Doing nothing always leads to doing something. When you do nothing, it leads to the very best something. ~ Winnie the Pooh
When I took time out to attend an all-day women’s retreat, I felt a little guilty. Household chores had piled up and were calling me. It felt like I was taking time off, which I’m not used to doing. My inner voice – which I’m learning to listen to more and more – told me to go, in no uncertain terms. One of my friends was a co-host of the day and I wanted to support her. I was also giving away two of my books.
I thought I knew what to expect. We’d take a yoga class. We’d walk in the woods. We’d create art. We’d look inward and allow ourselves to reset. We’d share fellowship, sisterhood, food, and laughter. Most of all, we’d just “be.” I love those things and they all happened. And, so much more.
The retreat was called “Permission to Pause.” Over 20 women of different ages and life experiences attended. Each of us were led to the event for different reasons, but we shared the common desire to reconnect with the best parts of ourselves for the day. I knew a few of the ladies from yoga class, but most were strangers. It didn’t take long for us to become friends.
I sat at a full table during an alcohol ink painting project. I’d never used this medium before and the project matched up with my rather free flowing artistic style. As we created our art, we laughed a lot. We also got to talking about our lives outside of the retreat.
One of the young women at my table co-founded a theatre group for people of all abilities from students with special needs to seniors looking for a fun, new adventure. Inclusive theatre experiences aren’t new, but this one – based in Michigan – is nomadic. Instructors bring the theatre experience of singing, acting, and dancing to community spaces where participants conceive and perform shows. This woman, an experienced special education teacher, found that her true calling lies outside of the traditional classroom.
As I listened to her talk about her theatre company and her goals for the future, I realized that I could offer the gift of connection by introducing her to an influential community leader in Michigan who I knew would be interested in learning more. My commitment to each of these women was simply to connect them and then let them see if there were any mutual fits. They’re in conversation now.
This was one of those karma-like moments for me.
The experience of connection took the “pause” part of the day to a whole new level. I’d gotten so caught up in the busy-ness of life that I was finding excuses not to stay connected to myself. The result? I was also becoming a little disconnected from others. My gift to myself by attending the retreat not only helped clear my mind and settle my soul, it also put me on the path to do something I love – connecting people for their mutual benefit. If I hadn’t given myself the gift of time, space, and grace to be present in moments for me; I’d have missed out on the gift of being able to present for others.
What seemed like doing nothing – taking permission to pause – was really doing something of the very best kind.