THE BLOG
04/18/2013 04:11 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2013

The Power of Time Off

Alamy

Tears. Low tide. Empty. Ebbing. Quietude and space for the deeper waters to rise. The power of time off.

In September, heartache drew my life to a sublime halt.

"Stop. Do nothing. Slow down. Be. Feel. Cry. Breathe... Breathe in this pain," it beckoned.

Somedays the sadness was overwhelming. I would ask myself, "What must be done?" Do only that. Then, back to bed (or yoga, massage, walk on the beach, write).

Be quiet... Listen: The soul is speaking.

No weekly vlogs for four months. Minimal social interaction. Minimal social media interaction. All creative projects paused.

My tender, brave heart needed my full attention and energy -- much like a wounded animal or small child. Feelings so big and raw -- it took all my reserve to feel, deal and process them.

External production ends. Inner transformation begins.

This is healing. Soul time. The ancient Greeks called this aspect of time:

Chairos: a time of transcendence, time of the Soul, right-brained -- when something magical happens.

The opposite of this is:

Chronos: left-brained, chronological, sequential time based on an outer metric, goal-oriented.

Our culture is rooted in Chronos, so it's easy to feel as if our value is inextricably linked to our 'outer' productivity. But, watch the lead turn into gold when you truly unplug and create the space necessary to transmute the difficulties you experience. The only way out is through.

When we go through a time of deep personal transformation, grief, heartache or reinvention -- it's time to stop, drop and roll. The fires of purification are upon us. Only one option remains -- pause + turn inward.

Chairos (soul time) corresponds to the first stage of Carl Jung's psychological alchemy, called Calcination. It represents a burning within of energies repressed due to trauma, projection, ego, feelings or emotions. Calcination allows us to bring these energies or feelings to the surface, experience them fully so the fires of calcination burn them away. Once this step is complete, the process leaves us with a feeling of lightness, renewal and freedom from the heavier energy.

If we don't take this crucial time off (Chairos) to halt outer production (at least to the degree you can) -- we don't fully burn off the necessary growing pains of hurt, sadness, resentment, anger, attachment or fear. We get caught in the labyrinth of subtle blame, denial, distraction or disassociation.

We attempt to fill ourselves up from the outside to avert the raw tenderness of our wounded heart. Therefore, we deny its value. We fail to recognize the precious cargo of 'sitting in the red lotus of pain' as Ram Dass calls it. The remaining residue haunts our next relationship or circumstance -- casting a warped shadow of unresolved emotion and repeated patterns.

This week's vlog is about the difference between Chairos and Chronos, the importance of giving yourself permission to do less (or nothing at all) and the power of taking time off.

Take your time. It may take longer than you think. The Soul doesn't wear a watch!

Please leave a comment below with what you do (or don't do) when you're taking time off and how you give yourself permission to do less and simply be.

For more by Ashley Turner, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

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