The Calm in the Pause: Scheduling Life Balance

– Posted in: Gratitude, Living a Fulfilling Life, Mindfulness, Personal Growth
"The Pool', Central Park. Photo: Andrew Kelley

“The Pool’, Central Park. Photo: Andrew Kelley

The days are getting shorter, the shadows longer… chilly mornings are groggier as we try to comprehend waking up in the dark. Ancient ancestors whisper in our ears “it’s time to S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N”. In preparation for the cold freeze, we rush around, instinctively hoarding the equivalent of “dried bison” while trying to stay awake.

This modern society discourages hibernation, and instead we are urged to “keep productive” & “meet our deadlines”.

Ca-chunk!”

Internal paradox…
All the gears seize up as our instincts clash with the demands of today.

The Pause

I had the pleasure of speaking to a musician friend about the incongruity of this season vs. “the pause”. (This is not an article about menopause, btw… 😉 )

For millennia, we evolved with the seasons. Our days were long in the summer as we chased hairy mastodons, and we wrapped ourselves in their pelts and slept before roaring fires on the long winter nights.

In between all of these activities, we paused.

We watched the sunsets.
We listened to stories about the days’ hunt.
We gathered berries and cared for our young…

And yes, we struggled to survive… but when the days got shorter, we had to stop, or risk being eaten by all manner of hungry predators in the dark.

Overwhelmed…

We are an overwhelmed and exhausted society. We have gotten completely detached from what allowed us to survive for millions of years.

Is it any wonder (thank goodness) that Yoga and meditation are gaining a foothold in our culture? That millions proactively seek: alternate lifestyles, being their own boss, scheduling their own time? Or passively, becoming addicted to substances, games, or TV; self-medicating to avoid feeling the emptiness and lack of connection?

The Man in the Stone

The Man in the Stone, Central Park. Photo: Christine Kelley. Artist: Unknown.

We are naturally attuned to nature.

We need to slow down…
We need to reconnect with ourselves and with one another…
Or risk complete emotional, physical and spiritual burn out.
We need to pause

What’s in the pause?

The metaphor my musician friend shared with me was remarkable in it’s simplicity.

Music that calls to you grows and builds upon itself… the energy of tempo and cadence and texture expands until just before the crescendo when there’s… a pause… a space… a breath…

What’s in that pause? Nothing less than your Soul. Your essence. Whatever you hold sacred… You.

“You” are in the pause.

“You” are in the pause. When you don’t stop, when you run constantly, when you don’t allow yourself time to breathe… What gets lost? You do.

As a culture we are terribly disconnected from ourselves and it hurts my heart. We chase and we grab and we collect and we fear… and what we are really chasing is ourselves, our deepest truths. Let yourself be caught.

This season, as we begin the holiday marathon, schedule some time with You.

“But,” I can hear you saying, “I have no time!” Hmmm… It’s time to get honest with ourselves. If what we are craving is quality time in our lives, then all the chasing around is time inefficiently spent.

Time spent in Resistance is 2-3x more exhausting than time spent Mindfully.

Consider what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. How much less effective are you? It’s the same thing with quality time and life balance. We need to create the time for ourselves, or we risk losing it all.

Schedule in “The Pause” in whatever form that takes for you.

Central Park Mallard_CFK

Central Park Mallard. Photo: Christine Kelley

Scheduling the Pause…

  1. A Morning Mindfulness Practice: Create a ritual that includes some form of movement and quiet contemplation, or meditation, every day. Yes, wake up 20-minutes earlier (perhaps by going to bed 20-minutes earlier?) You will feel much more energized for your day.
  2. Find a “Moving Meditation”: Many don’t connect with the idea of sitting still for 20-minutes (I’m speaking to you Fire and Air signs most specifically). Creating some kind of moving meditation (running, dancing, walking quietly in the woods, in the park) is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Try this without music. The point of these exercises is to get quiet and connect with that inner voice. I adore music, and sometimes it is another distraction.
  3. Laugh & Connect: Schedule time with the people you love most to just sit and share and laugh. Nothing specific to do, no where to go, just spend quality time.
  4. Attend a Sacred Activity: Something that is meaningful for you. Go to church, synagogue, the mosque, sit under a tree, pull some weeds, as long as it feels sacred to you, do it.
  5. Turn it OFF/Unplug: declare some technology free days! Announce to friends etc, that you will be (“gasp”) unreachable for some period of time. Start with an hour and work your way up to a couple of days!
  6. Consider reading my posts “Need is a Four-Letter Word” and “How do your moon’s needs affect your choices” to recognize how best to pause. Don’t know your Moon Sign? Find it here.

How will you Schedule your Pause? Let us know in the comments below…

Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.

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