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The Art of Pressing Pause

When was the last time you pressed paused on a project? Or gave yourself permission to step away from a goal?

In recent years I’ve come to humbly accept that pressing pause is an important trait to learn. As the years go on we take on too much, with one life adventure blending over into the next.

I grew up believing that life is a journey. We always move forward and cheer ourselves (and others) on until we’ve reached our goal. Stopping short before we cross the finish line isn’t an option.

As we know, 2017 went down as one of modern culture’s strangest years. We experienced social and political upheaval. And somewhere in the middle of it all, like so many others, my own life experienced a shift.

After years of pressing forward and pressing hard on goals, about mid-year I lost my oomph. I absolutely love my chosen career path. But mid-year my drive fell out from underneath me. It could have been the political climate. Or it could have been my middle age.

At the beginning my heart sank. But after a few weeks an amazing opportunity came my way. I was offered a job as a 3-Day Design Associate at Room & Board, just a few blocks from my home in Chelsea. My weekend job in a furniture showroom was soon to provide me amazing exposure to people–the lifeblood of my work. And take me deeper into home design, the thing I love the most.

Slowing down, or shifting gears, is never an easy task. But it’s an important step in allowing our inner voice to rise up and be heard. In the midst of this transition yet another life opportunity began to surface. In recent years I’ve come to recognize my gifts as an energy healer. The realization first came to light on my 40th birthday, after almost two decades dealing with my own ill health. So on top of a part-time job, I was also exploring a second career as an energy healer.

During this time, I had to step back from Maeve’s Method, pressing pause on active marketing for almost five months. I was working behind the scenes with clients, but my public persona kind of went quiet. I had a lot going on, and it turns out, something in me needed a break.

My last push before this pause was a trip to Chicago. While there, I went on a mission to locate a piece of sodalite, for energy protection, and for my pocket. I found one, then stumbled across a garnet. This stone called to me, and when I read the card attached–Intuition over intellect. Brings order to chaos–I knew this stone was for me. Further affirmation that even in trying times, always trust your gut.

People often ask me about my work as an organization coach. It’s about the stuff, yes. But it’s really about people. Through coaching, energy healing, and now my weekend work at Room & Board, I’ve come to realize that my life path is about telling stories, and about bringing order to chaos.

In my years at Maeve’s Method I have helped thousands of individuals and families to feel more confident and comfortable in their homes. In my few months in my new weekend work, I’ve already helped hundreds more to craft homes they love. And as a growing healer, I’ve done over 200 private healing sessions bringing peace to the ultimate home–the body.

These overlapping interests got the best of me. This past year, everything felt disparate, and pressing pause felt like sliding off the road. But in this cloud I could not see the forest through the trees. What I could not see was the common thread: everything I do is about helping people. Helping people to live better lives, to share their stories, and to heal bodies, homes, and souls.

It’s been a goal of mine for many years to be a parent. Life has tossed some wonderful relationships my way. And an offer or two over the years to have a baby. But the stars have not quite yet aligned for me to take that step. It’s easy to get locked into pattens in our lives. And for me, living in a small apartment that I’ve owned since my mid-20s has been a tough routine to let go. I love my little home, it’s pretty great. And yet, sometimes it doesn’t feel like a space for growth.

So my life project for the winter is to complete a DIY home upgrade, inspired by my new weekend surroundings of mid-century home furniture. I grew up with this influence, so it’s not really a stretch. I’m refinishing a kitchen table, building mid-century modern bookshelves, and perhaps most important, releasing and letting go of a few pieces of starter furniture that have served me well for many years, but are ready to go. It’s a plan to elevate my home, to move things forward.

And when all is said and done, I plan to populate my home with loads of juicy, smile-inducing succulents. I’ve always loved succulents. What’s most amazing about them is how they propagate. Tiny buds begin to grow, right over the scab of a cut leaf. 

May we all forge new life over our scabs. May we all be unafraid to press pause when something isn’t going our way. May we all feel safe to step back and take a break. Life is for movement. So when we get stuck it’s usually us who are in our own way. 

Like a cat sitting down on your most important pile of papers, or a dog begging you for an afternoon walk, life sends us signals when it’s time to stop. When life gets overwhelming, press pause. You’ll be amazed at what wonders it brings.

Did you Press Pause on a life goal this year? Share with me in the comments below!

Photo Credits:, Maeve Richmond

Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at or @MaeveRichmond.

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