Pause > Reflect > Progress

June 10, 2021

June 22, 2021

Here we go again; it’s time to transition.

In the UK, we are approaching the final phase of lifting lockdown restrictions. Almost everything is back open, and there is hope that restrictions won’t return.

Already I’m feeling pulled back into the hustle and bustle of London, which is exciting but also a little tiring.

In any transition, I’ve come to realize the benefit of a pause.

Pause

It’s so easy to move from one thing to the next. From this meeting to that meeting. From finishing work to cooking dinner. From spring to summer.

Amidst these transitions, I try to remind myself that even a brief moment to pause and be present can make the transition more enjoyable and even more meaningful.

Claire used to tease me about my routine of sitting down for a cup of coffee at the airport after returning home from a trip, but she too has come to appreciate that little moment to take in the transition, rather than hurrying home.

When it comes to the pandemic, I must admit that I’m pretty tired of it all. But I also want to make sure I keep close some of the lessons the past 16 months taught me.

It was with that intention in mind that I joined the monthly meetup of our Make Time community this past Sunday. I always look forward to connecting with this group to share challenges, celebrate wins, and ponder important questions.

Reflect


This month, we turned our attention towards the transition. Even though the group is from many different countries, all in different phases of the pandemic, each of us found benefit in taking a moment to reflect.

What did this reflection look like?

We spent about 10 minutes journaling silently on the prompts below, then took turns sharing our answers with the group.

Yep, just 10 minutes.

In 10 minutes, I was able to unearth some valuable personal insights. Little lessons I know I’ll carry forward with me in the months ahead.

As the group took turns sharing, I added even more nuggets of inspiration to my list.

The experiences of others were similar to my own, and that sense of universality is powerful. It’s a reminder to me of how the personal is often the most universal.

I’m sharing this with you all because I don’t think we always need to make reflection into a big ordeal. Sure, taking a monk day or going on a silent retreat is amazing, but we can get a lot of value out of a simple pause.

Again and again, I remind myself of the power of this simple formula:

Pause > Reflect > Progress

Taking a pause.
Using the space to reflect.
Drawing on those reflections as you progress forward.

This is a timeless recipe for living an inspired life.

Progress

Below are the prompts we used and a few of my own answers to each.These are just a few examples of the prompts we used, but you can make your own!

Personally, I enjoy setting a timer and "freeflow" journaling until it buzzes. This allows for a more stream-of-consciousness type of writing that often unearths unexpected insight.

You might take these prompts for a spin in a journaling session, or maybe they can serve as discussion questions with a friend or family member.

Perhaps you're just done with all things pandemic...that's fine too!

If you do use them, let me know how it goes.

The things that gave me energy this past year are...

  • Exercising every day
  • Meditating twice a day
  • Eating lots of fruits & veggies

The things that drained my energy this past year are...

  • Checking the news multiple times a day
  • Joining more than three Zoom meetings in a day
  • Netflix binging

The things I truly missed during lockdown were...

  • Not seeing friends and family in-person
  • Live yoga classes
  • Travel (although not as much as I would have anticipated)

The things that I appreciated during lockdown were...

  • Slowing down and doing less
  • Flexibility of working from home
  • Loads of quality time with Claire

The things I am looking forward to as we re-enter normal life are...

  • Variety in a week’s activities (yoga classes, occasional coworking)
  • Dinner parties with friends
  • Hugs :)

The lessons from this past year I’d like to remember are...

  • My recipe for a great day is super simple
  • In-person time with loved ones is precious
  • My friends are always just a phone call away

Words of Wisdom

Whether life has been easy or hard, fun or tiring, taking a moment to reflect before we move forward in any transition is a powerful practice.

Remember these wise words:

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” — Auguste Rodin