This is week I have been wanting to pause time. I kept finding myself racing ahead to the next thing and the next. My mind was consumed by thoughts of the future and my whole body felt tense and on edge.
I wanted to slow down. I wanted my body to relax. I wanted to feel and believe that, somehow, everything would be okay and my world would not come crashing down if I put down my to-do list. I wanted time to be doing absolutely nothing and to not feel guilty about it.
How do we pause time? One simple way is to breathe, or as I have heard it said in yoga class, let you body be breathed. You can try it right now. Let the air come into your lungs. Feel the air going out. Witness your body breathing. You do not have to do anything, it happens on its own. Your body knows how to breathe.
Even as I type, I feel more relaxed and less rushed. I am coming into the present moment. There is nothing more to do here than to breathe for this one moment. We can rest in our breathing for one breath, two, maybe three or four. That is enough to slow ourselves down.
Perhaps you are like me and you notice your mind jumping ahead to the next moment. Not a problem. That is what our minds do. They are busy and incredibly active. That is their job. We can thank our minds for doing what they know how to do and we can return to our breath for another moment. In this way, we cultivate slowing down. It is a slowing down that happens on a body level. We are inviting our body into another way of being.
Okay, so that was nice, you may be thinking, but now I have to go...make dinner, get the kids, go back to work or fill in the blank. I understand the reality of our daily lives is that we have a lot going on. We are busy people. What if we can take the feeling of slowing down right into the middle of our full days? Even as we are doing whatever task is at hand, we can remember that we are also breathing. We can invite a sense of slowing down and pausing in the midst of our daily comings and goings.
We can also find time in between things. I suspect there are plenty of moments each day when you have pause points. The next time you are waiting in line or stuck in traffic, feel your breath in your body and notice if anything shifts.
Taking a Break
It can be challenging to simply pause. Admittedly, this week I had a hard time doing that. I was restless. I kept internally badgering myself. That happens sometimes.
What did I do? I got outside. I gave myself permission to take a break from all the things on my mind. I carved out time in my days so I could walk in the park. That is where I found my stillness. I sat on the trunk of a tree that had recently fallen. I lay on the grass under one of my favorite oaks. I let the earth hold me. There I felt my body and mind slow down. That is what sustained me through the week.
It some paradoxical way, when we slow down and take breaks, we have more time. That has been my experience. Everything that needs to happen still gets done. Somehow when we have more space for us, there is more space for everything.
I invite you to try it today. Pause to feel your breath. Take a break and get outside. I trust there is enough time in each day for us to slow down.