practice the pause 

I couldn’t not write today! (That’s a double negative, but it’s a powerful one!) It’s a New Moon. It’s 2/2/2022. It’s the beginning of the Lunar New Year! For me, life is often about seeing patterns and responding to them, and today is a Strong Trifecta that speaks to me. 

I just texted with a sweet soul to whom I recently sent a gift. She finally found it in her mailbox and sent me an audio text. I love those. I get to hear your voice and know your important “why” for calling, without us having to halt our lives or projects or juggle attempting to coordinate a phone conversation to get into the nitty gritty of everything. “How are you? What’s new? Blah blah blah….” Don’t get me wrong, those conversations are awesome, but send me an audio message along with a picture of your current view (desk, lake, coffee shop, whatever) and you’ve absolutely made my day! Words are my love language… no doubt.

The gift was a book along with a few fun things. She acknowledged that she’s been taking more time to read, as she openly recognizes that she enjoys this activity and is better for it when she makes time for it. She’s a student and juggling a job too. Carving out chances to do what she enjoys is a new concept to this busy girl. I celebrated this with a quick reply text. So happy that she is opting to spend time on activities that immediately reciprocate positive energy to her. 

I call that Practicing the Pause. 

Our culture used to celebrate the busy-ness of everyone. I think the pandemic shifted some of that and I’ve removed myself from circumstances & people who glorify “busy-ness”. I still cringe when someone consistently excuses their lack of reciprocal communication with me by saying “Oh my gosh, I’ve been so busy!” I honestly interpret that as “I’ve been so busy doing things that are more important than staying in touch with you!” and I move on. I don’t take offense, but if you’re so busy that you can’t maintain communication reciprocity with all the crazy modes & options out there, then let’s Practice a Different Pause and pause our friendship. That’s cool, I’m not writing you off, I’m just lowering my expectations of you and our relationship, and I alter my contributions accordingly. I’ve reconnected with many friends after Practicing a Different Pause with them. We don’t need closure or discussion; we just pick up where we left off when you have time and if I have space. That’s greatness. 

But I digress. 

Practicing the Pause in a mindful way looks different for everyone.  
Some meditate.  
Some bake.  
Some run.
Some slow down to connect with friends or read or take a bubble bath or carve wood or garden or play Wordle (Oh boy, I jumped on that bandwagon this morning! What a cool and a very “unifying of people I know” activity!) 

I feel like it’s a good idea to have several activities to which we can default when a time to pause presents itself as an opportunity or a scheduled choice. An assortment of options ranging from 5-minutes to several hours. Not everyone can hit the brakes aggressively and pause their life in a really big way. Most people can only allocate an hour here or there each day due to Life’s Demands. Maybe it’s four 10-minute pauses in a day. Maybe it’s meditating (aka mindlessly losing oneself) in laundry, doing the dishes or clipping coupons, rather than talking on the phone or watching a TV show while you do it. That’s OK. If it feels good to you and you pause your mind (somewhat, sometimes), that’s the important part. 

If you need more intentional time to Practice the Pause, make some. Take stock of the relentless demands on your radar and whittle them down like a wood whittler practices his pause, taking a branch and transforming it into what HE wants to see and to hold. You can do the same with your life. Choose you. What do you want to see? What do you want to hold? Whittle it into existence.

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