How are you doing? Have you recently taken a moment to stop, breathe and just be? Often, these moments are too few and far between. This is especially true during this time of the year. With spring showers (or snow…or even drought depending on where you are!) comes a deluge of other to-dos. There’s the proverbial spring cleaning that seems to drag on and on; there are seeds to spread, seedlings to pot up and plants to get in the ground; there are lawn mowers to tune and bicycles to clean up; and there is always, ALWAYS, something to re-organize.
During the spring there is definitely a lot of do-ing. It seems like we reserve the winter for our times of reflection and pause–and it makes total sense! It feels right and natural to take time to reflect and meditate on life when the do-ing is lessened. However, I believe that we should aim to include these moments throughout our days, weeks, seasons and lives.
Now, I’m not advocating that we all drop everything and meditate for hours (or even minutes!). While I do think universal meditation would lead to a generally happier populace with fewer wars and more selfless acts, I also realize that it will never happen. As a person who actually wants to incorporate meditation into her life, and has successfully done so in the past, I know all too well that daily dedication is hard even for the motivated. What I’m talking about are little rests where we really notice how it is to be.
In music, teachers and conductors will tell new musicians that the rests in a score are just as important as the notes. They are very important to the music as a whole. There are special notations for rests to remind the musician to pause or breathe.
Just as the musician needs an annotated reminder, I need a reminder to step back and take pauses from life. We’ve all heard the idiom “to give one pause” as in: the accident gave us pause for thought. There are things that happen that force us to stop for a second; and this phrase is good, but it often is in relation to something negative. So, I propose that we take that pause and make a conscious effort to concentrate on it for a brief instant. The pause triggers change depending on what’s going on in one’s life. When I’m taking a lot of yoga classes, they can come from a mindful yoga instructor. When farming, they can come from the smell of cold water when I’m thirsty. Lately, they have been coming from my tea kettle!
Since I’m avoiding caffeine while nursing and can’t seem to justify decaffeinated coffee, I’ve taken to having a hot cup of herbal tea most mornings. We have limited counter space in our small kitchen so in maneuvering hot water to my cup, I often hit the bowl of my standing mixer with the kettle! It makes a beautiful sound reminiscent of a Tibetan singing bowl. It is almost haunting in its deep resonance. It always gives me pause. I take a slow breath in the stillness, I think about how it all is, and gently remind myself about the joy of being.
Then, I continue making my tea, check on the baby, prepare breakfast, let the dog outside and start whatever thing needs to be done. It is a very brief moment in my morning, but one that is very important. The ringing bowl gives me pause which causes me to take pause.
Even though I think about this moment throughout the day, it doesn’t cross my mind in the mornings before it happens. I’m usually on hazy morning auto-pilot, and then daaaauuuuooonnnggg…I’m transported back into myself. I seem to “zone in” at this moment. It is always unexpected and lovely. I wonder if, after writing this and thinking about it so much, it will continue to be as spontaneous.
If this trigger fades from my daily routine, something else is sure to take over. If it comes to it, I could probably condition myself to take a little pause when doing something else that I do every day… I could use a a real Tibetan singing bowl to help center my mind. However, I don’t need to do that right now, and it is great.
This spring has been easier for me than expected. Ava isn’t a very demanding baby, and I am only regularly farming one day per week. The weather has been stellar for everything. My farming friends all seem to be pretty relaxed–most plants are in the ground, we haven’t had a frost in a few weeks and the dry conditions have made the soils easy to till and plant. Everything is about two weeks earlier this year than last, with much better conditions for the little seeds and seedlings. While the early dry soil is nice, we are also hoping that this doesn’t end up to be a drought year.
So, even though my life isn’t very stressful, I appreciate the moments that give me pause from what is going on. I imagine this appreciation would increase exponentially with increased busy-ness and doing.
What gives you pause during your day? Do you have a designated routine or do you need a little reminder like me?
I hope you find a millisecond to take pause today and all days.
Sending you peace and love,
Alex, The Rural Farmgirl.