I’m having a bit of trouble “feeling good” today.
These are the days when “Feel Good Friday” feels like a spiritual discipline, not just a blog theme. Not unlike a gratitude practice: a pause to remember and name–even on the difficult days–moments of goodness.
It’s not that this has been a bad week. We had a good (and fruitful) experience of house-hunting. Last night I enjoyed the first of four webinars/discussions of A Sojourner’s Truth by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, (webinar info here: Leadership LINKS). I made a stole for a friend, and used the money for an art print from August Wren in support of the Equal Justice Initiative. My dentist appointment even got moved up, so I was able to check that “to do” off the list early.
But even with that list of Good Things going on, my body is sending me conflicting messages. My TMJ pain has been worse this week than it has in months and months. No amount of Advil or heatpack seems to ease the pain in my jaw/neck/shoulders. I feel tired all. the. time.
And in general, I’m just a LITTLE BIT ON EDGE.
I have a strong hunch I’m not the only one, these days.
So on this Feel-Good-Friday Morning, I’m counting all those small goodnesses of this week, and I’m claiming one big goodness for the rest of the summer. When so much is unknown, so much is to be done, and so much is downright scary–I’m going to claim the simple goodness of the pause.
None of us can hit “pause” on the unknowns, or the to-dos, or the scary stuff. But I’m going to pause the one thing I can control: myself, and the expectation I put on myself to handle it all without a hitch.
- I’m giving myself permission to pause in my running training. Not to stop running, but permission not to improve, for now. I’ll keep up my None to Run program, but won’t worry about “leveling up.” I can conserve physical energy, and carry consistency into our next phase and our new home.
- I need to pause my finger before it taps to open social media. The time- and energy-suckage always catches me off-guard, even when I know it’s coming. I can conserve mental and emotional energy, and create purpose-full pauses of breath and prayer that can carry me.
- This week I also realized it was time for a big pause: releasing a dream. For many years (20) I’ve held out the possibility of going back to school and getting another degree. I believe in education. I love school, and I like letters after my name. 😬 But I never stopped to consider whether more letters (and expensive ones, at that) would actually help me do the work I feel called to do. As that calling slowly becomes more clear, I understand better what I need to learn, and it doesn’t look like what I thought it would. Letting that go and seeking a new approach to life and learning feels like releasing a breath I’ve been holding far too long.
As we begin the process of packing up our life, I can’t always control the space around me, so I need to better manage the space within.
Taking pauses where I can makes space I didn’t know I needed to reflect, listen, and plan. I’m always looking forward to the next thing (maybe a byproduct of a life of moving around?), but for the first time in a long time I feel some clarity about what my work might be. I want to approach that work, and the days ahead, with calm consideration instead of my usual intensity and control.
In this pause, this space, I hope to discern not only what but how. To reflect on where I’ve come from and what I still need to learn, to listen for answers to the questions that guide me both inward and forward, and to plan for what I need to support my next steps.
In this pause, this space, maybe I can even be surprised.
One thought on “Feel-Good Friday: Pausing”
Interesting… the concept of pause has been on my mind this week as well. It came to me as I stood outside the glass doors of the ICU room and gazed past my mask and face shield upon the patient in COVID isolation. I had spoken to her just a few days ago. She was struggling so much with her faith, she was afraid. And now, here she was on a ventilator and hopefully unaware of the fight to keep her alive. As I looked and reflected upon my helplessness, standing outside the door, I paused. And I prayed. It seems so simple. The idea of “thoughts and prayers” has received a lot of ridicule it seems because it seems to be just words and seems to affect no change. And she was in my thoughts and prayers. Pausing, watching, praying means that this woman is worth stopping for. I had a LOT of patients to see as I was the only chaplain that day. I could have simply walked by and said a quick prayer, but she deserved more. My pause was a way of reflecting her worth and value.
Good thoughts my friend, always. Thank you!