These are the days of darkness. A time of year when it is wet, cold and dark. These are times of darkness in our world, something felt in our bodies that creeps into our consciousness regardless of intention. While culture shakes and climate rattles we can find ourselves checking out or becoming overwhelmed. For those of us in the healing professions it is a double dose, facing our own vulnerability while being open to and available for those we care for. What’s a person to do?
Sometimes we can escape to another environment for some fun in the sun or perhaps a freshly powdered ski slope. Last year, I escaped first to a radiant beach on the coast of Chile in January and then to a sun soaked shore in Mexico come March. I felt fortunate for these experiences. We can’t always do such things. Everyday life brings many demands. This year it’s double college tuitions, projects, saving for future adventures, repairs to house and car: oh my! In the midst of these dark days and demands, how do we maintain perspective, keep hope alive, and carry on a positive attitude for those around us? Here is my suggestion:
It starts with a Pause.
It is so simple and yet revolutionary. When I pause, I stop the ongoing flow of thoughts, feelings and actions that sweep through my day. I make this one very simple intentional turn toward myself and ask inside, “How am I?” Then I wait for a moment, and listen. I could just fill in the empty space with what I already know or the list of to-do’s I am currently working on, but no, I stop and listen being curious, “How am I in there? What am I needing or wanting right now?” Then I wait, as if in meditation, and allow space to form from which something new will emerge. Even if you think nothing will show up, wait, it will: that’s just how it works.
From this pregnant space, we have options. New possibilities present themselves. I can linger there inside myself and sense more deeply into my felt sense. I can just notice thoughts going by or I can say, “Hello” to something wanting my attention and listen to it.
To pause, is to mindfully turn toward our present moment implicit knowing, the place where the new and creative originate. It is where we find new doorways to experience that lead us out of the dark, out of old ways.
“Is this it?” you might ask. No, but it is a doorway to something more, fresh and new. Is that not the path we seek oh fellow traveler, to shift our perspective from the gloom and dread to finding the light inside the darkness? Pausing is a practice and takes time to make a habit of. It takes practicing! Are we not ever seeking practices for change and personal renewal? Start here, with a pause, and open the door to the little moments that bring real and lasting change.
Below you will find some resources to help you on your way.
The Pause Movement shows how teaching people to Pause brings real change in the world.
In The Revolutionary Pause Mary Hendricks-Gendlin shares how pausing shifts us towards peace.
If you’d like to deepen your experience of pausing and learn how it can nourish your healing practice, consider signing up for one of my upcoming Focusing courses.