power of the pause

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I don't know about you, but I'm always plugged in. 

I have to be doing at least two things at once, and honestly, my biggest fear is being bored. Yoga and meditation are on my list of hobbies, but I really have struggled in the last few years with finding balance, quiet and pure downtime in my life. Balance might be an illusive and abstract concept, but I search for it anyway. And quiet alone time hardly exists for me anymore; I mean, half the time I feel like I need read the news on my phone while I watch TV. 

That's not downtime. 

Writer/activist Maria Shriver spoke this year at a college graduation in Southern California and among other great advice about life, she addressed a branch of this complex topic -- slowing down. Pressing pause. Taking time to breathe and appreciate things (anything). Everyone is constantly focused on the future, the next thing, and never on the current moment. Her words are inspiring. 

It's really important to pause along the way and take a break from communicating outwardly, so you can communicate inwardly, with yourself. Pause -- and take the time to find out, what's important to you. Find out what you love, what's real and true to you -- so it can infuse and inform your work and make it your own

You know, I didn't invent this stop-everything-and-pause idea. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the desert. Henry David Thoreau went to Walden Pond. Ann Morrow Lindberg went to the sea. Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa -- the greatest and wisest have often stopped and withdrawn from active lives to journey within themselves. The wisdom they garnered there and shared with us has impacted the world.

But, hey, don't worry! I'm not asking you for 40 days and nights! I'm only asking you to stop every so often and turn off your mobile device, put down the Angry Birds and the Words with Friends and take a moment. Stop to look up and look around. Pause and check in with yourself -- and spend a moment there. 

Feel your strength and your vulnerability. Acknowledge your goodness, and don't be afraid of it. Look at your darkness -- and work to understand it, so you'll have the power to choose who you'll be in the world.

We have all the communication we want in this fast-paced world, but occasionally we need to communicate with ourselves. Being continually plugged into other distractions prevents me from ever having healthy conversations with myself, which is so important to my overall well-being. How many relationships survive when the parties avoid communicating? I don't think it's different with my relationship with myself.

P.S. Have you entered the giveaway? It's a perfect gift for Father's Day!


  1. Sil this is what inspired me to sit outside on the porch the other day and read Jane Eyre. Thanks for that

  2. I really love this. I think it's hilarious that I have spent 7 days away from social media then I come back and bam- the first day I am here I spend it entirely on my iPhone. Dum. I have got to kick some habits and replace them with better ones-

    Like the nightly social media update- shouldn't I be reading my scriptures instead?!?!? I need to reenact my no phone or Internet after ten rule.