My Pause Growth with Donna Black
What have I learned during this pause? That is a heavy question for me. It is so complex. I should also say what have I unlearned. Unlearning could possibly be the better lessons. Unlearning sounds counter-intuitive. Why would you want to unlearn something? It is because we pick up habits or thoughts that are bad habits and agreements, we make that stopped our growth.
During this time, I had to pause my life entire life. My business could not operate, my children could not go to school, and I could not go anywhere. Luckily, my husband could still work. I am self employed and as of 6/22/2020 my unemployment is still sitting on filed. My new reality was the same as many other people and yet my reality was completely different than other peoples. Even in our house everyone has experienced things differently. On the surface my husband’s life had not changed much except now he was the sole bread winner. A weight that I felt horrible that he was carrying, but he has done it so wonderfully and without complaint. He is rather excited for the exorbitant amount of home cooked meals he has had during this time. Then you look at the kids and each one so completely different. One that has excelled achieving a 4.0 and an award 1 of only 40 given out, all while she was working 30+ hours a week. One that was slacking at first but finished strong and moved on. Two who absolutely hated online school and fought against it the whole way and both were equally happy to be out of school. My dog is going through emotions as well. It was weird for her at first for someone to be home all the time. She would hide out in the bedroom a lot but now she has HUGE separation anxiety and will not let me leave without her. She just spent two days away from us because we went on a little road trip and she would not eat the whole time we were gone. These are already so many different emotions for so many people in such a small space. Those are also just the surface feelings. The ones most people who have talked to us know. Each of us on our own journey and experiencing the same life on so many different levels.
My experience I know is different than everyone else in my house. I think some of us have shared similar experiences and emotions but ultimately, they are all different and uniquely our own. For me from the beginning it totally hit my type A personality. I want to plan. I am a planner. I plan so much that I create itineraries for vacation. My ability to plan was stripped away, so deeply that I think I was in shock. I literally have not been able to plan for anything. I am a person who plans whole fake vacations to compare prices, times, and locations to see what we could do. Now I could not plan anything. We cannot go anywhere, and we cannot do anything. As that washed over than there was the fact I could not plan for work. My job is all about planning and timing. Are we doing in home appointments, in our office space or at a pop location? Everyone is different, each needing different planning, different timing. Then there are clients. What do they think? How do they feel? Are they comfortable with getting a massage? Do they have the means, or have they been unemployed this whole time too? The excessive amounts of questions swarmed everything. So many questions and variables that there is not even the possibility of planning. Three months and counting of literally just ebbing and flowing never knowing which way this day will take me. I can honestly say I had panic attacks not being able to plan. I had anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, and just about every other known emotion because I could not plan anything. So, I was unlearning how to plan every moment. I was now learning how to just be in the moment.
Be in the moment honestly sounds crazy right? How can you just be in the moment? Aren’t I always in the moment? The answer is no, we are not really living in the moment. We plan things, we think it out, we are worrying, we are stressing, etc. and those emotions take away from the moment. We fill the moment with TV, electronic, and other mindless tasks. Things that we really do not have to pay attention to do. They take up and block our ability to just be. We are to busy on our phones, and we do not actually listen to what people are saying to us. We do not actually spend time with people because we are busying our minds with other things. So, I stepped outside of the electronics mostly because I was tired of hearing the same things. I began to spend time in the moment. I spent a lot of time with the trees. I sat and listened to the universe, my kids, my husband, my family, and my friends. I connected with people through zoom. We found new ways to hang out, to catch up, and to be together while being apart. We were all paused, and I did not have to rush from thing to thing so I could just spend time being. The lessons I have learned are deep, powerful, and full of purpose. I could begin to see the simple things in life.
Learning to be simplistic is monumental. To realize all the things, you can live without is freeing. It is breath taking to stand in the woods and experience it in the moment. To listen to the stories of the woods, the animals, and the plants is inspiring. Each time I come I can see the change and I can appreciate the growth and I can appreciate the ability to see the changes from day to day or week to week. It teaches me patience.
Patience is a huge lesson I learned during this pause. I mean when you are locked in a house with several people who are all experiencing different emotions you must learn patience.
Pictured above: Donna Black LMT, CMRM, wife and mother.
We are all learning at a different speed and different lessons, so I have no choice but to be patient. Right now, the only thing that is certain is that we must wait. Wait to see how things go and wait to see what happens. So, I learn to have the patience to wait. As I learn patience’s, I learn to have empathy.
Empathy is hard, but it is a deeper level I am learning now. Most importantly it is learning to have empathy for myself. I have so much empathy for other people. I listen without judging and I hold space for people so they can heal. I do not show empathy for myself. I judge myself harshly as the judge the jury and the executioner. I do not hold that space for myself. Now as I learn on this pause, I have learned to have empathy for myself. I am learning through my empathy not to judge myself so harshly. As I learn empathy it has given me personal clarification.
Personal clarification is something we spend our entire lives searching and some die never finding. Personally, I have been on this journey my whole life, but I only began waking up six years ago. While life has been on pause, I have found a lot of personal clarification. My purpose in life has showed a little. I have learned more about myself. What I like, what I do not, what I can and cannot live without. I have learned I do not like a lot of people and yes, I can do crowds, but I would rather sit with the trees any day. I have learned to trust myself and to just say the message that living in the moment allows the purest messages to come through. I have gained personal clarity to not sensor my messages and allow them to ebb and flow. I do not know what is important to someone and I do not have the authority to sensor spirits messages. They came for a reason and should be honored by being delivered. I believe that the personal clarification came from creating a deep connection to the outdoors.
A deep connection with the outdoors is when you can begin to see things clearly. When I allowed myself to check out and sit with the trees its when I could hear the answers to problems in my life. I noticed things in the woods that I was always to busy to see before. I realized the lesson of the woods that everything and everyone could co-exist. Co-existing only comes with compromising.
Learning to compromise is a painful lesson. I like to be right and if I do not check my ego, I allow myself to get on a soap box. Co-existing with so many different people whose energy is so different the only way to survive is to compromise. Not only compromise but begin to bend on some things that in a different situation I would never. Every day of this pause is a compromise and negotiation with everyone in the house to keep peace. This compromise is exactly how the woods co-exists for all this time, growing and thriving. This compromise is continuous and teaches you to let go.
Letting go is another lesson I have been continuously learned during this pause. Letting go of the expectations of the condition of my house. I have been borderline nervous breakdown because I cleaned for it to be dirty in 10 seconds. I let go of the usual standard I have had because the constant cleaning is exhausting. It is frustrating and infuriating. Why am I freaking out? No one is coming over so why am I being so obsessive? I mean there is 6 people in this house and 3 of us are here all the time. When I let go, I realized my house was not that bad and when I just let go things seem to be smoother. When I let go of trying to maintain a schedule, when I let go of the expectation I have so much more time on my hands. I have so much more time of my hands. I have so much more space in my heart and in my life to do so many other things. I never realized the weight of some of the stuff I have let go. I should have never been carrying it around. I should have seen all the space stupid things were taking up in my life, but I was always busy and always rushing. I never noticed so many pointless things I carry around until I started to let go. I realize that when I showed myself empathy and became willing to compromise, I allowed myself to let go. As the time and energy that was used to hold all of that was free, I realized I was able to reconnect with people.
Reconnecting has so many meanings. Sometimes you reconnect with people but its just for a night it was fun, but we are not going to keep it up. Then we have people who are in our everyday lives that we have come unconnected with and need to reconnect. It was not until we paused, I seen connections that were not as strong as I would like them. Since I have learned to compromise, let go, went to a deeper personal connection, found empathy, patience, to stop planning, to live in the moment and to be simplistic I couldn’t see all the bonds I needed to nurture. I could finally see with clear eyes what was profoundly important and what needed more effort. My husband and I have reconnected so deeply. We have found new hobbies and passions to share together. Together we have grown, we have reconnected with nature and made a schedule putting us as a priority. We have always done this, but it was during this pause as I learned all my lessons, I realized we needed to continue to reconnect deeper.
This life is uncertain, and we are not anywhere near “normal”, but I realize I am OK with it. I realize that life before was not working. I needed a break, a pause, a moment of profound clarity. I do not know if I would be where I am now if I did not have this pause. I had important life lessons to learn. I had hard soul work to nurture. I had connections to make. I had a purpose and I believe I have showed up. At times I thought this whole pause I wasted time. Yes of course I had productive moments, but I should have got a million more things done. However, that was not part of my lesson. I was not supposed to check off a to do list and I was not supposed to overwhelm myself with things. I was supposed to just be. As I was just being, I could hear the universe. I know that during this time I have had an enormous amount of emotions. I thank my husband so much for being our families rock. For riding the waves of all the crazy emotions, I have had. For growing with me. For always allowing me to be me no matter how crazy I sound. For an amazing weekend that allowed us to just be together. We planned nothing and it was literally the most amazing time I have ever had.
This pause has been a painful growing experience. Before every breakthrough, before every change there are dark moments we pass through. We must shine light in those spaces. The ones we do not like to look at. The ones that are ugly and painful. Emotions that make you feel weak and worthless. I fell into those emotions before every breakthrough during this pause. I had moments I felt I could not sink low and then the awaking. I embraced all the darkness and I brought healing light. I can not change the things of the past. The things I do not like, wish did not happen, erase bad choices, or have a redo are the pivotal moments that changed me. Every step I have taken has prepared me for who I am becoming. It is those dark moments that have provided me empathy for others. It is those dark moments that allow me to hold nonjudgmental space for others. It is now that I realize that those same dark moments, I judge myself for are the exact reason I can do what I do and be who I am.
Although this pause literally stunt the growth of our business, I think it had to happen so I could grow now in the beginning so my contribution to the foundation is stronger. The pause was unwanted but was not taken for granted. I heard the universes call and allowed my soul to answer. I endured the pain of my ego being further destroyed and the destruction of my human essence. I come from this stronger, wiser, and a better human. I understand that I do not have to understand the universes plan for me that I just embrace it enjoy the ride.