest, sometimes I look for urgent things to come up, so that I don’t have to do the hard work of identifying the specifics of what I want and how to make it happen.
I can’t go on like this. I can’t keep chasing the urgencies. I can’t be so dedicated to my clients’ needs that I sacrifice my needs in the process. And I won’t. That doesn’t serve anyone. Not my clients and not me and not my future.
Isn’t my “job” to serve everyone — including myself — at 100%?
So I’m embracing the pause.
I am treating this week like I’m at a Tony Robbins event or other retreat. Full immersion.
The Cornerstone of Productivity
Some of the people I admire most talk about how they pause quarterly for a few days of reflection. On a more micro level, the “weekly review” pause is a hallmark of every noted productivity system.
This is something that I have wanted to do more intentionally, both on a weekly basis and on a monthly and quarterly basis. I typically set the intention to take a few days at the end of each month, and longer at the end of each quarter, to pause, reflect and reorient.
But the sense of urgency – of feeling that I need to be responsive, to “get things done,” usually gets in the way.
I do clear space for myself every morning, but even my morning routine is about clearing space to get things done. It’s working time. But it’s often still reactive to the demands placed on me by my business.
So this week, this is what I’m doing.
I am walking my talk. I am taking a sacred pause. I’m recalibrating.
I am determined to create an actual plan, to get my life back on track. Not just “back on track.” On a track of my choosing. It’s time to scrap all the old plans, the old maps, and take a fresh look at the landscape to determine: where do I even want to go?
Hard Work vs Easy Work
This type of reflection and deep work is not easy to do.
This type of work doesn’t feel productive.
It’s so much easier to react to the incoming stimuli: emails, to-do lists, other people’s needs, the news of the day. That work feels like I’m “getting things done.”
This work does not always look like “real” work. Markers and colored pens are scattered on the table. Loose papers with scribbles and drawings are all over the place. I’m in silence most of the day, reading, scribbling, and in some moments I appear to be doing nothing. I’m contemplating.
This involves a lot of “undoing.” It requires stillness. I’m not running around, scrambling from one appointment to the next, frantically checking email.
I must remind myself — constantly — that I’m working on bigger picture pieces that are the core to real productivity.
I remind myself that it is easy to check off boxes on the surface level tasks, but that without pausing to evaluate where we are headed and what we really want from life, checking off a lot of boxes might not actually get us to where we want to go.
What Propels This Work
This is when I need to trust. This is where I need to summon faith.
In the end, I trust that this will help me move forward with more focus; that I’ll “get things done” with less time and effort. And that they will be the right things. The things that move me towards what I want.
I’m going to trust that if I allow myself to fully immerse, to be in my experience and get still, quiet and clear, that when I emerge from this process I will be in a position to execute. I will be able to bring my full presence to my sacred work — all of it — and I will finally be in a position to reap the rewards of my patience and dedication and hard work.
I will emerge with renewed presence and purpose and passion.
I will emerge with a renewed desire and discipline and devotion.
I will emerge with a renewed sense of confidence, conviction and courage.
I will emerge reinvigorated, refreshed, reengaged and ready.
Ready to connect.
Ready to listen.
Ready to engage.
Ready to add value and ask questions and hear the answers.
Ready to reignite the flame.
Ready to share my sacred work and all that I have learned.
Ready to step into my light.
Ready to illuminate the path for others.
Ready to serve.
Ready to be seen.
Ready to be heard.
Ready to fully express myself.
Ready to stand in my truth.
Ready to stand in my value.
Ready, at long last, to answer the call of my purpose with that most sacred of responses:
Here I am. Present. Willing. Trusting. Ready to serve.