We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living. Thich Nhat Hanh
I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Journey, Bob Seger and a variety of other iconic 70’s and 80’s artists. Jackson Browne was a favorite, and one song in particular resonates with Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, it went something like this “Running on – running on empty. Running on – running blind, running on – running into the sun, but I’m running behind.”
While driving to the office, I spotted a truck coming to a stop at a left turn light. I noticed the brake light on the driver’s side was not working. Pulling around to the driver’s left side as the light was red, I rolled my passenger window down and waved. The driver took no notice, as he was talking on his cell phone. The light changed and as we drove away I sighed at the irony. Here I was trying to alert him that he could get ticketed for no brake light, and there he was on his phone, which last I checked, is a moving violation.
As parents we tell our children to “eat slowly”, “take your time on your homework” and “brush your teeth longer than 5 seconds!” We emphasize slowing down, and yet what do we model for them? “Hurry up! We are going to be late!” The conflict between getting things done and slowing down can be aggravating and perplexing.
How we run and run, from text to call, to chores, to work, to kids practices and household demands, to friends and events, we run. And yet, as we run, are we really awake? Are we experiencing joy, breathing, contentment, gratitude? As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, I invite you to take this challenge…pause.
When you get in the car, take 5. No, not minutes, but deep breaths before you turn the motor on. Five deep breaths, eyes closed, to re-center yourself. When you begin to drive, perhaps no radio or news? Drive in silence, taking in he color of the sky, the homes and buildings where others lives unfold as you cruise by.
While entering your next location, back home, the office, grocery store, post office, take a moment to make eye contact with someone, smile, make a nice comment and notice. That’s it, a little pause to connect with another human, who most likely is running too.
Is there a place you can call “sanctuary” in the house? Sanctuary is a word I love. Its meaning is related to worship, yet also means a place of repose, protection and reflection. Select a small corner in your bedroom, or a room not being used, even a deck chair out on the patio and make it “your pause place.” Adding a candle, a beloved photo, a vase with fresh flowers, a new throw blanket or pillow can all accentuate this as your “time out” place, not for being naughty, quite the opposite. For being very good to yourself!
Reading can bring a welcomed pause, most of us have a book we thought would be a fun, useful or inspiring read which has gathered dust. Take it out and keep it close by,
In the words of Willie Nelson, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Well, what about today if you say “When I started taking little pauses, my whole attitude turned around.”
This is your cause, to pause. Breathe, notice, smile, connect, read, be grateful and repeat. I am pausing now, as I consider my support work with each of you. I am very grateful for your trust, willingness, courage, perseverance, and hope to find resolve and satisfaction in your very precious lives.