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The Pause

"One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

There is a time just as winter is ending and spring is about to begin, where the buds are on the trees and waiting to bloom, it is not quite winter and it is not quite spring. I like to call this time “the pause.” I actually had never really experienced seasons before moving to Japan, so I hadn’t lived through this phenomenon until last year. It is this pause that I feel causes people so much anxiety, and not the changing of winter to spring. Action tends to be better well received in today’s society than inaction, and the pause by definition is inaction. So how do we work with this pause in a meaningful and positive way?

As times have become more hectic and busy, we tend to fill the spaces with moments of busy. There are no real moments of pause or silence any more. This, I believe, is one of the main reasons yoga and meditation keeps getting increasingly popular. We have forgotten how to pause and are desperate to learn how to do it once again. For others, pausing creates anxiety, the anticipation of what will happen next.

Winter has been unusually long this year, and for many of us it had us boggled down. It was a time for review and reflection, and in a way forced hibernation. For me, it was the latter part of winter that had me stir crazy. I had done my best to stay away from the typical pattern of feeding and hibernation, and did well…until February hit. Then, all bets were off. Temperatures dropped, so I was less likely to want to be outside for periods of time. I also got sick a couple times, which really took me out of commission. My normal schedule was destroyed. I was thinking too much and acting too little. I did the bare minimum up until mid-March, when I noticed “the pause” begin.

I actually started to feel it before I saw it. I wrote a blog post about striving to shut my mouth more and listen, and that is exactly what I have been doing since writing that post. I have embraced the pause around me and have learned to use it in my life. I had become one of those people filled with anxiety about “what will happen next?” I was in urgent need of pause in my life, and let me tell you, practicing it everyday has brought me a peace that had been missing for quite some time. I was trying to figure out what will happen next by filling up the space of silence or time instead of waiting and listening for the answer.

Many of my worries and questions have been answered within the time I have been actively “pausing.” But, many of them haven’t. And as much a benefit as it has been to get those answers the real benefit of “the pause” is embracing the unknown. Finding peace and being okay with not knowing what will happen next, because the truth is it doesn’t matter. It is going to happen anyway!!! So take some time for you, to let yourself bloom. Give others the space and time they need to do the same. Why the rush? We all end up in the same place. We are so ready to bloom and fruit that we stop enjoying each moment in between. What will you do when you get there? Do you honestly know? My guess is either you don’t OR it will be nothing like you imagined once you get there.

“The pause” is coming to an end, and spring has finally sprung. We can all start to move more and put our plans into action. But let us not forget the nourishment we received during winter or the lessons we have learned. We can pause at any time, taking a moment to let things be and appreciate life. Life will only get busier from here, and it’s as good a time as any to pause and love not only yourself but the world around you.

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