Day to day life: working, playing with the kids, cooking, going out with friends, cleaning the house, looking after the garden… A series of activities that follow each other, more or less smoothly, some pleasant, some less so. They follow each other seamlessly, a long stream of things to do and very little empty, unused time on any given day. Or when it happens, it is late in the evening, after the long to do list has been worked through as best as possible.
We all act on this sustained rhythm without even noticing it, that is what we are used to. We like to be busy, to feel like we have made the most of our days.
And then suddenly, sometimes completely out of nowhere, we find that our temper flares up, a little detail annoys us. When these little annoyances repeat themselves, we eventually pay attention to them, wonder where they are coming from, how come this is now annoying me… We look back and realise that we haven’t really paused in hours, days, sometimes weeks. We haven’t switched off and just let life go by.
When it all gets too much, it can lead to real stress, a sense of burnout. Then we wonder, what can I do, what can I change to avoid this? And the answer is surprisingly simple, and yet so difficult. We need to pause, to stop, go for a walk, do some yoga, breathing exercises, meditation or sometimes just sit and watch the world go by. And suddenly the world feels wider, bigger, brighter and with more room to breathe and to be.
Pausing just a few minutes every day creates the space that our mind needs to just be, without to do lists, without agenda. A time to find ourselves again, a time to resource and to refill our batteries. A time to be in the moment, without judgment, just observing what is around us and realising that we don’t need to control things for the world to keep turning.
So let’s try to find, every day a few minutes, to stop and pause. To look around us and breathe, relaxing into the breath and focusing our mind on the moment, just for a moment.