There’s an old newspaper phrase we used back in the day when a hot story came in at the last moment or we had to make a dramatic correction in a story already being printed. “Stop the presses!” meant that the printing machinery needed to halt immediately so a change could be made. Sometimes, I think, we need to “stop the presses” in our lives, too. Just sit back, and take stock of all that’s going on before we proceed any further.
Vacations can be good for this (I was just on one). So can illness (as long as one survives). The birth of a baby will do wonders (though the presses must be started up again soon, if only for the birth announcement!). Deaths, of course, are also effective for stopping everything in a hurry. Everyone understands when you drop out of sight for these reasons. But really, no excuse should be necessary.
Last week, when I was up in the mountains, I didn’t write at all. I didn’t network or blog. I didn't review any books or read anything that required me to take notes. I watched my “kids” (now grown men), kayaking and swimming. I chatted with family members. I observed the sunset, the ducks, and the bass circling my toes. And while I was not doing all the things I normally find so utterly necessary, I realized once again—much like when I was very ill, or after my mom passed away, or when I gave birth—that life goes on quite handily when I retreat. Our presence, our work, our perpetual effort is not really needed at every moment. (Not condoning slacker-dom, but even when one plays music there are “rests.”)
Sometimes, it’s okay to stop the presses. No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “It’s okay to cry.” Well, it’s also okay to be still…to stop, drop, and breathe. I was reminded of that simple but essential fact last week. Just thought I would "share."