Confessions of a Change Agent

December 6th, 2012

Taking A Personal Time Out:

Disengaging Your Judge & Jury

by Maria Gamb

The phone rings. It’s a friend.

“Reminder: once you’ve done all you can.. You just stand” ~ Rev. Run

“Um Maria, you need a nap sister.  It’s enough already!”

Me on the other end starring wide-eyed and blinking with confusion.

“What do you mean?”

Her, “I mean enough’s enough.  You’ve had a big year and its time to rest otherwise you’re not going to have enough strength in 2013.”

The tears begin to stream down my face.  “I’m fine!” I was both touched and pissed off simultaneously and completely confused. Feeling embarrassed and ashamed that I had no idea what the hell she was talking about.  I felt fine.  Besides, it was late summer and there was a litany of speaking engagements, clients and my favorite activity in my business – hosting the “Value to Vision Retreat” – coming up.   I thanked her for her concern, placed it in my internal filing cabinet and went about my day.

A few days later I was hit with a wicked cold, which flattened me.  In my ear, I could hear her telling me to lay down, to rest and recover.  Recover? Recover from what?! Yes, it’s been a year of “differents”. But life is a roller coaster. You coast, you adjust, you pick up speed and then come over the top of whatever is going on and you begin again.  No big deal.  It’s just a cycle. Right?

Well this year I dealt with my fiancé having lymphoma and being the primary care taker.  I’ve already shared this with you. I only worked 3 – 3 1/2 days a week because of this.  So it’s not like I drove myself into the ground, right?

 The truth is that life hands us interruptions, as I like to call them. Lymphoma was an interruption that completely realigned my priorities and my life.  It changed my willingness, my faith and my ability to be in the moment.  It also tested my patience, compassion and ability to carve out time that was just my own and had nothing to do with cancer…or work….or anyone else’s needs.  That was the harder part!

 On a spiritual level, there was such a tremendous blessing in something that at times was so scary.  I’m different on the other side of this journey.  I laugh more. I take things less seriously – including my own big bad self. But over the course of the year my body and my mind have been depleted. I’ve been tired more.  If possible there have been days where I would have slept 12+ hours.  But alas, my 4-legged friends had different ideas about when to rise. Thank you very much Nico and Lily! I’d nap occasionally but still soldier on. By 2 or 3pm I would want to curl in a ball and sleep until the next day. I could barely hold my head up.

In a simple business conversation that had nothing to do with any of this, I burst into tears and stated, “I’ve been given a time out, period.”  The woman I was speaking to just held her breath, “What exactly does that mean?”  It means that I’m not supposed to do anything right now.  Just rest. Sleep. Rejuvinate. It was the first time I said it to someone other than my closest friends.  It took my breath away. I could barely breathe. Clearly I did not get the earlier message about making a concerted effort to…..take care of myself and find my own balance.  But the Universe has a really funny way about having people show up in my life and remind me of what needs to be done.

Ok so what does that really mean? Finding my own balance? These are like words spewing from a guru’s lips as they are levitating over a lotus blossom and throwing petals across the masses. Rolling my eyes and sighing even as I type this! I mean, really, doesn’t the Universe know I’m busy? Don’t they know I have my next retreat to market and a sales plan to put in place?  Hey what about all those invitations to speak that must be followed up on? Come on now. Let’s get real (is any of this sounding familiar????)  Don’t you know the line… “I’m on a mission…” etc etc at nauseam. All said with my dramatic hand waving gestures and punctuated with sighs.

Phone rings, it’s that friend again.  I’m thinking, if you tell me to sleep or play I’m going to scream! Who has time for this? No, she’s not calling for that. She’s calling to tell me that I need to find my fulfillment and achievement outside my work. “What?” I’m astounded. Blinking and perplexed once again but finally I get it.

 When going into a “time out” our analytical mind goes nuts.  That part of who we are keeps telling us to drive harder, faster and be more focused.  The analytical mind IS the Nike tag line “Just do it.” The analytical mind will call you lazy and stupid and insane for not using your gifts, talents and brilliance as you grab a cup of tea, a big fluffy blanket and curl up with the cats and a book.  In fact, the analytical mind is a very masculine energy that says, “without results you are nothing”. The Cuba Gooding Jr. shouting in your ear “Show me the money”.  The relentless task master who tells you that if you’re not dragging yourself across your exhaustion on your knees, bruised and bloodied you are clearly not serious enough about your business, your career, goals and aspirations. Been there. Done that. Not interested in that route ever again.

Don’t you just LOVE the analytical mind?!

Sarcasm and vivid imagery aside – the analytical mind is useful and necessary when trying to figure things out.  But when you’re in a “time out” that piece of your mind needs to be appeased or you’ll never get the rest that you so desperately need. The rest is intended for you to recoup your energy.  In a refreshed state you will think more clearly, allow inspiration and ideas to come into play. You can’t do that with the analytical mind yelling at you.

For me, I am that hardcore results orientated person.  I like to SEE things come together, transform, change and have something to hold in my hand.  I’ve always been this way.  I like to touch and feel things.  So the remedy for me is to do something creative.  It could be stain glass. Painting. Drawing, Reupholstering a piece of furniture. Something where I use my hands, and at the end of a period of time I SEE something formed in front of me. I need, it is a need, to hold it.

This accomplishes 2 things:

First, in being creative I am using a different part of my brain and disengaging from just about everything I usually think about – that part of my brain rests. The creative part is playing and enjoying what I am doing.  I am completely engrossed in the process. Which means, I’m outside my norm.

Second, this process also engages the analytical taskmaster who wants to see results and literal accomplishment.  At the end of the creative period I am holding something in my hand that the analytical mind is satisfied with – she made/accomplished “this”. Whatever this is.  It feels safe.  And it quiets down.

We rest. We let go of everything we’re dealing with daily.

We allow ourselves to be open to something new and different.

We give our minds the space to recognize it when we see it.

With all this said, I’m off to the yarn store to purchase needles and yarn.  I’m going to start knitting again. I’m not sure how long my own personal time out will last, but I’m willing to knit until I’m done.  Who knows, you may be receiving a scarf from me if I’m in this self-imposed “time out” for too long! LOL

FYI – these time outs can last a day, a weekend, a week, month or longer.  Depends how much you resist! <wink>















Leave a Reply