Pause

What does pause mean Miss James?

To stop for a moment, breathe, and just be.

Yesterday, we paused together in Kindergarten.

This morning, I pause alone.

Work calls to me.

Breakfast whispers my name.

Chores needle me.

But still, I pause

I sit, and sip tea.

I ponder, reflect, doodle, write, and color.

I treasure the cool breezes.

I marvel at the sunflower blooming after being decimated by deer.

I admire the beautiful red tomatoes.

I sip my last drop of tea.

I breathe in and out a slow relaxed breath.

I whisper a prayer of gratitude.

I gather my pause and all it’s blessing, and press them deep into my heart.

Renewed, I move forward into the day.

Mindfulness of Doors

Look at the book I got in the mail. I’m super excited!

The d.school website says the book is “full of unconventional and practical ways to help you bring creative approaches to any challenge you face.” How cool is that? I wish I were on sabbatical, so that I could immerse myself in what seems like amazing fantabulousness. But, sabbatical or not, I’m gonna experience the fantabulousness one way or another.

I read through the table of contents the other day and decided to jump in with assignment number 46 – Micro-Mindfulness Exercises. The micro-mindfulness that struck me was mindfulness of doors. The suggestion is that we take a pause and a breath — however brief — as we walk through doors.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Turns out, it’s not. I’ve been thinking about it, planning on doing it, for days now. I walk through TONS of doors as an educator. Some days it seems I am constantly walking through doors. Of the million times a day that I go through various doors, I think I have stopped to pause and breathe, twice. I exaggerate the million, but the 2 pauses and breaths is quite accurate.

As I do with my students when we practice mindfulness together, I’m taking the time to ask myself some questions:

  • Why aren’t I pausing?
  • .Are my mind and body in the same space, or am I rushing through the day, thinking of the next moment, the next task, the next thing?
  • Might it be that I’m not rushing, but at the same time that I’m not totally present?
  • What might I learn about myself, my day, my pace, my breath, my mind, as I notice how difficult this is for me to accomplish?
  • How did it feel to take the pause and the breath the two times I did?
  • How might I — if I want to increase my mindfulness, my pause, my breath, my reflection, my peace — help make the pauses and breath possible? How might I remind myself to pause, to breathe, and to be present?

It’s so very interesting, that even failing to accomplish the mindfulness of doors, has brought a bit more mindfulness into my life. It’s beautiful, because it’s about the process and the mindfulness. It’s not so much about the pause and the breath at each door — though they would probably be a gift.

So, I continue to aspire to mindfulness of doors, and as I live and pause and breathe — or not — I will continue to reflect.

Find Your Writing People

There is power in writing and sharing our stories. Some of it comes in the simple and brave act of putting words on a page. The gift of word and story intensifies as we re-read, re-think, and revise. But the real magic happens when our words are shared, thought about, talked about, and even acted upon.

I share my writing with a community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories – Magic in A Blog. It’s been incredible to have this group of writers as writing companions. We post, read, and ruminate. It’s pretty great. If you’re up for it, give us a look. If you like what you see, check out a writing prompt and join us. If it doesn’t feel like your vibe, no worries. The opportunities to share words and stories are abundant!

Here are some of the places I’ve found my writing people this week.

Embrace the Pause – Power from an unidentified writing friend

This beauty leapt out at me from my collage treasure box. I was flipping through to find a piece to add to a book I’m making for a friend, and this stopped me mid flip. I’m not sure who wrote it, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had it for a very long time, but today, the magic was ripe and ready to be picked.

Embrace the pause. Yes!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good about pausing. Sometimes when I pause I actually feel guilty.

I’m on leave from work so I can crush cancer, and nourish my health. That’s a pause that sometimes feels like it was forced upon me. I love the more positive, and more true, TRUTH (can truth be be more true?) that I can embrace the pause. Embrace, not accept, or even live, but embrace that pause. We typically embrace what is good, helpful, sweet. We embrace what we love, and often come to love it more. So I yield to the power of this story — from someone I do not even know — and I embrace the pause in my life right now.

You Can Be at Peace – Power (unexpected) from Darling Magazine

Have you ever read Darling Magazine? It’s awesome. To be fair, I’ve only read one, but it was remarkably fabulous. I hoped they had another paper edition of the magazine waiting to mail me – I’m a fan of beautiful fantabulous print magazines. Alas, they did not, BUT, they had great products that used the power of words to bring magic to others so I bought a few.

Today, I noticed an envelope with beautiful handwriting addressed to me in my pile of mail. I didn’t recognize the handwriting or the city of origin. Inside was a handwritten notes (I love hand written notes) thanking me for my purchase, and offering their hope that it had brightened my day. It had!

And then there was the card. “You can be at peace. Take a deep breath, and remember: you are here for a purpose.”

Indeed, breathe in the power of word and story. Be at peace. Embrace the pause. I’m here for a purpose.

This – Power from me and a fab former fencer of mine

I am strong. Fear does not control me. I enjoy the fight. I will not be stopped. My determination is unbeatable. My war face is beautiful. What part of that do you not love?

I wrote those words several years ago for my fencing team. I made little cards so they could carry the words with them. I had no idea anyone might carry it with them for years, but I’m sure glad she did.

I’m sure I made one for myself too — but I don’t have it anymore. At least I don’t know where it is. But, in the powerful magic of sharing a story, here it is again! A fab former fencer of mine placed that photo on my facebook feed with these words.

“I keep this card stuck in a picture frame above my desk at home. I think of you and all the strength practicing fencing has given me every time I see it.”

How amazing is that? I told her I wanted to say “Get the heck out of here!!!” I still do, in some ways. But it’s the part of me that hasn’t fully embraced the incredible power of word and story. We lived a lot of life together on the fencing team. We worked hard, thought hard, became mentally and physically tough — and created lots of stories together. They were some powerful, awesome stories.

I’m glad I told that story of strength to my athletes. It was true then and now. They needed to hear it then. I needed to hear it now. So awesome to be reminded of the truth I spoke and wrote so many years ago that remains true for me, and my fencing alum. Rock on, Elan. Remarkably grateful to you for sharing this with me.

Oh, and speaking of sharing the power of writing. My end of the year gift from the team that year was a bracelet engraved with these seven words — breathe, believe, courage, fight, finish, skilled, unstoppable. I wear it still.

So yeah. Find your band of brothers, your circle of sisters, your plethora of profound and positive people who write. Or, simply find your paper and pencil, and begin. The magic of your words will find a home in the hearts and minds of others, and when you need it most will come home to visit you again. Trust in it.