A Lesson in Stopping
Three weeks ago, I got a concussion. I fell during an acroyoga pose and landed hard on my head. That afternoon, I knew something was wrong – a weird headache, a sudden intolerance for music, and trouble processing information. Basically, I stopped listening anytime Michael said more than 2 sentences.
Monday came and along with it, an important conference call I was leading. At the end of that hour, I hung up the phone and I knew my brain was done for the day. I alerted work that I needed to take a few days off. I packed up and headed to the beach to stare blankly at the ocean for the rest of the day.
Normally, I would have powered through the week and ignored the temptation to give myself some rest. But this time, my brain was in charge and it was clearly saying, “NO MORE.” So I stopped.
Based on my cursory research on concussions, I knew I needed to rest my brain so it could heal. I had to fight the urge to read, do crossword puzzles or write action plans for upcoming projects. I had to resist having deep, complex, internal conversations and debates in my own head. For once, I must ignore the desire to dissect troubling social issues and puzzling behavior of others.
I struggled through every moment of this. I couldn’t turn my mind off. Recent changes in my life had amplified my mental energy to a state of jumbled chaos that needed thoughtful, strategic planning. But the concussion forced a pause in my life.
Gazing upon the ocean, this pause began to make sense. I hadn’t done a good job of taking vacation time I really needed to stay refreshed and energized. I had overwhelmed myself with work projects, new interests, and developing a whole new skill set – some fun, and some for work. I had grown scattered, unfocused, ineffective.
I was upon a major life transition and I was rushing into it from a burned out, chaotic energetic state. A concussion, which forced me to stop, rest, and recharge, was exactly the pause I needed to clear my mind and rejuvenate my spirit.
The concussion, just like any other injury or sickness, was an invitation to pause and rest. It was also an invitation to honor my body. For once, I truly honored the stop sign. I realized that I need to do more of that so that next time, it doesn’t take a concussion for me to give myself the rest and rejuvenation I truly need.