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I eventually got this to work:

I created a file pause.json which looks like the following:

{"pause":null}

I then issued the following command:

 curl -i http://<controllernode>:8774/v2/<TENANT_ID>/servers/<VM_ID>/action -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "X-Auth-Project-Id:<PROJECTNAME>" -H "X-Auth-Token: <TOKEN_ID>" -H "Accept: application/json" -T pause.json

This ended up pausing my VM. I think the Key here was to include H "Accept: application/json" on the command line

curl -i http://<controllernode>:8774/v2/<tenant_id>/servers/<vm_id>/action -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "X-Auth-Project-Id:<projectname>" -H "X-Auth-Token: <token_id>" -H "Accept: application/json" -T pause.json

The -H "X-Auth-Project-Id:<projectname>" is optional in this case.

If you do not wish to call a file, you can replace -T pause.json with -d '{"pause":null}'

Note: use unpause to resume your server