Needing to Pause

Last week, I flew up to Seattle with my husband to visit his dying father. He needed only to ask and I went with him. After going through the deaths of my own parents twenty years ago, I understand the importance of pausing, for showing up and being present.

Rabbit at the bedside
Sometimes all you need to do is be present.

Accepting What Is

Unfortunately, we did not see his father before he died. Access was guarded by an estranged sister with Durable Power of Attorney rights.

It is a sad and familiar tale of family conflict and estrangement that often happens around the loss of parents. It happened in my family — the estrangement of one of my brothers after my mother died that continued until his sudden death ten years later. Sibling rivalry is a common theme for many of my clients. My heart goes out to all of you who have faced or are currently facing similar family issues. It is an unanticipated aspect of death that can add to the grief and delay recovery. For more on this see: Steering Through Change.

The Irresistible Pause

What I really want to focus on is the importance of the pause. It is easy in this fast-paced, ramped-up world of ours to forget the importance of a pause. We just don’t think there is enough time.

Death reminds us to pause. The emotions, confusion, and change rip us out of our everyday routine — even when it is not our own family member. See Grieving The “Less Significant” Loss.

Last November I wrote an email/blog about becoming unstuck and unstoppable. That almost sounds like a runaway train doesn’t it? It is the wrong image. Instead I invite you to think of a winged migration— snowy white geese flying north or south on their annual trips to winter and summer grounds. It is the even and consistent beat of their wings and taking turns leading that enable them to travel vast distances twice a year. Their voyage models perseverance and the pause.

Combining Perseverance and the Pause

Like the white geese, perseverance allows us to set our intentions and follow our course one step at a time. This is about working smart instead of hard. How do you do that? First you must let go of the idea that being busy means being productive. Your steps must take you in the direction of you goal. Sometime you get off course. Things happen — you might take a wrong turn or be pushed in the wrong direction. When that happens you must remember to pause.

It is even better to pause before going off-course. Pausing gives us time to check our inner compass. Therefore it is wise to make pausing a part of your daily routine.

Pausing is about having down time, playing, enjoyment and pleasure. That’s what I received when I went up to Seattle last week — no computer, no texting or email and only one phone call. It was a relief to take my brain off-line and just flow. I caught up on a lot of sleep and did a lot of easy reading.

When we take a pause, inspiration can come through. We might get a new perspective on what we have been doing. We might come up with a better approach or a whole new idea.

How I Paused

I didn’t push my thoughts last week. I let them arrive at their own pace.  It was good to connect with family, to reminisce, recall the sweet times, and feel gratitude. We walked in a forest of tall fir trees — a balm for the sorrowed sprit. Later we shopped for clothes — an activity I rarely find time to do. This was made more fun by the encouragement of the other sister-in-law, a fashion specialist. Life slowed, time became more spacious. Hearts healed.

I feels re-energized after this pause and perhaps a little less willing to plunge head-long into busy-ness. That state of stillness, that wider perspective that death brings is still with me.

Don’t Wait to Pause

Here’s an important take-away — You don’t have to wait for death in order to take a pause. You can stop right now, breathe and appreciate life journey. 

You don’t have to wait for sickness either. Sickness is how our bodies force us to take breaks when we forget. It is one of the few times we actually feel entitled to have a break. However, wouldn’t the break be much better without the sore throat, congestion and coughing? When you make pausing a part of your routine you tend to live healthier and as well as longer!

How to Pause

Pausing can happen in short breaks throughout the day — at least 3 or 4. Just set your clock and get up from your desk every 1-2 hours. Go outside. Look at a garden. Feel the sun. Stretch. Breathe.

Whole day pauses are also good. That’s what those National Holidays can provide, those acceptable downtime days when the whole world slows. The trick is to take them even if you are a solo entrepreneur. Yes, I understand, we often like to use those holidays as catch-up days. Try taking the holiday instead and see what happens. I guarantee you will get more done when you include pauses in your routine. . For more on the subject see: Allowing Time.

Recent Podcasts

1.  Celestial Spoon Podcast – 2/29/19

Join  Catherine M Laub, Host of The Celestial Spoon as she interviews Dr. Michelle Peticolas about empowering women to overcome their fears and limiting beliefs in order to reclaim their authentic power. This interview went all over the map including a nice discussion of the Genius Diet that may save your brain. 59 minutes


2.  Imagine More Success – 2/27/19

Syndee Hendricka and Thomas Hydes, co-hosts of the Video Podcast Imagine More Successinterview Dr. Peticolas about how emotional wounds and fear can hold you back from fulfilling your life purpose.. 55 minutes


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dr. Michelle Peticolas is a national speaker and expert on the topics of loss, emotional wounding and unresolved grief. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and over 18 years experience coaching people through major life challenges.  If you’re ready to release old wounds and trapped emotions that may be holding you back and step into a life really worth living, get Michelle’s complimentary  illustrated guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at

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