Respecting the Pause: Wisdom from Alice Walker

"Wisdom, however, requests a pause. If we cannot give ourselves such a pause, the Universe will likely give it to us. In the form of illness, in the form of a massive mercury in retrograde, in the form of our car breaking down, our roof starting to leak, our garden starting to dry up. Our government collapsing. And we find ourselves required to stop, to sit down, to reflect. This is the time of "the pause," the universal place of stopping. The universal moment of reflection."
So you have your mind, heart and soul set on a goal. You work hard and push forward toward that dream. Focused. Determined. Passionate. You do all that you can do, and you are told there is time you need to wait. That’s just the process. So you wait even though waiting is far from your strength. You get anxious. Quite frankly you’re almost squeamish because you are so excited about this dream you are pursuing. But you wait because you know it is worth it, and there is nothing else you can do.

Finally you receive the news. It’s not the news you expected to hear. You just knew how this was all going to play out, and this news was definitely not in that plan. Matter of fact, you wouldn’t have even planned for this type of news if you had created a contingency plan. I mean it totally came from left field.

The news sinks in. You internalize it, and you grieve. You grieve because it hurts to have something you wanted so badly no longer be within your grasp. Then you go to sleep. And you wake up.

Now the question is: what do you do next?

Well, I don’t know about you, but the A-Type side of me needs to have that answer. However, through this thorough and personally challenging process that pursuing that goal required, I’ve experienced quite a bit of growth. Growth that I’m only now seeing as I sit and take pause.

In her book We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For Alice Walker says, “if we cannot give ourselves such a pause, the Universe will likely give it to us.” Ironically, and almost bizarrely, I reread this meditation (the book is a compilation of various meditations she wrote) the day before I received my news. When I first read the book I didn’t think much of it, but when I reopened it a couple weeks later this was the one that grabbed my attention. In reflecting on my situation, I believe that I have been given a pause. And it is my intention to take it.

So when you see me, don’t ask me what my plans are for my life. Because I don’t know. Don’t ask me what’s next or how long I will be staying at my firm. Because I don’t know. When you see me, don’t even ask me when I’m going to grad school or what I’m going to study. Because I don’t know. And I don’t need to know right now. I’m respecting the pause.

And if you’re worried that I’m discouraged or getting "off track," just stop your worrying right now. I’ve grieved, and I’m okay. Furthermore, I still intend to live out my purpose. There is no changing the innate part of me that is driven to succeed. However I am well aware that there are many paths to that purpose. Right now I’ve been told to take a detour (whether temporary or permanent), and I’m simply taking some time to sit on a bench in the park to enjoy the scenery.


Lady D | March 4, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I LOVE THIS go girl, so rooting for you in everything you do...and while your pausing, come up to New York, and lets do drinks =)

Mademoiselle M | March 4, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Lol you're so funny! Thank you hun, that means a lot. And I'm definiteley finding my way to you VERY SOON!

Mmitchell | March 4, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Precious your piece is so mature and insightful yes, take a break, sit on that bench, admire the view but don’t sit on the bench to long, trust God and move forward. You have to move in order for God to show you the way. Baby girl believe me when I say that time goes by so quickly.

La | March 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM

I love this! And I so needed to read it today. I think maybe life has been trying to pause me for a long time and I refuse to give into it. Maybe I should. I am definitely going to have to go pick up this book this weekend.

Mademoiselle M | March 5, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Thanks! I'm happy to hear that this is what you needed today. I realized after reading this essay that there have been times in my life where I've resisted the pause and if I had listened I might've been in a different place. It was like an "aha" moment, as Oprah would call it. :)

Let me know how you enjoy the book and what other meditations resonate with you when you read it!

Nickolas | March 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

"Do not worry about your life... Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25&34

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