You may have noticed that I didn’t post a blog last week. I took a vacation. There. I said it. Somehow, it feels weird or scary to admit that I needed a break. But we all need a break sometimes, right? If you just answered that question with “I don’t!” than this blog post is even more for you.
While I was away, I was tempted to work. I even brought my computer with every intention of using it for work. However, I resisted the urge to work and wow!
It was the decision to let myself just be (no guilt allowed!) — to let go of having to write a blog or respond immediately to email — that allowed me to flow more freely and presently with each moment. I could feel the letting-go sensation in my body (especially in my gut and my shoulders) as well as in my mind.
From there on out, each moment felt like the excitement of an unopened gift coupled with the peace of watching a sunset.
So, now it’s time for you to consider: when’s the last time YOU took a real break?
- A real break is not a 5-minute pause between meetings (that’s a just a pause).
- A real break is not those few minutes you take to call a friend during the day (that’s a chat).
- A real break is not going to sleep at night (that’s just a basic human need).
- A real break is not a family vacation where you’re responsible for planning all the activities, making sure everyone is bathed and fed, and a trip where your days are packed full with non-stop doing (that’s just another version of work disguised as a vacation).
These are not the kind of “real breaks” I’m talking about.
When’s the last time you stopped DOING for an extended period of time and experienced BEING?
You may wonder, what does this even mean? What does a true break look like? How is possible to just be? Keep reading…
It’s often difficult to truly STOP. Yet, stopping allows you to take in the beauty of life, without needing to produce anything or tend to someone else’s needs. It breaks your pattern of doing and opens you to so much more.
In the West, we admire those who work hard and get things done more than we value those people who are fully present to their loved ones, or those who savor their precious time by taking breaks to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
When you stop to think about this, it’s quite sad. We work, work, work…then we work some more (I’m can be guilty of this too!). We make productivity our priority, loosing sight of one of the most important reasons we work — to revel in the beauty that surrounds us and the beauty that’s within us.
Sometimes it’s scary to stop because underneath all the busy-ness, you may not know what you’ll find or where your thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories will lead you.
As humans, we are innately fearful of the unknown. We cling to knowing because knowing is the alluring illusion of control – and control feels safe. Unfortunately, this safety and control is all in your mind.
However, when you take a true break, you learn how to be present and to fall in love again with the magic of being alive (even if it’s a bit scary to stop distracting yourself from what exists within). When you give yourself to truly BE, your whole body and all your senses light up. This is the product of mindfulness at its best.
To live a full, joyful life, sometimes you need to pause, change things up, get quiet, look inside and be.
So, I ask you to consider when you last disconnected from your everyday do-do-do in order to just be?
If taking a “full-stop” staycation or vacation* isn’t a possibility for you right now, here are a few ways to take a true break that help to reignite presence, purpose and mindfulness to fall in love with your life (no technology allowed!):
- Take a day off and go to a local park or museum.
- Create a 1-day self-care plan that includes activities like naps, meditation, silent hours, baths, calming music and walks.
- Go on a silent retreat (if you do some research, you can find many throughout the world of all differing lengths and intensity).
- Get into nature, take it all in with every sense you have. Take some time to move and breathe in nature. Then take some time to be still with it.
- Take 3 hours and draw or paint in silence, even if you aren’t an artist (especially if you aren’t an artist!).
*I challenge you to consider if it really isn’t a possibility, or if this your do-do-do productivity mind telling you it’s not possible. In most instances, the things we decide are urgent really aren’t.
If you aren’t willing to consider taking a real break of any kind, ask yourself what you might be fearful of? What’s really stopping you? What emotions and sensations does the idea of taking a true break bring up within you? Use your answers as insight to get to know yourself better.
P.S. Don’t forget to get your MindBody IQ by taking this free quiz.
P.P.S. Have you joined the MindBodyWise Living Room yet? It’s free, private and a wonderful place to connect with other like-spirited people. I hope to see you there!