Pausing the game can be done by clicking the Quit button in the upper left corner of the screen or by pressing your spacebar. Pressing it again should unpause it.
I'm wondering if rather than pausing, the game has locked up on your PC. In that case, you'd need to use Ctrl-Alt-Delete and close the game from the Task Manager console, or hit the Reset / Off button on the front of your computer case.
The next time you start the game, it should work fine. If it happens again and you're still stumped as to why, my bet would be on inadequate system requirements to play the game without problems.
I found out that the game was paused after I had been to Youtube for help with Totem Tribe problems. After returning to the game this would happen. I tried restarting my computer and the problem cleared up
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