Permission to Pause


I stepped into this new year with the stillness of nature breathing it’s tranquility into my heart. My time off in recent weeks was everything I needed to refuel myself and start the year feeling grounded and connected to life’s possibilities.

For so many of us, the past year has been full of curve balls and has been hugely emotionally exhausting. So, when December rolled around, I was deeply grateful to allow myself the chance to step away from everything that usually demands my attention. For a full month, I shut down my laptop, stepped away from work, set aside all things TTC or fertility related and gave myself some breathing space. I felt uneasy at first. Its interesting how the fear of being idle plays tricks on the mind. The lingering sense that there was work to do and that I shouldn’t be allowing myself that much time off seemed to gnaw away at me. And of course, when it comes to trying to conceive, there is that sneaky underlying sense that if I take a break then I am wasting time and possibly missing an opportunity to fall pregnant, especially considering that 2020 already meant so many delays in this department. Yet, as I felt myself breathe deeper and the weight of responsibility ease off my shoulders, it was clear that this was what my body and soul needed – permission to pause and some time for restoration.

Its hard to describe, but it somehow felt like sitting in a lush green pasture watching the heavy smog clear from my chest, and then suddenly being able to fill my lungs to capacity. I could embody myself more fully and freely. I spent time just being – resting, reading, enjoying time in nature. Although the ‘fixer-upper’ stuff I had planned around the house didn’t happen, I did enjoy creating more of a sense of sanctuary in my home. How comforting its felt to lean into the softer side of life. I’ve had the impression that because I practice mindfulness and make a point of creating daily moments of calm, I didn’t need much time to disconnect from everything. I’d overlooked the fact that because of the pandemic, we actually didn’t get to take our annual breaks and trips to the coast during the course of the year. So, in reality there wasn’t space to rest to the extent that we would have normally. I was also reminded of just how much living through a pandemic can affect one’s nervous system even when you are intentional or proactive about managing the resultant anxiety and keeping a positive outlook.

This period of pause reawakened some of the creative aspects of myself that I hadn’t had time to engage in a while. My inner artist came out to play with watercolours, fabric painting and writing poetry for leisure, things that I put aside too often when there are articles or books to be written and various other obligations. I cherish the moments when I am just myself, a person with my own interests doing small things that give me joy.

In the midst of the second wave of a Covid resurgence, we made the decision not to travel long distance or visit family over the holiday season, as mentioned in my previous post. However, we were fortunate enough to book a safe and secluded private chalet at a nature reserve close to home for a few days over New Year’s. It was a thoroughly relaxing experience. We had a spectacular view of the vibrant green bush and surrounding hills from our lodge. It was a gift to be able sit on our deck and watch the dreamy landscape as giraffe, antelope and wildebeest foraged near by or galloped passed us. Few things are more magic than being able to fall asleep to the feral sounds of the wild. In the lazy afternoons, thoughts rolled over us like the passing clouds rolling over the green hills in the distance. Every fibre in me untangled as I just enjoyed the sound of rain and the afternoon thunderstorm.

With this came numerous gifts – renewal, clarity, perspective and space to dream. And so, I’ve taken my time in this dreaming space, gently filling my lungs with fuel for what is to come and immersing myself in the things that my heart feels most nurtured by. So now, in mid-January as I slowly return my focus to life’s demands, I am not rushing forward at pace. I am treading lightly, slowly, moving quietly, open to what I may discover along the way. I am reluctant to project too much meaning or expectations onto the kind of year that 2021 will turn out to be. If there is anything that we have all learnt in the last year, its that we live in such an unpredictable time. I am hopeful always, as it is in my nature to be, and a lot more grounded as I set out once more to pursue my path to parenthood.

Have you given yourself permission to pause and take some time out for renewal? How do you refuel yourself or create special for a shift in perspective?

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