Play | Pause from a Surprise Start

I was “on the shore,” ready to savor the space to pre-read additional material and patiently wait for my round of the CPMAP certification to begin on April 1. I had checked in mid-December to see if I was still on track for that start date or if it looked like there would be a shift to the January cohort so that I could make choices about winter term commitments accordingly. The start date for April was confirmed.

And then, a few days ago I got the message that there was availability for a spot based on a deferral. Did I want it?

I had a choice to make – follow through with the plans I had sketched out and envisioned for winter term or jump in the boat and begin.

I decided to say yes, with trust and excitement.

That meant I needed to re-evaluate choices in order to create space for beginning the program now vs. later. The CPMAP is a big yes for a season of my life, but it needs to be properly contextualized within my bigger yeses, while also knowing that it has the capacity to enhance each of those yeses.

I needed to think about my prayer life and consider that there will be a lot of spiritual nourishment within the CPMAP certification, while also needing to be careful that I don’t get too deeply absorbed with the content at the expense of regular prayer in general.

I also considered the structures that I was prioritizing with my family and considered implications for how this program can carefully fit into my life without it being at the expense of showing up for my family.

I reflected on my commitments within my career as a teacher educator, including the courses I am teaching this winter, a presentation I need to prepare for the start of spring term, and a committee that I am serving on.

I mentally scrolled through other smaller commitments that occur during the winter term related to different roles in life.

Deciding to say yes to starting the CPMAP now meant trade-offs – a need to concurrently say no to some other layers of life. It meant that it was time for another Play | Pause discernment.

I know that I will love the intellectual stimulation and growth that the program will cultivate in me as a wife, mom, teacher educator, friend, sister, and daughter. I am also excited to see the potential implications that this investment might have on my work at Beauty of Becoming, but for now, I am going to enter deeply into the joy of learning.

Being able to do so means creating space to immerse myself in the certification content and experience. As a result, I cleared off some items on my to-do list. I will mostly pause my podcast until I have a sense of what capacity I have for creating episodes. It means waiting to see whether I will continue blogging here and there or whether I will only have the capacity to do the internal work of the program.

It also meant considering what was taking up physical and intellectual space. I paused multiple books in progress and decided that they will be books to read someday – maybe. I recently thinned out the podcasts I was going to subscribe to for 2023 but considered whether I needed to fully eliminate or not. Instead, I decided that I would keep the same podcasts I intended to but will unsubscribe along the way if they do not seem to be naturally fitting.

One of the reasons I went this route, rather than pausing like books, is that there are activities in my daily life in which I can listen to something but would not be able to work on CPMAP content during the same time based on needing to be able to be at my computer and able to take notes while engaging with CPMAP content. Instead, when I am driving around town or while I am doing dishes or folding laundry, I can listen to podcasts. My first priority will be Catechism in a Year; however, I will be doing a gentle approach. It might be that some days will stack up that I will then listen to in bulk when the rhythms of my days allow.

Without yet knowing that I was going to have the shift in start date, I had been doing some organization over the break, so having my physical environment feel more in order is another way to allow space to savor the learning process embedded within an already “full” life.

Just as my original inspiration for the concept of play|pause back in the spring, I am approaching this current play|pause in a similar manner – with docility. Right now, there are a lot of unknowns. I don’t know how well the CPMAP will fit within the context of my life. However, there is the relief of knowing that there are two options for pace within the program, so I can figure out what will work best for my family along the way.

As a result, I will proceed at a comfortable, prudent pace but with an adventurous heart to see where it goes and how things unfold – allowing for space to discern and go deep.

It is easy to pause many layers in order to begin because this experience will be enough – both when thinking about the demands of time and energy, as well as being enough for intellectual stimulation and spiritual growth.

So in this season of life, I say yes, with gratitude, and I pause, with gratitude.

Copyright 2023 Amanda Villagómez

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

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