Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Stop… breathe…

Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle

I had stopped in an intersection to make a left-hand turn when the other driver blazed through, ignoring their red light, and took out my car. They tore off the front of my old Honda so fast that, even with their resulting broken axle, they kept going for a while before they stopped. I got out of my car, shaking and bruised…

… Wait. This starts before that.

I had been writing at full stretch for the better part of four years. Non-stop, I had been cranking out one book after another, one play after another, determined to make my dream of becoming a writer come true. I knew the toll this was taking, what I was doing to myself. I had often thought, “I can’t keep this up. I’m tired. I’m going to burn myself out.” Sure enough, halfway through a play, my brain seized up one day and… I could no longer write…

Here’s the thing. I’m a big fan of motivation, of keeping yourself going despite any adversity. In my circle, I have become something of a poster child for working at attaining your dreams. It doesn’t matter if your dream is to be an author or an actor, a baker or a biker, if it’s to be the best parent or the best person you can be. I am walking proof that the walls your life puts in front of you can often be scaled and I honestly believe we’re better off trying to scale them even when they might be insurmountable. At the end of the day, trying to make your dreams come true beats not trying every time.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know when to stop, if just for a minute. That doesn’t mean you don’t take a moment to catch your breath, to relax, to give yourself a break.

Really. No kidding.

I had kind of forgotten all about that, up until the day I burnt out. That happened about a month ago and it forced me to sit down and really reassess things. I have to admit, though, that “sitting down and reassessing” didn’t even occur until after I tried to force myself to continue with some truly unpleasant consequences. What I didn’t know was that when your body says you’re done: You Are Done.

Then came the car accident. And if I thought being a writer was my dream, I had overlooked my other dream of being a normal, healthy individual. Fortunately, I had no major (by which I mean noticeable) injuries, but I did suffer from a pretty serious concussion, which put some obstacles between me and what I had once considered “health”. Again, after a bit of stubbornness on my part, I had to sit down and reassess. I had to draw a line from here to the future and ask, “What’s a realistic way of getting there? Not what my stubborn ego is telling me but what my body is telling me.”

The road back from the impact of the car and the burnout will be long in either case.

Sometimes, we are provided with clues to tell us we need to take a break. Other times, breaks are forced on us. Either way, it’s important to recognize when to ease up and breathe and understand that stopping to relax is not the same as giving up.

Life has shown me that relaxing is also an important part of the journey.

About the Author

Ken La Salle

Ken La Salle

Novelist and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. He’s also very funny. His plays are often seen in theaters on the west coast of the U.S. and many of his books can be found in ebook format on (for the Kindle) and all e-reader formats). Ken La Salle is represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency

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0 thoughts on “Stop… breathe…”

  1. Victor says:

    Well said, Ken. I have faced burnout as well, and the way back is definitely not working harder, as you point out. You may be on to something here!’

  2. Julie says:

    Bravo ….. learning to listen, see, feel clues is a challenge for all of us. Recognizing that a message has been delivered and received is an achievement. Patience is never an easy practice, your mind and body will thank you for it! Thank you for sharing!

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