You Need to Take Time Out (Please!)

Recently, a client of mine asked me a wonderful and important question:

“Is it unusual for someone to have a ‘time out’ from the journey? Or, rather, from the seeking?”

The answer, of course, is, not at all! In fact, it’s necessary.

If we aren’t already doing it to ourselves, the world is ceaselessly exhorting us to continue on “the journey” or “never stop seeking” — whether it’s to be our best selves, live our dreams or to keep exploring our possibilities.

We find ourselves too close to the edge of the rabbit hole of always finding new ways of doing, seeking, producing. It can be exhausting if it’s coming from the wrong impulse.

Is there such a thing as a wrong impulse? From what I can tell, yes. Maybe not “wrong” in the sense of being bad or being a mistake, but when we’re caught in an endless loop of trying to figure out what we should be doing next , we’re exerting an energy that comes not from inspiration but from expectation.

That kind of energy is draining. And other people are aware of the energy you’re putting out. It’s actually off-putting.

When we stop seeking, even for a moment, we get to see what’s already available to us that can take us further in our understanding and our actions.

Consider the value of taking a break from endlessly trying to figure everything out — who we are, where we’re going and why.

When you don’t feel like thinking or figuring — that’s a good sign. It means it’s time to take a break. It’s time to refill the tank, so to speak. There could very well be some degree of push or force motivating you that isn’t helpful that’s signalling you to take a stop. In fact, that kind of force is counter productive.

Allowing, wondering or being curious, on the other hand, are great options. You’re not trying to force answers or make something happen, just creating an open space in which something can appear.

Just let yourself alone for a while. And when a question or an impulse arises, follow that.

The “journey” is already taking care of itself.

Most of the time we don’t even notice the truth of that statement because we’re so busy doing, figuring things out and making things happen.

Life is not meant to be one continuous roller coaster adventure. Look at the seasons and the cycles of nature: there are ups and downs, periods of activity and periods of rest. Biblically speaking, “to everything there is a season.”

Especially when you’ve been asking deeper questions and rethinking your life and what you really want, there’s necessarily a period of rest and integration.

If you don’t make room for both the questions and whatever answers you’ve discovered to settle into your bones, you risk losing the understanding you’ve gained.

Not doing anything doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing. Far from it.

So much happens beneath the surface of our lives that we need to honor that unfolding without adding more to it without allowing ourselves time to marinate in what we’ve learned.

We’ve been so ingrained to “follow the leader” that we don’t stop to consider the leader within us, that which already knows when to move and when to be still.

And by the way, if you’re trying to prove something to someone, or to yourself, it’s worth investigating how invested you really are in that effort. It’s one thing to do your best because of the intrinsic satisfaction it brings. It’s another to feel compelled to excel because of where you assume it will lead.

Excelling can be thrilling and rewarding. But we all know what it’s like to leave ourselves out of the equation and find we’re left feeling empty even though we’ve done an amazing job in someone else’s eyes.

I once left a job because my boss felt didn’t think I should take a break after making a concerted effort to produce “results”. Even though we liked eachother a lot and I had been successful, we just didn’t see eye to eye on this point. How would it be if a marathon runner participated in a race then went right into another one without replenishing his body and mind?

We need to honor the process of learning and absorbing what we’ve learned, regardless of the context.

We can look to Albert Einstein as an example: when he needed downtime, he would play the violin or take a nap. And what he shared with the world was all the better for it.

Nina Lockwood is a coach, author and artist. Her invitation is to discover your true nature and live free. Visit her at ninalockwood.com, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram (@ninalockwood.nilo).

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Nina Lockwood

Nina Lockwood

Coach/writer/artist. I help others find peace of mind, fulfillment, spiritual understanding and how to live consciously.