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The Power of Pause

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Friends called us crazy. Family thought we were nuts. What kind of parents, in their right mind, would think it a great idea to get pregnant while living in a hospital while their child is fighting cancer? Who does that? We did. And it turned out to be the best choice for our family at that very moment.

Health issues become a litmus test of our values system. When our world came to a halt in 2009, after Delia was diagnosed with Leukemia, we had little time to make some serious choices as to how we were going to move forward during a gravely uncertain time. We both worked full time, we could afford our nanny, we had a mortgage to pay and two care payments to keep up. This moment brought an abrupt pause to everything we had built for ourselves.

We are in a familiar moment in the world today. A moment of universal pause. However, this global pause still offers the opportunity to look at what is right now, what is right in front of us, and make best choices for ourselves. We are reminded of what we value most. For us, we believed in the power of hope. And we believed in the energy of life. These two values became foundational to every choice and decision we made from diagnosis to remission. And in today’s case, will do so again from quarantine to re-emergence.

As a holistic healing arts family, when the doctor came to us asking permission to give Delia Tylenol, Michael and I swiftly locked our gaze to one another. He looked concerned. I looked worried. I stopped short from responding with the suggestion for essential oils and massage techniques instead, and I felt a softening grace unlock our stare of resistance. Lovingly, we both teared up. “I’m pretty sure Tylenol is going to be the least of our concerns in this journey.” I whispered. Dropping our shoulders, the mutual surrender was tangible. It was our time to let go of “our ways” and begin to join hands with a life-giving community of people dedicated to helping Delia get well.

Letting go of control is not easy for those of us who are perpetual planners. I mean, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, right? Well, we didn’t plan on getting pregnant, but we sure didn’t plan on not getting pregnant. At that time, Michael and I’s touching consisted of high-fives in the hospital hallway as we exchanged care-giving. He had the weekends and I had the weekdays. We did what we had to in order to stay afloat. In our seven-month stint, there were only two weekends a family member stayed overnight at the hospital with Delia. One of those “conjugal visits” we chose to welcome the invitation of life that had been knocking on the door of our hearts for some time.

When the pregnancy test came back positive, the hope of new life became our treasure and united the bonds between us. Each one of us was individually affected by this deposit of hope. Our two-year-old watched in wonder as the incredible process of pregnancy unfolded. She giggled as my belly grew and wiggled about. Delia found delight in dreaming about this new family member. She claimed the honor of choosing our son’s name. Michael and I held endless dialogues about how this life would change our family, how we could create space for him and re-calibrate our lifestyle to accommodate changing needs. Maybe it was all just a great distraction from the daily fear that loomed over us. Or, maybe it was a divine appointment to keep our mind fed with the creative juices that are essential for fighting against hopelessness.

New life offers energy to those who embrace it. Its timing is always perfect, even if we cannot see it right away. It is ambition that holds the DNA to an emerging idea, breathing new life into a seemingly dead end. Casting a new vision and creating sustainable work can offer us a similar energy. Tapping into what we value, what delights us, can invite new concepts and innovative pursuits into existence.

As the world around us hits the pause button, this familiar wind of mystery is whipping about. I hear “Colors of the Wind” being sung by Pocahontas as it breezes past. Tell me, what will you create in order to capture the energy of new life? Is there art to be made? A product to design? A modern-day service yet to be conceptualized into a viable business? Or maybe you will adopt a clear value system and begin drafting new ways to practice living them?