A pause is powerful, this I know
So why is it that I resist it so?
What will I see, and feel and hear?
That brings me to a place of fear?
But still I choose to pause, and be kind,
To myself, and whatever I may find.
Are in you in the habit of taking time to pause regularly?
Do you know how powerful a pause can be?
I’ll be honest and say that I am in the habit of telling people how important it is to pause but in reality I don’t always heed this advice myself. Recently, I was reminded of just how profound, powerful and simple a pause can be.
The time of bleeding is often a wonderful barometer of how I am handling the ebb and flow of life and of the level of attention I am paying to my internal environment. The bleeding phase of my cycle for me is also the most powerful time to pause (if you are a male reading this I also believe there is a cyclic rhythm that impacts males too).
In the past couple of months I have not honoured the need to pause as much as I knew was needed. At times there is a fear of discovering some “inconvenient truth” that I will then be faced with acting upon, so I avoid the pause. But when a feeling of deep fatigue, resentment and aching began to arise I knew it was pause or panic….and the panic is never pretty for me or those around me.
So after a little resistance I chose to pause, I told my daughters I needed some quiet time and I went to my yoga mat and bolster to sit, to breathe, to reflect and to stretch my body. That’s it, nothing fancy.
I began by observing where the breath was restricted, what areas where calling my attention. In no time at all I was reminded of the sublime experience of consciously feeling the breath moving into and out of the body, of how the very act of breathing with attention can relieve a deep aching. Thoughts started to flow, creative ideas that I had been waiting for but were as yet not forthcoming…..I had pencil and paper handy and felt a flow of words and a return of calm.
I always find that after a few minutes of settling into the body, of allowing my thoughts, of observing breath, body and mind, that I begin to “remember”. This time it was several yoga poses that are beneficial for me, other times I remember a food, some herbs (last time it was nettle) or a sage piece of advice….and I smile “Ah yes, this is what I need”. The initial resistance gone I am able to just sit, breathe and be in the beautiful space of NOW.
Being in the NOW meant I could hear the ocean lapping in my ears and feel it washing over my body, I could hear the symphony of cicadas reminding me that I am not alone, the sound of my daughters voices was no longer “too loud” or “demanding” but a joyful reminder of the light they shine into my life and of the consideration they had shown me. I smiled as I felt a gentle breeze waft over my skin and I was reminded about the love and care I now show to my body when previously I was not able to do so.
I see that my resistance to pausing is rooted in fear. The thoughts arise – am I being lazy – what will people think of me? Am I letting down my children, being an irresponsible parent? Am I selfish to want to pause, to need a break? What happens if I stop and drop my bundle then can’t pick it all up and getting going again? What value am I if I am not doing? Of course these fears are all a creation of my mind.
Perhaps some of these thoughts resonate with you.
I have come to see this fear for what it is and it no longer paralyses me, I acknowledge that I continue to push on at times seeking affirmation of my value from others by “doing” and I know that almost always I am my harshest judge.
A pause is like giving yourself the gift of nothing…..and everything. For me…..
The act of conscious breathing, becomes the gift of an internal massage I give to myself.
The act of consciously pausing, becomes the gift of kindness and patience I give to myself.
The act of consciously bringing attention to my thoughts without judgement, becomes the gift of friendship I bestow upon myself.
The act of consciously laying my hands on my body and feeling the energy flow, becomes the gift of nurturing touch I give to myself.
So you see, this is how I know a pause is powerful….not to mention the ripples that are created for the rest of the day.
“It is worth doing nothing and having a rest”
Taking a pause is as much about self-care and self-awareness as it is about looking after others, the adage “what we do for ourselves, we do for the whole world” holds true here. When we pause we are able to recognise the impact we have on others and what it is we need to be our best and to be able to serve others….what the world needs is people who are aware of themselves and the impact they have on the world around them and who take responsibility for this.
If you are thinking “but I don’t have time to pause, to rest, to reflect right now”, “it’s such a busy time” then this is the perfect opportunity to begin your practice.
It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest, Vasco — otherwise you will become RESTLESS! I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. ~ Michael Leunig
What will your breath, your body, your very being tell you when you pause and look within? Where will your attention be directed? Will you have the courage to act upon what you see and what you come to know in your heart?
We live in a time of instant gratification, instant feedback and this can make the concept and the practice of pausing seem daunting – to pause asks that we adopt a slower pace, that we may not always see the path ahead, that the answers may not always be instantly apparent and that above all else we will need to (re)learn that we can trust in ourselves.
Are you ready to take that pause? What will a pause look like for you?
May you be deeply nourished by your next and every after pause.
P.S. If you have not read “A letter from Mr. Curly to Vasco Pyjama” in “The Curly Pyjama Letters” by Michael Leunig I highly recommend it.