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“You better go, go, go, go, go”
When the kids were little, we played our own mash-up of “red light, green light” and “freeze dance” with them. My husband or I would sing, “You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. Annnnnnnnddddddd STOP!” As much as the kids loved the craziness of all the going – wild dance moves, running in circles, spinning like tops – they loved stopping the most. They would freeze in hilarious poses that would inevitably fall apart in peals of laughter.
Thinking about it, my default mode is “go, go, go, go, go.” Do. Create. Produce. Write. Study. Teach. Repeat. Even in my faith life, my tendency is to seek ways to serve – to “do the work that has been given for me to do,” as we pray weekly at my church. In short, I have a very well-established habit of “going” and it has served me – and I hope those around me – well for a very long time.
Except recently I have started to wonder if all my doing and going is still serving me. If I wouldn’t be better served – body, mind, and spirit – by some balance between doing and being; between creating and experiencing; between “GO” and “STOP.”
In essence, something deep inside of me has begun to chant, “Annnnnnnnddddddd …” and I can feel a powerful need to STOP for a second. Since I heard this voice, I haven’t been able to shake the idea of creating a pause in my life. It pulls at me from somewhere deep inside. It feels like a call of sorts. And it also feels foreign and a little scary.
Change can be scary
My instant reaction to the idea – “But what would I DO while I pause?” – makes me laugh a little because it reveals just how much meaning and value I place in my deeply engrained pattern of “going” and doing. The question itself feels sharp, small, and stuck; like it is coming from an old version of me – a “self” that feels a change coming and is not super happy about it.
“What if,” another voice in me thinks quietly, perhaps remembering the joy with which my kids stopped, “stopping could be as good as all the going?” This question feels hopeful and spacious. It feels curious and open. I want to know the answer.
For some changes, a little scariness is worth it
I want it so badly that I have decided to pause. I have decided to take a sabbatical from all my work, all my doing, all my producing and creating. Rather than striking and holding a “frozen” pose of “PAUSE,” I hope these weeks will be filled with change; that they will be a process.
While I don’t have a plan, I do have some hopes for these weeks of PAUSE:
- I hope to sense what life has in store for me – something that is impossible so long as I am in the director’s chair clinging tightly to all the busyness that I’ve decided gives my life meaning.
- I hope to explore life without the whirlwind that all my “go go going” creates.
- I hope to trust that transformation is afoot as I do the scary work of letting the old, always-doing part of me fall apart.
- I hope that by disrupting my routine, habitual ways, I will stretch toward new ways of living life.
Neither going nor stopping is good on its own. We need both
When my kids were little, they would quiver with anticipation for both the “STOP” and the resumption of the “Go go going.” The game needed both to be fun. So, I suspect, does each of our lives.
“You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go. Annnnnnddddd STOP.” Annnnndddddd repeat.
Part of my pause will be to let go of my weekly routine of writing these essays at least for a little while. If you find yourself missing these “thoughts,” remember that the archives are searchable by topic.