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Updated: Oct 19, 2023

"Sometimes taking a pause feels impossible. And yet sometimes, the only thing to do is stop. Stop doing and be still."  - Jessica Giese-Gardner, MTCM, L.Ac. @abundant.heaven.acupuncture

Sometimes taking a pause feels impossible.

So much to do, so much nagging at us to be done. An ever growing list of to-dos. As one task is crossed off, others multiply underneath.

And yet sometimes, the only thing to do is stop.

Stop doing and be still.

Sometimes we are literally forced to stop. Injuring our self to the point of having to stop.

Stubbing our toes, maybe even breaking a bone, leaving us limping along. Hobbling through our days and life until our body is twisted in compensation.

Hips aching, knees popping, back tight and cranky, where even the slightest movement can suddenly grip us in pain. A wounded surrender.

All the signs were there. Tightness and fatigue building. A frenetic pace wearing us thin. Fraying at the edges of our mind, emotions and physical form.

All the signs are still here now. Do we listen?

How loudly does our body need to speak to be heard over the other voices in our life?

The voices of our family, friends, community. The voices of our external commitments, our work, and our relationships. The voices of our internal dialogue. The voices of our voracious passion and inspiration. The should, would, could, can, can’t, but and if. And the sometimes much more subtle voice of our own mind, our own unshakable knowing?

I find that sometimes the only way to really hear what my body is saying underneath all the symptoms, all the sensorial experiences, is to pause in stillness.

Sitting down, I close my eyes and go within.

Thoughts come and go like clouds passing in my internal sky. Feelings surface, sometimes getting quite intense before dissipating.

This is where I can fine tune life. This is where I come back to myself and get out of habitual reactions to life.

This is where my most beautiful creations are conceived and dream seeds are watered.

And yet, so much can get in the way of simply taking a break. Even just for 5 minutes. I always tell myself I need more than 5 minutes, but carving out 30 is harder to fit in.

I tell myself I’ll get to it after that next phone call, after checking my email again, after researching one more question.

And before I know it, the window has closed and I am pulled into the stream of my life, busy in all the doing.

Going to work, working with the next patient and then the next. Picking up my son from preschool, grocery shopping, taking our puppy out to play, cooking, eating, cleaning. Coordinating plans for the next day(s), checking in on social media, checking in on the news and politics. Reaching out to family and friends, winding down, and sleeping.

The morning comes quickly on the back of the previous day.

First thing in the morning is where I can more easily access these magical windows. Having to almost sneak up on myself without planning. Rolling out of bed and rolling into that pause. Into that deep listening.

Because before I know it, I will be called in 20 different directions at once.

With an eager heart and able mind, I want to be there. To show up in the world. To serve.

And yet when I come from a more rooted place within myself, everything else aligns to that.

It is easier to stay centered when I carve out time for just being. I don’t feel as pulled apart trying to hold it all together.

Never do I regret bowing deeply. Never have I regretted pausing. Never do I think after sitting still and breathing deeply, “gee I wish I had looked at my email one more time and cleaned out my inbox.”

No. 100% NO. That thought doesn’t even cross my mind.

Instead I relish how much easier it is to *let go*. These sacred pauses help me return home to myself. Clarifying what belongs to me and connecting to the beyond. Connecting to what unites us all.

Suddenly my to-do list feels a little lighter. As if some of my work has turned into tiny drops of water. Like dew collecting in that quiet time before dawn. Mirrored reflections that bead up, effortlessly sliding down and out of my psyche. Like feathered wings doing energetic housekeeping for my spirit.

Uninhibited embodiment. All I had to do was get out of my own way.

Of course it is sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes it is really hard. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

How do you make time for you, for stillness and that sacred pause to reset?

Woman sitting in quiet meditative pose with eyes closed. Wrapped in a rainbow blanket with gentle light shining on her face.
Shanti taking a pause meditating.

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