I’d love to hear when your favorite time/day is to read these Pauses, AND if you have any requests for content, types of video clips you most enjoy, live online gatherings for conversation, interviews, an option to interact with one another and read each other’s comments…what sounds good? My parts and I would love to know!
When I pause to write these reflections (read past ones here on my website), I marvel at all that a week or two contains. There are always more possibilities for reflection than my time and your attention allow. I have a part that worries these mailings are too long, but there’s so much to share with you and I trust you’ll pick and choose as you wish. I’m also well aware that experiencing a full life is a privilege, dependent on physical and mental health, social supports, socioeconomic resources and basic life needs being met.
For years when I was unemployed or underemployed due to healing from a chronic injury, I longed to have the capacity to have a full life again. Instead, my days were simple and filled resting alone in the dark of our basement guest room. It was a good day if I could get outside to lay in the hammock and watch the leaves flutter in the wind, hear the bird’s chirp or float in my neighbor’s pool after sunset. Simpler days brought a different purpose and focus.
The Northern Hemisphere just experienced the Spring Equinox on March 20, a unique day around the world with nearly equal amounts of light and darkness. For us northerners, the Spring Equinox marks the beginning of Spring, longer days, a time of renewal and growth. The Equinox is a moment of sweet balance and connection between light and dark and offers us an invitation to reflect on the internal and external balance present (or lacking) within our own lives.
Where do you currently experience internal or external balance in your life?
Get curious about that.
Extend some acknowledgement and appreciation to all the sources that make that balance possible.
Now consider where do you want to experience MORE internal or external balance?
What might that look like?
What’s one, realistic step you could take this week towards experiencing a smidge more balance in your life?
What parts need to relax a bit so that you can move in that direction?
What do they need you to know before they’re willing to relax?
Stay curious. Track what you notice.
My last Thursday consultation group this past week inspired this reflection and graciously agreed for me to take a screen shot– a day before the third anniversary of my first free, Zoom, pandemic Offering, Pause for Calm and Connection. Many of you may have been a part of that community.
The weekly Pauses that year drew precious humans from all over the world, and unknowingly became the portal for eventually offering online IFS Consultation groups–now the focus of my professional life.
One of the students in this photo attended the Pauses for Calm throughout the first year of the lockdown. Seeing her on the screen as I recalled how much has happened since March 2020 was especially poignant.
Here are some of the graphics you may have seen during that first pandemic year and a 4 minute video recap I recorded for you this Thursday after our group. It’s a big deal I just did one take and didn’t edit anything. My parts are getting better at trusting or hoping that good enough, is good enough! (still scary, though!) Join me for a lil’ walk down memory lane.
Toggle back with me 3 years to the start of the Covid lockdown. Remember when?
I know various aspects of the pandemic are still painful and possibly traumatic. We’ve been through so very much. Give yourself credit for all you’ve navigated and pushed through.
March 24 marked three years since I was nudged by divine inspiration to offer SOMETHING to the greater community while we were all locked inside our homes, afraid of a virus we knew nothing about.
Zoom meetings were fairly new to most of the world, but I had been using Zoom since 2014 as a student or participant due to homebound isolation from a brain injury. I trusted that my painful familiarity with being a shut-in might help support the wider community. I knew we needed to stay connected and I knew I could at least host a Zoom meeting.
Somehow I mustered the courage to invite a handful of close friends and colleagues to a Wednesday, weekly 30 minute guided meditation and group share. I was too nervous to invite anyone outside my close circle initially, since I knew very well I was stepping out of my comfort zone and this offering would be far from polished.
As you’ll hear in the video, my motto was, “Give it a go, Laura, the bar is low!” You surely remember some of the funny moments online when toddlers wandered onto their parent’s Zoom screen during a national broadcast, when Jimmy Fallon’s wife filmed his set in their kids’ playroom while laughing so hard she shook the camera, when Zoomers regrettably forgot to turn off their camera or microphone at choice moments. :~0
I remember typing out detailed directions on how to join a Zoom meeting and verbally instructing attendees through all the steps. We’re pros now at this. Don’t forget how far we’ve come!
Eventually my same muse gave me the name for these gatherings during a long road bike ride–one of my best sources of clarity and inspiration:
Pause for Calm & Connection, which later morphed into my social media handle and domain name, Pause With Laura (since spelling my full name trips most folks up!)
The Wednesday meetings eventually extended to participants from all over the world…from Hawaii, across North America, to Europe, Poland, Asia, Australia and even a nun in Nigeria joined us in the dark of night from her convent!
We connected weekly internally and externally. We supported one another through some dark days and nights. I am forever grateful for this special time shared together and all who came.
Here’s the first, perfectly imperfect Pause for Calm & Connection Guided Meditation March 25, 2020. I had to type out a script for months. We all start at the very beginning, don’t we?
I encourage you to reflect on a few examples within your own life where you met fear, discomfort, uncertainty or self-doubt and worked with, not against this part, this belief or emotion.
When did you befriend your fear or self-doubt and moved closer to it, accompanying it like a loving caretaker?
or where would you like to step into fear or discomfort? (You got this!)
How did (or can) you celebrate or acknowledge this milestone of stepping out of your comfort zone?
An impromptu (one take, no edit just do it already) 4 minute video reflecting on the 3 year anniversary of stepping out of my comfort zone and trusting the Pause for Calm & Connection offering would be good enough! I’m so glad I did, despite the fear and self critics that accompanied this venture.
A few students asked this week for the link to my podcast interview in October 2020 with IFS’ engaging and warm, The One Inside host, Tammy Sollenberger. Since we’re wandering down memory lane and discussing ways where we’ve stepped out of our comfort zones and put ourselves out there, here’s the link in case you haven’t heard my first public share of my brain injury and the parallels with living in a pandemic.
This interview still stirs up self doubt, ambivalence and vulnerability. I nearly begged Tammy to cancel the episode because of the emotion quickly expressed in it. But I finally found peace with my parts that we need to trust her; she knows what’s appropriate to share and what listeners resonate with.
The interview has touched a lot of people, which reassures my parts that it was worth taking the risk. For those the interview doesn’t resonate with, I’m totally fine with that now! I just clarified this week in a deeper way that none of us are everyone’s cuppa tea. And that’s ok.
Some parts hope you’ll take a listen. Other parts are just fine if you skip it! 🙂
Speaking of stepping out of your comfort zone, this summer’s weeklong IFS River Journey has generated a lot of interest, as well as a range of parts holding some anxiety and fear about such a wild adventure! These responses are completely normal and will be part of our exploration. You are not alone!
The roster may be full by the time you read this, but it can’t hurt to still apply if you’re interested! We leave Moab, Utah and float through Canyonlands National Park and the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers, before descending through the exhilarating rapids of Cataract Canyon.
Here’s our IFS Team of Aaron Rousseau, organizer Jenny Fiebig, Dana Rosenstein and me from last week’s planning meeting. To say we’re excited is an understatement, can you tell?!
Beginners and more experienced adventurers are welcome to a personal growth retreat that will be therapeutic and transformational.
This trip is designed to immerse yourself into your Internal Family Systems (IFS) journey. Each individual will have one on one time with a certified IFS therapist while also engaging in a group process using IFS therapy. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to explore your internal landscapes while being held by experienced guides and therapists in one of the most pristine landscapes left in the world.
Thanks for pausing with me. Here’s to stepping out of your comfort zone!