A couple of weeks ago I was walking home from the park with my son when a van drove past us, stopped, reversed into a parking space for a bit and then drove off again – in the same direction it had been going before. My son turned to me and said “Mummy, why did that van stop and go backwards and then just carry on? Why didn’t it just keep going?” I told him that I didn’t know why that van had stopped but explained that sometimes people just need to stop – maybe to check a map and make sure they’re going in the right direction. Maybe because there’s something wrong (with the person driving, or the vehicle). And that sometimes, people just need to stop to take a break – if they’ve been driving for a long time they might just need to have a rest.
Sometimes we all need to park up for a bit
More recently, I recounted this story during a chat with Christine Livingston, as we were reflecting on the need to just stop, sometimes, in order for things to work themselves out. I had been in a bit of a funk and wasn’t sure what it meant and was wondering whether to just stop doing stuff for a bit. As we chatted, Christine told me about how she had gained clarity on something when she just ‘parked it’ for a bit. Alarm bells rang – there’s a theme here… A big fat sign from the universe for me to stop. To park up, maybe even back up a bit, in order to find my way forward.
But did I stop? No.
I told myself stories about what people might think if I took a few days off (hello, ego?). I told myself, “I’ll stop in a bit, I just need to do X, Y…” As though anyone but I would notice if I didn’t do these things. I had ideas I needed to work on, to develop… So I did all the things. Well, most of them. Then I started to feel tired. More and more tired. Then I woke up with a migraine. I took my son to nursery and took myself off to bed for an hour. Then I got up and wrote this post – to share my story with you in case it helps you on your journey. Once I finish this, I’m going to save it and go for a walk. Eat some healthy food. Meditate. Basically, I’m going to stop. Back up a bit. And breathe.
When you’re ‘stuck’ in a certain way of thinking (I need to do all the things!), or passionate about the journey you’re on, it’s easy to get caught up in that, to keep on… and on… and on… But life is a long journey and long journeys require us to stop sometimes, maybe even back up a bit, to check we’re going in the right direction, refuel, and (or even just) to breathe.