Monday, April 1, 2013

291/365: The Power of Pause

Today I made:
time to stop and smell the flowers...
the best smelling street on the block...
I am always rushing. Rushing for work, rushing between appointments, rushing to finish up my household chores so I can have more time for art. Even during my week off for spring break, I feel the pressure of all the things I want to accomplish during my free time. This morning I thought, "Must take the dog for a quick walk so I can get to my list of to-dos."

With my mind racing ahead into parts of the day that hadn't even happened, we briskly walked from tree to tree while Banjo did his doggy business and "checked his messages." A few blocks from the house, I was overwhelmed by the most heavenly scent. It literally made me stop in my tracks. I looked around for a moment trying to find the bush or tree that was emitting the air born sweetness. Then I just closed my eyes and inhaled.

I stood there for a while, feet planted firmly on the sidewalk, eyes closed to traffic. My pup eventually caught on and stopped tugging at the leash. For the first time since we left the house, I noticed how warm the sun actually felt despite the rapid breeze. I noticed how comfortable my new running shoes were. I noticed how there's a tight spot in my chest where the inhale gets stuck. Right then I decided, when I got home, the piles of dishes, bills and laundry would wait.

Instead I did yoga and stretched out the tight space. I made lunch for my husband and myself to enjoy on the deck. I jotted down a list of sweet-smelling flowering shrubs to look for at the garden store. I journaled about my learning. I simply revised my to-do list to include small moments of joy and peace in my day.

Too often we get caught up in what needs doing and we forget to just be. To be in the present, to enjoy what this moment has to offer. Where did we learn this hectic pace? How can we learn to slow down and take it all in? It is a lesson I seem to face again and again as life tumbles forward.

I am learning this: There is power in the pause. It is possible to fine tune our awareness to the blessings that are present in everyday moments. We can train our senses to alert us when it's time to pay attention, not just to notice, but to take the time to appreciate, even if just for a few deep breaths. Being in nature and honoring it through art and writing helps me grow this awareness.

Ten years from now, I won't remember how productive I was with my chores this first day of April, but I will be able to recall the way I felt when the collection of sweet moments brought me peace.

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