My friend and colleague, Kate Reid, refers to this time we’ve experienced the past few months as “The Big Pause.” I like that description. As we all prepare to head back to work, I believe we will occasionally look back on this time and wish we could return. Life for many has been hard, but it has also been simplified. Life may have been boring, but it was also full of the things we never had time to do before. I believe we will look back and see that The Big Pause served us in ways we could not have experienced through any other means.
We will all likely realize more than ever how much purpose our work gave us, but we’ve probably also realized how much it stole our constant attention. What if we could return to work with a balance of the two?
I’ve realized how much I miss being with the people I serve, but I’ve also realized how much I love being home (as opposed to an airport or hotel room). If I don’t want to waste the lessons learned during this strange gift of time, then my job is to re-evaluate how to let my life lead my work and not the other way around.
Tom and I were busier than most, I think, because we moved during the COVID crisis. I’ve teasingly said that I may be the only person on the planet that will beg for more time when it’s over as I’m just now settled enough in our new place to start enjoying the time off… and it’s almost over! But it has been incredible to have the time to sit down and look through the memorabilia of my life as we’ve unpacked it- to look through old photos, read a treasured book or childhood diary. It felt like heaven to just sit, listen to music, hold Tom’s hand, and watch the sun set.
Make no mistake, I’ll be glad to get back to some interesting travel, visit with family and friends, and return to the work I love, but I’m setting an intention to have “COVID pretend time” in the future- time where I now know the world won’t stop turning if I just sit down and pause. Pause to think. Pause to not think. Pause to read. Pause to listen. Pause to rest. Pause to plan. Pause to love. Pause to appreciate. Pause to just be.
These moments were definite gifts embedded in this crisis. My friend and colleague Dino Watt made an outstanding video in his downtime which showcases all the ways many of us have benefitted from The Big Pause. It’s called “The World Stopped FOR you.” Thanks, Dino, for reminding us that The Universe is conspiring in our favor and is not against us but rather always for us
I hope we won’t get back to work and our pre-COVID lives and forget the lessons we’ve learned. I hope you and I will long remember the value of stillness, quiet, patience, simplicity, peace, faith, and time. I hope that we will not forget what is most important to us and what we are all working for.
“In stillness lives wisdom. In quiet you’ll find peace. In solitude you’ll remember yourself.”
~ Robin Sharma