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The Pause

Precious, Powerful, Potent

The pause is the space we all desperately need to be. It takes us from reacting to responding, from rushing to resting and from doing to being.

The pause is the discomfort, the dissolution, the in between. It is the power of choice, making it both potent and powerful. When we are able to master the pause, we know peace.

My question is, do we ever master it? I have been learning to sit with the pause, to relish it versus resisting it. The pause used to make me crazy. It used to make me anxious, and I wanted to rush to fill it. I couldn't submit to it, and I survived my divorce by doing. It served me really well; my house and yard looked great, and I could dispel all the anxiety through action. However, it didn't leave me any time to heal the hurt from my broken marriage.

At the same time my divorce was happening, my mom was dying. She fought for two years and as I held her while she passed, and I longed for a pause. There was no pause now that I actually wanted one. I rushed home to go to divorce trial and went back to life, only I was different. My normal busyness wasn't helping. I was tired. In her death, I realized the power a pause could have to just be. To be at another human's side, to pause in the last breath, to wish for nothing more than a poignant pause from all in life to be.

Life is interesting though because just as I needed/craved/longed for a pause, I had no time. I went to work, wrote classes, carried on and all the while wished for a pause button but was afraid to take one. I worked to create a life of peace and calm. I started to carve out quiet moments for myself. In that new version of my life, I found space but not a long enough pause. There is a restlessness as a human that what we crave and need sometimes we resist.

Then, one day I realized I was the only one stopping me from the pause. So, I took 5 weeks off to pause, to heal, to be. I had a life I loved, but I couldn't embrace or cherish it fully. It was like the joy I thought I should feel just wasn't there. So I paused. At first I was so restless I wanted to crawl out of the pause. I cleaned cupboards and decluttered as a way to declutter my mind and life to make space for the pause. And then one morning, I woke and simply was in the pause. I was being, not doing. I did not need a distraction, I was just content.

I nurtured this new space like you would a tiny spark you needed to build a fire to survive in the wilderness of the unknown. I sat with it, breathing life into it daily. Sometimes with tears, sometimes with awe, but I sat in it. And in the pause a greater peace than I have ever known came and wrapped me like a warm blanket on a cool morning. It comforted me and was the space I needed to be with my hurt, my resistance, my fear. And one-by-one shed the heavy emotions in my heart in the security of the pause.

There was no TV, no music, no one, just me and the pause. I wrote, I cried, I slept and I healed. And I learned to create the pause in smaller moments than five weeks, to sneak away from life for 30 minutes or two hours and sit with myself in the pause. It nurtures me, makes me kind, creative, happy and calm. It creates the space for peace within me that I can then share with others.

In our rushed world of doing, learning to sit in the pause and make space for it is a worthwhile endeavor. I would even say life changing. Without it, we are doing constantly, a slave to the same repetitious thoughts and life. Within it though, there is space for change, growth, refinement and creation.

I now carve out time to not "do" but to be with a cup of tea and a pause to daydream, to give myself an energy balance, to sort my thoughts and to rest. The payoff? Creativity, flow, a deep sense of ease and the ability to do life in a state of self-grace and patience and still get it all finished.

Perhaps you are thinking, good for you, but I don't have that time for a pause. My response is, try to make time. If you are anxious, overwhelmed, tired and stuffing down the emotions you think you don't have time to deal with, put your phone down, turn off the TV, get up 15 minutes earlier or go to bed earlier. Make a simple dinner of eggs and use the time you saved to be. It will change you. I am writing this in my car at a bowling match. I don't have to be inside watching my daughter prep for the meet. I can have a whole 45 minutes of quiet in the pause in my car. I could've gone in and been social, I could have met a friend for coffee or run back home and done a load of laundry, cleaned up and come back, but I am working on choosing a moment alone. Small changes, big pay-offs. Start small and perhaps you will find a way to make a bigger pause for yourself too. Don't resist the pause, relish it.


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