131 | Grace Periods and the power of Pause

power of the pause button
In this podcast episode we unpack our reflections from the transformative impact of intentionally hitting pause in our daily lives during this family gap year. Embrace the New Year with a joy audit toolkit, identifying moments of joy, and consider intentional pauses for a more purposeful life.

I paused the podcast quite a bit in 2023. 

I started researching the physiological benefits of pausing (because you know, I wanted to justify this decision) I want to take a break and not feel guilty about it. 

I’ve never needed rationale for a vacation, but being on a gap year our life is completely flipped.  We are off more than we are on.  We previously used vacation time as family time to be a defined break from work and school. Now work is my break from family time.  

I could give you reasons such as off-grid living and spotty internet (which is true). When I start to stress over how am I going to get episodes recorded when the acoustics of 5 of us in an RV are less than ideal, or my bones are still vibrating from the frost heave drive that prevented me from doing any editing for 2 days while driving in Alaska (true story) or I could simply share because the podcast was meant to be fun…more side less hustle (also true). I also decided while we were home for the month of November that I wanted this to be a test at our next phase of life and coming off the gap year adventure.  

Our family gap year was designed to take a break.  We planned to not require income. I thought I would need a purpose and want to create more.  I thought I’d want to build out the business and explore my next thing.  However, if you listened to episode 113 | Unlearning, Unlocating and Unschooling,  you heard that part of this process was design to also allow me to simply be. 

In the fast-paced world, where every moment seems to be driven by deadlines, notifications, and the relentless pursuit of productivity, there’s a quiet revolution taking place—one that involves the deliberate act of hitting pause. I have hit pause several times on the podcast this year.  In spite of a underlying sense of guilt, I dug deeper into the transformative power of intentionally taking breaks, as experienced by someone who decided to embrace the “Power of Pause” in a year like no other during our family gap year.  

I am linking articles I referenced in this episode below if you’d like to explore more deeply.  Based on my own need for understanding, I wanted to share the following 5 lessons I have experienced with each intentional pause I took this year.  

1. A Pause in the Podcast:

In 2023, I made a conscious decision to pause the stream of information and entertainment that a podcast often during several few transitional phases of our year.  We were in a space that channeling my energy into the following items felt more energizing than producing new content.  This simple act became a metaphorical pause button for my life, allowing me to step back and reflect on the nature of my days. By silencing the external noise, I could gain clarity on why I was producing the podcast in the first place.  I questioned throughout the year if I was done with Ordinary Sherpa.  With each pause it was clear to me, I wasn’t done.  I still enjoyed the connection with other adventurous souls and sharing messages to support working upstream in life or taking the path less traveled.  My only regret is that I didn’t actually communicate these pauses in advance.  In November we took time while we were home to test and explore what making a home a destination of choice would mean coming off a gap year.  I didn’t want to stuff the time with tasks or show up online. 

2. Rethinking Vacation in a Gap Year:

For many, a vacation is a well-deserved break from the routine—a chance to recharge and reconnect with loved ones. However, during our family gap year, the concept of vacation took on a whole new meaning. With life flipped upside down, my days were more off than on. Work, which was once a necessary interruption in family time, became the grounding force in a sea of open-ended possibilities. This shift challenged me to redefine the purpose of breaks and led me to discover the beauty of unstructured time.

Suddenly with work being optional, I had to claim and determine what and how work was going to show up.  I also didn’t feel the urge or tug to continuous productivity.

3. The Unseen Benefits of Pause:

In the constant hustle, it’s easy to overlook the subtle benefits of pausing. The Power of Pause allowed me to notice the small moments, the nuances of everyday life that often go unnoticed in the rush of routine. The smell of the salty dew air on our morning walk in the Pacific NW to the emerging artistic talent developing with each stroke of my children’s paintings.  The warmth of morning sunlight, to listening to my son describe the difference in communities as we traveled.  These small details became the building blocks of a richer, more fulfilling existence. I not only had the bandwidth to notice them.  I soaked in them.  I lingered longer and turned off alarms and notifications.  

4. Work as a Break from Family Time:

In the traditional narrative, work is seen as a necessary interruption to the joys of family life. However, during my gap year, work became a welcomed respite—an opportunity to engage in something outside the domestic sphere. This reversal of roles shed light on the multifaceted nature of our lives and highlighted the importance of balance. Work, once viewed as a hindrance to personal time, became a source of inspiration and a channel for personal growth. I yearned for complex intellectual problem solving with others.  Seeking out and exploring those opportunities led me to engage in a few consulting roles that on a small scale were very nourishing.  

5. The Art of Being Present:

One of the most profound lessons learned during this year of intentional pauses was the art of being present. Whether at work or with family, the Power of Pause taught me to be fully immersed in the moment. By embracing the now, I discovered a richness in experience that transcended the constant pursuit of what comes next.

I recognize I am publishing this episode while steeped in the emerging fresh slate of a New Year and the declaration of new goals and intentions.   It was on purpose, hopefully it will remind you to stop, take a deep breath and notice – even if for a few minutes.  Give yourself a grace period to regroup after the holiday season.  If you’d like to consider how you might be intention and explore collective pause with your partner or family members, the joy audit downloadable form (https://ordinarysherpa.podia.com/joy-audit-tracking-form ) can be a helpful tool to consider the spikes of Joy you have experienced this year to set you on a path to support designing your life to include intentional pauses.  If you need a Sherpa, schedule a coaching discovery session (Link) and we can talk it out.  

In a world that often values speed and progress, the Power of Pause emerges as a radical act of self-care and introspection. By intentionally taking breaks, whether by silencing the noise of a podcast or redefining the purpose of work, we can discover the transformative potential in the seemingly mundane moments of life. As we navigate the uncertainties of the future, let us not forget the profound impact that the intentional pause can have on our well-being and the quality of our existence. 

In some ways this might be your greatest adventure yet!

Resources referenced in this episode
Articles on taking a Pause

a few articles below that I found with interesting research and perspectives on hitting pause.  

The first is from Psychology Today: How do work breaks help your brain. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201704/how-do-work-breaks-help-your-brain-5-surprising-answers 

The second from Inc.com: 4 Scientific Reasons why vacation is awesome for you https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/4-scientific-reasons-why-vacation-is-awesome-for-you.html 

And third from Mental Floss: 11 hidden benefits of taking more vacation: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/60627/11-hidden-benefits-taking-more-vacation 


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