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Wonder: It’s Time to Take a Pause

I have just one New Year’s Resolution for 2017: I’m going to hit pause for some amount of time on a daily basis. No social media, no devices, no to-do that must be done. Just being in the world for some amount of time every day and letting my mind sit in the quiet space of its own thoughts. In his new book, Thank You for Being Late, Tom Friedman says, “When you hit pause on a machine it stops. When you hit pause on a person, we start.” Tom Friedman is one of the writers and thinkers whom I admire most in the world. The pause is a gift; it’s where we bring together disparate ideas, where we figure out how we think and feel given everything we’ve seen, heard, and experienced.

2017 marks 10 years since I graduated from my MBA program at Darden. It’s been a decade of tremendous change for me, personally and professionally. In 2007, I never could have predicted how my life would change in these 10 years, or how the world would change in that time. And the rate of change is only accelerating. As much change as this decade has held for me, I’m sure the next decade will hold even more. To make the most of that change, to really understand and respond intelligently to what’s happening, the pause is necessary. And I’m very much looking forward to it.

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About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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