Cheers to you!
I struggle with making time to pause, rest, and slow down. Can you relate? Aside from the volume of things that have to be done and what I “think” I have to do, there’s SO many people, places, and experiences I want to enjoy. It’s super easy for the suitcase of Lisa and my life to get so jammed packed that there’s no room to breathe, which leaves me stressed and my wife in tears. A few more emotional and heartfelt conversations than I wished it’d taken me later, I’m (AGAIN) realizing a fully wonderful life includes MORE pauses, as in a very real way, “less” makes space for the most incredible abundance!
Whether it’s money, adventures, parties, toys, advancement at work, possessions, vacations, awards, distance you can run, weight you can lift, time at work, or what have you, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “more is better.” At the risk of making too bold a claim, I think the impulse to do more, be more, and get more is part of the human condition(though it could just be in the West). With that in mind, I also have a hunch the Sabbath, the practice of setting aside a period of time (traditionally a day) to cease working and intentionally pause, slow, savor, connect, celebrate, worship, and enjoy the bliss of being, is truly a gift from the Divine.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to let the riptide of life carry me away on the wave of thinking I’m a human doing who is created to go-go-go, do-do-do, and get-get-get, which leaves me dazed, confused, and missing the point. I believe the point of life is to Love; Love life, ourselves, others, creation, and the Magic behind it all (who I believe is God). Now, don’t get me wrong, our doings are important. Love, after all, requires action. The power of the pause is it gives us space to remember and re-center ourselves on what is of the utmost importance in life.
That’s only part of it though. As I write this, I’m also struck by the notion that, like the Sabbath, yoga is a present to humanity from Spirit. The teachings of yoga invite us to fully be in the now. It’s the practice of greeting, being with, and experiencing what is, just as it is, as enough. Yoga names each breath a miracle, every moment magic, all people ambassadors of God, and everything connected, interrelated, and abuzz with the energy of heaven, which drops us into a state of awe.
In yoga we slow, we pause, we breathe, we center, we connect, and in doing so, we realize the radical enoughness of this moment, this bite, this breath, this conversation, these clothes, this body, these people, this step, this job, this world, and this life. This is Santosa, the yogic practice of complete contentment. It’s a radical Love of and for life in its beautiful, messy entirety, which I find leads me to (and is perhaps inseparable from) adoration for the Source of it all.
Humans are holistic and repetitive creatures, meaning the way we do something is generally the way we do everything. I point this out because a packed or cluttered house, wardrobe, and such is likely reflective of a similar schedule, to-do list, relationships, inner landscape, and so on. That’s why I see minimalism and pausing as interrelated, which means: One could say the power of minimalizing and pausing is multidimensionally awesome in that it (1) Reminds us what matters most in life (loving relationships), (2) Helps us be more present in the now, (3) Tunes our “antennas” to the “channels” of contentment and awe, and (4) Plugs our hearts into Source (I name this “God”, what about you?), which brings bliss, peace, harmony, and Love without measure.
Life is like an orange, or a present. Unless we practice pausing and minimalizing, all we’re able to “taste” is the peel, all we can “see” is the wrapping. When we mindfully make a habit of slowing, resting, and savoring, it’s like we’re peeling life’s skin so we can taste the sweetness at its center. It’s as if we’re unwrapping a present so we can enjoy the gift.
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is nothing. Nothing we have to do. No chores. No work. No schedule. No rush. No agenda. Just the bliss of connection, contentment, and being.
Wholehearted living has a rhythm to it, and part of this dance is slowing, stopping, and savoring. Taking a bit of time every hour or two, a larger stretch once or twice a day, a day (or a good chunk of one) weekly, and a multiday pause seasonally or annually are all fantastic ways to make space for us to stop and smell the awesomeness of life. While I don’t think it’s helpful to be legalistic about this, it is vital to be intentional. So, as I commit to working with Lisa to spice our life up with more pauses and space I’d ask: What are your experiences, practices, and ideas when it comes to the power of the pause and the way it brings us back to loving relationships, centers us in the moment, fills us with gratitude and wonder, and plugs us in to the Spirit of the Divine?
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