Take some time for yourself…

My Instant Pause

On the 17th July, a hot summer’s day, I descended the steps into a cool basement, known to me only as “The Fly Pit” (on the invitation email). A long table lay ahead, covered in a mountain of magazines and arts and crafts, a circle of cushions was at the back of the room, a clear signal as place to relax and a couple of guests were busy making tea. I was about to experience my first Instant Pause…

What attracted me to the Instant Pause in the first place?

Busy lives. We all have them. And mine seemed to be getting out of control when I stumbled across a small ad smiling up at me from Facebook. It was for the Instant Pause. And instantly (yes), as I let the name float across my mind I felt my shoulders drop and the tension between my eyebrows loosen off a little.

Why did it appeal?

This was an invitation to have a breather. Some time out. A small patch of time; a Sunday in July, where I could leave my busy life behind. Just for a day. Just right, enough to feel like I’ve taken that well-deserved rest, but not too much that it will take up too much of my oh-so-busy valuable time.

What did I expect from the day?

I was curious as to what we would cover in the day, and the very warm welcome from Nicola Moss (Nix) set the tone – we had some homework to do first, a bit of reflective thinking and we were asked to start collecting images that caught our eye for a vision board. So I knew there would be some craft cutting and pasting. Time to reflect, relax, create, and re-connect with myself. And hopefully meeting some souls with a similar mindset, all on similar journeys.

What did the day actually consist of?

In some ways it was exactly what I expected. There was time to reflect on our lives and then take time out to gather our thoughts for the next step. There was space (physically and emotionally) to rest and relax whilst sharing our stories, ideas, and musings with people with similar yearnings. In other ways it surprised me; the diversity of the stories that were being shared, the insights I had from the work I did on myself, the amount of time that I could spend on one activity…

We had time sitting together and sharing our stories, listening and learning, and we had time spent alone, but together, during our pause. We walked through two main exercises, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both profound in their own ways, both using a multitude of pens, paper, glue and stickers to use our creativity to express our journeys so far and the next step along the line for us.

Each person seemed to come away with a unique experience, a unique creation from their day, but then all our stories were as unique as fingerprints yet together we were united in this one amazing experience. And that shared experience meant that we formed an instant, profound bond, which was one of the things I was not expecting and one of the most powerful aspects of the day.

What did I get from the day?

  • Connection with myself – where I have come from and what I have been doing in the last few years – allowing myself to spot patterns that I would not usually have seen.
  • Connection with others – incredible women with diverse and complex stories of their own. Every one open to sharing so openly and honestly with each other, all gently held in the space that Nix created for us all. Very special.
  • Coaching and guidance from our wonderful host Nix. She provided a very gentle energy in the room, a beautiful welcoming smile when we descended those steps into the “Fly Pit” (our quirky venue for the day). She encouraged us to sit, drink tea, and share stories as we wound down into our Pause, temporarily shedding our “busy” skins from our outside worlds. With her coaching experience and expertise she was on-hand throughout the day to offer pointers or answer questions and then bring us all back together to reconnect and move us effortlessly through the day, without feeling like we were ticking items off an agenda.
  • Direction. One of the great things about looking at your past is that it can provide new insights into your direction going forwards. Through the exercises we were able to spot patterns and then think about how we can set our direction through our vision boards. Having plenty of time to do this, and the wonderful relaxing space that Nix created for us to do that in made it feel very natural, enjoyable but also enabled us to come out at the end with a strong idea of direction for the future.
  • Time. Seriously, the time was your usual 6 hours on the agenda but it stretched so beautifully across the day. We had lots of time to focus on two very simple exercises but with that stretch of time allowed us to really dive in and relish the exploration. It felt long and luxurious. The pause was delicious!
  • A chance to be creative and play whilst reflecting and planning. A mountain of magazines, stickers, glitter glue and paper to cut out and create. And being allowed to spend time creating. Such fun, and very insightful to see what our creations unveiled about ourselves at the end.
  • Oh, and delicious quiche and homemade brownies to keep us fuelled!

Why would I recommend this to others?

Step off the conveyer belt, have some time for you, away from the craziness of your day to day. Spend your day in your own retreat with a few other people on their journeys and let Nix, or one of the other Instant Pause facilitators, guide you gently through a day of creativity, exploration and discovery. You will come away feeling refreshed and reenergised and it will feel literally as if time has stood still for those few hours.

For more details and to join the next Instant Pause, click here.

This Instant Pause experience was written by Annabel Daly who is usually busy dancing, travelling and running a women’s goal-setting network in Oxford. You can find more out her here:


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