So this year just happened…I became a grandmother…my dad passed away…I was a keynote speaker in Taiwan at a STEM education conference…my family cleaned out and sold my dad’s Marietta home…IN2 won a Chicago Innovation Award…I had a pacemaker implanted…my husband and I hiked the Inca Trail in Peru…and I resigned my leadership position at work.

These are some of the headlines from the past ten months of my life. It is only now, when I sit on the front porch to pause and write this blog, that I realize what a life shaping year it has been. Six weeks ago I posted to the universe that I’m open to what’s next. In the meantime, I’ve been listening, exploring possibilities and resting up.  What previously had been relegated to the sidelines is presenting itself. Coming out of the fog, I can more clearly see what’s been “tuned out,” neglected, forgotten or put in a pile to deal with later. This same pause has me inventorying personal strengths and calibrating opportunities.

Yes, I’m pausing. And in that pause there is the realization that I am the author of my life’s choices.

Pausing just long enough to be hungry again. Because I’m a builder who loves to ideate, create, innovate, collaborate, construct, cut the ribbon, pause and move on to the next big thing. But I also need to remember to embrace the pause when it arrives. Because it is during the pause that the soul is awakened, listening to possibilities and hearing the voices blocked out when one is “too busy” or thinking “I’ll get to it later.” It’s time to really look at my garden, to realize in the pause there is beauty in uncertainty and joy in possibilities. There are boards to paint, miles to walk, books to read, friends to catch up with and weeds to pull. Not just the feisty kind in the garden, but the weeds of life – people who create unhealthy conditions for personal or professional growth or ones that steal the sunlight away. Yank! They are gone once you realize you are the gardener of your possibilities. The pause helps me reflect, refuel and recharge.

Yes, I’m pausing. And in that pause I am exploring what it means to be a middle-aged female servant leader with limited time on Earth.

When the sounds of your body clock start ticking louder you need to pause more. When your physical body continues to break down and needs to be tuned up, pause with purpose. It is each trial that forges the steel of conviction hotter and stronger. The trial that battles the frailty of the human body, growing ever more apparent with each passing year.  Yes, the pause fuels the fire.  The pause provides the rest needed for the next “buen camino” and energy to tend to the weeds and chart the course ahead.

Yes, I’m pausing. And in that pause I am enjoying being a learner again, excited about taking on new roles.

I haven’t felt this urge to learn since I went back and got my master’s degree a decade ago. Being a student of life is both invigorating and humbling, as there is so much to learn and so little time. The pause, my poignant professor, reminds me that as humans if we aren’t learning, we are not growing and if we are not growing, we are falling behind.

Yes, I’m pausing. And in the midst of pause the realization that its OK to just pause is part of my learnings.

In the pause we find meaning and purpose. The pause is then a gift of time to block out the noise that envelops us constantly. I haven’t watched television in a month and you know what? I haven’t missed it. Instead, hours have been spent pouring over books and plucking weeds from my life’s garden. I’m encouraging you to do the same. Pause, to see where the gap guides you to next. Just don’t pause too long, the world needs us to hit “play,” to engage, to be change makers and to live with purpose.


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About Britta Wilk McKenna

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7 Responses to “Pausing” Subscribe

  1. Alina June 30, 2018 at 11:58 pm #

    You are amazing. I am always in awe. You are such an inspiration. Miss and love you.

    • Britta Wilk McKenna July 1, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Alina – mi amiga! Nice to hear your “voice.” Thanks for chiming in to fuel my pause. Hoping to see you on our senior (citizen) cruise next year…or at least for an adult beverage if not going…keep it real.


  2. Sharon harwick June 29, 2018 at 9:13 am #

    Wise words and so eloquently written. Best of luck with your next chapter of life… i am certain it will be yet another exciting one.
    Sharon Harwick

    • Britta Wilk McKenna July 1, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

      Hey Sharon,
      Nice to hear from you and thank you. I enjoy writing and blogging and my pause gives me that opportunity – which starts with reflection. We’ll see what the next chapter reveals…until then.


  3. Anonymous June 29, 2018 at 8:58 am #


  4. Rita Johnson June 28, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    Aahh Britta – you’ve always been a philosopher at heart. I too stepped away to see what else was there waiting and I found myself! What a gift!
    It is only in the pause that we can truly hear our heart…the message that was waiting for us to be ready to hear.
    I have always found you to be a most amazing woman of strength and perhaps more importantly, a woman who who would step out in faith and sheer joy – not needing to know what was waiting for you, just willing to take that first step forward.
    What a gift you are to others. What true gifts you give to yourself.
    Thank you. Namaste.

    • Britta Wilk McKenna July 1, 2018 at 2:39 pm #

      Rita! Thank you for your comments. You too are a woman of strength and we all need to stick together to be a force for building community, hope and leaving gifts along the way for those to come. May your road be blessed. Until we meet again… Britta

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