One of my role models is the amazing and brilliant Arianna Huffington founder of the Huffington Post. When I had the opportunity to meet her at Wisdom 2.0 last year (in 2013) I was beyond ecstatic and inspired. When someone from Huff Post reached out to me a few weeks later to ask if I’d be interested in creating a meditation guide for their featured mindfulness app GPS for the Soul I was delighted to share my mindfulness tips (if you haven’t already, download the free app on your phone). I agreed to provide my guide within a few weeks. But then something happened. Weeks went by and I still hadn’t submitted my guide. I emailed to let them know I had been swamped with work and would get it to them soon. Soon came and went and still no guide was created or submitted.
Why was I procrastinating on something I was so excited and honored to do?!
Life gets busy and there’s always something else on the list that takes priority but for the most part there’s the procrastinators’ favorite adage “there’s always tomorrow”. Tomorrow continued to come and go, and my to do list grew longer and longer. I tried to shrink it by crossing off things that just were NOT going to get done. But this “to do” was important enough to me that it never fell of the list. However, as time continued to pass I was almost embarrassed to “do it” because it was already so late. It’s kind of like when you tell someone you’re going to call them and then you don’t and then months go by and you feel like you can’t call anymore.
Well the truth is you can. You always can as long as you check your ego at the door and let go of the fear and press pause. What I realized about my procrastination was underneath it was a little voice saying, “who are you to publish something around mindfulness you have a monkey mind” and another voice saying “there’s no time for this right now” for a while I let that little subtle voice win. But then something changed, actually 3 things changed in the last month.
I spent 5 days in silence at a Vipassana retreat contemplating responsibility. What am I responsible for in my life and what do I take responsibility for. The reality is I am responsible for all of my intentions, actions, and words. If something doesn’t get done it’s not because of time or busyness it’s because I didn’t want to get it done bad enough. I remembered a sang I heard often while growing up “where there is a will, there is a way”.
Its no coincident that after returning from the retreat I was asked to attend a women’s leadership conference called “Thrive” with a key note from Arianna Huffington around her new book Thrive. The third metric to redefining success. Not only did this remind me of my unfinished project it also inspired me to press pause.
A few weeks later I was at Yoga and Psyche conference and walked away with this one message imprinted in my brain “if you don’t do it, it won’t get done.” Whoa! That’s spot on true when you think about it. Sure someone else can write a meditation guide or create a company or whatever else it is you’re passionate about, BUT it will NEVER be done the way YOU would do it, because you are unique.
The final and biggest change was my Grandfather, a man with 96 years of wisdom oozing out of every word and pauses between words passed away. Regardless of age it’s never easy losing a loved one, but I was fortunate to have had shared so much time with him. I was in awe of his stories and the vibrant life he lived. I had been holding on to some writing pieces he had written about his life, as I read through his words what I saw was a story of love, hope, and perseverance. He was truly fearless and lived each and every moment to its fullest.
We are ALL fearless, unique, brilliant individuals here to create something that only WE can create. They say there is always a light at the end of every tunnel. It’s often hard to see or even imagine this light during difficult times or when things aren’t quite going the way you want them to, or when you’re plate is full. It’s during THESE times that you must “press pause”. Only in the stillness can you see the light that is always there. Sometime we need to see the light in order to keep on playing in our fast pace lives.
So here I am a year later with my first published guide in the Huffington Post inspired by my journey over the last year! I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to share my advice on living well and be featured amongst writers and people I admire. And am thankful to the events and experiences in my life that always remind me to “press pause” and follow my dreams!
Check out my ultimate GPS guide for “Taking a Pause” on The Huffington Post featuring this inspirational quote from my Grandfather and photography from my personal collection.
Try out the guide and report back on how you “press pause” in your daily life. And remember, sharing is caring. Spread the word and invite others to check out this guide. Make sure to tag it with #presspause so we can all pause together!
Latest posts by Ritu Riyat, MPH (see all)
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