The holy pause
We've all been here to some degree, as artists and creatives: an idea that we are completely passionate about is born. We take the steps to get it started, get it out and moving in the world. We get feedback. We revise and keep going. We collect ideas; so many, in fact, that sometimes it becomes hard to keep it all organized. Then, if the journey is anything like mine, we start to get so caught up in the collection of inspiring thoughts, stories, and influences, that they almost begin to feel like our own. This can be great, but can also lead to some unintended consequences. We start to regurgitate. We start to take most everything at face value and repeat as if it's our own thought or belief.
We lose sight of that initial little idea, so full and teaming with promise. It's no longer an original thing. It gets buried underneath all the extra stuff that was never ours to begin with.
Nearly a year ago, at the same time I was reflecting on the fresh start of a new year and a calling back to the drawing board for this blog, I was simultaneously looking into starting brand deals for anyone who would take my small platform, hashtagging every post with 30 tags that had next-to-nothing to do with the idea of the post, creating reels for more views, and even "boosting" some of my posts, all to no avail. I had become so much more interested in gaining traction and likes and follows than sharing the original message. As much as I wanted Lead to Gold to be a respite from the hustle culture and fame-seeking that has taken over our online communities, I didn't know how to actually get it to that point without partaking in those habits.
While I had some promising ideas brewing, I couldn't continue on while feeling so conflicted about what I was really doing with this online space. Is this actually a place to share ideas and stories of personal growth, or is this a rat race for platform growth? To what degree do I need to reach an audience before it becomes inauthentic, or even completely fake? Are these even MY messages to share anymore, or are they someone else's? Before it got too far in the wrong direction, I took it all completely offline. I even disabled my personal Instagram, and all other social media accounts.
In that time, from early spring until now (about nine months), I lived my life offline as I normally would have - but as I always find when taking social media breaks, my ability to be present with the world in front of me became so much stronger. New friendships formed, we explored some beautiful, natural places in the area, took some sunrise hikes and river swims together...my partner and I took a two-week trip to Europe without any distractions or desires to share the views with anyone but each other. I sat by the pool all summer and read four new books. I tended my garden, completed some home projects, and supported many friends as they moved around into their own new homes. School started again, and I entered my third year as a high school English teacher. The first few weeks of school went nearly seamlessly, and here we are nearing the end of the second quarter, stressed as the job calls for, but feeling more on top of it than ever. Blessings abound, for real.
And though this time has been wonderfully busy, I'm still dubbing it "the holy pause." Why? It's not as if I've been cocooned and hibernating at home - quite the opposite. But rather than taking in all this information, all the time, and getting swept up in beliefs and ideas and ways of living that weren't even really mine, I turned away and lived my own life. I came home to myself.
I never, ever want to send out into the world advice, stories or anything else that is not mine to share. Even more so, I want to avoid creating a space that centers around one topic, one way of thinking, one way or no way. I'm only interested in being honest and real, and having honest, real conversations with my community. In order to come back to that, I had to reintegrate with my local world and get intimate with my loved ones in-person. I had to feel my body again and flow with the changes happening in life. Some things that helped me to do that, aside from getting off social media, were:
building a loving, gentle routine and actually following through with it most days
communicating with friends who wanted to do the same, and holding each other accountable through it
spending quality time in full presence with friends and family
spending quality time with myself, dancing, gardening, working out, taking long showers in the dark
intentionally forgetting to bring my phone places, and not apologizing for it when others expected me to be constantly reachable
reflecting on the relationships I was no longer feeding without social media; were they worth holding onto?
taking more time to notice synchronicities and beautiful moments, taking more time to practice gratitude
feeling my range and depth of emotions!
Though the absence of Instagram made it much easier for me to reach these places, it is by no means required, or even necessary, to get off all social media to practice them. In fact, I have found that simply taking that long pause has allowed me to engage with these practices quicker and easier than ever before, even though I'm now "back online." Each time I take a break, I become less reliant on compulsively checking. Posting no longer feels like a requirement. Engagement is authentic - not a business practice. Lead to Gold isn't a fucking business. I am a human trying to share stories and cultivate inspiration and positivity. That's all I want to bring to the online spaces I touch.
The Holy Pause can be so many things to any person who needs it; for me, it was a reset on my intentions and passions, the messages that I choose to share with the world and how I choose to share them. I could not go on writing and musing about honesty while simultaneously trying to hard to reach for notoriety.
You may be experiencing an uncomfortable situation somewhere in life, but can't quite pinpoint what needs to change. How can you step away to reflect? How can you create intentional space in your life to slow down the body, get quiet, and seek the answers you need? I encourage you to listen a little deeper if you're feeling a call for change. Whether that means listening to your loved ones' advice, to your inner pangs, or to your guides, every corner of our lived experience can offer wisdom.
Take a breath, get comfortable, and make space for your truest desires. Make them clear in your mind. Chances are, this will help you ask the right questions and find the right guidance. 🤍
From Iceland, June of this year :)