“Human freedom involves our capacity to #VOWpause…”

“…between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.” Rollo May

Life has been a steady sprint for at least the past month, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing significantly until June.

Many things in my day-to-day have had to take a backseat to my professional life (both the 9-to-5 and the side hustle), and that’s not the way I like to live these days.

I will be the first to admit–to many of my dear ones’ dismay–that I require hustle to function. However, over the past couple years, I have learned to love and slowly to need time. Time filled not with space or margin but with joy. Things that I invest in, with my time or talent treasure, for no other reason than that it brings me happiness:

Painting.
Writing.
Arranging fresh flowers.
Lying in the hammock, staring at the lights.
Drinking wine while listening to music, giving myself up to it. (I think it was Glennon Doyle Melton who said that music is a good place to practice being human–I couldn’t agree more.)

And when these things stop existing in my life, I know it’s time to pause.

To take the day off.
To do nothing but re-calibrate.
To paint my own version of a contemporary piece I love.
To write this post.
To arrange flowers.
To clean off the patio, hang the hammock and the lights, and just stay.
To drink wine and listen to Spotify.

Because life gives back to us what we give to it, and you cannot draw from an empty well.

And with that in mind…

This week we RECIPROCATE.


Steph’s PAUSE mantra: “Now and then it’s good to pause in the pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” Guillaume Apollinaire

Steph’s Song of the Week: I basically pressed pause on my Spotify this week too.

& Don’t miss Lin’s post on #VOWpause.

Halt: Reflecting on PAUSE

Last time we did this Venture (back when it was called Loqucitas), I discovered my preference for the verbs that challenged us into in-action. This time around is no different.

I’m an Evolver. So is Steph.
We both love the process of improvement.
Of growing.
Of becoming more.

But with that comes inherent restlessness and self-criticism. Certainly a lack of being present and, perhaps more importantly, a lack of being grateful for the present.

So to PAUSE this week felt not only a welcome respite in a busy week, but a word I kept coming to again and again because, well, I couldn’t fake it as naturally as I do the others.

This week I completed two reports and nearly finished a third (for a grand total of 150+ pages of self-drafted content). Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot but the reports I write for work are dry. Like a-grandma’s-neck-in-the-desert dry. And dense. Like standing-room-only dense… and not even for good band. They take weeks to draft so the fact that I nailed three(ish) is nothing short of mind boggling.

I spent a grand total of 39 hours this week typing those dense, dry pages and the only thing maintaining my sanity was the tiny tomato-shaped icon at the bottom of my screen. My handy Pomodoro timer kept me on track by breaking my work into “tiny” 25 minute bursts with the reward of 5 whole unadulterated minutes of distraction (typically Best Fiends and yes, obviously still obsessed).

Knowing I had the PAUSE within arms reach kept me focused. Sort of like when you’re trying to lose weight and you don’t forbid yourself every delicious morsel for weeks on end. I didn’t binge on indulgence-filled procrastination because I barely had to wait between segments for my treat. I was the most productive that I’ve been perhaps all semester and I walked out of the office on Friday feeling like I finally managed to shake the productivity gremlins from my back.

This weekend, Josh and I opted for a trip to the lake and some later afternoon paddle boarding. We both fell in love with the activity back on Horsetooth Reservoir and while Oak Mountain Park doesn’t flaunt the same vistas it is open nearly two months earlier. Besides being a great workout (especially on my highly unstable inflatable Vilano board) the ability to withdraw is easily the best part.

On the water I’m not connected to anything. Hell, I’m barely connected to the thing I’m standing on. There’s no distraction of devices. There’s nothing but the sound of the paddle gently splashing the green water, laughter of children playing hide-and-seek in the campground ahead and to the right, the crack of beer cans of the fisherman in the anchored boat in the alcove… of me yelling ‘shit’ as I fall into the water because I got cocky and snuck a glance over my shoulder.

Ahhh. Serenity.

Paddle boarding for me is one of the most tranquil escapes. It isn’t the sea but the water still speaks to my soul. It isn’t my meadow but the warm Alabama breeze is reminiscent. It’s an opportunity to slowly tour nature from a vantage point land dwellers don’t often frequent. And it’s a few special hours to break away, decompress, extend my Pomodoro.


Lin’s VOW mantra: There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.

Lin’s Song of the Week: Alabama Pines by Jason Isbell


Be sure to check out how Steph found #VOWpause.